It’s that time of the year again. In the tradition of things that we started back in 2015 for Spain, here is the latest update that reflects the prices this year. There are a few minor changes that have resulted in our cost of living being higher for 2017. The biggest one of all is that we moved from Seville to Valencia. We’ve been in the city now for almost six months, so l have a pretty good handle on our costs. I deliberately waited till the summer was over so l could see see how much of a wallop the electric bill would be in the summer. There was a little bit of surprise for me at the difference. For some reason, I had assumed it would be the same. Hmm.. Nope!
Cost of Living in Valencia 2017 Breakdown:
Rent in Valencia: €790 per month.
Back in Seville, we lived outside of the old city. This enabled us to live in a single family house with three bedrooms and a pool for the princely sum of €600 per month. Even though we had one of the smallest lots in the neighborhood, it was plenty big. Upon moving here, we knew we wanted to be closer to the center of the city. Long time readers know that we had a horrible time finding a place. Looking back now, I know things happen for a reason. We ended up renting the second place l had looked at online. We had nixed it at first because it was more than we were looking to spend. In the end, we had to decide between getting pretty much everything we wanted (space, big patios for the dogs, close to the center and supermarket, and more) at a higher price or being in the very center with smaller space for less. In the end, we chose to pay a bit more. We love the flat we’re in and we both agree on staying at least one more year right off the bat (I still say only if the landlord doesn’t raise the rent :-) ). We currently have a 3 bedroom, 2 bath first floor flat and pay €790/month. This is quite an increase from our €600 Seville price. It’s worth it for us though. Just like in Seville, it is very possible to rent for much less, and even closer to the city. We however hate noise, and you get plenty of that in the center year round!
Cost of Living Utilities: €102-132
We pay for water and electric only in addition to our rent. The landlord pays the community fees which covers the trash removal. Our water bill runs between €71-74 every 2 months which comes to €37 on the high end per month.
Electricity: €65 – 95
We have been paying just a bit under €65 per month for electricity. We have mostly been using fans all day and night to cool ourselves this summer. We used the AC very sparingly, maybe 10 nights total. Our bill increased €30 per month. I will assume the same for winter time even though I’ve been told that the “winter” is milder here.
Cost of Living Spain for expats health Insurance: €140.75
We recently switched health insurance companies after price shopping. Just to show you how my mindset has changed since living in the U.S, I was complaining about a rise in my premium having moved up in age to a different bracket :-). I had completely forgotten how we used to pay $270 per month, and that was because my employer paid a big chunk, and we had a deductible as well as a copay. This new policy covers everything without a copay, including dental, so yeah.. I shouldn’t whine :-). It covers us in E.U countries and pretty much everywhere else but the United States. For that, we get travel insurance when we visit. I wouldn’t want to be caught in the States without it!
Most companies here do bundling in order to get a good price. We have a home phone but have never bothered to connect it because just like in the States, you mostly get marketing calls which we both find annoying. So much so that we prefer to pay higher prices to call landlines when we need to. For some godforsaken reason, mobile to mobile calls are free, but calling from a mobile to a landline (for instance stores, offices) costs a pretty penny. My iPhone4 finally gave up the ghost and l switched to a Spanish android phone and l am loving it so far. I had been scared for nothing. You can find my reasons why on this post about switching from iPhone to android. iwhat???? :-) . We get:
- 4G of data per month
- 250 phone minutes (or something like that. We mostly use whatsapp to keep in touch with family and friends)
- Fibra at 50MB which is wicked fast
- Television package with about 25 channels and his football package with Italian Serie A and some other leagues
This has been one of the big changes. We have driven the car exactly twice in the 5 months. He goes to the garage every once in a while to start it. We walk everywhere, take the metro or taxi. The metro costs 80 cents per ride because we buy 10 tickets at a time which gives you a discount, otherwise it’s €1.50 per single ticket or €2.90 return which makes it slightly cheaper than Seville. Taxis are also very cheap in Valencia. Getting to the center by cab is €5-6 so we sometimes do that as opposed to driving and paying €15 for parking or driving around forever in search of parking space. We are only about a 10 minute walk to the Old Town (but on the other end). An adventurous person can walk to the most touristy center side in 30-40 minutes. Maybe when the weather cools down. The location of the flat is ideal for us. The main mall is about a 7 minute walk, the cinema is a 5 minute walk just across the park. There is also a bowling alley there that we intend on checking out. The supermarket is a 6 minute walk. Our dentist is right around the corner as is the mechanic and pretty much every other type of trade one could want.
Car Insurance: €23.50
We had a slight increase in our premium. I still find it incredible how little we pay for car insurance in Spain. Our whole yearly premium is less than we paid monthly for just one of our vehicles in the U.S! This is for full coverage as well. Roadside assistance, the works! and good in all E.U countries. I understand why a lot of expats sell their car once they get here because you rarely use it in the city. It’s worth it for us to pay this much to have it sit there since our rent includes parking. Our road tax will probably be the same as last year €55, due in December.
