Cost of Living: Malta vs Spain (Malaga)
Our cost of living difference between Malta and Malaga has definitely surprised me. Previously, l had done a smack down difference between Malta and our Houston expenses. There was of course a huge difference, which was to be expected. I had done my research after all. I also did an apples to apples comparison based on C’s post over at the Romania experience website. I compared prices of everyday items and veggies.
Our costs here in Malaga have been quite the eye opener. I assumed our cost of living would be more than in Malta, but l find that we barely break €1000 per month for the both of us, all in. The main reason is that l am spoiled ..absolutely frigging spoiled. I am married to an Italian guy who can cook :-) . His mom does that for a living, and she taught all three of her kids well. The dad was also a great cook, and l miss him dearly, he was just the sweetest guy who was always feeding me..lol! We tend to stay home for our meals.
Once in a while, we go out for tapas or go eat a fancy restaurant. His food is so much better than what we get out there, and fresh as he makes things at the moment. For meat, we go to the local butcher, get the best cut and splurge on some great wine, which can be had for like €6. We get our vegetables from the little store that is over at the next building. Andalucia is big on organic farming, so there are fresh veggies and fruit to be had at really low prices.
There are a bunch of grocery stores around us. We frequent one called Mercadona, which is the largest chain in Spain. Their prices are really good. We also go to one called Dia, which is even cheaper as they just sell their own branded things.
Here is the Malta cost of living versus Spain cost of living breakdown of the monthly expenses:
Living in Malta:
Our time in Malta came to an end after almost a year and a half. We definitely liked life on the island. Ultimately it was the small size that led to our leaving. We felt we had seen and done everything we could possibly do and felt the need for new excitement. I think Malta is a perfect place for older people who just want to stay put.
Granted, our flat in Malta was better than this one, thanks to the view, which l miss a lot, and hope to rectify in our next apartment. I am willing to pay a bit more for a nice view. Hopefully, we will find everything on my wish list. It’s easy enough to find the view, what’s not to easy is a dog friendly place with a big enough terrace for the dogs. One thing that is much higher here in Spain is the electricity cost.
Water in included in our rent here so that amount is strictly for electricity. Of course, it includes a whopping 21% tax!!! Considering that our cost of living is even lower here in Spain, we should be able to take more holidays! Hurray!!!
Living in Malaga:
I mentioned that we cook at home a lot and that indeed is one of the driving forces of our cost in Spain being lower. If you don’t cook and eat out a lot, you can expect a much higher amount. This is something that we tend to notice with a lot of expats. Most don’t cook but go out daily for the fixed menu )menu al dia) at the restaurants. It might seems little, but day in day out, it certainly adds up.
My suggestion? Take up cooking as a hobby and save the going out for drinks like the Spanish do. Look around and you will see that most locals will nurse a drink or two for hours just people watching and chatting with friends or be on the phone. Most are not actually eating. Wonderful way to save since the cafes won’t kick you out. Some of my favourite home cooked meals:
My pictures don’t do these justice to the food as l am usually in a rush to eat :-) . You get an idea why we don’t really care much for eating out.
Overall thoughts on cost of living Spain vs Malta difference:
It’s obvious from the chart that living in Spain cheaply is doable. The good thing is that both Malta and Spain both have reasonable cost of living so you can’t really go wrong. Malta or Spain to live would ultimately be your decision to make and hopefully this real life comparison as opposed to numbeo prices helps.
For us the decision to move to Spain was based not just on the cost of living, but the ease to travel to other places as well as the fact that Spain being such a huge diverse country, gives us plenty of opportunity to travel and explore within the country. In Malta, Gozo was really the only other place we could go. We haven’t regretted our decision.
Even though we started out in Malaga, we ended up staying just seven months as we did not really love the city. We found our apartment search with the dogs very stressful and we left after seven months. Our next stop was Seville, a city we loved and stayed in for two years (the heat did us in!) before moving on to Valencia where we are now, and plan to stay after purchasing a flat. You can find a comprehensive living cost in Spain on this post for comparison.
What about you? Are you trying to decide between Malta or Spain to live? How do these costs compare to where you are now?