I have been lucky enough that an expat living in a village not far from Veliko Tarnovo has let me borrow and reprint here a breakdown of actual living costs. It originally appeared as a post in The Pavlikeni Post a Facebook group and there was a fair number of people agreeing his costs. So Martin W thank you very much for sharing this
Your biggest cost initially will be renovation work, unless you buy a fully renovated house. Even then there's probably things you need to do or want to change. That can run anything from a few hundred leva for redecorating to tens of thousands for a full renovation. Once that's done your costs break down like this.
The next biggest costs of living here is food, eating out is relatively inexpensive when compared to the U.K. but its still a luxury if you're living on local rate. Growing your own food can definitely help to keep the costs down but shopping in supermarkets can be expensive. We generally budget around 400lv a month for food but we haven't started growing yet, don't smoke and rarely drink.
Next biggest costs are electricity (our bill is usually somewhere between 70 and 100lv a month depending on what we've been running) and fuel for the car, again cheaper than the UK but still expensive compared to local living rate (about 100lv a month depending on usage.)
Everything after that is just bits. My next biggest cost is probably internet 25lv a month, and mobile phone 15lv a month. Then water which is around 5-6 leva a month.
Then there's your annual costs.The biggest being fuel for heating. This can vary greatly depending on the size of property and kind of heating but a rough estimate is anywhere from 500 - 1200 leva.
Vignette (road tax) is 90lv for the year. Car insurance around 200lv. Municipality tax (council tax) is around 35 - 45 leva a year (I have 2 properties and collectively it costs me around 78 leva a year)
This is just a rough estimate based on my costs, 2 people and 2 dogs living in a village house. It will obviously vary greatly depending on area and lifestyle, but I have just posted it to highlight how far you can get on 1000lv a month.
Just as a side note. I realize you have to make careful calculations and budget, especially when you're looking at moving here, but try not to get too bogged down in the finances. The real bonus is quality of life, I worked over 60 hours a week in the UK and my wife also worked full time, and barely managed to pay the rent and put food on the table. The difference between life in the UK and life here is priceless.