Managing Money in Spain as a Migrant

If you’ve decided to pick up and move to Spain in order to work as a migrant, there is probably a list of challenges you’re expecting to face: learning a new language, acclimating to the culture, and finding a new community, for example. What a lot of migrants tend to overlook is the challenge of managing your money in two places, both at home and while you’re working abroad. So, before you take off to Spain, it’s good to get an idea of what to expect financially ahead of time.

Cost of Living in Spain

Spain is one of the most affordable countries to live in if you’re looking to be in Western Europe. In fact, it ranks as the 3rd cheapest country in Western Europe, with the average monthly cost of living for a single person coming in at €1,462. Sure, the cost might be different depending on where you live. For example, bigger cities such as Barcelona and Madrid might have a higher cost of living, but Spain is a relatively big country with a lot of different urban centers, meaning you don’t have to live somewhere that exceeds your budget.

What to Expect to Spend in Spain

It can be helpful to look at the cost of common everyday items or monthly expenses to get an idea of what your monthly spending will look like. When you compare these costs to those from other countries you might be considering moving to as a migrant, you’ll get a good overall picture of what to expect to spend. Here’s a breakdown of some average costs in Spain:

  • Rent: between €500 – €1,200 depending on the area and apartment size
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: €11
  • Beer: €2.50
  • Bus ticket: €1.45
  • Milk: €0.80
  • Eggs: €2.27
  • Gas (1L): €1.28
  • Monthly utilities: €73 – €110 depending on apartment size (heating, electricity, gas, etc.)

Most Expensive Cities in Spain

It’s not uncommon that the biggest cities in any country are the most expensive. However, that doesn’t make them off-limits for foreigners. Many migrants and foreign workers choose to live on the outskirts of main cities, where it’s often cheaper, in order to take advantage of the better work opportunities available in larger urban areas. These are the most expensive cities in Spain, but they’re also some of the most popular with foreigners and immigrants for the abundance of available jobs and the presence of international communities.

  1. San Sebastien
  2. Madrid
  3. Barcelona
  4. Tarragona
  5. Valencia

How to Manage Your Money in Spain

There are a few things you can do to make your earnings go further while you’re working in Spain. Here are some tips to help you manage your cash flow and save up money to send home:

  • Stick to a budget. Create a budget based on how much you earn and how much you’re spending each month on necessities like rent, transport, and food. Once you balance your budget, you’ll be able to plan how much you’re able to send home each month.
  • Look for cheaper alternatives. Speaking of sending money home, you want to make sure you’re using a low-cost international remittance service to save money on fees. Similarly, look for ways to save money on other expenses by shopping second-hand, grocery shopping for items on sale, and cutting down on non-essential purchases.
  • Meet your community. Whether it’s Spanish locals or other migrants in your area, integrating into your community can help you get invaluable tips on where to shop and how to save money. 

Final Word

Spain is a great country full of vibrant culture, delicious food, and great opportunities for migrant workers. A bit of advanced financial research and planning will help you ensure you make the most out of your time there and help you feel less stressed about managing your money in two countries.