You may have already read a few of our guides to relocating to Spain. These include our rundown of the top Spanish apps for immigrants and our summary of how to file taxes in the country. But what about the cost of living in Spain? We know that sticking to a budget can be a key consideration when you start a new life abroad. So, let’s break down the kinds of expenses to expect.
The amount you’ll need to set aside every month for your rent will be influenced by a number of factors. The property’s size, its proximity to transport links, its range of amenities: all of these make a difference. The town or city you settle in can also be a factor regarding the cost of living in Spain. Research by property portal Idealista in 2021 revealed the most expensive rental markets to be San Sebastian, Madrid, and Barcelona. The average monthly rent in these bustling hubs was found to be around €15 per square metre. This would mean a 45 square metre studio flat in Madrid would typically be priced around €675 per month.
Idealista reported a significant drop-off in rental prices for the next ranked locations, San Bartolomé de Tirajana in Gran Canaria and Calvia in Majorca. The rent in these communities was found to be €13.7 and €13.3 per square metre respectively. This reflects the fact they’re mainly vacation destinations rather than hubs for students and working professionals.
Of course, these are just average figures dating to the exact period the research was undertaken. Using sites like Idealista and Fotocase, you can see the prices available right now. You may be able to pinpoint properties cheaper than the average, even in cities like Madrid and Barcelona.
Spain has a great public transport network, so getting around your town or city should be fairly straightforward. Madrid, for example, boasts an efficient network of services that includes buses and metro trains. Season tickets offer the most cost-effective way to make use of much of Madrid’s public transport. A monthly season ticket covering ‘Zona A’, the heart of Madrid, currently costs €54.60 for most adults. You can also get an annual season ticket for €546. Those under 26 and over 65 get discounted rates.
Barcelona also has a sophisticated and extensive public transport network. An integrated ticket providing unlimited travel on buses and trains in Zone 1, the urban centre, costs €40 per month. Again, cheaper season tickets are available for certain customers, such as under-25s and those with disabilities.
While the costs of rent and season ticket travel will be fixed, other expenses can fluctuate depending on personal habits. Grocery shopping is a prime example. Looking at it in a very generalised way, Spain’s National Statistics Institute has highlighted regional differences in grocery spending. According to the latest data, an individual in Madrid will spend around €155 a month on average. In Barcelona, it’s around €163.
Of course, the actual cost of living in Spain comes down to your tastes and income. Some migrants to Spain will have budgets that extend to up-scale, artisan food retailers. Others will want to keep costs as low as possible. Large supermarket chains like Mercadona, Carrefour, and Lidl generally offer the most value for money. For example, Carrefour currently sells a 1.2 kg pack of chicken breasts for €5.87, and a loaf of sliced white bread for €0.99.
A recent report has shown that Spanish residents spent just over €400 on new clothes per person in 2021. This doesn’t necessarily represent typical Spanish spending habits when it comes to clothing, however. It was almost 30% down from 2020, likely a pandemic-related dip. Whatever you decide to spend on clothes, you’ll have your pick of low-budget and high-end fashion retailers in Spain.
If keeping fit is part of your lifestyle, you’ll be glad to know Spain has gym chains offering reasonable prices. At the time of writing, for example, you can become a member of Basic-Fit for €14.99 per month. This gives access to one gym only, while paying a bit more per month lets you use all Basic-Fit gyms.
Many migrants, including those working and making social security payments in Spain, have access to public healthcare. This means that GP and specialist consultations, hospital care, mental health services, and other treatments will be free.
Private health insurance is available to those not eligible for public healthcare. Indeed, many residents using the public system also take out private insurance for quicker treatments and coverage of treatments like dental work. The price will depend on factors like your age and the amount of cover required. It can potentially range from as little as €35 a month, right up to the triple digits. Price comparison sites like Rastreator and Acierto let you browse the best deals for your circumstances.
You may have a range of energy companies to choose from, depending on which part of Spain you’ve moved to. Prominent names providing electricity and gas include Iberdrola and Endesa. Typical prices depend on the size of your property, how much energy you tend to consume, and the kind of tariff you’re on. While the average total cost per month for a one bedroom apartment has previously been estimated to be around €100 per month, the market is currently very volatile with electricity prices soaring. It’s hoped things will stabilise during 2022.
When it comes to home broadband, there are several major providers which offer diverse packages. Some are broadband only, others include TV channels and other add-ons. As you might imagine, prices vary significantly, though they can be as low as around €20 per month. It’s worth spending some time on price comparison sites like ¡Sí! Compare and Comparaiso to weigh up energy and broadband offers.
Food is an integral part of Spanish culture, from casual tapas bars to high-end restaurants overseen by world-famous chefs. Great value is often provided by the menu del dia. This is a complete lunchtime meal, complete with a starter and dessert, often accompanied by beer or wine. All of this can be offered for as little as €12 to €15 in some establishments. If you’re going out for an evening meal, a three-course dinner in a mid-range place can cost around €50 without wine. Meanwhile, ordering a pint of domestic beer in a Spanish bar will cost on average €2.50.
If you’re a movie fan, you’ll find that the typical price of a cinema ticket will be around €9 or €10, depending on where you are. Concessions are usually available for younger visitors and seniors.
Costs of sending money home
When planning your budget and looking for the cost of living in Spain, it’s easy to overlook the cost of sending money back to your family and friends in your home country. This may be a significant consideration if you’re providing regular financial support to the people you love. As with energy suppliers and internet providers, it’s important to shop around for the best deal. You may find that an online-only money transfer company like Remitly will offer competitive exchange rates and low transfer fees.
In February 2022, the Spanish government increased the national minimum wage to €1,000 per month. According to data compiled by Salary Explorer, the median salary in Spain is €2,710. This means half the full-time working population earns below this figure, and half earns above it.