Cost of Living in Spain: Example Monthly Budget of Expenses 2024

Cost of Living in Spain: Example Monthly Budget of Expenses

Spain is a popular destination for retirees, expats, and digital nomads from around the world, due to its beautiful weather, affordable cost of living, delicious cuisine, and relaxed lifestyle.

When considering a relocation, it’s important to choose an area that suits your lifestyle and budget. The cost of living in Spain is significantly lower than in most of North America, making it a great option for anyone that wants a better lifestyle and to have their money go further.

Housing in Spain

One of the major draws of retiring in Spain is the affordable housing costs. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy a property, you’re likely to find something within your budget. In popular retirement destinations, such as Barcelona and Valencia, average rental prices for a furnished two-bedroom flat range from $1200 to $2,000+ per month depending on the size and location of the property.

If you’d prefer a smaller city in the south of Spain, such as Cordoba, Granada, and Sevilla, in the Andalusia region, the rents can start from as low as $450 for a one-bedroom flat. In the northwest region of Bilbao, Santander, and San Sebastian, the rental average for a two-bedroom starts at $800 and up.

If you’re looking to purchase a property in Spain, just like renting, prices will vary greatly depending on the city and type of property. In Barcelona and Valencia, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $170,000, while a new, two-bedroom flat in Barcelona currently starts at $250,000. Valencia is slightly cheaper than Barcelona so you will get a little more value for your money. In smaller cities, such as Murcia and Granada, it’s closer to $90,000 for a one-bedroom. You can purchase a new one-bedroom apartment in Santander starting at $155,000 and $175,000 in Bilbao. In San Sebastian, new two-bedroom apartments start at $250,000.

It's crucial that you make sure that the home you are purchasing or renting has a certificate of habitability. There are several homes that have been converted from commercial properties, and are not legal to reside in. This makes it impossible for you to register as living there and therefore impossible to get into the public healthcare system.

Food in Spain

Food prices in Spain are relatively low, making it easy to stick to a budget. The cost of groceries will depend on where you shop, with larger supermarkets offering discounts. In general, you can expect to pay about $60 per week for groceries as a couple. If you want your favorite products imported from your home country, be prepared to pay a lot more for them. One way to get around this is to have your friends and family bring you some of your favorites when they visit.

Eating out is also far more affordable compared to the U.S., with most restaurants offering a “menu del dia” meal for around $10 to $15. Lunch in Spain usually takes place around 2 p.m., and the lunch menu is a three-course meal with a beverage and usually bread. For most people, having this hearty lunch leads to having a small, lighter dinner.

Of course, prices vary depending on the restaurant and the type of food you want. You can spend hundreds of euros at one of the many Michelin Star restaurants in Spain. Alternatively, tapas bars, for example, are a great way to try a variety of dishes while keeping the cost very low. Spain is a very international country, and in most major cities you can eat a variety of international cuisine from Indian, Mexican, Korean, Chinese, Italian, and everything in between.

If you want to save money on food, consider cooking at home more often. You can also take advantage of local markets, which offer a larger selection of fresh produce at a lower cost. Most cities have daily markets and smaller towns will have weekly markets. This is also a great way to meet people living in your area, with the added bonus of supporting your local community.

Transportation in Spain

Transportation costs in Spain are generally quite reasonable. Most cities and towns have bus and train networks, with tickets costing around $2 to $4 for a single journey, but that is never the best option. Depending on how often you take public transportation, a monthly pass is best if you are taking public transportation more than once every day.

Alternatively, the T-10 card gives you ten uses with no expiry time. The current price for this pass is $11.20. This is best if you are only taking public transportation occasionally. For senior citizens, a T4 gives ten uses for $2 (in Barcelona). It’s best to check with your local transport authority and get a complete list of all the options and consider how much you use public transportation before buying your ticket.

Almost all major cities have bike-sharing programs, one of the best ways to get around the city. There is a constant expansion of bike lanes within the country. Below are the program names, the annual cost for residents, and the distance the lanes cover in the cities as of 2021.

  • Barcelona - Bicing ($50 per year) with approximately 300 km (186 miles) of bike paths in the city.

  • Madrid - BiciMAD ($25) with around 290 km (180 miles) of bike lanes.

  • Valencia - Valenbisi ($29) with approximately 135 km (84 miles) of bike routes.

  • Seville - Sevici ($33) with around 180 km (112 miles) of bike tracks.

  • Zaragoza - Bizi ($35) with about 130 km (80 miles) of bike lanes.

  • Bilbao - Bilbon Bizi ($42) with around 120 km (74 miles) of bike paths.

  • San Sebastian - dBizi ($35) with approximately 33 km (20 miles) of bike lanes.

  • Granada – Sitycleta ($25) with around 57 km (35 miles) of bike paths.

