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Living Costs

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Living Costs

Post by Brian O'Huigin on Sat Jan 10, 2015 4:10 pm

Hello All,

Just getting warmed up for our second visit to cave land. With the possibility of purchasing a cave a reality for us I would just like to ask a few questions regarding the cost of living. This will determine "when" we purchase as we will only have our pension to live on Smile If anyone can help with this I'd be most appreciative.

What I'd like to know is the approx. monthly costs of the following:

Broadband
Telephone
Satellite TV
Mobiles

Council Tax Equivalent
Water Rates

Electricity
Gas Bottles & how long do they last (for cooking)?

Building Insurance
Contents Insurance

Logs for Log Burner

Food (we’re vegetarian )

Car Tax
Car Insurance
MOT Equivalent
Fuel

Dentist Visit
Doctors Visit
Medical Insurance

Spanish Lessons

There may be some things I've left out, so any hints would be great. I appreciate fuel & such completely vary pending on activity, so am only looking at approx's.

Hope all's well down there in the mountains Very Happy

Many Thanks & Kind Regards,

Brian
Still trying to get used to this website!!

Brian O'Huigin

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Re: Living Costs

Post by Gobiker56 on Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:15 am

I'll put a few suggestions, these are VERY approximate and apply to me living alone driving a motorbike.

Broadband 17.00 a month with Habland
Telephone Use Skype and Habland approx 7.00 Euros month
Satellite TV use your Internet! Free
Mobiles - Pay as you go

Council Tax Equivalent Mine is about 70.00 Per year
Water Rates Approx 35.00 quarterly

Electricity, Mine is about 120.00 every two months, varies wildly with the seasons
Gas Bottles & how long do they last (for cooking)? 17.50 Lasts MONTHS and I cook a lot.

Building Insurance Dunno
Contents Insurance Dunno

Logs for Log Burner about 300.00 + 1 load + per winter according to my friends, again depends on use

Food (we’re vegetarian )- Less than 40.00 a week if you shop in the markets/grow your own.

Car Tax Mine is 72.00 Pa Varies wildly
Car Insurance my bike is 200.00 a year
MOT Equivalent About 30.00ish Euros I think
Fuel The sky is the limit there!

Dentist Visit - Dunno
Doctors Visit - I get it free but pay 10.00 Euros a visit for interpreter
Medical Insurance - Dunno

Spanish Lessons - used to be 5.00 an hour
Remember these are very approximate.
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Re: Living Costs

Post by Mariposa on Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:56 pm

Here are my current outgoings.  I too live alone, but unlike GoBiker live in a rural location and run a large 4x4...

Broadband - 5mb Habland - 23€ pcm
Telephone - Skype 6€ pcm
Satellite TV - I have a basic Sky Pack with the Entertainment pack - 28€ pcm
Mobiles - 10€ pcm

Council Tax Equivalent - this is sort of in with the quarterly water bill
Water Rates -  is 12€ per quarter me  -  there is an annual property tax which is 70€ for my cave

Electricity - free (solar & wind power)
Gas Bottles & how long do they last (for cooking)? - 17,70€ per bottle and like GoBiker I cook a lot and they last months in my cooker, months in water heaters and approx. one month in blue flame gas heater.

Building Insurance - I have a special policy, includes my solar/wind turbine and all related items, the whole electrical system inside, fire, flood, contents, glass, etc... - 250€ per annum
Contents Insurance - included in the above

Logs for Log Burner - 85€ for me, I use the wood burner every other day and usually light it Dec, Jan and Feb.

Food (we’re vegetarian ) - Food and just food - I eat a lot of meat and    spend approx. 80€ pcm.

Car Tax - 50€ per annum
Car Insurance - 415€ per annum
MOT Equivalent - Spanish ITV - approx. 40€ with my car - extra 20€ if you get a mechanic to take it for you

Fuel - for my gas guzzling car approx. 30 - 50€ pcm - I don't go too far!

Dentist Visit - approx. 70€ molar rebuild, 400€ root canal, screw and tooth (small front), 40€ filling.
Doctors Visit - varies my visits are free, but I pay a bit towards prescriptions - I have a green Spanish Medical Card.
Medical Insurance - varies, depends on age, etc...  A couple of years ago I was paying 90€ per month and was 46 years old.  This was with Sanitas.

Spanish Lessons - I learnt to speak the language from Spanish people, so free.  Free Spanish lessons are provided by most Town Halls.  Plus you can go to Intercambio sessions, which are free.

If you have animals, then there will be Vets fees, etc... too.
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Re: Living Costs

Post by pete_l on Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:50 pm

I moved over a couple of years ago. While I can't give you chapter and verse, I can give you some of my experiences. Obv. everyone's situation is different - but here goes.

