Is it Possible to Live off of 1000 Euros a Month? (with a Spending Chart)

Programs for this blog post

Teach In Spain Program

Authored By:

Shelby C.

After 7 months of living in Madrid, I have finally learned how to manage my money. I also learned that it IS possible to live off of your teaching stipend of 1000 euros. However, it is NOT easy. 

The money I spent each month varied drastically. Some months I took two trips, some months I had people visiting, and some months I had neither. When you’re deciding for yourself how much money you need to save to teach English in Madrid, consider your lifestyle and what you expect to get out of this experience. I know that for myself, the way I spent my money in the U.S. was not a practical way to spend my money in Madrid. Yes, the cost of living here is cheaper, but if you want to travel, go out on the weekends, take Spanish classes, or have other additional expenses, you’re going to need some savings.  I know people who came to Madrid with next to no savings and others who came with more than I can fathom having as a 22-year-old. Everyone treats this experience differently and has different reasons for being here. So think about what yours is. 

To help in your decision-making, I have tracked my expenses from my first four months in Madrid and included them below:


My average spending from my first 4 months in Madrid

Rent (with utilities)






Aboño Joven (metro card)


Phone plan




Eating out


Travel eating out







The Chart Broken Down

Rent: I pay 550 in rent (including utilities). I live South of Madrid Rio, which is about a 20-minute metro commute to the center. Most of my friends pay between 500 and 750 (excluding utilities).

Gym: I got a Basic-fit year-long membership, which is 25,99 a month. I would strongly recommend considering all the gyms in your area before choosing one. Basic-fit requires a year-long membership, whereas other gyms don’t. I also don’t go to the gym nearly as much as I did in the U.S. Living in Madrid requires a lot of walking and depending on where you live and work, commuting can take up a lot of your free time.

Spotify: A MUST for my long commutes!

Aboño Joven: If you’re under 26, your metro card will only cost you 8 euros a month. 

Phone plan: I have a 20 euro a-month phone plan with Orange. It has worked for me and has allowed me to use my hotspot quite a bit and still have data left over. Orange also works well while traveling. Some people choose to use Movistar and some people have 10-15 euro a-month plans. Do your research before committing to one. 

Groceries & Eating Out: My grocery and food expenses have varied greatly from month to month, depending on travel plans, birthdays or other celebrations, and people visiting. Another aspect to take into account is I eat a vegan diet, which could affect the amount I’m spending.

Travel eating out: This includes a month in which I didn’t travel. These expenses ranged from 29 to 164 euros per month. 

Miscellaneous: This includes clothing, medications, club entries, birthday and Christmas gifts, small fees here and there, and fun activities (movies, ice skating, etc.)


- excludes travel expenses outside of eating
- excludes a month where I had a friend visiting and I was spending much more than usual

- excludes what I pay for Piano lessons

- excludes what I pay for a course I’m taking

- I also tutor and make 40 euros a week (160 a month) plus 30 euros occasionally (from an inconsistent tutoring job)