passport and plane ticket in hand

If you’re considering becoming a language assistant in Spain, you may wonder whether Spain is an affordable country. Teaching abroad in Spain as a language assistant allows you to combine working while at the same time having time to explore Spain’s beautiful culture, cities, and nature. Before making the move to teach English overseas, it’s good to have some knowledge about the cost of living.

Cost of Living

According to, the cost of living in Spain is, on average, 123% cheaper than in the United States [1]. This means that someone moving from the United States will find everything from food, rent, transportation, and utilities to be a lot cheaper than in their home country. According to Numbeo, you would need 7,533 USD in New York to have the same standard of living as you could with 3,400 EUR[2]. It is common for northern Europeans to vacation in Spain because of its affordability and beautiful sights. Many even buy a vacation home in Spain due to its affordability. It’s also worth mentioning that working residents of Spain also have access to free healthcare.

The fact that Spain is so affordable means that the standard of living also is high. It is common for Spaniards to eat out multiple times a week, and there are plenty of Spanish dishes you should try. A 3-course meal, including wine and coffee, will typically cost you just 10 EUR. A breakfast menu with a “tostada” orange juice and a coffee can run as cheap as 2.5 EUR. A bus or metro ticket will cost around 1.5 EUR, but it is even more affordable with a monthly pass. From shops called “Fruterías,” you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables for a small price, making it easier to eat healthily than in many countries. One great thing about Spain is that it is a relatively large country with regions that differ from each other. The extensive train and bus network makes it easy and affordable to make weekend or vacation trips to other parts of the country. One tip is to book with time, as ticket prices rise as the date approaches.

It is worth mentioning that the cost of living will depend on where in Spain you’re teaching. The two largest cities of Spain, Madrid and Barcelona, have a higher cost of living than the rest of the country. Rent prices in these cities are significantly higher. Generally, smaller villages are more affordable than cities in all parts of the country. The price of renting a bedroom in Valencia will get you a 3-bedroom apartment in a village 30 minutes from Valencia City. If you want to get the most out of your stipend while teaching abroad in Spain, you may want to search for accommodation in a village rather than a city. This way, you’ll have more money left over to explore the country in your free time.

Public Transport, Taxis, and Owning a Car in Spain

Navigating Spain can be an adventure in itself, and it’s important to consider transportation costs when planning to teach English here. Is Spain expensive to teach? Not really, but you can end up spending a chunk of cash on transportation when you really don’t have to.

Public transportation is widely available and relatively affordable. Teaching English in Madrid and Barcelona means access to extensive metro and bus systems, making commuting easy and convenient for teachers. Alternatively, taxis are also available, but they can be a pricier option for daily commuting. If you prefer the freedom of having your own vehicle, owning a car in Spain is possible. Still, this option comes with additional costs, such as maintenance, insurance, and fuel, which can significantly impact your budget. Factor in location and your income, but odds are you can find your way around without much stress!

Hidden Costs: Things You Might Not Think of When Budgeting for Life in Spain

When planning your journey to teach English in Spain, it’s important to consider the hidden costs that might not be immediately obvious. While it’s known that the cost of living in Spain is typically lower than in many other countries, some expenses could surprise you. While you may be earning a good amount from your teaching job, you might need to budget for personal items, entertainment, travel within the country, or even professional development courses. Some other hidden costs may include:

  • Mobile Phone Plans
  • Internet Access
  • Travel Insurance
  • Professional Development
  • Teaching Materials
  • Healthcare
  • Taxes
  • Visa and Legal Fees

So, is Spain expensive to teach? It can be if these hidden costs are not taken into account. But with careful planning and budgeting, you can manage these costs and make the most of your teaching experience in the country.

Tips and Tricks for Living on a Teacher’s Salary in Spain

As you can see, you likely won’t find it too difficult to live in Spain while on a teacher’s salary (unless you blow your pay on a few too many exciting adventures). However, getting some advice on how to make your money go even further is always helpful. Follow these tips and tricks for living comfortably in Spain while teaching and living!

  • Budget, Budget, Budget! This may seem obvious, but it’s important to keep track of your spending each day and ensure you’re staying within your means.
  • Buy groceries instead of eating out: While trying all the delicious Spanish cuisine is tempting, cooking at home can save you a lot of money.
  • Take advantage of free activities: From sightseeing to cultural events, Spain has plenty of free opportunities for entertainment.
  • Use public transportation instead of owning a car: As mentioned before, public transportation is affordable and convenient in most parts of the country. Save money on car-related expenses by opting for buses and trains.
  • Shop at local markets: Not only will you experience the culture and interact with locals, but you can also find affordable and fresh produce at local markets.
  • Budget for travel: Spain has so many beautiful cities and regions to explore. While Spain’s not expensive to teach, you will think so if you take a bunch of trips without considering the cost. Plan ahead and budget!
  • Seek out discounted or free resources: Many language programs offer discounted or free access to teaching materials or professional development courses. Take advantage of these resources to save money.

Is Spain Expensive to Teach? No! Should You Get Started Today? You Bet!

After reading, you’re probably asking, “Is Spain expensive to teach?” The answer depends on your lifestyle and how well you manage your budget. But don’t let the potential costs deter you. Teaching English in Spain offers a unique, enriching experience that goes beyond monetary value. And for most, it’s definitely NOT a very expensive endeavor. What it is, however, is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a vibrant culture, learn a new language, and make a real impact on students’ lives. At RVF International, we’re committed to helping you navigate these expenses and make your teaching journey as smooth as possible. So why wait? Take the leap today and start your unforgettable adventure of teaching English in Spain! Sign up for our TEFL course, read our answers to your FAQs, and learn more today by reaching out to our representatives.