Cost Of Living In Spain v UK 2019 Expat Tips

If you've ever thought of taking the plunge and moving to Spain, you're in good company. According to a 2018 uSwitch quality of life poll, around 12% of Brits were seriously thinking of moving abroad, with Spain being the top choice for many.

Out of more than 2,000 people surveyed, only 5% of them said that they were happy living in the UK with almost 50% citing the cost of living as the most influential factor.

Other major reasons for moving abroad included a rise in violent crime and a feeling of living in a fragmented and broken society.

Couple this with the fact that the average European enjoys more holidays, a higher spend on healthcare as a percentage of GDP, lower retirement age and a longer life expectancy, it's no wonder that so many Brits are looking to move here in 2019 and beyond.

In a more recent HSBC Global Survey, expats voted Spain as the 4th most desirable country worldwide in which to live in despite the doom and gloom of Brexit and the uncertainty of the UK potentially leaving the EU.

However, it's always a good idea to also research the cost of living in Spain before you make the move. Read our article below and take some time to factor in the cost of everyday items you'll be paying out for each month.

While the economic situation has been steadily 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 to 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 to consider the following:

  • Whether you will be living inland or near the sea (Living inland can be a little cheaper)
  • 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 where 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 to 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 earns around €23,000 per year, which equates to around €1,900 per month. This is a lot less than the average annual income in the UK where the average person earns €32,200. The national minimum wage in Spain is currently set at €900 per month and is based on 14 monthly payments per year.

Remember too, that while Spain has a welfare system, it is different to the UK and so there is no child benefit, Universal Credit or working/child tax credits as such. 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.

View the following page for a full list of tax allowances and thresholds in Spain.

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 July 2019. 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 July 2019.

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.

The exchange rates below are as of 10/07/2019 at a rate of £1.00 = 1.11 Euros

Cost Of Shopping Items In Spain

Item Spain UK
Bread €0.95 loaf 820g €1.22 Kings Mill White Loaf 800g
Milk €0.79 1 litre €1.21 4pt Semi-Skimmed
Butter €1.50 250g €1.66 250g Salted
Sugar €0.69 1 kg €0.69 kg
Coffee €1.19 250g €2.49 Asda Gold Roast 200g
Coca Cola €1.51 2 litre €2.17 1.5 litre
Lettuce €0.80 €0.50
Red Peppers €0.60 kg €0.61 each
Potatoes €0.97 kg €0.67 kg
Bananas €1.29kg €0.87 kg
Tomatoes €1.65 kg €0.83 6pk (Salad Tomatoes)
Oranges €0.79 kg €1.11 for 5 Medium Oranges
Apples €1.29 kg €1.33 for 6 Braeburn
Cornflakes €0.87 400g €0.86 450g
Extra Virgin Olive OIl €3.32 litre €3.78 litre
Pasta - White €0.98 kg €0.59 500g
Rice - White €2.10 kg Basmati €1.60 kg Basmati
Eggs €1.29 for 12 €1.72 12 medium free-range
Chicken €4.62 650g €3.32 600g
Pork Chops €2.93 650g €5.56 kg
Fish/Salmon €18.00 kg €14.77 kg
Tuna/Tin €2.15 240g x3 €3.16 4 x 145g
Water €0.20 1.5 litre €0.30 1.5L
White Wine €3.75 (Low) €5.00 (Medium) €5.00 (Lower Price)
Beer €1.51 litre (San Miguel) €1.66 660ml San Miguel
Vodka €6.25 Litre Knebep €20.64 Litre Smirnoff
Cigarettes  €5.15 Marlboro 20 €12.67 20 Marlboro Gold
Toothpaste €1.75 100 ml €2.22 Colgate 75ml
Shampoo €2.99 Pantene 270cc €3.33 400ml Herbal Essences
Hand Soap €0.80 500ml €1.11 300ml Imperial Leather
Toilet Rolls €3.82 for 12 €5.56 for 12 Cushelle
Washing Powder €5.00 (35 Washes) Bosque Verde €5.56 Daz 40 Washes 2.6 kg


Cost Of Utility Bills In Spain

Item Spain
Phone/Internet Between €30 and €55 per month for both line rental and 50Mb-300Mb broadband. See our page on Broadband Internet in Spain                                                                    
Water Around €40 - €60 per month - Dependent on occupants and usage.
Gas €15.33 max for butane bottle - More info via our page Butane Gas Bottles In Spain
Electricity Around €60 - €100 per month depending on the time of year.
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 €700 per month - Villa with pool around €1,000+ per month. Will depend on whether inland or in a more tourist area. Prices are generally cheaper inland.


Cost Of Running A Car In Spain

Item Spain
Road Tax Relatively cheap. Around €50 per year for a small car and €100 for large. For more info, see our page on Spanish Road Tax
Petrol €1.305 per litre unleaded. Diesel €1.219 per litre.
MOT/ITV Around €35.00 Full list here - All About The Car ITV Test In Spain
Servicing From €175 for a full service. (
Toll Roads Variable. Quite expensive.


Eating Out/Restaurants

Item 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
Coffee €1.50
Beer Domestic beer 0.5 ltr €2.40, Imported beer 0.5 ltr €2.80
Wine €2.50 per glass
Coke/Soft Drink €1.70


Insurance Costs In Spain

Item Spain
National Insurance/Self Employed Between €50 and €275 per month (Whether working or not) More info here
Car Insurance Dependent on driver age and history.
Health Insurance From around €23 per month with ourselves. See our list of health plans here.
Life Insurance Cost dependent on current health and age.
Buildings and Contents Insurance Allow for around €250 per year.


Sports and Leisure

Item Spain
Gym Membership Approximately €35 per month.
Cinema  Around €8 per ticket.
Golf Varies on quality of course. Allow at least €50 per round minimum.


Schooling Fees In Spain

Item 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.

Photo Credit: Mr Ricochet [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons