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There have been quite a few negative posts recently on living in Spain, so let's have some balance. I am sure that Spain has quite a lot of positive aspects, apart from the sun and beaches, so lets start a thread listing them.

To get the ball rolling, some people have complained about food in Spain being more expensive than the UK, and while that may be true for British brands that are imported, what about locally produced foods, are they cheaper? What about Spanish 'champagne', Cava? In Tesco a bottle currently costs £4.99, what is the price in Spain? What about fruit and veg? Local chicken?

How does fuel compare? Car insurance costs? Cinema tickets? What about the charges for electricity, water, telephone, internet, local tax (community charge)? Are they cheaper or more expensive than the UK.

What have you noticed that is cheaper in Spain than in the UK?

Wibs
 

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Cheaper? I think you should use the word 'drastically cheaper' following my visit last week to near Burgos. 3 course evening meal and unlimited 'Rioja' = 9€. 1 beer & 1 glass wine, London pub = 11€. Maybe not as cheap elsewhere in Spain but still good value certaibly.
 

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It is certainly drastically cheaper than Belgium at least, I can't speak for the UK comparisons though.
 

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You can buy a bottle of cava or rioja crianza for under €2. A friend of mine did a "taste test" evening comparing €2 bottles with €6+ ones, and most people couldn't tell the difference.

A (very large) gin & tonic costs €3.50 in my local. One lasts all night. A carajillo (small black coffee with brandy or whisky in it) is €1. Tapas between €1.50 and €4 depending on whether it's a locals' bar or a more up-market one. It's quite a challenge to spend more than €10 on a night out.

Fruit and veg is very cheap when it's in season, e.g. a 5kg bag of oranges can be had for €2 in winter. Imported stuff costs more of course.

A 3kg free-range chicken costs about €7, a dozen free-range eggs €2.20.
 

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For me, the positives aren't just cheap booze and fresh veg. They include unpolluted air, miles of wilderness, forests and mountains, the old-fashioned courtesy of people, the sound of flamenco from passing cars, cowboys riding fabulous Andalusian horses in the fields, the calls of owls, bee-eaters and nightingales, children playing safely and happily in the square while their parents take a sociable copa. The sparkling whiteness of the buildings against a deep blue sky. The joyful cavalcade round town last night with flags waving and horns blazing when FC Barcelona won the Liga and Real Madrid won the European cup in basketball. There's nowhere I'd rather be.
 

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You can buy a bottle of cava or rioja crianza for under €2. A friend of mine did a "taste test" evening comparing €2 bottles with €6+ ones, and most people couldn't tell the difference.

A (very large) gin & tonic costs €3.50 in my local. One lasts all night. A carajillo (small black coffee with brandy or whisky in it) is €1. Tapas between €1.50 and €4 depending on whether it's a locals' bar or a more up-market one. It's quite a challenge to spend more than €10 on a night out.

Fruit and veg is very cheap when it's in season, e.g. a 5kg bag of oranges can be had for €2 in winter. Imported stuff costs more of course.

A 3kg free-range chicken costs about €7, a dozen free-range eggs €2.20.
Haven't seen those prices on the CDS for over a decade.
 

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There have been quite a few negative posts recently on living in Spain, so let's have some balance. I am sure that Spain has quite a lot of positive aspects, apart from the sun and beaches, so lets start a thread listing them.

To get the ball rolling, some people have complained about food in Spain being more expensive than the UK, and while that may be true for British brands that are imported, what about locally produced foods, are they cheaper? What about Spanish 'champagne', Cava? In Tesco a bottle currently costs £4.99, what is the price in Spain? What about fruit and veg? Local chicken?

How does fuel compare? Car insurance costs? Cinema tickets? What about the charges for electricity, water, telephone, internet, local tax (community charge)? Are they cheaper or more expensive than the UK.

What have you noticed that is cheaper in Spain than in the UK?

Wibs
Cheaper

Local food (veg, meat, fish)
Cava (less than half price)
Fuel for car
Cinema tickets
Local tax (a fraction)

Same

Electricity

More expensive

Car insurance
Internet

Not sure

Water

All based on what I pay where I live, which is Javea.
 

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I've been living here more than I've lived in the UK, and although I go back at least twice a year to visit family I don't do a lot of "everyday shopping", so I can't compare as well as others. What I do notice though is the price of public transport which is quite a lot cheaper and here is very good, and eating out which can be good quality, but not always. OH decided to up the budget on wine recently and has bought 3 or 4 kinds from Ahorro Mas (don't know if there are any in the south) for between 3 and 4€ the bottle and unlike Alcalaina, boy do I notice a difference!

