Cost of Living: East of Málaga, Spain – April 2013

Shopping trolley in Lidl supermarket, Spain

Edited to add: When you’ve read this article, make sure you also look at my up-to-date Cost of Living in Spain: (Málaga edition) for July 2015, now available HERE.

Whenever I travel, I´m always interested to know how much things cost and, every day, people from around the world find my blog by searching for the cost of living in Spain.

Back in August and November 2012, I posted some receipts for groceries I had bought here in southern Spain, which proved to be very popular articles. 

But I wanted to do something a bit different, so I decided that rather than post the prices of random items of shopping that you may, or may not be interested in, I would come up with a list of standard grocery items, which I will update the prices of, two or three times a year.   This list can easily be changed, so if there are any other basic items you would like me to include, please let me know in the comments section, below.  This way, if anyone else wants to do something similar, we can have a direct comparison between countries.

To make such direct comparison simple, I have once again used the Spanish Supermarket – Mercadona in Torrox Costa.

This month’s prices are a bit of a mixed bag, with some prices remaining stable, yet others increasing or decreasing.

So, here´s the Standard Grocery List I used previously.  The first prices are as they were in August 2012 – the second prices (in bold) are as they were last November, with this month’s prices in RED alongside.

Standard Grocery List

Milk (semi –skimmed UHT, own brand), 1 litre  0.54 €      0.54 €     0.53 €

Loaf  (white, baguette 250g)   0.45 €    0.45 €     0.45 €

Eggs (12, own brand caged, medium) 1.35  €     1.35  €     1.35  €

Chicken breasts (1kg, boneless, skinless)  5.50 €     5.50 €     5.80 €

Apples (1kg, green, Golden Delicious) 1.35 €     1.00 €     1.65 €

Oranges (1kg) 1.39 €     0.89 €    0.79 €

Bananas (1kg) 1.25 €    1.15 €     1.35 €

Potatoes (1kg) 0.92 €    0.89 €      0.96 €

Lettuce (1 head, Iceberg) 0.85 €    0.85 €    0.85 €

Water (1.5 litre bottle) 0.45 €    0.36 €     0.42 € (for a 2 litre bottle)

Domestic Beer (1 litre bottle, Cruzcampo) 1.29 €    1.20 €    1.20 €

Fish  (1kg Salmon steaks) 8.75 €    8.75 €      9.50 €

Toilet rolls (pack of 6, own brand) 1.95 €    1.95 €    1.95 €

Washing powder (Box, 35 washes, Elena brand) 5.94 €   4.87 €     4.87 €

Olive oil (1 litre, extra virgin, own brand) 3€    2.75 €   (5 litres 12.99€)    2.99 €   (5 litres 13.99 €)

Coca-Cola (1.5 litre) 1.09 €    1.00 €    1.00 €

Butter (250g, own brand) 0.98 €    0.98 €     0.98 €

Sugar (1kg, white) 0.95 €    0.93 €    0.93 €

The following two items were only introduced in November’s grocery list:

Coffee (ground, 250g, Santa Cristina)  1.79 €      1.89 €

Beef mince (Store brand, pre-packed, 1kg)   5.43 €    3.80 € (for 700g)

New items added to the list:

Red Peppers (1kg, loose)  2.29 €

Green pointed “Italian” Peppers (1kg, loose)  1.99 €

Tomatoes  (1kg, loose)  1.19 €

Currency Conversion from XE €1 = 1.31   USD
0.85   GBP
1.24   AUD
1.33   CAD
1.53   NZD
11.66   ZAR

Inside of Lidl supermarket, Algorrobo, Spain

Other household expenses

Gas:  We don´t have mains gas here – we use bottles of butane gas.   In August, a 12.5kg bottle of Butane gas cost 16.45 € – falling to 16.10 € in November.  They are now 17.15 € .   One bottle used to last (on average) 21 days (for two people… though around 4 weeks in summer) for all hot water, showers and cooking on a gas hob.  Last September we had a new gas water heater fitted and, even though it has a larger capacity for water heating than the previous one, it appears to use significantly less gas.  It´s early days yet, but the first bottle lasted five weeks (rather than three weeks).  I´ll keep my eye on how that goes.

Electricity:  For a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom detached house in the countryside with a swimming pool, we pay an average of 100 € per month.   The cost of consumption for us is slightly lower in winter with heating/lighting, as opposed to air conditioning/lighting/swimming pool pump running for 8 hours a day, in the summer months.

Water: We are not connected to mains water, so when we bought our house part of the purchase cost was for a share in a local water company.  We have a 14,000 litre water deposit in which to store our house water.  Our water share gives us an allowance of up to 17,500 litres of water each week at reduced cost, though if we use more than this, the price rises steeply.  Needless to say, we don´t use this amount of water, even allowing for swimming pool top-ups and garden irrigation.  The water company, Patamalara, doesn´t always sent out their bills regularly and much of the cost appears to depend on the amount of repairs that have been undertaken on the system, but over the past twelve months our annual water bill has amounted to 92 €.

Village house in Torrox pueblo, Spain

IBI – Council Tax:   Paid yearly to the local council.  Last year´s bill was 338€

Internet:  29 € per month with unlimited downloads (within reason).  Speeds up to 3 Mbps

Petrol/Gasoline:  In August 1 litre of 95 octane petrol was 1.49 €.   In November 2012 the price had fallen to 1.40 €.   The price is now 1.48 €

Vehicle excise duty:  We have a Peugot 307 and pay 51 € per year.

Eating out:  Glass of wine or beer, including one tapa is 1 € – 1.50 €.  Menu of the day (three course meal, served at lunchtime, including bread and one glass of beer, wine or a bottle of water) 8 – 10 €

How do prices compare where you live? 

You might also enjoy these articles:

Menú del Día: Great food at a budget price

Cost of Living: East of Málaga, Spain  –  August 2012

Cost of Living: East of Málaga, Spain – November 2012

Goats on the road: I kid you not