Cost of living in Spain

The Cost of Living in Spain

If you’re considering coming to Spain, no matter what the reason is, it’s important to know the cost of living. When we talk about the cost of living in Spain, that covers necessities like housing, food, electricity, and water. It also means things like having a nice dinner out, clothes, transportation, health care, and electronics. So, this article will cover 

  • Spain’s cost of living in context
  • How prices are different across Spain
  • What’s cheaper in Spain
  • What’s more expensive

By the end, you should have a general idea about how much you’ll be paying for life in Spain. Just a reminder that since the euro is the national currency of Spain, so naturally all the prices we give will be in euros.

Putting Costs in Context

Let’s start with understanding the cost of living in Spain relative to other places. While Spain is well integrated into the European market, the cost of living in Spain still remains one of the lowest in western Europe. And overall, most living expenses are less expensive in Spain than in the United States or Canada.

A big thing to think about is what you’ll actually spend your money on while living in Spain. You can expect your expenses to change no matter where in the country you move to. One of the big changes that come with living in Spain is that you probably won’t need a car. So you can cut this out of your expenses. However, you should factor in the costs of public transportation, but this won’t be nearly as much.

Different Place, Different Price

Talking about the cost of living in Spain can be as vague or as broad as going over the cost of living in the US. Spain is a large country, between the size of California and Texas. So as they do everywhere prices will vary depending on where you find yourself.

Naturally, the cost of living in Spain is going to be different in the city, a town, or the countryside. As you might expect, the most expensive places to live are Barcelona and Madrid. In fact, we have an article that specifically covers the cost of living in Barcelona if you want to know more.

Generally speaking, the price of things like food and clothes don’t differ too widely across the country. You’ll see the biggest change in prices when it comes to rent and housing. 

If you’re looking at more mid-size cities like Zaragoza, Valencia, Oviedo, and Bilbao then things are more affordable than in Spain’s biggest cities. To illustrate, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Barcelona is about 975 euros a month. A similar apartment is about 540 euros in Zaragoza.

Cost of living in Barcelona >>

What will You Save Money on Living in Spain

Generally speaking, the costs of most things are cheaper in Spain than in the US. In fact, according to recent statistics, the cost of living in Spain, on average, is 29.60% lower than it is in the United States. Specifically, rent in Spain is, on average, 51.94% lower than in the United States. 

Let’s look at some specific costs to give you an idea. Keep in mind that this is an average across Spain rather than for any specific city.

3 Course Meal for 2 at a mid-range restaurant 30 - 80 euros
.5 liter domestic beer 1.5 - 4
12 eggs 1.2 - 3
1 kg Chicken filets 3 - 8.5
1 kg potatoes 0.5 - 2
Basic utilities for an 85 m2 apartment 80 - 200
Internet (60 Mbps or more) 29 - 52

Aside from generally lower prices, there are two major things you’ll save money on - transport and healthcare. We already mentioned that you can easily save money by not having a car in Spain. Additionally, Spain has universal health care, so you can also cut that from your budget. You’ll only need to pay for prescription drugs.

What’s More Expensive in Spain

There are a few things that you’ll actually spend more money on in Spain. The price of higher-end goods (electronics, TV) is on par with other European countries. This is mostly due to taxes since many of these products come from Japan, South Korea, or the US and have a tariff.

The other financial consideration is government fees. If you are staying in Spain for a short period of time, then you probably don’t need to worry about these. Likewise, if you have a work visa, then your employer most likely takes care of these expenses. However, if you have your own business or are a freelancer then you will have to pay a fee known as autónomos or autónomo tax. At the moment autónomo taxes and fees are at about 294 euros per month, so it’s important to consider that if it applies to you.

More about cost of living in Barcelona >>