Cost of living in Spain

It’s so important to consider the cost of living in Spain before you make the move over here.

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It’s so important to consider the cost of living in Spain before you make the move over here – so that you can assess whether or not you will actually be better off in the Mediterranean. Much of Europe has experienced an increase in the cost of living over the last decade or so – but this has seemingly levelled off in Spain in recent months; generally Spain is much cheaper than most other Eurozone countries, especially France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

 

Our annual cost of living comparison can help you assess how living in Spain would differ financially from living in the UK; we look at the prices of the most common everyday items in Spain, compared to the UK equivalent.

The most noticeable change in Spain in 2015 so far is the decrease in the cost of fuel – leaving the population feeling as though they have a little more cash leftover to spend. Elsewhere, grocery costs have remained similar, while electricity prices have risen for almost everyone. When dining out, you can still get a menu of the day (Menu del dia) at lunchtime for around €10, which will include three courses, wine, water and bread – and more and more restaurants are offering evening menus too, at a slightly higher cost, of course! Wine, beer and coffee prices have remained stable.
 
Transport is cheaper in Spain than you will find in England, and local train fares are especially good value. If you are over 60, you can get a tarjeta dorada (golden card) for €6 a year, and this will reduce your fares by between 25-40% - depending on the day and type of train you use. There are also other ways of saving on train journeys, such as getting a frequent traveller card, which is useful if you use the AVE or high speed trains a lot.
 
House insurance remains comparatively inexpensive compared to the UK, and you can get good deals on car insurance, for example, fully comprehensive for a new Ford Fiesta for around 430€.
 
Clothes are either very cheap (made in China) or expensive. There isn’t a great deal in between, though in large cities you will find more choice, with some well-known department stores, such as El Corte Inglés, or more budget options like C&A, and you will find small local boutiques in some areas.
 
If you have a Spanish Health Service card, medical treatment is still free. There is a charge for prescriptions – and this ranges from 10-40% of the cost, depending on your income.

White goods tend to be more expensive in Spain, but you will usually be able to take advantage of special offers and other bargains at local suppliers and supermarkets.
The price comparison below was conducted at one of Spain’s most successful and popular supermarkets, Mercadona. They have an online delivery service, a shopping card that allows daily or monthly payments, and part of their website is in English. Car parking is free, but bags must be paid for. In most towns they are open from 9.15 am to 9.15 pm Mondays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays.

 

Item Spain Cost  Spain Cost  UK cost** UK cost** Comparison ES vs. UK
  EUR GBP* EUR GBP  
Baguette €0.45 £0.32 €0.63 £0.45 LOWER
British style loaf of bread €1.00 £0.72 €0.77 £0.55 LOWER
1.5l of milk €1.06  £0.76 €1.10 for 2 pints - €1.45 for 1.5l £0.79 for 2 pints - £1.04 for 1.5l LOWER
6 eggs €1.17 £0.84 €1.24 £0.89 LOWER
500g cheese €3.22 £2.31 €4.18 for 450g - €4.64 for 500g £3.00 for 450g - £3.33 for 500g LOWER
200g jar instant coffee €4.95 £3.55 €3.90 £2.80 HIGHER
40 teabags €1.77 £1.27 €0.98 £0.70 HIGHER
1kg apples €1.39 £1.00 €2.72 £1.95 LOWER
1kg banana €1.19 £0.85 €0.95 £0.68 HIGHER
2 medium chicken breasts €2.67 £1.92 €4.18 £3.00 LOWER
500g pasta €0.99 £0.71 €1.05 £0.75 LOWER
500g fresh fish (e.g. salmon) €7.45 £5.35 €5.58 £4.00 HIGHER
500g cornflakes €0.99 £0.71 €2.09 £1.50 LOWER
Laundry detergent (40 washes) €4.95 £3.55 €8.37 £6.00 LOWER
Washing up liquid 600ml  €1.95 £1.40 €1.05 for 450ml - €1.39 for 600ml £0.75 for 450ml - £1.00 for 600ml  HIGHER
Tube of toothpaste 75ml €1.55 £1.11 €1.32 £0.95 HIGHER
2l Coca-cola €1.39 £1.00 €2.58 for 1.75l  - €2.94 for 2l £1.85 for 1.75l - £2.11 for 2l LOWER
100g chocolate bar €0.77 £0.55 €0.84 for 43g - €1.94 for 100g £0.60 for 43g - £1.39 for 100g LOWER
1 400g can of dog food €1.40 £1.00 €0.63 £0.45 HIGHER
           
1 litre petrol €1.29 £0.93 €1.58  £1.13 LOWER
1 litre diesel €1.20 £0.86 €1.66 £1.19 LOWER
           
Monthly water cost for three bedroom property €38.00 £27.29 €62.74 £45.00 LOWER
Mothly electricity cost for three bedroom property €80.00 £57.46 €135.24 £97.00 LOWER
Monthly interent + satellite cost €69.32 £49.79 €48.80 £35.00 HIGHER
           
Glass of house white wine in a restaurant €2.50 £1.80 €4.18 £3.00 LOWER
Bottle of beer in a restaurant €2.25 £1.62 €4.32 £3.10 LOWER
Main course in a local restaurant €11.50 £8.25 €14.81 £10.62 LOWER

 

*Based on GBP/EUR rate of 1.3923, 12/05/2015.

 

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Further reading for Living In Spain

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Finding work

There are a number of ways that UK expats can fund their lifestyle in Spain.

Read more..

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Social life in Spain

Find out as much as you can about your new community and find new friends.

Read more...

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Heathcare

Arrange health insurance and locate your new local hospitals and practices.

Read more...

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Education in Spain

Emigrating with school-age children? Learn more about schooling in your local area.

Read more...