I bought €400 worth of logs at the start of last winter. I used ½ of them and am into the second half. So I reckon on €200 per year, for a single heater in my uninsulated (spanish!) extension room. The only other heating I have is a portable gas heater in my "office". Cranked up to the 3kW setting I reckon a €17.50 gas bottle lasts me about 60 hours. You absolutely *must* ventilate a room with a gas heater. For cooking I reckon on several months use from a bottle.

When I moved over, I brought all my electrical gubbins: computers, TV, fridge etc. In the UK the electricity part of my paperless + dual-fuel deal came to about £400 p.a. In Spain, using the same stuff the same amount AND electric water heating: 1 50 litre tank per day costs about €1 daily (no electrical heating or cooking) my electricity bill is about €80 a month or ~ €1000 p.a.

Building insurance for my cave is free! Very Happy  'cos there don't seem to be any reliable insurers that I have found.

Satellite TV. You can't get any "prime" british TV through any legal channel. A lot of people use streamed TV via their internet connection, but this tends to slow down a lot when there's a popular programme on -- and there's no guarantee it will continue to be available. Netflix have already tightened up on "foreigners" using proxies and VPNs to watch american channels from other countries. The prime source for streamed UK live sports: Wiziwig also shut down at the start of the year. The other providers may be put under the same pressure by the american TV studios.
However, you can get spanish satellite TV for comparable prices to UK (non-free) satellite. A lot of this stuff is the same american content that you get on Sky-UK and it usually comes with an english audio track. I'm not recommending it - but it is an option.

My personal experience of buying food is that it's much more expensive in this part of Spain. For two reasons: first is that we're in the boonies here around Baza so inevitably prices are higher due to lack of competition and the cost of transportation (which also means you don't get the same wide range you would in a major city). The other reason is that simply put: food is more expensive in Spain. [ ref. spanish family annual food spend: €5199, UK €4371 link here ]. However, a lot of expats live more frugally than their counterparts in the UK, so a lot of people spend less. For example: there is much less imported food such as out-of-season vegetables or "foreign" foodstuffs and little in the way of convenience food / readymeals.

Having said that, booze and ciggies are taxed much less than they are in the UK, so are considerably cheaper.

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Re: Living Costs

Post by miron on Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:36 pm

Just want to add that we had the best part of a year when we had a lot of debts to pay off, and managed with two of us living on €500 a month. That was with solar water heating, a free source of wood, most cooking done in the woodburner oven, growing some of our own food and getting a lot from neighbours, plus not running a car nor having any insurance nor any health cover. We went out quite a bit to the bar, but didn't eat out or have any holidays. It was okay!

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Re: Living Costs

Post by Cats-R-Us on Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:38 pm

Welcome. As Miron says you can do it quite frugally if you wish but hope the following helps:
Broadband & telephone: We use Habland, costs us approx 30euro pm for 5mb. Calls to UK via them is cheap but have heard Skype is cheaper - cannot comment on that as don't use it.
Satellite: we have a 1.3M dish so don't always get the BBC & ITV channels since they altered things but saying that we have got some of them back recently, depending on weather & time of day. Otherwise we watch them via Filmon, rest via Freesat or watch Spanish tv.
Mobiles: pay as you go via Vodafone.
Council Tax is called IBI: Depends on size of property, ours for 2014 was 85.65 euros, one payment p.a.
Water, also includes rubbish collection: our bill should be collected each quarter but 2014 only done 3 times at around 30 euros per time. They did this one year before and the next year collected it 5 times to make up so one time we paid it 2 months running to get the other one in.
Electricity: We are mostly electric (some caves are not allowed to have gas in them if the floors are below ground level so we can only use it for water for guest bathroom and kitchen), annual bill last year was 1,000 euros - we use an electric water heater for our ensuite bathroom so both bathrooms can be used at once.
Gas: prices this January are 15.40 for propano and 17.50 for butano. Apparently it works out the same as propano has less in it than a butano bottle but if your bottle is likely to get cold over winter it has a lower freezing point (so I have been told). We had to change our water heater 2 years ago (the old one worked by water generation?) and made the mistake of buying a cheaper one with a constant pilot light. Our consumption went up from 7 to 10 bottles pa. and that is with my OH turning off the thing when we go out for any length of time and overnight.
Insurance: as already said most companies are not interested in insuring caves and even if they say they do you need to double check what is covered. With one company we paid for 3 years and then found they were only covering the out-build and not the cave rooms where we actually lived.
Logs: Can very depending on what you buy and how warm your place is to start with. We face south and don't have many windows. One 6 ton lorry load of olive cost us around 480 three winters ago, we reckon on restocking for next winter.
Food - think this has been covered already. Market veg stalls have good quality produce but may be dearer than the UK.
Car tax is a local town hall thing so can very from area to area. It also varies depending on your cc. Our 1600cc car was 49.66 this year.
MOT: was 43.28 this year.
Fuel: Diesel is approx. 1.12 per litre around here (have seen it for 1.05 yesterday near Huescar) but did pay 1.39 a year ago. Petrol is usually a little more expensive.
Dentist: I avoid as much as possible so can't help.
Doctor: You mention being on a pension. If this is a state pension then you can get medical cover free but everyone has to pay a proportion towards prescriptions, depending on income. For a pensioner this is 10% of the cost of the item unless your income is over 18,000 euros p.a. and then they will charge more (that was the original income when it was brought in so don't know if this has altered).
Medical Insurance: sorry can't help as never had it.
Spanish lessons: Only ever had the free ones from the Town Hall which were very good but believe there are some pay for lessons around too, again will depend on where you live.
What Miron said about bars is a good point as in the Granada Province, if you buy a beer/wine you usually get a free tapa so for a couple of drinks you can have a light lunch - would advise you to mention you are vegetarian though as they can involve meat. Do this for our vegetarian friends when they visit and usually no problem.
Hope all this helps
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Re: Living Costs