  • Murcia – Muving ($25) with about 64 km (40 miles) of bike lanes.

Taxis and Ubers are also available in most cities, and fares range depending on the distance.

If you want to buy a car, prices vary depending on the make and model. The cost of registration, insurance, parking, maintenance, and fuel should also be taken into consideration. If you are living in a larger city, a car is not required. It’s one of the best things I like about Spain. The public transportation system is fantastic. There are various buses and trains within the cities and towns. Thousands of trains and buses will bring you to other cities and towns within Spain. There are several car rental and car share programs if you want to have the use of a car for a few hours, days, or weeks. Therefore, in most cases, a car is not required, saving you hundreds of euros a month.


Utility costs in Spain are quite reasonable compared to North America. Electricity and water are the main utilities, costing around $150 to $250 per month combined. Of course, the weather and location in the country play a large factor in the cost. Some areas get colder, and people require heat and others may get very hot in the summer and need more air conditioning.

Internet is also relatively affordable, with prices ranging from $20 to $40 per month. One advantage of being part of the EU is that when you travel to other countries within the EU, the internet on your phone still works like you’re at home. There are no roaming charges or need to buy another sim card whether you’re in Italy, France, or any other EU country.


Spain is widely-renowned for its affordable and high-quality healthcare system. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Spain was ranked 7th in the world for healthcare systems in 2020, out of 191 countries evaluated. This ranking takes into account a variety of factors, including the overall level of health, healthcare infrastructure, and healthcare outcomes.

There are both public and private healthcare options available, with prices varying depending on the type of coverage you choose. Public healthcare is free for those who are registered in the country and have a valid residency permit.

For those looking for private healthcare, prices range from $50 to $100 per month, depending on the type of coverage you choose. Out-of-pocket expenses are relatively low, with most medical procedures costing around $20 to $40.

If you are planning on getting residency in Spain, you must have private healthcare without a co-pay for the first year you spend in the country.

Miscellaneous Expenses

In addition to the cost of rent, food, and utilities, you’ll also need to budget for other expenses, such as entertainment and personal services. Entertainment costs can range from $50 to $100 per month, depending on your hobbies and interests. Personal services, such as a haircut or massage, can cost between $30 to $100. Of course, for some ladies, the cost is a lot higher than for men because of all the things we like to do with our hair, and salon prices vary. If you enjoy getting your nails done and having pedicures, in most places you can get both done for about $40 to $75.

Additionally, your miscellaneous expenses can include how much you like to travel. If you’d like to go on a trip within Spain or to another country once or twice a month, that will make a significant difference to your monthly expenses.

However, travel within Spain and Europe, in general, is substantially cheaper than in North America. I’ve booked a return flight from Barcelona to Ibiza for only $12, and another from Barcelona to Bergamo, Italy (one-way) for just $5. These are not regular prices, but sales do happen. In most situations, you can buy a direct return flight to and from major cities for under $100.

If you’re looking to save money while living in Spain, there are plenty of ways. Many cities and towns have free or low-cost events and activities, such as concerts and art exhibitions. Most cities give free access to museums on the first Sunday of every month. You may also take advantage of discounts for seniors, which are available in many stores, restaurants, and public transportation.

Sample Monthly Budgets for Living in Spain

To give you an idea of what life in Spain might cost, we’ve put together a sample budget for a couple living in Spain. The budget assumes the couple is renting a two-bedroom apartment in a mid-sized city.

ExpenseUSD $
Furnished two-bedroom Flat1200
Household Help (three times per week)225 (three hours/day x three days @25/hour)
Cable / Pay TV20 (Netflix)
Healthcare (two people)200
Transportation (public for two)80
Entertainment (dining out and activities)200
Monthly Total:$2,825

The following is a sample budget of a single person living in Spain. The budget is to rent a one-bedroom flat and has household help one day a week in an apartment in a mid-sized city.

ExpenseUSD $
Furnished two-bedroom flat800
Household help (three times per week)225 (three hours x one day @25/hour)
Cable / Pay TV20 (Netflix)
Entertainment (dining out and activities)200
Monthly Total:$1,970

Keep in mind that these figures are just estimates and will vary depending on your lifestyle and location.

Living in Spain can be surprisingly affordable, especially compared to North America. Rent, food, and utilities are all relatively low, making it easy to stick to a budget. Private healthcare is very affordable and high-quality. As a resident, you will have access to the public system and additional private healthcare if you choose to. Again, it’s important to note that for the first year, while getting your residency, you must have private healthcare.

If you’re considering retiring in Spain, we encourage you to consider the cost of living in the country. With its lower cost of living and beautiful cities and towns, Spain can be an ideal destination for retirees. For more information, check out International Living for more tips and advice.

*Note – the financial figures used are a 1:1 USD to Euro estimate. Due to currency fluctuations, prices may vary.