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Old 23rd September 2010, 12:34 PM   #1
Davehodgo
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Default Cost of living in Spain

Is it just me or does it appear to be more expensive to now live in Spain compared to the UK.

DVDS are all nearly 15 to 20 euros where as the same one in tescos cost 6 -8 euros.

Sky offer internet,tv and free landline for less than 20 pounds can we finf that anywhere in Spain?

dont get mt wrong i love this country and would never want to leave but i think we need more competition and price wars.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 01:14 PM   #2
Legazpi
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Yes, many things in Spain are more expensive and one of the main problems is lack of competition (there really isn't much of a free market in Spain). The strong euro has also distorted prices comparisons with the UK.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 05:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
Yes, many things in Spain are more expensive and one of the main problems is lack of competition (there really isn't much of a free market in Spain). The strong euro has also distorted prices comparisons with the UK.
Agree with that although I think the people who notice it less are living more like spaniards. In mi pueblo en Asturias I get up early and hit the market as opposed to the supermarket, I don't eat butter, I tip less (like a spaniard ), I cook at home.

But electricity, beer (in english equivalent quantities ), and often eating out in the evenings, plus the items you mention Dave, have gone through the roof in recent years. And it is not just the pound that makes it appear so. My spanish family are very conscious of it as their salaries are reduced and prices go up. O for the days when Spain was cheap - bring back the peseta
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Old 23rd September 2010, 08:41 PM   #4
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the price of a second hand car in Spain is really expensive, that is why I was thinking of buying one in England and import it to Spain
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Old 23rd September 2010, 10:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by SrCandas View Post
....I think the people who notice it less are living more like spaniards.
Exactly. The crisis has made the shops introduce two for one, or second item at 70% off, offers. There are more sales than there used to be. If you eat out, at least for lunch, go for the menu del dia. I've been here fending for myself here for a few years and some things have hardly gone up at all as market forces hasn't allow it.
That said, the cost of public transport in Madrid has doubled in five years and cigarettes are not the cheap item they used to be. (But still cheaper than UK equivilents!) I frequent two different bars in Madrid. One charges €3 for a caña, the other charges €1:50 with free tapas. So shop around is the answer.
Clothes are cheaper now, so long as you are not a victim of fashion and competition has meant technical stuff is much less than it used to be.
But yes, if you always eat out, go to the €12 a copa bars and shop in Serrano, prepare to be stung. Books are my one weakness and they never come down in price.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 11:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SrCandas View Post
.... O for the days when Spain was cheap - bring back the peseta
Quite.

Mind you, if I really lived like a Spaniard then I'd probably still be living with (and off) my parents back in England
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Old 24th September 2010, 09:56 AM   #7
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The Mrs needed to buy a small Van for the company that she works for. A couple of weeks ago we did the rounds of all the local Spanish dealers and hammered them all down to their very best prices .... bought as a business, cash payment, no trade-in...

As a comparison we got prices for the exact same Van form the UK dealers - same make, model, extras - same purchase conditions.

The Van we settled on - A Citroen Berlingo - was about 3'500 ( Sterling ) cheaper to buy in the UK, which would more than cover the legal import costs, ( The UK dealer agreed to fit EU headlights at no extra cost ) together with the transport costs and exchange rate costs.

The vehicle would also be available 3 weeks quicker in the UK than in Spain.

Just one of the 3 dealers we approached in Spain took the time to call us back and chase our business up - and seemed genuinely put out that we had chosen to 'support the economy of a foreign country'.

I will gladly support the economy of my new adopted country, but not at the finincial cost of 3'500 Grand, together with receiving the van I want quicker, and with better customer service.

Until Zapatero can support the Spanish Businesses, and until some of them can work out the value of customer service for themselves then these 'Austere Times' could drag on for a little longer...
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Old 24th September 2010, 10:06 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tumbit View Post
The Mrs needed to buy a small Van for the company that she works for. A couple of weeks ago we did the rounds of all the local Spanish dealers and hammered them all down to their very best prices .... bought as a business, cash payment, no trade-in...

As a comparison we got prices for the exact same Van form the UK dealers - same make, model, extras - same purchase conditions.

The Van we settled on - A Citroen Berlingo - was about 3'500 ( Sterling ) cheaper to buy in the UK, which would more than cover the legal import costs, ( The UK dealer agreed to fit EU headlights at no extra cost ) together with the transport costs and exchange rate costs.

The vehicle would also be available 3 weeks quicker in the UK than in Spain.

Just one of the 3 dealers we approached in Spain took the time to call us back and chase our business up - and seemed genuinely put out that we had chosen to 'support the economy of a foreign country'.

I will gladly support the economy of my new adopted country, but not at the finincial cost of 3'500 Grand, together with receiving the van I want quicker, and with better customer service.

