Dreams of basking in over 3,000 hours of sunshine annually, taking leisurely swims in the crystal-clear Mediterranean, and joining a welcoming expat community often draw people to the shores of Spain. But how affordable is it to live in the country?
Among its many attractions, the country’s lower cost of living stands out as a significant lure. But just how affordable is life in Spain? The answer lies in the newly published Cost of Living Overseas Index 2024 by Property Guides. This comprehensive project delves into the cost of living in the most sought-after destinations for international buyers.
Spain is most budget-friendly of 13 countries
In this year’s index, researchers compare the cost of living in 13 countries, including the UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. And here’s the exciting news: Spain claims the top spot as the most budget-friendly destination among them all.
While you may have a sense of expenses from your Spanish holidays, the Property Guides Cost of Living Index drills down into the daily costs. They’ve gathered insights from expats on expenses like dental care, cleaning services, and transportation. So, here are some of the results:
The study found that the same “basket of goods” that costs £1,996 in the UK amounts to just £1,295 in Spain, translating to substantial savings of £701. While Spain claimed the top spot as the most affordable place to live, Italy and Portugal secured the second and third positions. In contrast, New Zealand emerged as the most expensive country, followed by Australia and the UK.
A move abroad for affordability
Christopher Nye, Chief Editor at Property Guides, commented, “It seems harder and harder to make ends meet in the UK, and so more and more Brits are considering moving abroad for a more affordable, warmer, and more exciting lifestyle. But if you’re moving abroad to save money, be careful because not everywhere is cheaper than the UK.”
However, according to the index, there are ten popular destinations that are indeed cheaper than the UK, including various European countries and the USA, and Canada.
Changes in rankings
Last year, Italy held the title of the most affordable country to live in, with Greece in second place, followed by Portugal, France, and Spain. This year, Spain has risen from fifth place to claim the top spot as the most affordable country to live abroad.
Here are the rankings from least expensive to most expensive according to the 2024 index:
- New Zealand
What costs are included?
The index considers a “basket” of goods and services, including everyday staples like a litre of milk and a loaf of bread, along with some British favourites like teabags and a gin and tonic. Setting up a new home, including decorating materials, a trip to IKEA, and the cost of a cleaner, is also factored in.
Additional costs considered include car rental prices, energy bills, petrol costs, Netflix subscriptions, and cinema tickets. In terms of energy costs, electricity remains more expensive in Cyprus, the USA, and Canada compared to the UK, while it’s significantly cheaper in Spain and Italy.
Grocery shopping and more
Spain emerges as the most budget-friendly destination for supermarket essentials like bread, butter, milk, apples, dog food, chocolate, and laundry detergent. In fact, the same basket of essentials costs 53% more in the UK than in Spain. Notably, items like dog food, gin, and dark chocolate are more than double the price in the UK compared to Spain.
Paracetamol is a bargain in the UK, where a 16-pack can cost just 39 pence. In contrast, you could pay as much as nine times that amount in Cyprus or Canada (£3.39 for a similar product in Cyprus, and £3.49 in Canada).
When it comes to travel expenses such as train tickets and car rentals, New Zealand ranks as the most expensive, followed by Australia and the UK. On the other hand, Italy and Greece offer the lowest travel costs.
Germany takes the lead as the most expensive country for dining out, with a three-course meal in a mid-range restaurant costing about £38. In contrast, Spain offers the most budget-friendly dining experience, where a similar meal can be enjoyed for about £15.
So, if you’re considering a move abroad for affordability, Spain, Italy, and Portugal have emerged as the top choices in 2024, offering not only financial savings but also the promise of a vibrant and exciting lifestyle.