The positives for me are much than economic though, after all we live on Spanish earnings - light and space for example, blue skies, more people ready to see the good rather than the bad in things. I like the way young children are included in life by older siblings, cousins and neighbours and their inclusion in life in general. I love parts of the countryside, but the UK is beautiful too and some parts of Spain have been absolutely destroyed IMO by the eagerness of some to make a fat packet of money to put in their backside pocket.
I find the history interesting too and the art although I really should know more about it all.
I like a lot of the food, but I wouldn't go wild about it as some people do. The same with the wine, I find, in Madrid at least, that a very cheap menu tastes cheap just as very cheap pub food in the UK is usually cheap for a reason!
I also like the way people want to go out whenever they can, to have a stroll, to have a chat with a neighbour or to meet a friend for a coffee instead of being shut up inside all the time.
 

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The positives are almost endless.

The cost of living here is definitely cheaper, provided you don't take the point of view that some do - drink two or three times as much because it is cheaper.

Almost all foodstuffs are cheaper (provided you go for local brands and avoid the expensive imported stuff) and if it is locally produced, it is much fresher and not suffering from jetlag, having flown halfway round the world

Road tax is definitely cheaper (I pay €69 for a Peugeot Partner 1.5 diesel), fuel is cheaper; council tax is a fraction of what we paid in UK for a place five times the size; I pay less here for gas and electricity for a five bed, 2 bath house than I did for a 1 bed flat in UK. Roads here are, in general much quieter and driving can be a pleasure rather than belting along in a 60mph traffic jam.

In some parts of UK the scenery is fantastic but it is here as well and the roads are far less congested so the scenery can be enjoyed. Here, wildlife abounds and is where you are, not in a zoo. (We usually take our holidays in one of the Natural Parks).

There is millennia's worth of history to be explored and much if not most of it is so accessible, no paying out fortunes to National Heritage or the National Trust to see a reconstructed heritage item and go to their tearooms and shops.

Most importantly - the people. In Uk apart from one or two we knew maybe three or four of our neighbours and that was after living in the same place for 17 years. Here, everybody knows you and is friendly, but then we live in Andalucía. One of SWMBO's cousins came for Easter a few years ago and brought her in-laws (they live in Cataluña). Her mother in law said that in three days she had been spoken to more here that she had in twenty years where they live.
 

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.Would never worry about comparing prices as we have made Spain our home for 20+ years and am certainly not going to lose any sleep if something is a bit cheaper than here.Enjoy the country for what it is,the lifestyle.the people,the culture.Regards.SB.
Absolutely!
The economics of it all is very important, but that's not what gives a country/ region/ neighbourhood its "taste":)
 

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We were taken out to dinner yesterday by a couple we've been helping out, as a thank you. I had a huge pork solomillo with caramelised onions, chips and fresh vegetables, €12 and a glass of very palatable white rioja was €2. That's one of the most expensive restaurants in this town. I compare that with a lunch I had with friends in Manchester whilst on a visit last year - they chose to go to Pizza Express and my pizza cost 11.50 and a glass of white wine 6.50 (pounds).

Grocery shopping - when we first came here 8.5 years ago I started drawing €70 in cash from the bank every week to pay for the groceries. I am still drawing out exactly the same amount and last week, as with many weeks, I had €20 left at the end of it. We don't buy very much imported British food, just a few bits and pieces.

Council Tax varies very much from town to town, often depending on when the catastral values were last revised. Almost 9 years ago I was paying 900 pounds per year for a small 2 bed house in the UK (it would be 1100 now), now the IBI bill for my much bigger house here is €570 per year (but I qualify for a discount so only actually paid €296 last year).

I had to put my central heating on in August 2006, the year we left the UK. Here I only need heating for 4 months of the year. My electricity bills are around €50 per month (we cook with gas) and for gas cooking and heating I spend €175 per year on bottled gas (could be less this year as the price of bottled gas has gone down to €15.80 each from €17.50, may or may not stay that way).

For anyone who doesn't qualify for state health cover in Spain, or prefers to have both private and state cover as we do, the cost of private health insurance in Spain is amazingly reasonable. We currently pay €115 per month for the two of us, aged 65 and 58, and the premiums have not increased because my husband turned 65, nor the cover terminated.

I use public transport in Spain, as I did in the UK, as I don't drive. Here it is much more comfortable, clean, reliable and vastly cheaper. I live in a large town with excellent and very frequent services.

I like the fact that even in provincial towns like mine there is so much cultural entertainment available. Last month we went to hear the Malaga Provincial Symphony Orchestra, 2 minutes' walk from home, entrance was free.

I love travelling around Spain and visiting as many of the wonderful places to choose from as I can.

The weather is a big positive for me, I hated getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark (it's dark at 4pm in Manchester in winter).

I love the warmth, friendliness and generosity of the Spanish people.

All in all, despite the gripes in the other thread, I love my life here and don't want to be anywhere else.
 

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Errm with all this talk of prices and comparisons a friend of mine, Bob no Bill, yeah Bill is a bit of a chocoholic and I , sorry he, wants to know can you get creme eggs in Spain. Thanks
 

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No heating bills, no air conditioning bills, IGIC or VAT is 0 to 7%. Wines and spirits are locally produced, and are of excellent quality, with competitive prices. I would always purchase a wine produced here on the island in preference to others produced elsewhere

Fuel is cheaper under 1 euro a litre.

