The cost of living in Spain is a drawcard for many Expats. And certainly, our experience is that our Spain expenses are way below what we spent in Australia. Cheap rents, restaurants, and groceries help every budget. But how cheap is living in Spain really? We’ve taken a deep dive into the real numbers to help you plan your new life in Spain.
Spain Cost Of Living Calculator
Our cost of living calculator breaks down a standard budget. You can then choose your city and housing type and fine-tune your preferences for a personalized Spanish Budget. We used our experiences, verified research, and road-tested it with friends. As a budget planning tool, it is hard to beat.
Download your personalized Spanish Cost Of Living Calculator now.
Is Living in Spain Cheap?
The Where Can I Live 2022 Cost of Living Index ranks Spain as the 126th cheapest country to live in. This detailed index uses official figures and crowd-sourced pricing to build a comparison of prices around the world.
We’ll explore Spain’s costs vs. the US and UK in more detail below, but here are the headlines from the index.
- Spain is 32% cheaper than the USA.
- Spain is 24% cheaper than the UK.
But what makes living in Spain so cheap? Let’s break down some big ticket items.
What does accommodation cost in Spain?
Accommodation ranges widely in price depending on where you live and the type of housing you choose.
Here are some broad examples (with figures from rental properties on Idealista).
Average Rental Price per m2:
- Barcelona: € 19.40
- Madrid: € 16.60
- Valencia: € 11.50
- All of Spain: € 11.70
So, the monthly rental on a three-bedroom house of 225m would cost, on average:
- Barcelona: € 4,365
- Madrid: € 3,735
- Valencia: € 2,587
- All of Spain: € 2,632
For the rental of a two-bedroom apartment/flat of 87.5m2, you could budget:
- Barcelona: € 1,697
- Madrid: € 1,452
- Valencia: € 1,006
- All of Spain: € 1,023
Understand your Cost of Living in Spain
Using our detailed research, we have created this clever tool. Answer a few questions, and our calculator will give you a high-level idea of how much money you need to live the life you want in Spain.
What do food and groceries cost in Spain?
Our experience is that food and alcohol are much cheaper than in Australia, the USA, and the UK. Our American friends have the same experience. However, it does depend on how you choose to fill your fridge! Local wines and cheeses are of excellent quality and much cheaper than their Fench counterparts. Imported comfort items can be very expensive (hello Vegemite and Cadbury Creme Eggs) but are considered essentials in our family.
What is the best way to get an idea of what your weekly shop will cost? Head to one of the big supermarket chain websites and use their online shopping facility. It’ll let you create your regular basket of goods.
Our Experience: We use the local market and specialty stores like the butcher and fishmonger for lots of our food. The produce is fresh and often locally sourced. Prices are excellent, and we like to support local small businesses.
The Cost of Clothes and Shoes in Spain
There are excellent quality budget retailers in Spain. And there are top-end boutique stores that’ll melt the average credit card.
Some examples of recent purchases in our household:
- Lightweight Hiking Jacket from Decathalon: € 57
- Adult Mens Levi Jeans: € 44
- Salamon Trail Running Shoes: € 68
- Summer Dress from a market stall: € 30
- Kids flip-flops / slip-slops for a beachwear store: € 15
Check out some major retailers for more items:
- Sports Wear and Equipment: Decathlon
- Budget Clothes Store: Kiabi
- High Street Fashion: Zara or Mango
- Everything and more: Amazon
Domestic Help / Home Help / Tradespeople
Getting help around the home is fairly common in Spain, both in the local and Expat communities. Most people will employ a cleaner or housekeeper directly, but some prefer agency workers.
Prices will vary depending on the service you require and the city you are in. But according to the Spanish statistical office (INE), the average hourly cost of a cleaner in Spain is around €11-€12 per hour. That lines up fairly well with our experience.
Gardening services, pool maintenance, and handyman services are all commonly available, and average costs will range from €15-€25 per hour.
Qualified tradespeople (electricians, plumbers, painters, etc.) are, in our experience, much cheaper than in Australia or the UK.
Our tip: Ask local Facebook groups for recommendations – find people with good track records and multiple recommendations. You can also check the salary range with other employers.
