Budgeting Your Life in Madrid

A lot of potential auxiliares worry about the paycheck and how they will make ends meet every month. I’ve asked around and done some research in order to tell you the average that people spend on things like rent, groceries, and utilities every month (this information is regarding the Madrid community).

Before I get into the breakdown of rent and such, I have to discuss the average pay for auxiliares. For the ministry program, auxiliares in Madrid get 1000€. With BEDA, the pay works differently. Your pay with BEDA depends on the amount of hours you work. Here is a breakdown of the payment:

  • 24 hours: 1200€ (gross)
  • 22 hours: 1100€ (gross)
  • 20 hours: 1000€ (gross)
  • 18 hours: 900€ (gross)

Now, with that being said, we can move on to where that money will be going every month. First up is RENT. The bulk of your paycheck will be going towards rent. The average rent in Madrid ranges from 300-550€. The range is large because there are areas of Madrid that are more expensive to live in than others. Malasaña and Salamanca are two areas that tend to be on the more expensive side. Places like La Latina, Moncloa, and Príncipe Pío tend to be a little more reasonable in their rent. How much you’re willing to pay for rent really depends on you and the type of place you want to live in. Another thing to keep in mind is that the utilities are often not included when they tell you the rent, so add another 30€ or so to it. 

[Side note: The best advice I can give you is to already have in mind whether your want to live with roommates or alone. If you want to live alone, you’re more than likely only going to be able to afford a studio apartment. Second, know the area you want to live in. Once you do that, you can start using sites like Idealista to search for places in that area. I would recommend to wait until you are in Spain to pick a place. An apartment may seem nice online and the people may appear to be awesome, but remember that they are trying to get you to take the place so they are obviously going to make it seem as wonderful as possible.]

Groceries/food will also take a good chunk of your money. You can easily spend about 80-100€ a month on groceries. Add to this amount times where you decide to go out for food instead and you’ll be spending anywhere from 150-200€ on food a month.

Then there is the money you spend on your cellphone. I brought my iphone from home and just had a SIM card put in from Orange when I got here. Others have bought their phones here. My plan is about 4€ a week, so 16€ a month. There is a plethora of companies to choose from (vodafone, yoigo, orange, movistar, tuenti). I would recommend Orange and Tuenti the most. They are the most affordable and have good service.

Another expense that many auxiliares have a month is the abono for the metro. The abono you buy will depend on the area you live in/work in. For example, some auxiliares live in Zona A, but work in a B1 school, so they must get the B1 abono. You guy get an abono joven up until the year you turn 23. After that, you must get the abono normal. Here is the break down of prices from MetroMadrid’s site:


The first month is always the most difficult because on top of the fact that you have to pay for rent and food, you are also buying things for your place (i.e. bed sheets, decor, kitchen supplies). After the first two months, you’ll have a much better idea of how much you generally spend a month. Most people get their spending cash from doing private lessons. The majority charge about 20€ an hour (in Madrid). Depending on how many hours you do and how many people you’re giving lessons to, you can make a very good amount of money. This is the money that tends to go to travel, shopping, and nights out. It’s very easy to come across private lessons here, so don’t worry about not being able to find people who are interested. If anything, you’ll be turning people down.

Normally the people who don’t do this or something similar to supplement their income are the ones in situations like mine (au pair/live with a host family). If you are interested in being an au pair/living with a family, I recommend AuPairWorld. The family I live with found me through that site and I couldn’t be happier 🙂 Of course, I know that living with a family is not for everyone, but it was definitely the best choice for me.

You’ll also find that a lot of people use paypal to transfer funds from their account back home to their account in Spain or vice versa (especially when paying those pesky school loans). This can be a great way to save up any extra €€€ you make. I find this works best for me because by taking it out of my Spain account, it makes me much harder for me to spend it. I don’t use my US bank account for anything except to pay my loans, so this has been a great way for me to save any extra money I have.

I hope this helps give you a general idea of how you’ll be using the money from your paycheck should you decide to do a program like BEDA. I wrote this post because one of my readers suggested it, so I hope this helps her. If any of you have any other requests for future posts, feel free to leave it as a comment.

¡Hablamos Pronto!


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ebostick1212
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 21:03:40

    Food is so cheap here in Andalucía…I spend 50€ on groceries a month, at most! Then again I basically live off of rice, salad, and eggs haha.


  2. Trackback: Budgeting Your Life in Madrid | conquistadora careese
  3. conquistadoracareese
    Feb 23, 2013 @ 01:50:23

    Thankkkk youuuuuuu!!!!


