Your teaching abroad budget in Spain will be a helpful tool throughout the planning process of your upcoming adventure. Can you swing it with your current finances? What changes do you have to make to your lifestyle now to ensure you live your dream and teach English in gorgeous, sunny España?
Don’t start teaching abroad without a plan for your dinero. Here’s our best advice on how to figure out how much to budget for teaching English in Spain!
Ask yourself these questions
1. Where am I headed?
Are you set on teaching English in one of Spain’s more expensive cities, like Barcelona or Madrid? Or will you be calling the countryside of rural Spain home?
Keep in mind that within Spain, the daily cost of living will vary considerably. You can likely stock up on jamon for cheap in less populous areas, whereas major cities will likely mean you incur a tourist tax.
For example, north-central Spain, including historic cities like Palencia, is ~30% cheaper than the national average. An apartment in Lugo (northwest Spain) will run you about €700 less than an equivalent option in Madrid.
How do you find this information in advance? LMGTFY. Research typical expenses once you’re in-country, such as rent, transportation, cheap meals out. Keep a running tab of what you find out to more accurately project your monthly expenses.
2. Do I have savings?
Figuring out how much to save before teaching in Spain isn’t rocket science. Ideally, you’ve already been saving up in preparation for your move to Spain—and now you’re planning for how to cover your upfront costs (new backpack, TEFL certificate, visa application, flights) on top of your expected first month expenses.
Once you’ve calculated your estimated expenses for a month of living in Spain, multiply that amount by at least 1.5—this will give you a practical nest egg for the beginning of your teaching gig abroad. If you want to play it ultra-safe, plan to have the equivalent of at least three months of your expenses already handy in your savings account.
3. What will my income be?
You’ll be earning around €300 monthly from your teaching job. Keep in mind that your daily expenses will be quite low since you’ll be living with a host family and having your meals provided. This money can be saved up for adventures, weekend trips, splurging on extra churros, or a visit to the local museum.
If you want to make more money while teaching in Spain, you can supplement your teaching income by working as a private tutor. It’s very manageable to tack a few extra classes on each week, and you can earn up to €20 per hour easily with this teaching arrangement.
4. Do I have expensive taste?
If you know that the free tapas with that glass of wine aren’t going to cut it for dinner (you need a four course meal instead!), then make sure you pad your savings account with extra dough. Part of living and teaching in Spain is LIVING IT UP, and no one will fault you for spending a little extra on a meaningful experience or a delicious restaurant meal.
If you’re keen to adopt a “local lifestyle” for the majority of your daily expenses, your budget will thank you. Keeping meals simple, taking public transit, and shopping for groceries at the local market, rather than the international chain, will all help you keep your costs down (and thus translates to needing less savings in advance!).
What to budget for
Before you go’s
Your teaching in Spain budget should include line items dedicated to costs you’ll incur prior to that cross-Atlantic flight. This includes things like… well, that flight, your travel insurance, visa costs, etc.
One of your largest up-front expenses for teaching abroad will be your flight! Unless you’re hopping to Spain from another country in the EU, you can expect to pay hundreds (if not €1000+) to even get to Spain.
Will you live walking-distance from your school or students, or will you need to hop on the bus or subway every day to get to your classroom?
Many cities in Spain come with a ready-made subway system itching for you to ride it. Trains, buses, and peer-to-peer car rentals are also easy to come by. Look into monthly public transportation passes to lower these costs, which will run you about 45 euros in Spain.
A single bus ticket can cost anywhere from 1-2 euros.
Luckily for you, teaching English in Spain with Premier TEFL means accommodations are included—and not just any rubbish accommodations, a homestay! This means unparalleled access to the Spanish culture, and the opportunity to develop deep, meaningful relationships with locals (your new familia) that will last well past your internship end date.
Food, glorious food
Spanish cuisine is world class and truthfully, we’d look into getting you a doctor if one of your main goals for teaching in Spain wasn’t to stuff your face on the reg.
Paella. Gazpacho. Omelettes. Patatas bravas. Chorizo. Jamon. The list goes on—and we’re not even to wine or dessert! While most of your meals will be provided by your host family (*drools thinking about homemade gambas al ajillo*), there will also be plenty of chances to take your tastebuds out for a gastro-adventure. Be sure to budget for this!
You’re not just going to Netflix and teach, right? RIGHT?
Do you simply *have* to see the sunrise over the Alhambra? Bask in Basque culture while sipping on pintxos? Figure out what all the gaudy Gaudi fuss is about?
Make a list of popular things to do in Spain up front that are “must do’s” for you. You should absolutely plan for your adventures and if you have a clear sense of your non-negotiables, your activity budget will be all the more helpful.
Be sure to add extra to this budget, too. You’ll want to do spontaneous group trips to Paris with your new teaching pals or splurge on that vampire tour in Madrid. There’s lots of fun to be had that you didn’t plan for, and you’ll love knowing you can be a “Yes man” while teaching abroad.
You’ll want to make sure that your Spain teach abroad budget isn’t planned for down to the very last cent. Make sure that you also cushion your budget with additional funds to cover any unplanned expenses, too.
Teaching abroad budget example
Let’s say you’re planning to teach abroad in Spain with PremierTEFL* for nine months. Awesome! Here’s a quick example of what your teaching abroad budget may look like:
- Before you go’s: €1200 to cover new hiking boots, passport renewal, travel insurance, and program cost
- Round trip flights NYC to Madrid: €600
- In-country transit: €55 monthly; ~€500 for nine months
- Accommodations: €0! It’s included 😀
- Food: ~€50 per week; ~€1000 for nine months
- Must-have activities: €2700 (~€300 monthly)
- Ideally, you’ll write out and make a rough budget for these attractions so your total budget for activities more accurately reflects your goals
- Unplanned for’s: €2000 (~€200 monthly)
These are your debits, but be sure to be mindful of your credits, too! You’ll have an income of €315 monthly, which sounds like a GREAT way to subsidize your fun, food, or unplanned for’s.
*These teach abroad budget figures were correct at the time of writing. Be sure to research current data for more accurate figures.
Your budget for teaching in Spain is set
Now that you’ve planned how much to save and budget for teaching English in Spain, a word of caution: The key to true budget success is to track your spending. We’d hate for you to run out of cash somewhere in the middle of it all! Keep a pulse on your accounts and don’t be afraid to say “No” to that treat every now and then if it means healthier finances in the long run.
Now that you’ve built your teach abroad budget and know its feasible from a finance-perspective, the time has come to apply!