Auxiliar de Conversación Pre-Departure Budget

So, if you want to go teach English in Spain like me one of the many things on your mind while considering the possibility of going to do so is obviously budget. Will you be making enough money teaching English? Will you be able to save money during your year or more working abroad? Does it make sense to even do this from a monetary standpoint?

To be completely honest, I don’t really know the answers to all these questions myself because I obviously have not left to teach in Spain yet. Less than 2 months though! I’ve read on countless blogs and Facebook group posts that the €700, €1000 if you’re located in Madrid, is plenty to live on. Plus, you can always make more money teaching private English classes, au pairing, or doing other odd jobs, even though teaching the private English classes is the most simple in terms of actually finding employment.

Anyways, my goal is to layout a budget for myself for when I’ll be teaching in Spain and update, tweak, and change—or even scrap and start over—it once I am working abroad and hen once again after I return, which no one know when that will be. I’ll be providing subsequent updates to see of my budget actually holds up, something my budgets never tend to do, mostly because i forget to ever look at them again. However, my plan is to check this budget because moving from a $50,000+ salary position to a €700 per month 9-month contract position will be quite the shift for me and might be for you too.

IMG_3084-001

I’ll be living in Logroño, Spain which is relatively cheap compared to other Spanish cities according to Liz Carlson of Young Adventuress who did a breakdown of budgets in 30 cities in Spain. I am going to be basing much of this pre-departure budget off of her post and other varied internet research because, well, I’m not there yet. Hopefully it’s fairly accurate!

Auxiliar de Conversación Pre-Departure Budget

Income

Auxiliar Salary

700

Private Lessons (x 4.5 weeks)

180

Hours per Week

    4

Cost per Hour

    10
Total

880

Necessary Expenses

Housing

200

Utilities

40

Food

100

Total

340

SAVINGS*

540

*Savings is for travel, going out, other miscellaneous spending, and, well, savings.

Rent and Utilities

My plan is to live with roommates, be they Spanish, English, or something else. It’d be nice to have my own place, but based on rent prices, I’m thinking it will break the bank a little too much.

Average rent in Logroño is between €170 and €200 per month. In looking at apartment listings on idealista, I this sometimes includes the utilities and sometimes not. Utilities will run about €40 per month on average, some months more and some less. Luckily, Logrono does not get as hot as Andalucía in the summer; however, it gets way cooler in the winter. It’s a horse a piece depending on how you look at it.

Groceries

Ah yes, food. Everyone’s favorite, or at least it’s one of mine. To me, this is the most difficult to predict because, quite frankly, sometimes I’m more hungry than other times. Sometimes it seems like I can go for months on a simple diet of eggs and bread, but sometimes I like to cook “fancier” meals which cost more. Due to the varying price of foods and the kinds of food I may or may not buy, I’m going to set my monthly food expenses at €120, roughly €25 per week. That should cover me and at least give me a baseline of something to aim for.

Entertainment aka Pinchos and Travel

Okay, not really. Entertainment includes plenty of things, but I’m really looking forward to eating the pinchos on Calle Laurel and traveling around both Spain and Europe. In a way, this is sort of what’s left in my “salary.”

Supplementary Income

Again, this is all according to my plan, but I am planning on teaching private English classes to help supplement my income of €700 from the Spanish government. From all accounts that I’ve read it seem pretty simple to pick up private English classes, either through your school, websites, or flyers. I’m hoping to pick up at least a few classes for a few extra hours a week. Plus, I figure that the 12 hours a week that the Spanish government requires me to work will seem like nothing compared to the 40 hours per week I’ve been working the last 3 years.

The point of this pre-departure budget breakdown is to show you what I am looking at in terms of money and making the decision to teach in Spain. i am by no means banking the amount I have over the last 3 years, but I am saving a little bit at least. Gabe Schrim of Global Gabe Travel came up with the term Net Zero Travel which is long-term travel in which you do not necessarily make money, but more importantly, you do not net a loss and lose money. Overall, that is my goal of teaching in Spain. I’m not planning on blowing all my cash and emptying my bank account and having to call my parents to send money because I know they wouldn’t do it. I want to make some money and save it so when I return, or whether I do, I will have money to live comfortably wherever that may be.

What are your thoughts on my budget? Did you make a budget before moving abroad? Did you stick to it, and did it work out?

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11 responses to “Auxiliar de Conversación Pre-Departure Budget

  1. This was a really smart idea to get an idea of your cashflow throughout the year, and it looks pretty realistic from what I know about cost of living in Spain. It really is amazing how little it costs to survive each month here…I once made it work on 350 euros in February and then blew the rest of the paycheck traveling! 😛

    • I’m glad to know it looks realistic. That’s a relief! I also like the sound of surviving on 350 euros and saving/spending the rest. Although, it probably won’t be realistic every month…

    • Thanks, Michael! I cannot wait for that either! I’m really looking forward to the food being fresher than the “fresh” produce at American grocery stores.

  2. it is very important that you give private lessons to get some extra money, although it may be hard if your customers are old people…..some years ago i taught Spanish to some old Brits and it was quite frustrating because such people do not learn as fast as young people, above all children.

    as for the food, i fully recommend you to buy at Lidl or Dia because they are the cheapest with high quality…Mercadona has got quality as well, but not as cheap as the other ones…..you must forget and avoid typical and small street supermarkets run by ordinary people because they are too expensive as they do not belong to any big cheap chain like Mercadona or Dia.

    by the way, i fully disagree with people who say that Spain is cheaper than the USA, no way! but such an issue would deserve a new whole blog post.

    • Thanks for the recommendations of the for stores, Pedro! I am definitely planning on giving private lessons. Hopefully more than I actually budgeted for too. As for the cost of living in the USA and Spain, I cannot truly speak to that right now, but maybe a post in the future after I’ve been living in Spain for a while.

  3. I’m not sure about your area specifically, but from what I’ve read private lessons nearly everywhere should be pretty in-demand so you should consider bumping the cost of your private lessons up to 15€/hour. Even if you’re not very experienced with them, you’ll pick them up quickly so you don’t want to sell yourself short & get stuck with students only paying 10€ & then feeling too bad about it to drop them or raise the price. Also, don’t underestimate the pull of being social in Logroño itself! When I studied in Barcelona for a semester, I had a similar budget of around 25€/week for food (which was actually a pretty good estimate & I ate pollo con pimientos nearly every day) but it was hard to say no when my new friends wanted to go out for some sangria or a 5L of cerveza. I’d put at least 20€/week aside for socializing!

    • I’m hoping to get 15€ per hour for lessons but thought I’d set a low bar for my pre-departure budget. Also, socializing and going out will cut in to my savings because that’s definitely something I’m going to want to do!

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