What is the cost of living on the Costa Blanca?
We’re often asked how much money do you need to live on the Costa Blanca. The short answer is that it depends on your lifestyle. Some people will struggle to survive on €3,000 a month because they have expensive tastes while others can live happily on the UK state pension of £179.60 a week.
That said, you will find it easier to fund your lifestyle – high maintenance or low – in Spain than in the UK. Rents are cheaper. Property is cheaper – even Madrid is much cheaper than London. For instance, the price per square metre of a city centre apartment in Madrid is €5,026.27 compared to €13,151.97 in London, although the average salary in London is 123.19% higher than Spain’s capital city – €3,689.81 in London and €1,653.22 in Madrid.
Move to Jávea – save money and it hardly ever rains
Move to the popular beach resort of Jávea on the Costa Blanca and you will pay around €500 in rent a month for a one-bed apartment. That figure also includes the IBI tax whereas in the UK tenants pay the council tax which is the equivalent. Also, the owner pays any community or urbanisation fees if you live on a complex with shared amenities such as a pool, gardens, gym or tennis courts. Plus your bills for water, electricity and rubbish will be less too. Basic amenities for a 85m2 apartment in Manchester will cost €188.83 a month and around €105 on the Costa Blanca.
These figures from Numbeo.com show the cost of living in Alicante city to be:
- Family of four estimated monthly costs are €2,070.50 without rent
- A single person’s estimated monthly costs are €584.34 without rent.
However, if you are autonomo, you will need an extra €300 for social security plus your accountant’s fees. And you’ll want to factor in some extra money for going out once in a while.
Many everyday items such as food and drink will be cheaper on the Costa Blanca but internet and autónomo (freelance) taxes and social security contributions are likely to be higher.
Comparing costs between Alicante and the UK
We compared the cost of groceries and going out in Alicante with Manchester. We picked this city because it is cheaper than London. You’ll still save money moving to Alicante.
A meal out in an inexpensive Manchester restaurant costs €17.50 compared with €12 on the Costa Blanca. Pick a three-course menú del día in Spain and you can save even more money while enjoying a meal which often includes a drink.
McDonalds McMeal is €7.03 in Manchester and €7.60 on the Costa Blanca.
Local beer is €4.69 a pint in Manchester and €2.90 here.
Mid-range bottle of wine is €8.20 in the UK and €3.40 here.
Cappuccino is €3.31 in Manchester and €1.75 on the Costa Blanca.
Milk is €1.10 a litre in the UK and €0.80 here.
1kg of white rice costs €1.92 in the UK and €0.96 here
1kg of tomatoes is €2.10 in the UK and €1.53 on the Costa Blanca, plus you can buy a huge variety of tomatoes and locally-produced ones too.
1kg of oranges is €2.37 in the UK and €1.22 here. If you go to Jalón you can buy a huge bag of oranges for a couple of euros from local guys in the car park opposite Bodegas Xaló.
There’s no TV licence to pay in Spain either, so that’s another saving of €186 (£159 for a UK colour TV licence).
Cost of cars in Spain
Buying a secondhand car is generally a lot more expensive in Spain than the UK. Cars tend to hold their value better. For instance, a Fiat Panda 1.2 Pop 2015 costs €5,995 in Spain (there’s one for sale at MíaCars) and €5,019 in the UK. However, UK drivers are quoted an average of €638 for insurance compared with €220 in Spain for a Fiat. Also in Spain it is the car that is insured, not the driver.
How does Spain compare to the UK and other North European countries?
Let’s compare Alicante with some cities in northern Europe where many of our clients come from. These figures assume you are renting in both cities. To maintain the same standard of living, you would need to earn around €2,600 in Alicante, and:
- €4,900 in Amsterdam
- €4,800 in London
- €4,602 in Munich
- €3,994 in Brussels
- €3,978 in Bristol
- €3,744 in Manchester
- €3,727 in Belfast
- €3,659 in Dusseldorf
- €3,393 in Cardiff
- €3,392 in Glasgow
These figures from Numbeo.com are calculated using their Cost of Living Plus Rent Index to compare cost of living and are for net earnings. They show you can earn a lot less in the Alicante region, which includes the Costa Blanca, to have the same standard of living as in many northern European cities.
More positive news is that many people are now able to work remotely and can, therefore, still work for North European countries or the USA while living in Spain. Check out our blog on remote working.
To keep costs down even further, we’d recommend using your local indoor and outdoor markets for your groceries. You’ll get fresh local produce and you can buy as little or as much as you need. The supermarkets are great value too.
You can buy imported British food but you’ll find it much more economical to switch to Spanish brands and find alternatives to convenience foods. That said, you will find superb pizzas in all supermarkets, lovely lasagne in Mercadona, and tasty chicken nuggets and pulled pork in Lidl. Lidl has a fine range of German sausages too.
Also, don’t just look at the economic reasons for moving to the Costa Blanca. People live here to enjoy 320 day of sunshine each year, better quality of life, fab food, fiestas and endless sandy beaches – that’s priceless!
Get in touch with us for further information about moving to the Costa Blanca North, buying property or long-term rentals.