Costs of living in Granada Spain

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People have been asking about costs of everyday items where we live.  I’ve been keeping receipts and thought I’d share what we pay for things while living in Granada, Spain.

Overall, we’re finding it very reasonable to live here.  I suspect we’re in one of the cheaper areas of the country.  I feel things in Granada are quite a bit less than bigger cities and high-traffic coastal towns in Andalucia.  With that said, I also have seen that smaller, inland pueblos are even cheaper yet.

First, a couple of considerations:

  • All prices are in Euros (€)
  • 1 kg = a little over 2 lbs
  • Most grocery prices are from Mercadona – a retail grocery store known for lower prices.
  • Prices as of March 2015 (1 EUR = ~$1.09)

Utilities (monthly)

For our rental house in the historic quarter of town.

ExpenseAmount (EUR €)Additional Information
Rent10003 bedroom, 2.5 bath
Electricity (winter months)350
Electricity (non-winter months)130
Internet40Includes a land line telephone.
Water25

The one item that sticks out like a sore thumb is the cost of electricity.  It is the only thing that is considerably more expensive than back home in the States.  It doesn’t help that our home strictly runs on electricity including all appliances (we don’t even have a tumble dryer) and all heat including the water heater.

I staggered a bit when I opened our latest electricity bill to see it was almost 700€.  It isn’t uncommon for utilities to bill every other month so it feels like a double whammy.  The price per kW is already some of the highest in Europe and then they sock an additional 21% tax on top of whatever usage you’ve accumulated.  Cheese and crackers.

Out & About

ExpenseCost (EUR €)Frequency / AmountAdditional Information
Cell Phone Plan12.00per month per phone1 GB data - phone calls and texts extra at 0.15 each (Spain only)
Men's / Boy's Haircut7.00
Women's Haircut25.00
Gas / Petrol1.30per liter95 octane. Diesel less.
House Cleaning10.00per hour
Babysitting7.00per hour
Bus ride1.20per trip including transfersReduced to 0.79 per trip with metro card.
Glass - Beer (caña - small)1.90Includes a tapa
Glass - Wine2.50Includes a tapa
Gin & Tonic5.00For some reason does not include a tapa (!)
Coffee (cafe con leche)1.30
Menu del Dia10.00 - 12.00Usually includes a drink, choice of first and second plate + dessert.
Movie ticket5.00

Groceries

ExpenseCost (EUR €)AmountAdditional Information
Milk0.821 literSkim
Fruit Juice0.931 liter100% juice
Black Tea1.77125 g40 tea bags
Bottled beer1.151 literCruzcampo
Bottle of Wine (mid-range)4.00Spanish Rioja
Wheat bread1.00per loafLarge - 28 slices
Sugar0.76per kgBag
Eggs1.35for 6
Butter1.15250 gWithout salt
Cheese8.25per kgHavarti slices
Chocolate filled croissants2.50550 gA breakfast favorite!
Yogurt2.0016 x 125 g16 individual containers
Muesli cereal1.60500 g
Bananas1.25per kgFrom S. America
Plátanos1.95per kgFrom Canary Islands
Strawberries2.50per kgWhen in season
Mandarines1.95per kg
Lemons1.69per kgBag of 6
Tomato1.00per kg"Salad" tomatoes = 1.39/kg.
Red Pepper1.79per kg
Avocado3.55per kg
Spinach1.00300 gBag
Carrots0.69per kgBag
Green Beans (frozen)1.09per kgBag
Broccoli (frozen)1.62per kgBag
Chicken Breasts4.95per kgBoneless, skinless
Pork tenderloin cutlets5.90per kg
Salmon Fillets14.90per kg
Turkey cold cuts1.89225 gLow salt
Granola Bars1.15138 gBox of 6 (23 g each)
Rice1.90per kgJasmine
Potato Chips0.90160 gBag
Peanut Butter3.50500 gHard to find in most stores but available in some Halal shops.

In the end, it is very reasonable to live here in southern Spain even in comparison to the “cheap” midwestern United States.  After becoming accustomed to these prices over the next couple of years, I suspect it is going to be more painful returning back to home prices.

