Note: We have recently produced a similar article for the Cost of Living in Spain v UK 2017.
It's always a good idea to research the cost of living of any country that you intend to move to. So if you're planning on starting a new life here in Spain, take some time to factor in the cost of items you'll be paying out for.
While the economic situation does seem to be gradually improving here in Spain and throughout most of Europe, the fact remains that most of us are still counting the pennies and we want to make what money we do have go that bit further. Read on to find a realistic outline of the cost of everyday items. Hopefully this will enable you to plan your budget more efficiently.
We've included on our list, many of the most common shopping items you would buy on a daily basis, but we've also incorporated other essentials such as what it will cost you to run a car, how much you could expect to pay for utility bills and what you might assume to pay for travelling or eating out.
Obviously the costs of items we've included are very general. The items that are essential to you will possibly vary from these and so your own living expenses may well differ. What you should do when you undertake research into your everyday living costs in Spain is consider the following:
- Whether you will be living inland or near the sea
- The types of places you prefer to shop – supermarkets or smaller local stores for example
- Whether you prefer quality branded products to own brand
- Whether you like to eat out in local Spanish restaurants or you prefer the places that tourists dine.
Also, don't forget that the cost of living in Spain is more than just the items of shopping you put in your trolley. There are a variety of other living costs to consider before you make the decision seek out warmer climes, and in fact doing your homework in advance will help you to decide whether moving abroad is economically sustainable for you.
Other things that can affect the amount of income you will need include:
- If you have children, where will they be educated and how much will that cost?
- What sort of car do you drive and how much is the fuel?
- Will you be working and what income will you have?
- Will you be in receipt of a UK pension and will the exchange rates have an effect on this?
- Do you intend to rent or buy? How much will that cost you?
- How often do you intend to travel back to the UK?
- Do you have savings? How long will they last if you're not working?
The days when the price of living in Spain was relatively low are unfortunately long gone, but then this is the same all over the globe so it's only to be expected. However, you can still live relatively cheaply here if you set your mind to it and make an effort to budget properly and live more like the locals do.
The average Spaniard has approximately €1615 per month to spend, which equates to roughly £1,300. This is less than we tend to live on in the UK and most other European countries.
Remember too, that while Spain has a welfare system, it is different to the UK and so there is no child benefit, or working/child tax credits. There are a few tax allowances for people who have children, but these are really nowhere near as substantial as the ones you may be used to in the UK.
An example of a tax allowance in Spain is that with a child under 3 years of age, you are entitled to €100 paid to your bank each month, or you can receive an income tax deduction of €1,200 annually.
TIP: The best way to approach your research into the cost of living in Spain is to write down all of your current monthly expenses and then compare them to the prices we have included below. This will effectively demonstrate just how the cost of living in Spain will compare to that of the UK.
The following costs are for ** 2015. They are a comparison between mainly ADSA own brands (which is one of the more economical UK supermarket chains) and Mercadona, considered to be its equivalent in Spain. In order to make the comparison easier, the UK prices have been converted into Euros and are correct as of ** 2015.
Supermarket chains Lidl and Aldi also have a presence here in Spain, so if you usually shop at these stores, you may be able to reduce your grocery bill further still.
Note: Different municipalities in Spain charge different amounts for services and commodities such as water, road tax, council tax etc. You should do some area specific research in order to make a completely accurate account of what it will cost you to live in your chosen area of Spain.
