It has been already one month since I started my internship in Spain. I decided that probably many of you would like to know how much it costs to live here. In this post I would like to cover this topic and how to make shopping smartly to save some money.
My three-month internship here is unfortunately unpaid, so I came here with a tight budget. However, as a traveling-addicted person I would like to explore as much as I can here with the money I have. After one week living here, I have decided that I need 600€ for monthly expenses and the rest I can use for traveling. Read forward to see what I am spending this money on.
1. Renting apartment
Renting an apartment is one of the biggest expenses here. Of course, you can try to find accommodation through Couchsurfing, however I am staying here 3 months and I need my space.
Costa del Sol is a place which people from Sweden, Norway, Finland and England choose as an escape from a cold winter in their countries. Here they can enjoy the sun almost during the whole winter.
That makes the real estate industry grow really fast. There are several rental options like room rental, apartment rental or simply aparthotel or hotel.
There is plenty of websites like https://www.milanuncios.es/ where you can find information about room rental from a private person or use a holiday rental agency to find it through them. I chose to rent the apartment through an agency to have comfort with communication in English. In Spain not everyone speaks English. I found the apartment through https://www.spainhouses.net/ .
I think it was a great idea to do like I did, because I feel safe and everything is perfect. I am renting my apartment together with my classmate, which is also doing an internship in the same company. In my opinion, it is the best option if you can share the cost of accommodation with someone. We pay 800€ per month, including all utilities. However, if we would have a consumption on utilities for more than 60€ per month we would need to pay extra. It is a 65m2 apartment with 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a small kitchen and a balcony with sea view. I was thinking that this is a really good price, but according to a colleague who lives here, it is an expensive one.
Be careful with the distance from work when you look for an apartment. Costa del Sol is a mountain area, so 2.5 km on the map to an apartment that is for example up in Benalmadena will not be the same as 2.5 km if you will have an apartment next to the sea, where you have flat ground. I asked a friend to come and see the apartment and the area before I decided to take it.
2. Food and other things that I need in home (washing soap, shower gel, etc.).
As I said, in the beginning I came here with a short budget and still I would like to explore a lot. To do so, I decided that I can spend 50€ per week on food and other necessary things. To be able to stick to this budget I need to make shopping carefully and that is why I can give you some tips on how to buy good things cheap and not overpay.
Fuengirola, the small town where I am staying, is a typical touristic place, so shop owners take advantage of it. The first thing that you should know is to not make shopping in a supermarket next to the beach. The prices there are twice or even three times higher than in the shops that are farther from the coast.
I have also found that in Costa del Sol they have local outdoor markets, where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. In Fuengirola this market takes place on Tuesdays. You can read more about local markets here (link to next article). This is the best and the cheapest place to buy fruits and vegetables. The colors, variety and prices are outstanding. As an example, 1 kg of tomatoes or avocado (from local producers) costs 1€ each, or 1 kg of juicy mango 1,50€. I spend every week around 7€ there and I am coming back with my backpack (30l) full of good stuff.
I usually make my weekly shopping in a supermarket called Jamón Supermarcado. It is close to my office and I can find everything I need there in a good price. They have fresh meat, different types of ham and cheese, and everything you need for a weekly shopping. I spend there between 15-25€ per week. It depends a lot on what I buy, but I always get turkey, yoghurts, lactose-free milk and some snacks to work. I am not eating so much meat here, but once I bought two chicken breasts and I paid around 2€ for it. A good bread costs between 1,50€ and 3,50€. I am buying it in a bakery close to my house. This store (Jamón Supermarcado) is not the cheapest one. You can find here a store called Mercadona, which is cheaper, but I do not have it close.
I do not use so often local transportation, because I walk to and from work. The buses around Fuengirola cost 1,15€ and you need to buy it by cash from the driver. Remember to have coins, because drivers do not have change. If you would like to go between cities in Costa del Sol, the price depends a lot on how far you want to go. The problem with the busses is that they do not have accurate time schedules. According to the locals, the buses “comes when they come” 😊.
There is also train between Málaga and Fuengirola with stops in all the towns on the way like Benalmadena, Torreblanca, Torremolinos as well as Málaga Airport. The one-way ticket costs 2,10€ and you need to buy it on the platform before getting on the train. This trains are comfortable and quick. From Fuengirola to Málaga it takes around 45 minutes.
The cost of eating outside depends a lot on where and what you want to eat. Until now I have visited some of the restaurants next to the sea (which in theory should be more expensive) as well as coffee places around.
The special food here that you can find everywhere is of course sea food and fish. One of the famous dishes is grilled sardines, which costs between 3,50€ to 6€. For me that dish would be enough for lunch, but probably for most people that would be a starter. A main dish with fish or meat costs around 10€ – 15€ and a paella with sea food – around 25€ for 2 people.
We are in Spain, so of course tapas are a must. The traditional way of tapas was a social thing, going from one bar to another with friends, grabbing one or two beers and getting some tapas (small dish) for free. Nowadays, it is really difficult to find places where you get tapas for free. Now it is more common that you pay for a drink and for the tapas separately. And here again the difference between prices is big. You can find tapas from 1,50€ per plate up to even 6€ per plate. There are places that make combos such as beer + tapas that cost between 2,50€ to 5€.
In Costa del Sol it is common to drink coffee outside home. That is why you can find good coffee almost everywhere and it costs between 1,20€ up to even 3,50€. Check where locals drink coffee, so probably there you will find a good and cheap cup of coffee. As I mentioned before, you can meet here a lot of elder English people, who runs many restaurants and coffee shops that serve English breakfasts and coffee with brandy for 3€.
That is everything for today. I hope you found in the information in my post interesting and useful, and if you have some more question about doing an internship and living in Spain send me a message or leave a comment.
See you on the road,