Additions

If there is anything you’d like to see added to this list, let me know in the comments.

 

33 thoughts on “Costs of living in Granada Spain”

  1. We’ve been traveling Andalucia for the last couple months (mainly Rota and El Puerto de Santa Maria) and the cost of living is significantly cheaper than Hawaii… and cheaper than most metropolitan Mainland locations, too.
    Sorry you don’t have natural gas water heating or home heat– that’s relatively cheap in El Puerto. I’m impressed with all of the solar water heaters, windmills, and even photovoltaic panel farms that we’ve seen around the region.
    It’s even nicer to have cheap public transportation– the taxis and trains are a bargain!

    1. Good point about the taxi fare…pretty reasonable itself. I’ll try to note what the going rate is these days.

      Everyone in our neighborhood south of us is (or already has) converted to gas heat. The issue is our house is on an alleyway where the public utility gas works aren’t yet located. Apparently we’re on the waiting list and they’ll dig our street up and install it in another year or two.

      Really nice catching up with you today, Doug. Be sure to let us know if you’re ever in the area again.

  2. Good informative article. Thank you. Since you’re talking cost of living, it just dawned on me, will you have to file a tax return for Spain and/or do you expect to have to fork over some tax money ? I may be wrong, but does Spain have that double tax agreement with the U.S.. A bit off subject but it could impact your cost of living !

    1. Thanks for the comment, Nancy Boo.

      No, we are not planning on filing a Spanish tax return. We are on a non-lucrative visa which means we cannot work for a Spanish company while here and thus have no income.

      1. Hi,

        We are planning to move to Spain. Our plans are almost exactly like yours. We have two young kids that are in Spanish Immersion. Thanks for all of the Spanish visa info. Very, very helpful!

        FYI: I would check into Spain’s tax laws. They changed after the recession and I believe all ‘residents’ of Spain are taxed on their worldwide income. It covers capital gains and inheritances as well. So I am planning all of my property and equity sales with it in mind.

        Dan

        1. Hi Dan,
          This summer we’re also planning to move to Spain for two years on non-lucrative visas. And as you noted, we’ll be required to file a Spanish tax return for the years in which we reside for more than 183 days. So for us it will likely end up being just one year that fits that requirement. We will not be working in Spain but we will have income from international assets/investments.

          Anyway, I discussed with my accountant and confirmed that we won’t have double taxation between US and Spain given the treaty they have in place, but what a hassle. I’m not looking forward to the administrative overhead of filing US and Spanish returns, finding someone to file my Spanish return in a country that’s totally foreign to me, etc.

          So question for you is -are you already in Spain and if so have you looked into how much work it’s going to be to file your taxes there? Just curious to hear if you or any other Americans on the forum has done it yet.

          Thanks!

  3. What a great rundown! That electricity bill is insane, but not far off from what we paid back in Chicago for an apartment of similar size. There was always so much sadness in the winter when that bill came haha.

    Our electricity in Seville is not cheap either…we just saw our first bill today after over three months here, and I was not pleased. It’s not nearly as much as yours, but we also only have a one-bedroom apartment. The good news is that our beers and coffees are cheaper than yours. 🙂

    1. C’mon! How much cheaper are your beers and cuppa joe? I didn’t expect Sevilla to be cheaper than Granada. There are parts of town where I can find beers for 1.50E or less, just not in the Albaicin.

      1. Pretty much always €1-1.20 for a beer, maybe €1.40. €1.50 if it thinks it’s fancy. Ha! We live in the historic center and I can tell you the prices around here. Not sure down by the cathedral…maybe €126 and an arm for the suckers. Coffee is generally the same, maybe a little less for a café sólo.

        It’s quite affordable here, man. Not much different than Granada from what I’m seeing here.

  4. Mind = blown. Another great example that Europe doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive. And with the Euro approaching parity with the USD, I imagine everything seems even more of a bargain.

    Those grocery prices are roughly what I pay with super bargain hunting here in Raleigh. Some stuff is a little higher in Granda (eggs) while other stuff is much cheaper (tomatoes).

    Even the bus fares are roughly what we pay in Raleigh ($1.25 USD per ride or less if you get a punch pass or monthly pass).

