And we thought France was cheap

Yachts in Barcelona harbor
Yachts in Barcelona harbor

You’ve already read a couple of blog posts about the cost of living in the southwest part of France and I’m certain that there will be more. In fact, in the works is another section of the blog that will show monthly budgets of other Americans living in different parts of the country plus we’ll include our own expenses as well.

While in Barcelona this month we had ample opportunity to visit shops, restaurants, markets, and supermarkets to get an idea of what it might cost to live here and it seemed pretty cheap. Restaurant meals in the 10 to 12 euro range abound including an appetizer or dessert with the main course plus a glass of local wine adding only 2 euro to the bill. Fresh fruits and vegetables, coming from only miles away were especially affordable. Drinkable bottles of wine from the supermarket start at just over 1 euro. Yes, really.

The food prices made me curious about what the total cost of living in Spain is. I searched several of the same online sources we had used to conclude that Carcassonne was our ideal retirement choice and found very similar results for Spain. Outside of major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, the articles agreed, an American couple can live modestly on $20,000 a year and quite comfortably on $25,000. Those figures match what we’ve seen for France where we already speak the language, sort of, so we’ve made a good choice.

Apparently the world’s mega-wealthy find Spain a bargain as well. In the photo above this is just a small part of the harbor in Barcelona where giant yachts were anchored by the dozens.

Update: On our flight from Barcelona to Paris on the way back to Atlanta, Bill sat next to a guy who was returning to the US from having just gotten married to his Spanish girlfriend. They went out to her neighborhood bar one evening and spent the same amount of money on five beers as he spends on one beer for himself back in Washington, DC. He’s applying for a visa to live in Spain once he gets back to the US.

2 thoughts on “And we thought France was cheap

  1. We just picked up a rental listing for Perpignan today while in the city. We found six apartments that we really liked and not one of them was over €500 per month! Most of them have either a balcony, terrace or garden. They had many more, but so many had D and E utility ratings (one was even an F) and I was looking for one with an A, B or C rating. Tomorrow, I’ll be contacting the rental agency to see if perhaps we can see some of them. Our first choice is in a great area, has an A class rating, 2 bedroom, 83 sq. meters and right next to a beautiful green area. Just hoping that someone in the agency speaks a bit of English! Really need to get moving with our French studies!


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