Utilities (Water, Electricity, Gas & Internet)
It is very hard to budget utilities. Electricity and gas prices are volatile, and our bills for lights and gas combined have ranged from € 30 – € 300 per month. Water is relatively cheap in Spain, which is remarkable given how dry the country is.
Telecommunication costs have dropped considerably over the last ten years in Spain. Bundled contracts for the internet, mobile phones, and TV are common and very cheap.
See our article on Spanish utilities for more details.
A 10km taxi ride costs around € 15, and Ubers in the major cities are cheaper.
Petrol /gasoline prices are also volatile – we’ve paid from € 1.30 – € 1.90 for a liter of unleaded petrol in the last twelve months.
Here is the cost of some recent entertainment activities that we’ve attended in Barcelona and the surrounds.
- English language movies – € 7 per ticket, € 5 for a giant popcorn.
- Live music in a small venue – € 28 per ticket, € 5 for a small beer.
- Escape Room – € 60 for one hour with six kids.
- Kids Taikwando – € 60 / month for two weekly 1-hour classes.
- Mini Golf – € 4 each.
- Gym membership – € 50 / month at the municipal gym and swimming pool.
- Painting class – € 25 for 3 hours
- Yoga on the beach – € 12.50
- Pádel – € 6.50 each
- Photography exhibition – € 15 each
- Full-day music festival with international headliners – € 125
Healthcare Costs in Spain
Spain has free universal healthcare for citizens and many residents. However, don’t stress if you don’t qualify, as private healthcare is excellent in Spain. And private health insurance is very reasonable compared to the USA.
Cost of Living in Barcelona
Barcelona rental prices are the highest of the major cities, and nearly 20% higher than Madrid.
And our experience is that Barcelona’s expenses are a touch higher than Madrid’s for most things. This makes Barcelona our most expensive city in Spain.
- Bought a ticket to an English movie – € 7
- Eaten a 3-course lunch (menu del dia) in a local bar – € 14
- Drank a cocktail in a fancy bar – € 12
- Caught a 10-minute cab/taxi – € 9
But, remember, this is relative. The cost of living in Barcelona is around 50% of New York and less than 70% of London.
Cost of Living in Madrid
Although Madrid’s salaries are the highest in Spain, the city is cheaper to live in than Barcelona. And Madrid is one of the cheapest European capital cities to live in.
Rents are 20% cheaper than in Barcelona based on recent available rental properties in the city.
Cost of Living in Valencia
Living in Valencia is the cheapest of the major Spanish cities. In fact, rental prices in Valencia are below the Spanish national average.
Eating out in Valencia is famously good value, and public transportation is cheap. You’ll find almost everything is more expensive in an equivalent US or UK city.
Cheapest Place to Live in Spain
Smaller towns away from the coast are much cheaper than popular tourist areas. A friend bought a beautiful 5-bedroom home on an acre of land for € 97,000 in a village 45 minutes inland of Barcelona. There’s just one shop and a small bar, but it perfectly suits him, his wife, and their five dogs.
The cost of living in Murcia is considered among Spain’s cheapest coastal areas.
Cost of Living in Spain vs. the USA
Spain is 32% cheaper than the USA, according to the Where Can I Live 2022 Cost of Living Index.
With excellent value health care and low-cost education options available, you can live well on considerably less than in the USA.
Eating out, groceries, and public transport will all be cheaper than their equivalent in the USA.
Cost of Living in Spain vs. the UK
Spain is 24% cheaper than the United Kingdom (UK), according to the Where Can I Live 2022 Cost of Living Index.
Rental costs, eating & drinking out, and public transport will all be cheaper in Spain.
Average Salary in Spain
The minimum wage in Spain in 2023 is €1,080 per month or €12,9600 annually.
The average salary in Spain in January 2023 was € 2,268 per month.
Tax in Spain
Tax in Spain is complex and dependent on your financial setup. We know some people who have paid much less tax on becoming residents in Spain and others with the opposite experience.
Spain Cost of Living Calculator
Do you want an easy way to build your personalized monthly Spanish budget? Download our easy-to-use Spanish Cost of Living Calculator.