Cost Of Shopping Items In Spain
|Bread||€1.00 loaf 820g||€1.04 Kings Mill White Loaf 800g|
|Milk||€0.83 1 litre||€1.24 4pt Semi Skimmed|
|Butter||€1.25 250g||€1.22 250g Salted|
|Sugar||€0.65 1 kg||€0.82 kg|
|Coffee||€1.90 250g||€3.53 Asda Gold Roast 200g|
|Coca Cola||€1.00 1 litre||€2.08 1.75L|
|Red Peppers||€2.89 kg||€1.67 3 Pack|
|Potatoes||€0.70 kg||€1.31 kg|
|Bananas||€1.25 kg||€0.94 kg|
|Tomatoes||€1.39 kg||€1.87 kg|
|Oranges||€0.69 kg||€1.60 kg|
|Apples||€1.30 kg||€2.69 kg Braeburn|
|Cornflakes||€1.12 500g||€1.53 500g|
|Extra Virgin Olive OIl||€3.55 litre||€4.01 litre|
|Pasta - White||€0.99 kg||€0.69 500g|
|Rice - White||€0.71 kg||€1.78 kg|
|Eggs||€1.20 for 12||€2.43 12 medium|
|Chicken||€4.26 600g||€5.35 490g|
|Pork Chops||€4.10 kg||€7.72 kg|
|Fish/Salmon||€13.49 kg||€16.33 kg|
|Tuna/Tin||€2.20 220g x3||€1.00 160g|
|Water||€0.43 1.5 litre||€0.35 1.5L|
|White Wine||€3.35 (Lower Price)||€4.87 (Lower Price)|
|Beer||€1.36 litre (San Miguel)||€1.74 660ml San Miguel|
|Vodka||€11.85 70cl||€14.61 70cl|
|Cigarettes||€4.94 Marlboro 20||€12.60 20 Marlboro|
|Toothpaste||€1.55 75 ml||€1.22 Colgate 75ml|
|Shampoo||€2.75 Pantene||€4.17 400ml Herbal Essences|
|Hand Soap||€1.25 500ml||€1.10 300ml Imperial Leather|
|Toilet Rolls||€2.00 for 12||€6.26 for 12|
|Washing Powder||€4.20 (35 Washes) Bosque Verde||€6.96 Daz 40 Washes 3.2 kg|
Cost Of Utility Bills In Spain
|Telephone/Internet||Around €40 per month for both line rental and 20Mb broadband.|
|Water||Around €40 quarterly|
|Gas||€17.50 for butane bottle|
|Electricity||Around €80 - €100 per month.|
|IBI/Council Tax||Varies by region. Around 1/4 of UK council tax.|
|Rent||1-2 bed apartment €500 per month - 2-3 bed apartment €650 per month - Villa with pool around €1,000 per month. Will depend on whether inland or in a more tourist area.|
Cost Of Running A Car In Spain
|Road Tax||Relatively cheap. Around €75 per year for a small car and €100 for large.|
|Petrol||€1.31 per litre unleaded. Diesel €1.21 per litre.|
|MOT/ITV||Around €35.00 Full list here http://www.healthplanspain.com/blog/expat-tips/118-all-about-the-car-itv-test-in-spain.html|
|Servicing||€168 for a full service. (NorAuto.es)|
|Toll Roads||Variable. Quite expensive. http://www.theaa.com/allaboutcars/overseas/european_tolls_results.jsp?country=Spain|
|Meal for two with glass of wine||Medium range restaurant around €30-€40|
|Menu del Día||Set three course lunch in Spanish restaurant around €10 per head|
|Beer||Domestic beer 0.5 ltr €2.00, Imported beer 0.5 ltr €2.50|
|Wine||€2.50 per glass|
Insurance Costs In Spain
|National Insurance/Self Employed||Between €53 and €260 per month (Whether working or not) More info here|
|Car Insurance||Dependent on driver age and history.|
|Health Insurance||From around €13 per month with ourselves Health Plan Spain|
|Life Insurance||Cost dependent on current health and age.|
|Buildings and Contents Insurance||Allow for around €250 per year.|
Sports and Leisure
|Gym Membership||Approximately €40 per month.|
|Cinema||Around €8 per ticket.|
|Golf||Varies on quality of course. Allow at least €50 per round minimum.|
Schooling Fees In Spain
|International School||Between €4,000 and €10,000 per annum per child.|
|Spanish School||Free although there may be a small yearly charge for books etc.|
As you can see, prices can vary widely and can also depend on which region of Spain you will be living in.
Living here in Spain doesn't have to be expensive as long as you do your homework, shop around and budget wisely.
Why not compare to 2014 and view our other article, Cost of Living in Spain 2014.