    I guess it makes sense – I think I saw a COL calculator and it said Granada (or similar place in S. Spain) was slightly cheaper than Raleigh. Seeing the raw data helps understand how/why that is true!

    1. Yeah, and I didn’t even include the guy who has a little fruit/veggie stand that only sells by the kilo. My wife got a kilo (2.2 pounds!) of avocados from him the other day for 1.00€. A few went bad before we could eat them all.

      Just don’t ask/look for limes here. For some reason they are not native and are super expensive. We’ve pretty much completely substituted out limes for lemons in all recipes.

  5. At 4Euro per bottle, in the winter maybe using wine as antifreeze is more cost efficient than using electric heat. For the adults, at least

    These look like great prices. How does it work out monthly?

    Super cool that Nords stopped through. We had brunch with him when we were in Hawaii many years ago

    1. Good point about the wine. 4E is actually pretty pricey. Still decent bottles can be had for 2.50 or less when on sale. You can buy 1 liter boxes of wine for like .90. I’m not a wine snob, but I know to stay away from those.

      I’ll have to get my stuff together a little better to actually report what the monthly budget looks like. Unfortunately travel outside of the region seems to be inflating it the most.

  6. Great breakdown. I love that living here means getting by on far less. We’ve gone back to the bombona (butane tank) in our new house, and it’s had a positive impact on our energy bill – we’re paying the same for a 250m2 house as we did in a 50m2 piso with electric tanks! We’re also on a corner lot and get tons of sun.

    My biggest issue is how much my car is costing me these days – yikesss!

    1. Yeah, those bombonas are great – effective and cheap. Our house is already outfitted with a pellet stove that keeps the main floor toasty but amazingly uses a bunch of electricity to run. It completely shuts down during power outages – too many fans, electronics, automated augers to move the pellet, etc.

      What, specifically, is expensive about the car? I know paying for gas here is painful every time I do it, but are the other costs inflated too? I think I’ve heard the cost to get a driver’s license here is pretty crazy…

  7. We moved to Seville!!! :-). Well…a suburb of Seville..Rented a little house. We visited Seville and loved it so here we are! Hey..what rental company did you use for car hire. We need to rent for a month l think till we can get the car shipped from Rome. Aaaahhh..personal space..big yard for the dogs..Maybe we should rent Cat’s car… LOL!!!

    1. I’m gonna chime in here because I feel like it. I haven’t looked at all the companies, but Sixt monthlies start at around $800 US and go up from there. Check them out along with Europcar.

      Welcome to Seville, too! If y’all ever want to get together for a drink or whatever, shoot an email over to Angela and me. I’ve just followed you on fb/tw was well. Cheers!

      1. Thanks for chiming in Ryan and for the welcome. We went to Santa Justa and walked from company to company, and they got progressively higher..lol! From sixt which was first with €659 for 2 weeks all the way to 800€ from Thrifty…,mmm..no. We decided it would be cheaper to take a cab when needed. My quote to get the car here in 3-7 days is about £600 so we will do that. In the meantime, l am loving the 20 min (at my speed 🙂 ) to the grocery store. Will definitely hit you guys up soon! Thanks again..have followed on twitter as well.

        1. I’ve never found renting a car for a month to be cheap, but we do it every time we visit the US since it’s impossible to operate otherwise. And it’s still not as bad as the headache of buying a car + insurance + yada yada + storing it or selling it when we’re done with it. Holler whenever…first drink’s on us!

    2. Well good for you guys, Kemkem. Molto buono! (You’ll have to tell Fredo that I’m taking Italian classes).

      I’d check to see if you have a Thrifty near you. With advance notice, they seem to have the best rates here. I just dropped off a rental car that we had for a month and it cost us EUR270. We haven’t been able to find that kind of price over the summer, however.

        1. Thrifty was the most expensive when we walked in, followed by Sixt. Apparently, when you book online, it’s way cheaper than walking in. I have just found this socialcar.com which seems to be like airbnb for car rental.. Checking it out, and might rent from them to give it a try. Will check out online reservation too to see, but Ryan, Seville seems to be more expensive for rentals than Granada.