For us one of the main positives is the climate, no frosts, and no scorching hot humid summers, and that means we can enjoy year round produce grown in our garden or locally.

We do not have a serious crime problem, the people that live here are civilised, and in general do not steal from each other.
 

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I know I've knocked Spain as investment. The up side is the recession won't last forever and the EU will pull Spain out of the state it is in somehow. I don't know how long this will take (We're talking 10 years more +). If you are hell bent on buying property (and nobody will convince you otherwise) now is the time to buy. There's a major positive.

If you can afford to take the hit for a few years without any great payback on property investment then you have a retirement to look forward to and if Spain doesn't suit you perhaps you will make a few bob on your investment.

I'm straining to keep this post Positive though bearing in mind all the pitfalls.
 

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Errm with all this talk of prices and comparisons a friend of mine, Bob no Bill, yeah Bill is a bit of a chocoholic and I , sorry he, wants to know can you get creme eggs in Spain. Thanks
They sell them in the British grocery shops, but they're expensive. I usually buy a dozen or so in Morrisons in Gibraltar, and hand them out to the neighbours' children/grandchildren - they go down very well!:)
 

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We were taken out to dinner yesterday by a couple we've been helping out, as a thank you. I had a huge pork solomillo with caramelised onions, chips and fresh vegetables, €12 and a glass of very palatable white rioja was €2. That's one of the most expensive restaurants in this town. I compare that with a lunch I had with friends in Manchester whilst on a visit last year - they chose to go to Pizza Express and my pizza cost 11.50 and a glass of white wine 6.50 (pounds).

Grocery shopping - when we first came here 8.5 years ago I started drawing €70 in cash from the bank every week to pay for the groceries. I am still drawing out exactly the same amount and last week, as with many weeks, I had €20 left at the end of it. We don't buy very much imported British food, just a few bits and pieces.

Council Tax varies very much from town to town, often depending on when the catastral values were last revised. Almost 9 years ago I was paying 900 pounds per year for a small 2 bed house in the UK (it would be 1100 now), now the IBI bill for my much bigger house here is €570 per year (but I qualify for a discount so only actually paid €296 last year).

I had to put my central heating on in August 2006, the year we left the UK. Here I only need heating for 4 months of the year. My electricity bills are around €50 per month (we cook with gas) and for gas cooking and heating I spend €175 per year on bottled gas (could be less this year as the price of bottled gas has gone down to €15.80 each from €17.50, may or may not stay that way).

For anyone who doesn't qualify for state health cover in Spain, or prefers to have both private and state cover as we do, the cost of private health insurance in Spain is amazingly reasonable. We currently pay €115 per month for the two of us, aged 65 and 58, and the premiums have not increased because my husband turned 65, nor the cover terminated.

I use public transport in Spain, as I did in the UK, as I don't drive. Here it is much more comfortable, clean, reliable and vastly cheaper. I live in a large town with excellent and very frequent services.

I like the fact that even in provincial towns like mine there is so much cultural entertainment available. Last month we went to hear the Malaga Provincial Symphony Orchestra, 2 minutes' walk from home, entrance was free.

I love travelling around Spain and visiting as many of the wonderful places to choose from as I can.

The weather is a big positive for me, I hated getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark (it's dark at 4pm in Manchester in winter).

I love the warmth, friendliness and generosity of the Spanish people.

All in all, despite the gripes in the other thread, I love my life here and don't want to be anywhere else.
I love your positive thread, it makes me want to retire straight away! We work in NZ currently (UK citizens) but hope to retire to Mallorca in 2-3 years (already have a flat there and husband has Mallorcan family). Admittedly we have only holidayed there for many years but we both speak some Spanish so we try to go where the locals go.

We love the 'menu del dia' for 8.50 euros in a lovely country setting near to Porto Cristo. For that we get 3 courses of good quality in-season food (only 2 to 3 choices though). Bottle of wine of average quality and bottled water. We stear clear of
the costas to eat but go there for the atmosphere and for coffees, beers etc

Muchas gracias
Janet
 

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We have just had a load (2 tonnes) of logs (leña) delivered, taken down to our log-store (down two flights of stairs and across the patio) and stacked in the store to replace what we used last winter so we are back up to 4 tonnes in store now.

The cost - 220€ (that is 10€ [per tonne] more than it was five years ago). That means that for the main heating in the house, it cost us just 220€ last winter.
 

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Positives:

1. Climate
2. Very low cost of living
3. Healthy food and lifestyle
4. good healthcare that is affordable
5. Beautiful countryside and beaches
6. Friendly people
7. Excellent high speed train system
8. low Crime

negatives:
1. Weak economy
2. administratively difficult
 
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