The Cost of Living in Antequera (and comparing it to Nerja)
A year ago we lived in Nerja on the Costa del Sol. I did a post at the time breaking down our cost of living in Nerja.
Earlier this year we moved to Antequera in the interior. There were many reasons for the move: we wanted to be in a bigger city and live in a place that was more Spanish, more cultural and had better transport options. We also wanted to downsize: part of that was paying less rent but it was mostly about reducing our physical space. We felt that we no longer wanted the 3-bedroom apartment with the huge backyard. We wanted to simplify our lives with the goal of doing more travel (which we have since moving the Antequera).
Many costs are lower when you move inland from the coasts. But some aspects of life are surprisingly more expensive.
I summarize the numbers below. Further below I break it all down.
We went from an 850 Euro apartment in Nerja to a 650 Euro apartment in Antequera. In Nerja we had a 3-bedroom apartment with a huge yard. In Antequera we have a 2-bedroom apartment with a rooftop terrace. Our space is less in Antequera but the apartment is much more modern than what we had in Nerja.
We’re happy saving 200 Euros on rent. But as we’ve been told by Spanish neighbours, we’re still “overpaying”. We “should” be paying in the 450-550 range according to them, that’s the going price. In fact the owner down the street at our local restaurant has made it her job to tell us when something in the neighbourhood opens up.
What we learned however is that finding an apartment in Antequera is hard. In the interior, there isn’t the constant movement of expats you get on the coast. It makes for a very illiquid rental market. Just finding our current apartment took over 2 months and we consider ourselves lucky to have found what we found. I wrote about our experience finding an apartment in Antequera here.
My advice if thinking of moving to Antequera (or anywhere else in the interior): rent what you can find that first year, then search for something more permanent once there. A lot of business seems to be by word of mouth. You need to have your feet on the ground and have local contacts.
When I did my post on the cost of living in Nerja people were incredulous at our cost of electricity. We would average 55 Euros a month. But we also didn’t have many appliances: no oven (we had a little electric stove we bought), no dryer, no TV. The summer months, when we had the AC on at night, were the most expensive at around 90 Euros.
Electricity costs in Antequera have been much higher, averaging 94 Euros per month. Why that is we’re not sure, although our oven might be part of the reason. But the overriding reason might be higher electricity rates, something we see people all over Spain complaining about these days.
Minor “other” utility costs offset each other. In Nerja water was included in the rent. But we paid a quarterly garbage fee. In Antequera we pay for water but have never been invoiced a garbage fee by our landlords.
Our cable provider here (Moviestar) is more expensive (34 Euros/month) than our cable provider in Nerja (Axartel, who charged 24 Euros/month).
Overall, we are saving 155 Euros/month on Rent and utilities in Antequera (vs what we paid in Nerja).
Food and other basics
Overall, we’re paying 660 Euros/month for food and “other basics” vs 595 Euros/month in Nerja.
Some people say we’re paying a lot either way.
I admit I like my wine and drinks. I figure about 130 Euros/month is spent on alcohol.
So for all those accusing me of being a “gourmet foodie”…no, I just like my booze.
Taking out the alcohol, that means about 530/Euros month is spent on food, toiletries, and other household basics like garbage bags, dish soap, etc etc..
Overall while the total is about the same, the distribution in Antequera is different because we have a great little local fruteria down the street where I buy lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. In Nerja I would buy most of that at the supermarket which was more convenient.
Restaurants and Entertainment
In Antequera we spent 109 Euros/month on Tapas outings and restaurants. In Nerja we averaged 170 Euros/month.
You might think of the above “oh, Antequera is cheaper”. No. In actual fact it’s more expensive having an outing in Antequera than in Nerja.
In Nerja there are lots of tapas restaurants and you’ll usually pay around 3 Euros for a drink which includes a tapa. In Antequera it doesn’t work the same way: you pay for your tapa. And most tapas will cost between 2.00 – 3.00 Euros. You pay for your drink separately. So a tapa/drink combo basically costs around 5 – 6 Euros which is double what we paid in Nerja.
In Antequera there just isn’t the same choice or the same volumes of customers as in Nerja. It’s actually something we miss – we used to enjoy our freewheeling Nerja outings where we’d drink and eat a whole bunch of tapas and walk out paying less than 20 Euros. Outings in Antequera are far more expensive.
We also don’t have the same restaurant options. At least once a month in Nerja we’d order Indian food. In Antequera there are no Indian restaurants. There’s a Chinese restaurant that we’ll order from maybe once a month (or once every 2 months).
If our “restaurants and entertainment” costs in Antequera are less it’s just because we do less of it. There’s just not the same choice or value that you’ll find in Nerja.
We still pay 110 Euros for private insurance with Adeslas (although I just received a letter telling me it’ll go up to 125 Euros).
I’ve also built in an extra 100 Euros as a buffer in case I’ve missed a few items.
Note: We don’t have a car for those wondering. I also haven’t included any clothing costs because that is so variable (we rarely buy clothes and when we do it’s nothing fancy). I also don’t include travel, because that also depends on how/where one travels. The above is just a basic cost of living budget without extras.
Total Savings living in Antequera Vs Nerja
I calculate that the total we spend in Antequera is about 1788 Euros. In Nerja, a year ago, it was 1939 Euros. So that’s 151 Euro saving.
151 Euros is not much of a saving (8%) but take into consideration that we were in Nerja a year ago: with inflation and the annual increase in rents, I think we’re saving maybe double now living in Antequera than we would in Nerja.
In the end, moving to Antequera wasn’t primarily a financial decision. But we’re always happy to be saving money.