  4. Dan T Man
    Feb 27, 2013 @ 13:14:38

    This is super practical knowledge for anyone who wants to work in the BEDA Program next year. Good Job Yari for informing everyone out there of what to expect. This would have come in handy last year. One thing though, you forgot to mention Lavapies as an affordable (and awesome) place to live.


  5. NikkiM
    Mar 08, 2013 @ 18:54:35

    Thank you so much for all your great advice!! I am a college senior and have submitted applications for both BEDA and Auxiliares and I find all your info so so helpful. I hope you enjoy the rest of your time in Spain!


    • Yari
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 18:08:20

      I’m glad my blog has been of use! Have you heard anything yet from either of the programs? I think BEDA mentioned that they would start handing out placements in the first weeks of April this year.


  6. Alexandra
    Mar 09, 2013 @ 01:32:53

    Thank you so much for this breakdown Yari! I just had my interview with BEDA yesterday and just got a new wave of excitement and stumbled upon your blog. Literally spent 2-3 hours just looking at all your posts and getting myself psyched (gosh I hope I get accepted, otherwise I will seriously be heartbroken!).


    • Yari
      Mar 12, 2013 @ 18:10:24

      I remember being on such a high after finishing my skype interview with Samantha. I was already insanely excited at the prospect of doing BEDA, but I was torn between BEDA and the ministry, and I remember running to find my mom after I finished the interview and telling her that if I didn’t get BEDA, I would be so upset. So, believe me, I know how you feel. Hopefully, you’ll be hearing from BEDA soon regarding a placement for next year 🙂 Did you apply to any other teaching programs here in Spain?


      • Alexandra
        Apr 01, 2013 @ 16:56:40

        I never got a notification that you replied! Reading this post for about the 10th time (Doing so much reading up on Spain Auxiliar blogs.. I know so much now that I am as close to a mentor on living in Spain as you can be without having lived there…) and just noticed!
        From what I read about the other programs offered, either the pay wouldn’t have been sufficient, or I didn’t trust the programs enough to pay me (like the Ministry program), so I only applied to BEDA. I’m kinda kicking myself, but at the same time I think it’s the only realistic option for me. I think I have a good shot though (I lived in France last year and taught English to kids there, I have around a B2-C1 level of Spanish (not the confidence though, hence why I want to live en Madrid!) and I’ve been through the immersion process myself in Canada but in French.
        We’re supposed to hear after Easter, so really soon! I’ll let you know, and will probably bombard you with questions and leave frequent excited comments! xoxo

      • Yari
        Apr 03, 2013 @ 19:42:58

        The only other program I applied to other than BEDA was the ministry, but I still wasn’t entirely certain I would accept it if BEDA turned me down. Please let me know when you hear from BEDA, I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions to have and be excited right along with you! I remember how insanely happy I was the day I got my acceptance email from them 🙂

      • Alexandra
        Apr 15, 2013 @ 20:59:32

        I GOT ACCEPTED!!!
        Technically I shouldn’t be posting this on any type of social media (well, my instructions were “don’t post anything on Facebook”), but I got my email last night saying that I have been accepted to work 24 hrs/week at Escuela Juan de Valdés in Madrid. Totally caught me off guard as the email appeared in my inbox at 11pm EST (like 5:00 am in Spain, what??) while skype studying with a friend (finals time here in Canada.. lesigh).
        I literally had a fit of excitement. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy in my life!

      • Yari
        Apr 15, 2013 @ 21:19:47

        CONGRATS!!!!!! I basically did a happy dance around my house when I got my acceptance email so I know your excitement haha Hopefully, we’ll be able to meet once you arrive in Madrid 🙂 if you ever have any questions about your move here or anything, feel free to shoot me an email or ask me in a comment.

  7. NikkiM
    Mar 20, 2013 @ 00:51:03

    I actually just had my interview too! I think both programs will start accepting people in mid-april, so we’ll be finding out soon! I literally can’t stop thinking about Spain, haha 🙂


  8. Nikki
    Apr 30, 2013 @ 15:43:54

    I GOT INTO BEDA!!!!!! I hadn’t heard anything for a while so I was starting to lose hope, then I got my acceptance email at breakfast!! I’ll be at two school: Collada Villalba y Pozuelo de Alarcón, I still can’t believe it… I’m going to Spain!!!!! 😀


    • Yari
      Apr 30, 2013 @ 18:52:30

      CONGRATS!!! Looks like living in my neck of the woods would be a good location for you. Las Rozas is smack dab between those two places. Of course, I know a lot of people who live in the city center and make the commute.


  9. Liz
    May 27, 2013 @ 17:01:27

    I just got in! I’m going to be one of the few people NOT in Madrid, I’ll be in Pamplona at Vedruna Pamplona. Do you know anyone who knows the area of Pamplona?


Leave a Reply to ebostick1212 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: