The cost of living in Spain

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Transportation by Tram in SpainWhat is the cost of living in Spain?

One of the most frequent questions we receive is: What is the cost of living in Spain? Of course this varies quite a bit depending on the person, their choices, spending habits, and personal taste. In this article, we would like to break down some of the most common expenditures for foreigners in Spain.

The cost of living in Spain can be divided into three main categories of spending: housing, food, and general spending. Exact costs for each of these depends largely on the city. For example, Madrid and Barcelona are the most expensive major cities, whereas smaller cities such as Seville and Granada present a more economical cost of living in Spain. What you will see below are the average prices in euros, which are the most reliable and precise estimates.

  Cost of Housing in Spain

First, we will begin with the cost of housing in Spain. The price of housing depends greatly on whether you choose to live within or outside the historical center of the city. Many of our students prefer to spend more on housing so they are closer to the city center. Therefore, they save money on public transportation! A private room can cost between 300 and 800 € per month, and renting an apartment can cost between 500 and 1200 €.

  Cost of Food in Spain

How Food Affects Cost of Living in SpainNext, let’s talk about food! Per person, the average weekly spending on food at the supermarket is usually around 30-40€. However, this is dependent on your personal preferences and what you are accustomed to eating at home. The most well-known supermarkets in Spain are Mercadona, Dia, and Carrefour. Some suggestions and advice:

  • Mercadona is the most popular supermarket, offering quality goods at the most economical prices.
  • If you are looking for high quality products, we recommend Corte Inglés. While it often has higher prices, you can be sure that you will be receiving the highest quality goods.
  • When buying bread, we recommend that you go to your neighborhood’s local bakery. There you will be able to see the close relationship that the baker has with the neighbors, which allows you to get a taste of the local atmosphere. Additionally, the prices are usually equal to or less than those in the supermarket. We recommend the same when buying fruit and meat: go to the local fruit and meat shops.

Now you know about some supermarkets in Spain. However, be sure not to miss out on all of the delicious Spanish food you can try at restaurants! Read more about typical Spanish cuisine here.

  General Spending Costs in Spain

Finally, let’s touch upon some general spending costs in Spain. Below you can see a list of the average prices of common things you will most likely buy during your stay in Spain:

  • 1 beer: between 1-3 €
  • Bus ticket: 1,35 €
  • A drink in a bar: between 4-10 €
  • Gym membership: between 20-35 € per month
  • Gasoline: between 1- 1.30 €/liter
  • Clothing depends on the store, but you can find great offers in the outlets
  • Renting a car has an average price of 8€/day
  • Movie theater ticket: between 5-10€
  • Wifi internet connection: 40 € per month
  • A full meal at a restaurant: between 10-15 €

  Additional Tips 

Student bedroom in an Apartment

  • Obtain an International Student Identity Card (ISIC): It can be used in more than 100 countries. With this card, you will have access to discounts on trips, museums, housing, sporting events, and much more. You can apply for it online or once you arrive in Spain. For the application, you will need a document that proves you are enrolled in an academic program, a passport-sized photo, and your passport. Your ISIC will be valid for 13 months from the time of issuance. You can find out more information by following this link.
  • Apply for a European Youth Card: You can find more information about the requirements and the application process at this website.
  • Obtain a Spanish Youth Hostel Network (REAJ) Card: With this card you will have access to discounts at youth hostels. More information can be found at this link.
  • In Spain it is not “obligatory” to leave a tip at restaurants. However, it is a good gesture if you liked the food and the service was good, but it is never obligatory.
  • There is free wifi in the majority of public libraries and universities.
  • Public transportation is not expensive although if you utilize the public bike system rather than the metro or bus, you will end up saving quite a bit. Additionally, the majority of Spain’s cities have bike lanes so it can be a cheaper, more pleasant, and non-polluting alternative to other forms of transport.
  • Many museums, cinemas, theaters, and other cultural activities offer discounts for students.

In conclusion, the cost of living in Spain can vary greatly depending on where you live, and what your spending habits are. By using this overview and the tips we provided, when you arrive in Spain, you’ll be informed and prepared to enjoy your experience.

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