The Cost of Living in Madrid as a Language Academy Teacher

Not everyone who comes to Spain to teach does it through a teaching program. This teacher saved money after university to come to Spain, and has been working at an academy for three years. This budget-conscious chica gives us her perspective on la capital.

City and Comunidad: Madrid, Madrid

School:  I am not an auxiliar; I teach at an academy called American Language Academy.

Your living situation? I live in a 3-bedroom shared apartment.  I have my own bathroom.

How did you find your flat? On

Rent: Right now, I pay 355 euros per month, but the price has gone down in the three years that I’ve lived here.  I used to pay 375 for the smallest room, and now I pay 355 for the largest one.

What did you spend on utilities? I calculate between 40-50 euros per month. It might go up to 60-70 for two months in the winter because of the heat.

You cell phone company and plan? I have a monthly plan with vodafone.  I pay about 45 per month for data, 300 minutes, and 1000 SMS.  I know other people pay a lot less.


What do you pay for internet? It is 45 euros a month for the apartment; we have a landline.

What did you spend on groceries? About 150 euros.

Did you have any other sources of income? I used to do translation, which was about 1500 extra euros per year.  I also teach private classes, and I charge 20-25 euros per hour, depending on how many hours per week I teach.

Were you able to save any money? I have student loans that I have to pay, but I could probably save about 1000 euros per month if I didn’t have them.  Realistically, I would probably work less.

Your favorite tapas bar? I don’t have a favorite tapa or pintxo bar, but I go to dinner in the Plaza de Olavide a lot.  They have a tortilla and salad for 3-4 people which costs about 12 euros total and I usually order a tinto de verano or a beer or two. I also like a place called Sagaretxe, which has pintxos.  You can get 2-3 pintxos and a drink for about 10 euros.

Chocolate shops in Madrid

Your breakfast and coffee bars suggestions: The best coffee I’ve had in Madrid so far is at a place called Caffe d’Italia.  A coffee is 1,50 euros there.  There are cheaper places, of course.

Nightlife in Madrid: I don’t have a favorite bar either.  A copa can be 6,50 or 10 euros, depending on where you go.

How did you get around? I usually take the Metro or walk.  A one-ride Metro ticket is 1,50 and the monthly pass is about 54 euros.  They recently put in a city bike system and a yearly pass is 25 euros. I don’t have a monthly pass, though.

What you loved about living in Madrid? There is so much to do, the weather is mild, you can walk everywhere, I have access to a variety of fresh and healthy food…

Madrid Metro

And your dislikes? There is no beach!

How easy was it to travel around Spain and

Europe from Madrid? Yes; There are several wonderful day trips that you can take from Madrid, and we have an airport here that has connections to anywhere in the world.

Your guilty pleasure purchases: I don’t really splurge on anything.  I pay my student loans, take 1-2 months of vacation, and take “big” trips 2-3 times a year, either to the US or somewhere else.

What are the top attractions in Madrid? The “triángulo de arte” museums and the Madrid de las [familias] Austrias, where the Royal Palace and Cathedral are.

Something you wish someone had told you before moving to Spain: It is much cheaper than living in the US.  I thought I would have to have a lot of money saved to come here and I didn’t have the money, so I chickened out.  I ended up coming a few years later, though.

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