Until Zapatero can support the Spanish Businesses, and until some of them can work out the value of customer service for themselves then these 'Austere Times' could drag on for a little longer...
It is not your responsibility to support the economy of any country (let alone a Spanish car dealer who makes a living selling French cars )
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Old 26th September 2010, 01:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Legazpi View Post
It is not your responsibility to support the economy of any country (let alone a Spanish car dealer who makes a living selling French cars )
They are not French cars they are built in Vigo Galicia.

Agree with the sentiments about costs here in Spain.
Short story time!
The other day had two guys turn up to talk to us about changing electricity supply companies. There is a free market these days we was told. I suggested that it was not the case. They wanted to prove their point so we sat and talked for a while. Maybe they were right. It seems that the standing charge can vary between one company and the other. We could save ourselves a whole 50 cents per month if we changed. The rate at which the electric is charged per unit is controlled by the government. That I knew, for me there is not a free market at all.
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Old 27th September 2010, 09:26 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Andy.G. View Post
the price of a second hand car in Spain is really expensive, that is why I was thinking of buying one in England and import it to Spain
yes i saw a fifteen year old hyundai for 1200 euros i thought i could have a lot nicer car back in the UK for the same price.
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Old 27th September 2010, 10:02 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ribeirasacra View Post
They are not French cars they are built in Vigo Galicia.
In which case the Citroen Berlingos sold in the UK are probably assembled in Vigo as well. So from that perspective it doesn't really matter whether someone buys them in the UK or Spain. The person who loses out is the Spanish dealer who, irrespective of where the cars are assembled, is representing a French car company and therefore should not be telling people to buy them from him in order to support the local economy. If he wants to compete then he needs to cut his prices.

Besides most technology products (such as cars) are made from bits sourced all over the world, the bits might be assembled in Spain but they might come from China, Germany, etc. So it is very hard to say where a car is built.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ribeirasacra View Post
Agree with the sentiments about costs here in Spain.
Short story time!
The other day had two guys turn up to talk to us about changing electricity supply companies. There is a free market these days we was told. I suggested that it was not the case. They wanted to prove their point so we sat and talked for a while. Maybe they were right. It seems that the standing charge can vary between one company and the other. We could save ourselves a whole 50 cents per month if we changed. The rate at which the electric is charged per unit is controlled by the government. That I knew, for me there is not a free market at all.
I believe it's a similar story with the phone lines as well. Apparently they are all owned by Telefonica so all these "competing" ISPs such as Ya and Jazztel have to rent bandwidth from Telefonica, who ultimately have the market rigged in their favour. And please don't get me started on the banks and the property market
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Old 27th September 2010, 01:54 PM   #12
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Angry Textbook oligopoly

Some quick links about the electricity market in Spain: (all of them in Spanish, sorry)
http://www.lavanguardia.es/economia/...tres-anos.html
http://jumanjisolar.com/comunicacion...cado-electrico (also some interesting comments).
http://www.estafaluz.com/estafa19.html
http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/470656/8/ (quick explanation about the market after the last law)

Spaniards are usually kept misinformed about all of this, so that the oligopoly runs smoothly.
Shameful, as Forges would say ¡País!

I don't have time to start with the "telecos", DVDs and cars markets for the moment, but I will (I expect to).
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Old 27th September 2010, 03:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy.G.
the price of a second hand car in Spain is really expensive, that is why I was thinking of buying one in England and import it to Spain
On the grounds of a general lack of liquidity, the prices asked about used cars in Spain has traditionally always been higher when compared to that of the UK. This can be put down to two interacting factors that have long been at play …

1: From brand-new, Spanish motorists have always tended to hang onto their cars longer than the British have done.
2: To some extent, such practices have been encouraged by, on one hand a reluctance (in Spain) and on the other, a willingness (in the UK) of retail arms of the motor trade to provide and promote trade-in facilities.

Hence the reason why, at any one time, there are more second-hand cars on the market in the UK than in Spain. Those 3-to-5-year old cars that have been traded in for more up-to-date models are what makes the UK used car market more liquid and as a result, more competitive than that of Spain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardksa
Exactly. The crisis has made the shops introduce two for one, or second item at 70% off, offers.

Indeed. While Spanish supermarket chains have often been reluctant in the past to embrace the sort of buy-one-get-one-free and three-for-the-price-of-two marketing offers that British supermarket consumers have come to expect. I note of late that they are gradually beginning to see the benefit of adopting such pricing strategies as a means of encouraging sales.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardksa
That said, the cost of public transport in Madrid has doubled in five years.

That is a bit on the stiff side considering that likewise road and rail costs in and around Alicante have only seen something like a 50% rise over the corresponding five-year period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richardksa
Clothes are cheaper now, so long as you are not a victim of fashion and competition has meant technical stuff is much less than it used to be.

