My monthly income from the Junta de Andalucía program is 700€. When I first read that number, I thought to myself that there was no way it would be enough to actually live; however, after I did some research on my city (Huelva, Andalucía) I discovered that it might actually work and with proper budgeting, I could still have tons of fun. It is true that the South of Spain is definitely cheaper than other parts of the country, so I have a slight advantage in that regard, but it is still manageable.
First things first – the cost of living in Spain is significantly more reasonable than it is in the United States, regardless of where you live in the States. I don’t think there is anywhere in the US (minus gas stations in the middle of the country) where you can get a coffee for around $1.20. I moved to Spain from Los Angeles, so I am accustomed to an extremely high cost of living for the basics – rent, food, utilities, phone. The income-to-cost-of-living ratio for these costs in Spain is much more balanced than it is in the US, so right out of the gate the 700€/month goes much further.
Below is a breakdown of my month.
Rent – 200€ (includes wifi…also, this is actually considered high for Huelva…I know many people who pay 150-175€)
Utilities (gas, electric, water) – 18€
Cell Phone – 15€ (I have Vodafone (which is awesome) with 60 minutes of call time and 6MB of data a month + free social pass, free maps, and free chat apps…I never use all of my data and I have no monthly contract. It even worked perfectly with no roaming when I went back to the US)
Groceries – $100€ (I grocery shop A LOT because I use mainly fresh produce, cook/eat often, and use other fresh products, so I am probably considered on the high end of the spectrum…you can probably get away with way less).
Fútbol – 15€ (I usually play two pickup games a week)
Haircut – 15€ (I get a haircut every 3 weeks and its actually 10€/cut so x1.5)
Gym Membership – 15€
TOTAL = 378€
DIFFERENCE = €322
There are always plenty of miscellaneous expenses like clothes, toiletries, home supplies, pharmacy trips, etc. but with about half of my income left for these categories, I still have money to go out for coffees, drinks, meals, and to travel.
EXPENSES BACK IN THE STATES
Of course, many people still carry student loan debt, credit card debt, car payments, etc. back in the States. It is possible to budget some of this with the monthly teaching income, but to help out, a lot of auxiliars work private tutoring gigs or teach in after-school academies for extra money. Generally, by asking around, talking to the other teachers, or walking & looking for these types of opportunities, it is easy to make extra money to cover additional expenses outside of life in Spain.
GENERAL PRICES IN HUELVA
Coffee = 1.00-1.50€
Beer = 1.00-2.00€
Glass of Wine = 1.00-2.00€
Tinto de Verano = 1.00-2.00€
Tostada = 1.00€
Tapa = 1.00-3.00€
Ticket to attend Recreativo de Huelva game = 5€
Field rental for fútbol match = 1.50-2.50€
Yes, 700€/month sounds terrifying at first, but the reality is that it is a livable wage with proper budgeting and the discipline to stick with it. Depending on your region/city the amount can go further/less far but ultimately being able to pay for life is achievable.