Garden and Pool: €0
We have no garden, and no pool and Federico couldn’t be happier somewhat. It cuts out the gardener fees and pool supplies etc. It also means we weren’t able to enjoy the pool on the hot days. The good news is that there is a huge community pool somewhere close-by, less than 2 minutes from what the landlord says..along with a gym no less, but between traveling and avoiding the heat, we haven’t checked it out.
An eagle-eyed reader will notice the bump in this one. I still don’t have hair so l use his shaver. I have however, found a manicurist the next street over so l have been indulging in one of my favorite pastimes. She charges €10 for a manicure, same for a pedicure. If you choose clear nail polish, it’s only €5 per! which is ridiculously cheap so l always get color because l feel so bad. I would go more often if she weren’t so busy all the time. I usually have a 2 week plus wait unless someone cancels. What l do is wave to her when l walk the dog past her shop and she’ll tell me about any cancellation..and boom! I drop everything and hightail it there, sometimes with dog in tow and l bring the money later. She helps with my Spanish and l help with her English.
Pet Care: €44 – €54
The groomer is located on the street behind ours (how’s that for lucky?) and charges €29 for their grooming which we have done monthly. The other 15 is for the dog food (we had to try 5 different brands to find one they both liked and could tolerate because the grocery store we used to get it from has no presence in Valencia. I do put Advantix drops on them every other month at €10 a pop. I have not included the cost of pet boarding on here. We leave the dogs with our reliable sitter at a cost of €18 per night when we go away for a week or less. We’ve been lucky to find a college student who adores them and keeps them at his flat. Longer sits, we use house sitters and since it’s an exchange, it costs us nothing in those cases.
We mostly eat in as you might know. Federico loves to cook, and l love to eat. We find it much cheaper overall, not to mention fresher and more satisfying. We do go out once a fortnight for sushi and maybe once a week for tapas. We love Netflix and spend evenings watching movies or TV shows we had no idea existed. We go out more when we travel. Since we don’t consider ourselves tourists here, we rarely go out to eat so this is at a top end.
For the sake of consistency, I am going to price out the same items as last year so we can get a clear picture. We mostly shop at Mercadona, the same supermarket we used in Seville. The difference is that we also shopped at a place called Mas which had cheaper prices for some items. There is a second supermarket close to us called Consum. It’s a nice place too, but has the highest prices of the three so we only get things we can’t get at Mercadona there. Overall, we spend more here for the same things which l found surprising. I think it might be because there is a bigger variety of seafood. We consistently spend €120 per week despite the fact that the prices are mostly the same.
|Fresh Milk 1 liter||0.89 cents|
|3 fresh baguettes||€1|
|Toothpaste 100ml Colgate||€1.80|
|Toilet Paper 12 rolls||€3.60|
|Spaghetti 2kg store brand|
Barilla brand 1/2 kilo
|Cherry tomatoes||0.99 cents|
|Prawns 1 kilo||€10.95 (usually 9.95)|
|Mussels 1 kilo||€1.95|
|Chicken Breast 1 kilo|
Cleaned and sliced
|Chicken wings 1 kilo||€3|
|Sugar White 1 kilo|
Sugar Brown 1 kilo
|Tuna in Olive Oil 6x80gm||€3.55|
|Water 6x2L pack||€1.62|
|Steak 1 kilo||€12.95|
|Potatoes 1 kilo||0.97 cents|
|Coffee Grounded 250gm||€2.50|
|Eggs, fresh 1 dozen||€1.35|
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil 750ml||€3.65|
|Rice 2 kilo||€|
|Shower Gel 1 liter||€1|
|Beer - Local is Amstel 1L|
|Cold Cuts 100gm|
(enough for 3 sandwiches)
|Buffalo Mozzarella 125gm|
|Oxtail 1 kilo||€9.92|
|Wine 1 liter good Spanish|
|Breakfast Oats 1/2 kilo||€0.90 cents|
|Dog Food 10 kilo||€7.50|
Cost of living in Valencia Spain Recap:
|Utilities||102 - 132 (summer)|
|Total||€1781 - 1811 (summer)|
Comparing this cost of living to the 2016 edition, you see that we are on the higher end of last year’s spending. While living in Valencia is higher than in Seville, it’s still obvious that compared to a lot of countries, you still have a low cost of living. I have chosen not to include travel expenses with this breakdown because l don’t really consider that a necessity. We travel when we find good deals and it is easier to travel with E.U countries because of the numerous low cost airlines. If you’re planning to retire in Spain, I think this gives you an overall idea of how much you will be spending for 2 people and 2 dogs. We buy fresh fruit and vegetables and also Spanish store brands. Moving to Spain requires you to have a “local” mindset, but If you intend on buying things that you did back home, I would say you can count on the costs being much higher, assuming you can find the products of course. For the most part, we have found the brands here to be just as good as the American ones, with a few exceptions like BBQ sauce, and God, I really need some Blue Cheese dressing for my carrots and hot wings :-). This is still considerable less than our monthly cost of living breakdown Malta vs U.S. You never have to ask that dreaded question – “How much does it cost to live in Spain per month?” because.. boom! there it is :-).
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How does this compare to the cost of living over your way? Have you decided to move to Valencia yet based on these prices, or can you beat it?