Spain isnt cheap

Do you have a query on how to get things done in Andalucia, where to find things, who to call? Find out by posting and hear about others experiences.
Miro
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 3366
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: Merseyside, formally Torremolinos

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Miro » Wed Dec 20, 2017 5:03 pm

Miro wrote:I keep detailed records of our regular outgoings (rates, utilities, insurance etc.) and our overall expenditure (cost of living), but until we've been here longer (maybe a full year) I won't bother posting comparisons. So far, it looks like the difference may be less than I expected (feared!) but I would be extremely surprised if our outgoings in the UK came to less than they did in Spain.
Watch this space! :wink:


Well, the forum seems fairly quiet this time of year, so I thought I might as well revive this old chestnut. Although we've only been back in the UK 6 months or so, our main outgoings I can now fairly accurately forecast for a full year 2017/2018. My figures for Spain, in euros, are based on the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017. To make comparisons easier, (and because probably most of you are working in euros) I have used a 2017 average exchange rate of 1.14 to give a euro equivalent in brackets against our sterling outgoings in the UK.
Naturally, everyone's circumstances and lifestyles are different, so this is purely as a point of interest and not meant as any sort of definitive guide! Also, I'm fully aware that we may have paid more than necessary for certain things, or less for others, simply by shopping around, but hopefully some of you will find it interesting anyway. :)

SPAIN / UK
___________________

Gas/Electric €819 / £792 (€903)

Water €287 / £361 (€412)

Landline, broadband,
Mobile & Skype €793 / £382 (€435)

Community fees €1247 / £386 (€440)

IBI/Council tax €200 / £1790 (€2040)

Home insurance €152 / £128 (145)

Road tax €80 / £30 (€34)

Car insurance €394 / £695 (€792)

TV, incl. VPN in Spain,
TV licence in UK €582 / £415 (€473)

Cash – general daily living,
Food & drink etc. €7600 / £7700 (€8778)

_________________________

Total €12154 / £12679 (€14454)

A few points:
Our Spanish 2 bed apartment was all electric; we rarely used the a/c in the summer, nor in the winter because it was very ineffective, but we were often cold. Our UK 3 bed townhouse has GCH. Today, we have only had the heating on for an hour this morning - the house is warmer than our apartment in Spain was!
Water: my mind boggles! (not raining today :thumbup: )
There are undoubtedly cheaper broadband options in Spain, but I preferred to stick to Movistar & later Orange. Here we're using Plusnet. Virtually identical services. We no longer buy Skype credit for phoning "home".
In Spain we had a communal pool & garden. We still pay community fees, because our (leasehold) townhouse (with private rear garden) has some shared outdoor areas (parking areas & front gardens etc.)
Council tax: yeah, well! at least the streets don't flood when it rains here, and there's no dog poo on the pavements!
Home insurance: on both properties we only paid/pay contents, as the comm. fees include buildings.
Road tax: obviously will depend on the car - my Spanish car would have cost a lot more here, but my newer (cleaner) car here is cheaper; not really a fair comparison.
Car insurance: It was difficult to find a UK insurer to accept my Spanish NCB, and even then, only 5 years of it. My UK premium would have been far less if I had my full NCB taken into consideration.
TV: in Spain I was paying for Sky Sports & entertainment via NowTV, plus SmartDNS. Basically using the same here, but getting better offers by buying passes from Amazon - could obviously do the same in Spain, except that I didn't trust the post!
And finally, the "cash" expenses - how long's a piece of string? Everybody will have different ideas of what is "normal" expenditure. Suffice to say that my estimated figure for this year in the UK is based on our first 6 months, and that we aren't denying ourselves anything that we had in Spain such as meals/drinks out, new clothes, days out etc. Our lifestyle & standard of living is more or less identical.

This is by necessity a slightly simplified illustration. I've no doubt omitted a few things, or used slightly unfair comparisons, & exchange rates play a part in distorting things too, but at least it gives a basic picture. As for income v expenditure, without going into too many personal details, our income tax in the UK will be slightly less, but even accounting for that, I estimate that our "overall living expenses" (for a retired couple plus cat) will be approximately£1000 - £2000 a year more in the UK than in Spain.

