Miro wrote:I keep detailed records of our regular outgoings (rates, utilities, insurance etc.) and our overall expenditure (cost of living), but until we've been here longer (maybe a full year) I won't bother posting comparisons. So far, it looks like the difference may be less than I expected (feared!) but I would be extremely surprised if our outgoings in the UK came to less than they did in Spain.
Watch this space!
Well, the forum seems fairly quiet this time of year, so I thought I might as well revive this old chestnut. Although we've only been back in the UK 6 months or so, our main outgoings I can now fairly accurately forecast for a full year 2017/2018. My figures for Spain, in euros, are based on the second half of 2016 and the first half of 2017. To make comparisons easier, (and because probably most of you are working in euros) I have used a 2017 average exchange rate of 1.14 to give a euro equivalent in brackets against our sterling outgoings in the UK.
Naturally, everyone's circumstances and lifestyles are different, so this is purely as a point of interest and not meant as any sort of definitive guide! Also, I'm fully aware that we may have paid more than necessary for certain things, or less for others, simply by shopping around, but hopefully some of you will find it interesting anyway.
SPAIN / UK
Gas/Electric €819 / £792 (€903)
Water €287 / £361 (€412)
Mobile & Skype €793 / £382 (€435)
Community fees €1247 / £386 (€440)
IBI/Council tax €200 / £1790 (€2040)
Home insurance €152 / £128 (145)
Road tax €80 / £30 (€34)
Car insurance €394 / £695 (€792)
TV, incl. VPN in Spain,
TV licence in UK €582 / £415 (€473)
Cash – general daily living,
Food & drink etc. €7600 / £7700 (€8778)
Total €12154 / £12679 (€14454)
A few points:
Our Spanish 2 bed apartment was all electric; we rarely used the a/c in the summer, nor in the winter because it was very ineffective, but we were often cold. Our UK 3 bed townhouse has GCH. Today, we have only had the heating on for an hour this morning - the house is warmer than our apartment in Spain was!
Water: my mind boggles! (not raining today )
There are undoubtedly cheaper broadband options in Spain, but I preferred to stick to Movistar & later Orange. Here we're using Plusnet. Virtually identical services. We no longer buy Skype credit for phoning "home".
In Spain we had a communal pool & garden. We still pay community fees, because our (leasehold) townhouse (with private rear garden) has some shared outdoor areas (parking areas & front gardens etc.)
Council tax: yeah, well! at least the streets don't flood when it rains here, and there's no dog poo on the pavements!
Home insurance: on both properties we only paid/pay contents, as the comm. fees include buildings.
Road tax: obviously will depend on the car - my Spanish car would have cost a lot more here, but my newer (cleaner) car here is cheaper; not really a fair comparison.
Car insurance: It was difficult to find a UK insurer to accept my Spanish NCB, and even then, only 5 years of it. My UK premium would have been far less if I had my full NCB taken into consideration.
TV: in Spain I was paying for Sky Sports & entertainment via NowTV, plus SmartDNS. Basically using the same here, but getting better offers by buying passes from Amazon - could obviously do the same in Spain, except that I didn't trust the post!
And finally, the "cash" expenses - how long's a piece of string? Everybody will have different ideas of what is "normal" expenditure. Suffice to say that my estimated figure for this year in the UK is based on our first 6 months, and that we aren't denying ourselves anything that we had in Spain such as meals/drinks out, new clothes, days out etc. Our lifestyle & standard of living is more or less identical.
This is by necessity a slightly simplified illustration. I've no doubt omitted a few things, or used slightly unfair comparisons, & exchange rates play a part in distorting things too, but at least it gives a basic picture. As for income v expenditure, without going into too many personal details, our income tax in the UK will be slightly less, but even accounting for that, I estimate that our "overall living expenses" (for a retired couple plus cat) will be approximately£1000 - £2000 a year more in the UK than in Spain.
And that, folks, is just about all I have to say about that!