The Cost of Living in Aranjuez

Just half an hour south of Madrid sits a 500-year-old royal palace with beautifully manicured gardens. The city of Aranjuez has long been the breath of fresh air Spaniards living in La Capital sought, and as Laura found out, it’s a great place to live as well.

Name: Laura S.

City and Comunidad: Aranjuez, Madrid

laura s.

School: Elementary school

Your Living Situation: I lived alone in an apartment with two bedrooms and 1 bathroom

How did you find your place: I called a number I saw in a window and it turns out I knew the man. 🙂

Rent: 375€ a month with internet included

What did you spend on utilities: The most I’ve ever paid in this apartment was 125 euros, but I once had a 200 euro electricity bill in another! That was before I realized just how expensive it can be in Spain!

Your mobile phone company and plan: Right now I’m using Vodaphone’s “Yu” prepaid plan which is great! For 20 euros a month I can use my phone for internet all the time, but I only get 100 minutes calling time. Everyone uses “Whatsapp” here anyway so it is perfect. 😉 Avoid getting an actual plan! I had Movistar years ago and despite having finished the contract, and going on a two week mission to end the service, I found out that they had been charging me for another 6 months! This being after they had cut the service, so yes, 6 months being charged without phone service. This is Spain…

Internet: Mine is included but I think it usually costs 40a month.

What did you spend on groceries? I’ve spent as little as 10 euros a week but I cook a lot, plan well, and freeze often! If I want to “indulge” a little bit, there’s still no reason to spend more than 25 a week being single.

Any other sources of income? I give some private classes. They always try to negotiate so I tell them 20 euros an hour or 15 and hour for a commitment of twice a week. I don’t like to drop below that because my time is precious to me. A lot of planning goes into my classes as well. I’ve learned the hard way that if you offer a great discount to a friend, they will “spread the word” and suddenly it becomes very difficult to convince people that this special price is not the “going rate”. The best of both worlds is offering group classes to children. You get paid more and they pay less. 🙂

Were you able to save any money? I hate talking about private financial matters publicly. Let’s just say that you can save as much as you are willing to work for and not spend. If you’re willing to work you can easily earn more than an extra 500 a month. Keep in mind that for some Spaniards 500 is their monthly salary, and you’ll realize you are doing quite well.

Your go to tapas bar: I LOVE a little place called Casa Delapio. I always get the queso de cabra which is a goat cheese that they fry. Another good place is Almibar. Every week or so they change their tapas of the week, but it is an amazing place. It can be a bit pricey, but if you go with enough people you can get out for 10 euros a person. Having an actual sit-down dinner is another question…

San Pascual convent Aranjuez

Your coffee hangout: There was a place called “Ateneo” which used to be by the bull ring. Apparently they’ve moved, so my mission this year will be to find out where they are now. It’s a cozy little coffee shop and bookstore combo. They host English conversation nights as well as poetry slams.

Nightlife: There is a fantastic place called “La Habana.” Mariano, the owner, knows his liquor. He will gladly chat your ear off about any random rum you’ve probably never heard of, and always takes great pride and care in his work. His drinks are truly little works of art, but it is best to just ask him what he recommends. Occasionally his drinks will come with these little sweet wasabi peanuts that are sooo good! You can also find them at the mercado San Miguel in Madrid. The bar next door sometimes has mini concerts, and the bar after has karaoke, so there is plenty to do on this little strip. As for “discotecas,” I don’t believe there is a fee for any of them in Aranjuez.

How did you get around? I lived in the center so I walked everywhere. If I wanted to go to Madrid, there’s a train that leaves every 20 minutes and goes right into Sol and a bus that leaves every 30 to Legazpi.

Your favorite thing about living in Aranjuez: The palace and its gardens. During the week there are very few people there and it is like having your very own backyard fit for a king.

Any dislikes: My boyfriend and I broke up and I run into his friends everywhere. Definitely don’t date a local. 🙁 To date you have to go to Madrid. I get the distinct impression that anyone who is single, and in their late 20s or older and still lives in this town is here for a reason… There is, however, a universtiy and a guardia civil academy so there are plenty of younger singles floating around.

How easy was it to travel around Spain and Europe from Aranjuez? This depends on your personal flexibility as a person. I have traveled a lot. I consider a train every 20 minutes and a two-line trip by public transport simple. It does take about 1.15 hrs to get to the airport so for some people that is a problem. I’ve flown back to the US standby about 50 times so to the people who complain I say, “wusses”! 😛

Your guilty pleasure purchases: For me, it’s going out to eat. There are several cute little clothing and home decor shops, but I try to avoid those on my budget. I enjoy spending my money on social experiences.

royal palace

Top Attractions in Aranjuez: 1. The Royal palace 2. the gardens and park and 3. the bull ring

What’s something you wish someone had told you before moving to Spain? I spent my first year living in Talavera de la Reina and working in a super tiny pueblo called Lagartera where I couldn’t understand a thing. Fast forward five years and I went back with some Spanish friends to visit. Turns out, they couldn’t understand them either. I felt validated. I wish someone would have told me that, if you can’t understand the pueblo people, it doesn’t mean your Spanish is bad.


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