Spain tops list of cheapest countries to live

Cheapest basket of goods

Spain has emerged as the cheapest country to live in 2024, according to an index that looks at a wide range of living costs including food, petrol and energy bills.

The Cost of Living Overseas Index, compiled by website Property Guides, looks at living costs across 13 countries, comparing UK prices with those in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Germany, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

For those considering emigrating to the European countries closest to the UK, the results bode well, with Spain being revealed as the most affordable country to live in. The analysis reflects what an expat, holiday home owner or retiree would encounter when settling into a new home abroad.

Everyday living expenses

Unlike other reports primarily centred on travel or holiday expenditures, this report delves deeper into everyday living expenses to provide a realistic perspective on the day-to-day outlays an expat, holiday home owner or retiree may encounter when settling into a new home abroad

The report’s ‘basket of goods’ includes everyday staples like a litre of milk and a loaf of bread, but adds a few British favourites like the all-important teabags (and a bottle of gin).

They’ve also compared the cost of actually setting up your new home, including decorating materials such as paint and the cost of IKEA bookcases, as well as the cost of a cleaner to keep your home clean and tidy. The report also checked the prices of popular leisure items and activities: from Netflix subscription costs to the price of cinema tickets.

Price of electricity

They also decided to look at the price of electricity across Europe particularly with the energy crisis that has raised costs everywhere. Whilst it’s certainly not cheap in the UK, electricity is still more expensive in Cyprus, the USA and Canada, whilst it’s significantly cheaper in Spain and Italy.

The result is, the same ‘basket of goods’ that cost €2,335 in the UK, cost just €1,515 in Spain – a huge saving of €820. It probably comes as no surprise that the UK is almost 53% more expensive.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.


    • Toni

      29 January 2024 • 11:53

      Sorry to say but “what absolute rubbish”, (maybe somewhat correct in a few parts of Spains interior, but even Aragons prices have double over the last five years). l have first hand experience of living in Australia, North America, UK and Spain and since adopting the Euro and then following the 2007/2010 crisis prices have been doubling every 4/5 years and wages are still on a par with those 17 years ago… Guess its more political propaganda, designed to present Spain in a good but false light.

      • John Smith

        29 January 2024 • 14:58

        I spent Christmas in London with my wife and we couldn’t believe how expensive it was compared to the Costa del Sol – a bottle of wine that costs é27 in Spain cost £50 in a not very good Wimbledon restaurant.

        Agree that if you are buying some British imports then prices are higher but our general opinion was that we would need almost double our income to move back to Britain and enjoy the standard of living we have here.

    • Rosemary

      29 January 2024 • 12:30

      Funny….cheapest?? On what? Is it cheap if you have your income coming from the UK? As I can tell you that is it not cheap if you work in Spain as the salaries are shit

      • Arsl

        30 January 2024 • 00:32

        Absolutely right 👍

    • Martin Horrocks

      29 January 2024 • 15:30

      It is very difficult to compare like with like. My wife and I have lived and worked in Madrid on an average plus income (5000€ +/- joint) for about 20 years. We spend 20% of our time in the UK on family business.

      The cost of living in the UK is very high, given that the quality of life is poor. Houses cost more in UK, cars much less…

      Of the two, I am happier when in Spain. Most of my UK contemporaries appear to be very well-off but not that happy.

    • Baron Bradley

      29 January 2024 • 15:54

      If you exclude the crazy price of UK houses … in reality there is not that much difference between prices in Spain and Britain.

      Supermarket food is about the same price, but petrol is cheaper and gas and electricity slightly cheaprt in Spain. The big savings come from much milder and shorter winters. And the long sunny days makes life much more pleasant than the cold, wet days in Britain.

      We have lived in Spain for more than 25 years – and just the thought of returning to Britain makes us shiver and shudder!

    • Mark

      29 January 2024 • 19:03

      It depends on your income. I have lived here for 5 years, both my wife and I work. If it was not for the fact that I sold my UK house and live mortgage free here it would be a struggle.

    • Frank

      30 January 2024 • 15:52

      What a load of rubbish!! I’ve just come back from the shops and was thinking how massively expensive it was, here in Barcelona. I always check the price of wine and the bottle that cost me €8 here is £7 in Tesco. I go to the UK 3 or 4 times a year and am always surprised at how cheap it is, even Spanish olive oil is cheaper in the UK. I’m having a house renovated in both countries and very often the materials are cheaper in the UK as well as some of the workmen. A bottle of gin and 20 B&H might be cheaper in Spain but little else. And there is no cap on fuel prices in Spain. I’d like to see a detailed breakdown of this supposed £ 800 difference because it does not reflect the reality I live.

      • Lynne Williams

        31 January 2024 • 10:52

        Hi Frank, I live in Wales but I have an apartment in Tenerife. I agree some things are more expensive in Spain/Canaries, many things are hugely costly here. Electricity/gas is beyond belief, £200.00 per month at the moment. Tenerife was a fraction of that, no gas included. UK has to have heating from November until March or even April. I agree Tesco brands can be cheaper, but Spanish/Italian oils are quite expensive, from £8.00 a bottle. Your food is much fresher than ours, it stays edible for much longer.
        Suffice to say, I’d be living in Tenerife now, if my circumstances were different. Perhaps, next year?
        I’m sure if you came back to UK to live you would be disappointed. I do still love Britain, but it has changed beyond belief. All the best to you!

    • Chris

      31 January 2024 • 22:06

      100% agree. So much cheaper to live in Spain than the UK! Council tax cheaper, gas cheaper, electricity cheaper, food cheaper…..not sure where some comments stem from as I always compare UK to Spain and we have saved thousands living here and not in the UK. Each to their own I guess but from my point of view, Spain for the win.

    • Dan

      10 February 2024 • 14:38

      The taxes are huge!

    Comments are closed.