Spain vs The UK: The Comparative Cost of Living in 2016
If you're thinking about moving to Spain, it is a good idea to conduct some research into the cost of living in the country first. After all, there are a lot more costs to consider beyond buying a house and securing a mortgage.
To help give you a head start, we've compiled an overview of common costs you are likely to encounter on a daily basis. Using information compiled by Nuembo – the largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide – here's a comparative look at those costs when living in Spain versus the UK.
Note: at the time of writing, the exchange rate of pounds to euros is 1.27 euros to every pound. The equivalent cost in euros and pounds for every item featured is included in closed brackets.
If you're intent on enjoying a Mediterranean lifestyle, eating out at local Spanish restaurants will probably be a priority. And the good news is that a comparative look at the cost of eating a meal out at a mid-range restaurant makes for good reading for those living in Spain.
Average cost of a three-course meal for two at a restaurant in Spain: €40.00 (£31.58)
Average cost of a three-course meal for two at a restaurant in the UK: £47.75 (€60.48)
The £47.75 you would spend on average in the UK on a three-course meal for two is the equivalent of €60.48 in Spain. However, because a comparable restaurant meal in Spain costs €40, eating out is approximately a third more expensive in the UK than it is in Spain.
The cost of a pint
Arguably, a greater concern than the price of a restaurant meal is the cost of washing it down with a nice cold beer. Because Spain operates exclusively with a decimal metric system, you'll struggle to find a pint anywhere. So we'll focus on the cost comparison of 0.5 litres of draught beer.
Average cost of 0.5 litres of domestic beer in Spain: €2.00 (£1.58)
Average cost of 0.5 litres of domestic beer in the UK: £3.48 (€4.41)
Shelling out an average of nearly £3.50 for half a litre of beer in the UK means you pay more than twice the amount you would in Spain for your favourite tipple. Or in other words, in Spain, the cost of the nearest thing you'll find to a pint is less than half the price you would pay in the UK.
It is important to note, however, that the cost of imported beer is an average of 50 cents more expensive than domestically brewed beer. Nevertheless, on the whole, beer is significantly cheaper in Spain.
Coffee and soft drinks
Stopping for a coffee or a refreshing soft drink usually represents a welcome break when you're out and about. For this reason, we've also decided to have a look at the comparative cost of grabbing a drink from a café.
Average cost of a regular cappuccino in Spain: €1.56 (£1.23)
Average cost of a regular cappuccino in the UK: £2.50 (€3.17)
At the current exchange rate, £2.50 equates to €3.17. Therefore, like buying beer, purchasing a coffee in a café is twice the price in the UK, compared to Spain. When buying soft drinks, however, it's a slightly different story.
Average cost of a 330ml can of Coca-Cola or Pepsi in Spain: €1.66 (£1.31)
Average cost of a 330ml can of Coca-Cola or Pepsi in the UK: £1.13 (€1.43)
At £1.13, the cost of a can of coke in the UK equates to €1.43 in Spain. Therefore, grabbing a can of your favourite sugary treat is slightly more expensive in the Iberian country. However, with the UK's forthcoming sugar levy, this could change in the near future.
As you're undoubtedly aware, the average price of food in UK supermarkets has been increasing steadily over the last few years. For this reason, a quick comparison of the cost of everyday essentials between Spain and the UK should make for interesting reading.
Average cost of a litre of milk in Spain: €0.78 (£0.62)
Average cost of a litre of milk in the UK: £0.90 (€1.14)
At the current exchange rate, £0.90 works out at €1.14, which makes the price of milk significantly more expensive in the UK. But what about bread?
Average cost of a loaf of white bread in Spain: €0.95 (£0.75)
Average cost of a loaf of white bread in the UK: £0.96 (€1.22)
Again, at the exchange rate of €1.27 euros per pound, bread, like milk, is cheaper on average in Spain. But what about the price of chicken and beef?
Average cost of 1kg of chicken in Spain: €5.79 (£4.57)
Average cost of 1kg of chicken in the UK: £6.33 (€8.02)
At €5.79, 1kg of chicken costs the equivalent of £4.57 in Spain. As a comparative amount of chicken costs £6.33 in the UK, poultry meat is nearly £2 per kilogram cheaper in Spain.