          1. Yes, we usually rent from Thrifty as they are the most reasonable. A couple of considerations:
            – Only reserve online to get the best prices. Simply walking to the counter results in full retail.
            – In Granada, Thrifty has a rental office in city central and not at an airport/train station = less add’l fees tacked on
            – You have to book weeks in advance and return in the same place (one-way rentals are typically more expensive).
            – I doubt I could get this kind of price during high-season (summer).

  8. We’re moving from the UK to Malaga for a month next year. It’ll be our first family adventure, travelling with an 11 month baby. Super stoked.

    Coming from the UK, the cost of living in Spain should be slightly cheaper in most instances. We’re there in May, so the cost of heating shouldn’t be an issue. For our first trip we’re using Airbnb, but can you recommend a better way to find medium to long term lets?

    Also I would like to get private Spanish lessons. In your experience have you come many folk who provide such services?

    1. Hi Martin. You will have a great time in Malaga and May is a good month to visit – a little before the huge tourists arrive in July/Aug but still will have nice weather.

      Other websites you should check out are homeaway.com and booking.com. In terms of private lessons, if the market is anything like Granada’s, you’ll have a huge population of private teachers from which to choose. You really should have no worries there. Your best bet is just arriving and start to ask around once there. Local language schools often have instructors that do private lessons on the side too.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  9. I love these types of lists, so I can compare to our area on Costa Tropical. It seems Granada is a wee bit higher in some areas and about the same in others. Our electric is included with our monthly rent, so I hope our landloard isn’t being charged 300 a month! Yikes. Of course winter in the mountains is much colder than it is on the cost too. Do you factor in the cost of health insurance monthly or is it just a separate annual cost for you?

    1. Yeah, something tells me you don’t get as cold on the coast. Thankfully the outrageous electric bills are only for 2-3 months when it can reach freezing (0 degrees C) during the night.

      I did not list health insurance in this post because I keep meaning to write about that but just haven’t got around to it. For this upcoming year, we’re going with a cheap(er) Spanish company that only offers catastrophic/emergency coverage. For everything else we’re fine paying out of pocket.

      1. Hi Jed, I’m going to assume you have already applied for a visa renewal, maybe already a done deal ? So, regarding the health insurance, do you not still need to prove you have the same coverage as for initial application, ie no copays and repatriation ? We are still waiting for visa approval, 8 weeks tomorrow, and would much prefer to do a no frills insurance as well if and when we apply for a renewal. Perhaps I ought to focus on the present I know but still … I regularly read your blog/posts and find your information very pertinent and all around fun read. Thanks.

        1. Hi Nancy. Yes, we were recently approved for our renewal and it was a piece of cake. We opted for no frills insurance through a Spanish company to cover any emergencies at about a third of the cost of our original insurance that has just lapsed. For renewal, they seemed very lax about the whole thing. I’ll try to put a post together with some details once things settle down around here (end of school, start of summer) as we’re just having too much darn fun around here.

  10. Hello! I love reading all the information on your blog. It’s been super helpful as I’ve just moved to Granada from the U.S.! I was wondering if you know anything about the cost of one tank of natural gas (those orange tanks). My apartment has water that is heated by gas, a gas stove, and gas heating. I’m pretty sure the tanks are sold individually, and I have to buy them when someone comes by to sell them. Any ideas what the cost of a tank is and how long it might last? I will be living by myself.

    1. We never had to deal with those bombonas but think they are pretty easy to get. I think Repsol has a service that will deliver. While I’m not completely sure, I’d guess they cost 30-40Euros or so. Thanks for stopping by, Elizabeth and enjoy your time in Granada!

    2. Hi Elizabeth, my husband and I spent last year in Alicante and we used those orange tanks. Mind you, we are frugal ( hu-hum … ) and there was no heating so one tank lasted approx 5 weeks for us and they cost about Eu13.50/14.00. Also we were in a big complex ( urbanization ), so the portero would order them for us after we gave him the money. We would just leave the empty tank outside and repsol would just exchange it. We had 2 tanks of course. Also, I would think that the apartment already has 2 tanks but maybe we were just lucky.

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