Living Abroad Cost of Living in Spain (Months 5,6 & 7)

We are now in our 8th month and it’s time to provide you an overview/summary of our Budget in Spain and our actual spend this Quarter.  This post happens to cover months five, six and seven or Quarter 1 of 2013.

Flamenco Andalucia - Living Abroad Budget - An American Family of 4 Living Abroad sharing our Budget in Spain and actual cost of living in Spain. Will you be in shock with the amount being spent? Read more on


Our Budget in Spain for a family of 4 is $100/day.

Yep, that is not a typo.  This includes our planned travel and our daily expenses.  Yes, I have done all of the math and have some crazy spreadsheets to keep track of everything for our needs in great detail.  For you, I am providing the general buckets and how we are tracking to goal.  Sometimes when we are over budget, it is just a bit and averages out because we were under in another area.  We are getting good with that juggle now.  We have this all figured out now, but will likely go out of whack over the summer when we are more mobile.

Reminder here is our Budget in Spain & Reality for our first 4 months

Summary of our Actual Spend for Quarter 1, 2013.
Our Budget for a family of 4 is just $100/day.

Living Abroad Budget in Spain

January was a bit above budget, but that was known going in.  Below are some explanations of where we deviated from budget and why.


  • This should stay pretty steady through our time in Spain.  Our lease is good through September.  Most of our utilities are included in rent (Water, Electric, Garbage).  


  • Food gets us every time.  Perhaps we were a bit too tight on this budget?  In February and March we were slightly over on the budget.  We did travel a bit more, as we had my Mom visiting for 6 1/2 weeks, thus we ate out a little more.  Mom rented her own place, so she covered her own groceries.  We also met up with some fellow travelers/readers/friends and that was a fun eat out day too.  It wasn’t too far over budget, so it was easy to make up the difference in other areas.  


  • Our cell phones and internet are pretty consistent and we meet or slightly go under budget.


  • We have been either spot on budget with our fuel and auto expenses or a bit under each month.  With gas at nearly $8 per gallon or  €1.41 per litre, we made this budget a bit generous.  We find on a daily basis, we aren’t driving around as much.  The first few months we explored locally, but now we know where every little road goes and have just settled in.  We took a few road trips, but still had plenty for fuel.
  • This fund is also covering our bottles of butane for “gas” in the home.  We purchase the butane from the service station and it is just easier to lump into this budget.  While it is technically a “utility” for the home, we factor it in here.  It is about €18 for a bottle.  This is what we use to heat water in our tank less heater.  In the winter it is also what we use for the portable “estufa” to heat the house.  There is no central air or heat, so we have this little portable guy to heat our family room.  We did get use out of that this quarter, but not likely to need it for next 6 months or so.    


  • Okay, this is the big ding to the budget for January.  We needed to extend out travel insurance.  While we knew it was coming, we were slightly over budget for January.  With the kids out of school for Christmas Break, we decided to do a bit more traveling and much of that fell into the Miscellaneous budget because we used cash.  You see, when we use cash it goes to Miscellaneous.  
  • In February we purchased an inexpensive “pay as you go” cell phone.  We knew we had about 10 1/2 weeks of guests coming and thought it would be good for them to have a local phone.  Mom (she is so funny) must have thought the phone needed to be cleaned as she threw it in the wash with her clothes, so we bought another one.  These were very inexpensive and we paid cash, so it didn’t impact our communication fund.

In retrospect, I think we did GREAT!  I can’t believe we are living in Spain on this budget.  To top it all off, we have been able to explore!  We have been to Gibraltar, Porto, Nerja Caves, Frigiliana, Granada, Otivar and much more.

I hope I am not forgetting anything.  You need to keep us honest and let us know if you feel something has been left out.  I am not sure if you want more or less detail, so don’t be afraid to ask.  Feel free to ask questions and I can either reply via comments, update the post or email you privately about our budget for living abroad.  I just want to be sure this information is of use to you.

If you are interested in a Career Break, just ask your questions or read our post.

Actual cost of living in Spain Budget 3 months family of 4

Thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Living Abroad Cost of Living in Spain (Months 5,6 & 7)”

  1. Hello we are looking at living abroad for a few years and doing this without renting a car hopefully. We are looking at several places. Portugal is one place we are looking at staying for a bit and I have heard Spain is reasonable My husband is just about to retire at the end of this month and we are looking at taking off in November to Asia to do a trial run and take it from there. Any tips for Europe? Since we can only stay in most of Europe for 180 days per calendar year we need to find a few other low cost living countries that are safe yet can be done on a budget. Any info would be great.
    Thank you.

    1. Well, if you have a retirement pension or a savings then you can always apply for the retirement or the non lucrative visa for Spain. Both would allow you to stay for a full year and then renew after 1 yr. We have an ebook on how to apply for visa with all of the details to gather the paperwork etc… believe me it will save you hours upon hours of online research.

      Alternatively you can do the Schengen Zone hop and bop in and out of the Schengen Zone every 90 days. Others who have done this have gone to Morocco, Turkey, UK, eastern Europe for their time out of the Schengen Zone. Sometimes you can find inexpensive flights from Europe to Bangkok too, with Norwegian Air (that is what we used $350 one way each).

      We find Costa Tropical to be very affordable and many others we have assisted in moving to Spain find many of the other locations affordable as well. Of course if you are in a big city, prices are higher and smaller villages tend to be lower (excluding tourist areas). We do offer consulting, so give us a ping if you need help narrowing things down.

      We have visited quite a bit of Portugal too and the same holds true there. cities are high and rural is a little lower.

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