And that, folks, is just about all I have to say about that! :wave:
Last edited by Miro on Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often

"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative," Mordecai Siegal 1935-2010.

elusive
Resident
Posts: 1199
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:49 am
Location: The Earth

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby elusive » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:34 pm

Thanks miro. intresting to read. Hope your enjoying life back in the U.K

Miro
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 3366
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: Merseyside, formally Torremolinos

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Miro » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:55 pm

Had to update the previous figures as I realised I made a couple of errors (I've reduced the cash expenditure in Spain, because I paid the utilities & rates in cash so had included them twice)
It makes the difference between UK & Spain a bit greater - neither a surprise, nor a major concern (thankfully!)
Yes, enjoying life back here thanks, elusive, and the (slightly) higher cost of living overall is, for us, compensated for in many little ways which we cannot put a price on.
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often

"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative," Mordecai Siegal 1935-2010.

Free at Last
Resident
Posts: 1542
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:32 pm
Location: Velez-Malaga

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Free at Last » Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:40 pm

Free at Last wrote:We used to use bottled gas for heating in our old home and like Firsttango found that very cheap indeed, but we're about to find out how much more electricity costs as the new place has airconditioning which we'll use for heating. We had it replaced with the new inverter type for greater energy efficiency and everyone seems to say that is reasonably cheap to run, but we'll see. We will also be using electricity for cooking so fully expect to get much higher bills, especially as we've upgraded the potencia to avoid the supply tripping so our standing charges will be considerably higher than we paid before. We only need to heat our home for 4 months of the year here, though, whereas it was 8 months of the year when we lived in the UK.



I said early on in this thread that I expected to be paying much higher utility bills in our new, all electric home. I am amazed but thankful to say that my fears have not been proved true. Our electricity bills for our old place where we used butano for all cooking and nearly all our heating used to be around €50 per month at this time of year, with a potencia of 3.45kw which was enough with no electric hob, oven or heating.

Our latest bill for a month in which we used our inverter air conditioning every day for around 4 hours in the evenings, cooked with an induction hob, electric oven and microwave, and used the dishwasher which we didn't have before, has come to €59.75 (with a higher potencia of 5.75kw) - and we would previously have bought a couple of gas bottles a month at this time of year which of course we no longer have to do. So the bills overall, in winter at least, are actually working out lower. We're also using less water (no doubt partly because using the dishwasher a couple of times a week uses less water than washing up every day, as well as there being less cleaning to do) so the annual water bill should be around €50 lower.

Miro's findings would seem to indicate that it is indeed still cheaper to live in Spain than in the UK, which was the original point of the thread, albeit he and some other contributors prefer their new lifestyles in the UK overall, for other reasons.

El Cid
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 13844
Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:42 pm
Location: La Herradura, Costa Tropical, Granada

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby El Cid » Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:53 pm

Let’s not forget that the real problem with UK/Spain comparisons is that the exchange rate has such a huge effect. If you work out the same figures using the pre referendum rates then Spain becomes very significantly cheaper than the UK.

If you take into account average family incomes then you get a different result completely.

Sid

User avatar
Wicksey
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 3050
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:21 pm
Location: Axarquia coast

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Wicksey » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:58 am

I think if you have to pay community fees here then that bumps up the living costs a lot. Compared to campo living where we only have IBI of less than 200€ then the UK costs are very high in comparison and we couldn't afford our lifestyle there even if we did want to move back. Interesting to see how much cheaper internet is there. We do not have a landline or mobile phone contract, or pay any subscriptions for TV here but I consider our internet fees at 30€ a month quite expensive.

Glad you are settling in OK Miro!

Free at Last
Resident
Posts: 1542
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:32 pm
Location: Velez-Malaga

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Free at Last » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:46 am

Community fees vary a lot, not all are as expensive as Miro paid. Ours are €40 per month which covers maintenance of the lifts, cleaning and lighting of communal areas including the basement parking garage, maintenance of the gardens and intercom system, minor repairs, insurance and the community administrator's fees. There is no communal pool, though. Our IBI for this property is €150 lower than the bill for our old townhouse (although I did get a discount on that but it was more than clawed back through the tax system so wasn't actually advantageous for the last couple of years since I became a taxpayer). The house insurance premium is lower for this property too.

