I’ve been living here in Spain since April 2019. Long enough to write about the cost of living in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. And I’ve been living on and off in Spain since 2017.
Spain is overall a rather cheap country to live in. Madrid and Barcelona might be more expensive, but only if you’re living in the heart of the city.
If you’re living in Spain as a retired person and don’t have commuting concerns and can live wherever you like, the cost of living can be incredibly low.
Living in Santiago de Compostela
I chose the northwestern part of Spain because of the weather and the culture. Really friendly people and good quality air and a lot of green everywhere.
It also gets chilly in the winter and rains quite a bit. Sort of like Portland and Seattle. The call Santiago de Compostela the Seattle of Spain.
The pace of live here is very slow. Nobody is in a hurry. Few are trying to make more and more money. They sit down for hours to eat and stay up late to socialize.
Benefits of Spain
I like living in Spain because it’s part of the EU and I’m an easy trip away from other European countries. The EU means living on the Euro which has several economic advantages.
The culture matches my sentiments and I feel safe here. The government is predictable and has a pretty good foreign policy.
I don’t worry about real estate values since many from other countries come to retire here. The country encourages those with pensions to come and retire here. Smart.
Quality of Life in Spain
Just like Portland, people here in Spain enjoy their quality of life based on their leisure activities. It’s not a work-centric culture.
Unstructured leisure time is valued here. Stress is avoided. People don’t gravitate towards violence. They don’t seem to be looking at the bigger and better thing to buy next.
I felt the same and still do about Portland, Oregon. I moved from Los Angeles to San Diego and from SD to Portland. A city where people like to hike, have beers, and sit around and smoke weed. Easy.
In Spain, people like to huddle around a cup of coffee, a caña, or a glass of wine, and chat for hours. They go on weekend trips and hike. All cheap leisurely activities.
This relaxed lifestyle is what allows for a low cost of living here in Spain.
Cost of Living in Santiago de Compostela, Spain
I am sure there are people living quite luxurious lives here in Santiago de Compostela. I’ve seen Ferraris here and there are million-euro homes galore.
I didn’t come to Santiago to live a more luxurious life than in the US. I came here to enjoy a better quality of life.
The cost of living in Santiago de Compostela can be low because it doesn’t take much to enjoy the finer things in life. Especially when the city and the country is built around leisure.
#1. Housing – 400 €
You can share an apartment for as little as 150 euros a month. Or you can rent your own place for as low as 300-350. A fancier 2×2 will set you back 500 euros per month.
An AirBnb can be found for as low as 600 euros a month and probably closer to 900 if you want to have it for several months.
You can buy a place for as little as 70,000 euros. I bought my condo for 90,000. The low cost of living in Santiago is why homes are so cheap.
#2. Transportation – 15 €
I don’t own a car here in Santiago, it would be a nuisance. My friends offer me ride all of the time. For longer trips, such as when I got to the beach, I hitch a ride.
I have a bike but really don’t use it. The best way is to walk everywhere. For further distances, the bus only costs 1 euro each way. Or 30 euros for a monthly pass.
#3. Food – 200 €
You can get groceries for one person for as little as 150 euros a month, probably even less.
If you decide to eat out every day, you can do that for 600 euros a month if you want high quality food.
The quality of the produce and meat is high. So you don’t have to be too worried about organic foods. But it’s important to pay attention to local foods, which are often better than imported stuff.
#4. Health – 50 €
Because the cost of living here in Spain is low, and because people don’t have a lot of stress, healthcare is also cheaper.
Full coverage health insurance will set you back 35 euros a month. If you want dental and vision as well, it’s a little more.
A gym membership can be as low as 30 euros a month or 5 euros per visit. I pay 45 euros for my rock climbing gym membership – el rocodromo.
#5. Communication – 40 €
You can get a prepaid plan from Orange for 10 euro a month which gives you a SIM card with 10 GB.
Home WiFi will set you back another 30 euros. Though, with so many free WiFi spots, you can just use your hotspot on your phone and don’t even need a WiFi for the home.
#6. Entertainment – 100 €
Dining out with friends, having a drink at a bar, going to a show – it’s all cheap here. People aren’t big spenders, they seem inherently frugal.
So, in total, you’re looking at 800 euros a month to live a pretty good lifestyle. People get by here on 600 or even less if you own your home outright.
And those who make 2,000 euros a month live very comfortable lifestyles and manage to set money aside.
You can definitely retire on less than $1 million. I have.