Average cost of 1kg of beef in Spain: €10.66 (£8.42)
Average cost of 1kg of beef in the UK: £8.73 (€11.06)
At €10.66, 1kg of beef costs the equivalent of £8.42 in Spain. Therefore, with the same amount of meat costing £8.73 in the UK, beef is only slightly cheaper in Spain. But what about fruit and veg?
Average cost of 1kg of bananas in Spain: €1.48 (£1.17)
Average cost of 1kg of bananas in the UK: £1.03 (€1.30)
Average cost of 1kg of apples in Spain: €1.55 (£1.22)
Average cost of 1kg of apples in the UK: £1.83 (€2.32)
Average cost of 1kg of potatoes in Spain: €0.83 (£0.66)
Average cost of 1kg of potatoes in the UK: £1.19 (€1.51)
Average cost of 1Kg of onions in Spain: €0.98 (£0.77)
Average cost of 1kg of onions in the UK: £0.94 (€1.19)
Again, in relation to fruit and veg, the cost of grocery shopping in the UK is more expensive than Spain. The only exception to this is bananas, which at the cost of €1.48 (the equivalent of £1.17) are slightly more expensive to buy in Spain.
Getting from A to B
Due to taxation laws, petrol prices in the UK are some of the most expensive in the world. As a result, a comparative look at petrol prices in Spain looks favourable, and actually works out at approximately 14p less per litre.
Average cost of a litre of petrol in Spain: €1.23 (£0.97)
Average cost of a litre of petrol in the UK: £1.11 (€1.41)
If you don't drive or want to purchase a car while living in Spain, you will be pleased to hear that public transport in most major cities in Spain is excellent. And, by European standards, it's relatively cheap, too.
Average cost of a monthly public transport pass in Spain: €45 (£35.53)
Average cost of a monthly public transport pass in the UK: £60 (€76.00)
Average cost of a one-way public transport ticket in Spain: €1.50 (£1.18)
Average cost of a one-way public transport ticket in the UK: £2.30 (€2.91)
Although the cost depends entirely on your destination, the data highlighted above provides evidence that public transport is a lot cheaper in Spain. Taking the cost of a monthly pass as an example, €45 equals slightly more than £35 at the current exchange rate; compared to £60 for an equivalent ticket in the UK, that's quite a saving.
Energy prices in the UK are a contentious area. Although it's a similar story in Spain, utility prices on the continent tend to be cheaper. The combined utility prices below have been calculated for an 85m2 apartment per month.
The combined cost of electricity, heating, water and garbage in Spain: €121.39 (£95.84)
The combined cost of electricity, heating, water and garbage in the UK: £144.62 (€183.18)
At the current exchange rate, paying £144.62 for your combined utilities is the equivalent of €183.18 in Spain. As such, utility bills in Spain are approximately 50% cheaper in comparison to the UK. But what about the price of broadband?
Cost of unlimited broadband per month in Spain: €33.43 (£26.39)
Cost of unlimited broadband per month in the UK: £20.94 (€26.52)
The UK's broadband prices are generally below the EU average. Hence, the typical broadband price in Spain is higher than in the UK. At €33.43, the average price of broadband in Spain equates to £26.39, which is slightly above £5 more than the UK.
We've included a list of some of the most common everyday costs you will encounter in Spain. The costs featured are of course general, however, they will give you a rough idea of the comparative cost of living in Spain versus the UK.
In conclusion, it is clear that the cost of eating out, grocery shopping, petrol, public transport and utility bills are significantly cheaper in Spain. And although a few things such as monthly broadband is more expensive, on the whole, the cost of living in Spain is lower than it is in the UK.
What's more, you shouldn't forget that living in Spain is about more than the impact on your wallet or purse. To discover more about the additional benefits of moving to sunnier climes, you can read our blog, 'The Top 8 Reasons to Swap The UK for The Costa Blanca'.
Are you thinking of moving to Spain?
At Premium Spain Homes, it's our job to help make buying your Spanish property as easy as possible. From Costa Blanca viewing trips that allow you to discover the area before you buy, to legal advice from qualified experts, we can offer advice and support along every step of the buying journey.
To speak to one of our multi-lingual property experts about helping you to find your dream Spanish home, contact us today.