From what I have read it is not so easy to get broadband without a landline in the UK, Virgin Media being the only company to offer widespread coverage. The cost for their "up to 50mb" package would be 27 pounds per month and I have been paying €18 per month for 30mb with unlimited downloads for the past few years, so I wouldn't save anything on internet costs in the UK.

https://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/guid ... phone-line
Last edited by Free at Last on Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

alisonb
Resident
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:48 am
Location: Vinuela

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby alisonb » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:49 am

We eat out a lot in Spain, since a couple of tapas with a drink does us quite happily for lunch. We love fish and have never found anywhere better than Gamba Dorada in Velez, where you get a full table for two for about 25 euros. We don’t eat out as much when we’re in uk, although it’s not just price, since there are some really cheap deals, but these tend to comprise mounds of potatoes and chips. I think in uk lots of cheaper restaurants have sacrificed quality for quantity. Should anyone get up north, there’s a lovely Spanish restaurant in Wakefield called Jose’s kitchen, run by Jose, who’s from Madrid, but his mum is from Alhaurin. His food is exactly what you would get ina restaurant here, albeit more expensive, but still pretty good value. I think that one of the problems with eating out prices in uk is Tesco vouchers! So many of the chain restaurants do deals for points, that if you haven’t got vouchers, it’s really expensive.
I find supermarket shopping in uk more expensive than here, but a lot of that is down to impulse buying. To be honest, Mercadona don’t have stuff piled up in baskets for a euro, and they don’t have aisle after aisle of sweets, biscuits, and cakes, so I tend to leave with what I went for, whereas in uk half the stuff wasn’t on the list.
And our car tax in Spain has been completely unchanged at 79 euros for the last 11 years
AlisonB

ashtondav
Resident
Posts: 1392
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 8:10 pm
Location: Northampton Frigiliana

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby ashtondav » Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:21 am

petrol? 1,000 litres at a saving of 30p per litre - another £300pa cheaper living in spain.

I do agree about heat and comfort. Much more cosy in the UK with GCH, insulation and carpets.

User avatar
Wicksey
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 3050
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:21 pm
Location: Axarquia coast

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Wicksey » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:49 pm

Re community fees a friend here told me years ago he paid 2,500€ a year, but I know they vary a lot. When we had a tiny studio on an urbanisation here 15 years ago the fees were over 600€ a year.

Agree ashtondav .... it's freezing inside our house but the conservatory is boiling now the sun is on it. Our new invertors are helping though in the evening as they are so quick to heat up a room, although we are still having log fires at the moment as it seems to heat up the room and the neighbouring rooms too and gives a better all round warm feeling!

markwilding
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 6065
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:02 am
Location: Bilbao Spain

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby markwilding » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:05 pm

Community fees are becoming more common in the Uk, when we were looking for a flat, all of them incurred them and some up to £2,500 per year.
Having central Heating would depend on where you live in Spain. It’s the norm here. Everybody has it.
The one part of Miro’s list that surprised me was the high cost of car insurance he paid in Spain. Mine is much lower for a brand new car.

User avatar
Paulinmalaga
Resident
Posts: 256
Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:27 am
Location: malaga province

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Paulinmalaga » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:02 pm

Some friends of ours have an apartment in Torrox and this is the first year that they are staying for the winter as they call it....Oct - April and they are all electric including A/C and they were quite pleased with their latest bill of 71 euros for the month as they said they'd used the heating bit of the A/C alot as she suffers with arthritis in the cold. Saying that its only a 2 bed shoebox sized apartment so easy to heat, we are lucky in our house to ever get under 100euros a month even in the summer months, this time of year more like 130+

katy
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 11445
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 3:45 pm

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby katy » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:31 pm

Oh goody. A P ing contest for the end of the year :lolno: what's the cost of living like in Jaipur :mrgreen:

Miro
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 3366
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:20 pm
Location: Merseyside, formally Torremolinos

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Miro » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:20 pm

:lol: I didn't intend to start a P ing contest, although I guess it was inevitable. I merely thought to post my findings for us, 6 months on from our move, because several members seemed interested when I first posted about moving back. I stress for us, because obviously many things will vary for others. We live a very comfortable, albeit maybe modest in comparison to others, lifestyle. We know another retired couple in Torremolinos who spend 3 or 4 hours every morning at the local cafe, eat out at least 3 or 4 times a week, usually more, she gets her hair "done" at a fairly expensive boutique every Friday without fail (so that she looks nice for the pub quiz), they employ a cleaner (for their 2 bed apartment), and they visit Gib once a month without fail to stock up on English goodies that they can't live without. They also both smoke like chimneys and drink far more than us. I'm not judging (sounds like it though?! :oops: ) but that simply wasn't our lifestyle in Spain, and isn't in the UK. I believe if they were to move back to the UK (and I know they're considering it, mainly for health/family reasons), they would simply not be able to maintain a similar lifestyle without incurring considerably higher costs - probably far more than the difference we've found.
I stress again, my findings are based simply on our own circumstances; anyone else would have to recreate (as near as possible) the exact same living conditions in Spain & the UK to draw their own comparisons. But I feel safe in saying that if you can live comfortably in the UK, then you should have no difficulty recreating a similar, or better standard of living in Spain; on the other hand, if you struggle and just "get by" in Spain, you'll have a hard time making ends meet back in the UK unless you're willing to make significant sacrifices. Having said that, for anyone who is considering moving to Spain simply because they struggle to make ends meet in the UK and believe they can live cheaper in Spain, I would say think very carefully! There are all sorts of potential hidden factors that can crop up, some of which you can't put a monetary value on, and moving abroad is unlikely to solve all your problems!