Post by miron on Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:22 pm

If your income is from the UK it's worth bearing in mind that the exchange rate will vary! EG when we boight and reformed our cave there was practically parity between sterling and the euro and many ex-pats were bewailing this, having seen their income fall in real worth by up to a half - some people found they just couldn't survive because their budget was based on a rate of 1.5. It's doing a lot better now but best not to bank on it!

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Re: Living Costs

Post by Mariposa on Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:14 pm

Cats-R-Us wrote:some caves are not allowed to have gas in them if the floors are below ground level

I had not heard this before.  Do you know why and how far down from ground level is not allowed?  My cave is raised slightly above ground level, so not a problem.  I am interested in this with regards to friends, who have a cave that is slightly below ground level (maybe a foot one end) and the outside raises as you go along it, so some rooms are maybe 2 feet below.  They have gas appliances throughout the cave.

Caroline
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Re: Living Costs

Post by pete_l on Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:52 pm

Mariposa wrote:
Cats-R-Us wrote:some caves are not allowed to have gas in them if the floors are below ground level

I had not heard this before.  Do you know why and how far down from ground level is not allowed?
If I had to guess, I'd reckon it was because butane is heavier than air. So if your bottle did have a leak, even a small one, the gas would pool inside the house as it wouldn't be able to "flow" out through the open doors.

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Re: Living Costs

Post by Cats-R-Us on Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:18 pm

Sorry to have sounded so definite when this is what we have been told by several people and not personally confirmed.  Our own cave is up to a couple of feet below the outside, depending which room you go into.  The cave had been reformed some years before we bought it over 10 years ago and did have a gas hob at the time.  We just took over the previous owner's gas contract so never had it checked.  Around a year later a friend had a cave reformed, the kitchen is below the outside level and, when it finally came time to fit the appliances, their builder told them the rules on gas appliances had changed and they could not have the gas hob they wanted as it involved gas entering an area below ground level.  In the event of a leak from the pipe feeding the hob the gas would not be able to escape as it is heavier than air and would hang around at floor level.  This could prove very dangerous if it filtered through several rooms before someone became aware of it and a gas explosion in a cave is not to be recommended, which all sounded quite logical, if true.  When we came to change our hob we found the pipework feeding the hob was corroding - will admit we thought this could have been due to one or more of our cats peeing on it - so we went electric to be on the safe side.  We do have gas for some of our water heating but the heater and bottle are all outside in the garage, which is at ground level and has ground level vents.  
Perhaps the Repsol shop in Baza (just up from the traffic lights, near post office, in the direction of Mercadona) may be able to say whether it is true and, if it is, what the rules are. Or, perhaps someone else has already checked and can tell us.
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Re: Living Costs

Post by Mariposa on Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:45 pm

Thanks both.

It makes total sense to me, but I would really like to know the levels/heights where vents should legally be fitted, as I know many people with caves lower than ground level inside and no vents whatsoever to the outside, not even ventillation fan vents. These are mainly old Spanish caves, that haven't been converted to modern day standards, but even so, if people are living in them unaware of the risks, then I would at least like to be able to try and advise them.

I will ask my plumber, who is Spanish, if he knows as he also fits gas appliances.

Caroline
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Re: Living Costs

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