Somewhat fuelled by Alicante’s Mediterranean location and its historical trading links with the Algerian ports of Alger and Oran. Over the past several years there has been a substantial growth in the number of regionally based wholesalers shipping in cheap clothing, shoes and electrical goods from the far-east. A fair amount of which tends to find its way across to Algeria and neighbouring countries due to the apparent lack of manufacturing capacity of such products throughout North Africa. With the result that the local retail cost gap between the top and bottom ends over a range of comparable items as steadily widened in favour of seemingly cheaper prices.

Furthermore, anecdotally speaking, over time I have become very friendly with a family who have for many years run a 40-roomed hostal in the city centre of Alicante. What they tell me is such clients they have lost in recent years are those associated with local commercial construction projects … such as shopfitters, electricians, painters, plasterers and the like. However, they then go on to say that loss of takings has very much been balanced out by an increase in the number of Algerian based buyers regularly showing up in Alicante on stock buying trips. Mind you, being that France was once the colonial masters of Algeria, it does aid the cause of such repeat business that a couple of family members speak near fluent French, which is still widely spoken throughout Algeria.

While on the subject of clothing, I see that PRIMARK, the Dublin based low-cost clothing retailer with over 170 outlets throughout the UK and Ireland, is apparently targeting Spain as a likely area for expansion of its operations. Being that according to the PRIMARK website, it has currently established a presence of some 17 outlets in selected cities covering the Iberian Peninsular - of which 5 are Madrid based.

Which when I start to think about it, makes a fair amount of business sense to me. After all, even with the entrance of major UK supermarket chains into non-food areas of business, PRIMARK has been very successful at exploiting such price sensitive areas of the UK and Ireland clothing market not covered by Marks & Spencer and the like. Therefore, the same logic could well be at work when one considers the gaps in similar sectors of the Spanish clothing market below that of say, El Corte Ingles and Zara together with the general absence of Spanish supermarket chains from areas of non-food trade.
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Old 27th September 2010, 05:31 PM   #14
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"....it doesn't really matter whether someone buys them in the UK or Spain. The person who loses out is the Spanish dealer who, irrespective of where the cars are assembled, is representing a French car company and therefore should not be telling people to buy them from him in order to support the local economy. If he wants to compete then he needs to cut his prices...."

... that was my point. What market conditions are in play that the dealer in Spain is penalised to the extent that I can still buy the same vehicle in th UK so much cheaper and after so many obstacles ?
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Old 27th September 2010, 05:56 PM   #15
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And judging from the many people who seem to be shopping in Lidl these days, maybe the Spanish are at last embracing the idea of cut-price supermarkets instead of insisting on El Corte Inglés and Mercadona.
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Old 27th September 2010, 06:37 PM   #16
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... that was my point. What market conditions are in play that the dealer in Spain is penalised to the extent that I can still buy the same vehicle in th UK so much cheaper and after so many obstacles ?
You can only speculate on this.

I guess if the UK dealer has a contract to import the vehicle at a set price in pounds, then the low pound means she can then export it again cheaply in euros.

Also I suspect that most Spanish people don't consider importing vehicles from the UK, so competitiveness with the UK is not an important factor for Spanish dealers.
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Old 29th September 2010, 05:29 PM   #17
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I live on the Costa del Sol, where prices are often inflated because of the number of foreigners living and holidaying here. However, I never compare prices with the UK or any other country as it's irrelevant to me as everything I have is here. Some things are dearer here, some are dearer still in France & Belgium, some cheaper in the UK, some cheaper in Portugal etc, etc. Where possible I shop in small shops, even if their prices are a tiny bit higher than the supermarkets. I saw what happened in many UK towns - empty shops and out of town shopping and problems with deserted town centres. Plus, I do think I have a responsibility to support the country of my residency.

And, I know I will probably be the only person on the peninsula to say this, but Telefonica came up trumps for me the other week when I was trying to get broadband installed for my Mum. Orange after 4 weeks from the order still had done nothing - Telefonica had it installed within 5 days of the initial phone call.
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Old 6th October 2010, 01:58 PM   #18
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Mobile phone prices are about double the price of the UK. However for all the moans of high prices i wouldn´t swap Spain for the UK for all the tea in china.
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Old 6th October 2010, 04:31 PM   #19
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What's also perhaps indicative of the cost of living at the moment is how many Removal / Man & Van companies are offering Deliveries to Spain from UK Supermarkets ( Order and pay online yourself, for delivery to their UK address , you collect from their Spain address ).

- Of course the exchange rate of the day has it's part to play there, but quite often doing a shop at Tesco or Asda for small, non-perishable items can work out to save a bit of money.
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