Just a couple of points on Mark's comments: I don't think you'll find a flat anywhere in the UK (now or in the past) that does not have some kind of community / maintenance fees - the common areas have to be maintained somehow, as well as buildings insurance etc...And yes, in comparison they can seem pretty hefty. The main difference (in my experience) is that in the UK properties are maintained by a professional property management company, whereas in Spain invariably it's left to clueless (through no fault of their own) layman presidents and incompetent / corrupt administrators. You get what you pay for!
And I thought my car insurance in Spain was dirt cheap! (Fully comp. on a Mondeo 2.0 TDi)
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often

"Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative," Mordecai Siegal 1935-2010.

Lyric
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 2078
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 12:36 pm
Location: Torrox Campo

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Lyric » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:40 pm

Why import Heinz Baked Beans ? at todays rate they are 0.5 centimos more expensive in Mercadonna than Tesco. Does not make sense.

Both our cars are much cheaper than in the UK to insure, and things like breakdown and replacement car not included in the UK. (Liberty)

Pamela1
Resident
Posts: 738
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:30 am
Location: Co Durham/ Granada Province

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Pamela1 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:55 am

Are second hand cars cheaper in Spain?

User avatar
gerryh
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 6800
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 6:17 pm
Location: Cajiz, Malaga

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby gerryh » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:45 am

No, second hand cars, in my experience, are one of the few things that are not cheaper in Spain.
Cheers
Gerry
Gerry Harris

jogger
Andalucia.com Amigo
Posts: 226
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:00 pm
Location: Chichester/Casares

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby jogger » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:26 am

Thanks Miro, that cost of living comparison post was the best one I've read yet. We still live in the UK but spend quite a bit of time at our place in Spain and I would agree with a lot of your findings from our experience.

Also it was good to read FaL's experience going all electric, I think we will up the kw's feed to our house as the electrics are prone to tripping when we have the heaters going full pelt. I thought the cost for that would be a lot more.

I am about to buy a Spanish second hand car in the UK to drive over and leave in Spain because i think second hand cars in Spain are a rip off.

olive
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 2853
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2005 7:13 pm
Location: Poniente, Granada

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby olive » Sat Dec 23, 2017 9:38 am

Jogger. My viewpoint in buying lhd in UK is that the prices are very little different to Spain. That is factoring in ( for us) viewing/ purchase trip, getting vehicle back to Spain and if required any matriculation costs.

There is no doubt that car prices here in Spain are higher than elsewhere in Europe. Maybe two out of every three cars we have looked at have been imported from Northern Europe ( mostly France and Germany) clearly a lucrative market . We are looking at higher spec vehicles and it might be that less of those were sold during the Spanish crisis on the home market.

User avatar
Wicksey
Andalucia Guru
Posts: 3050
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 1:21 pm
Location: Axarquia coast

Re: Spain isnt cheap

Postby Wicksey » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:54 am

Your postings are very interesting Miro. Like you I keep accounts, and up to 2000 in England we were spending over 4,000 pounds a year running our 2 cars so we could calculate the savings we would make by living here in comparison (and that's when fuel used to be a lot cheaper here than the UK). The cost of second hand cars here are ridiculous especially as they are often not well looked after or regularly serviced. I'm not sure what we'll do when we eventually need to change ours .... considering asking German friends to import one for us!!

Your car insurance is similar to ours although we have had to fight each year to get it down to that as it used to be well over 500€. Car tax varies a lot here depending on what town hall you come under, and ours is 93€ and has been for all the years we have been here. Our friend's car which is lower cc is only 43€.

As you say it very much depends on your lifestyle and how you live as to your monthly outgoings as well, but it is interesting to see how much more your costs are there for some things, but similar or less for others. For anyone that hasn't lived in the UK for many years I think there's a lot to consider if they want to move back as things have changed a lot.


Return to “Living in Andalucia”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests