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Cost of Living Comparison: Colorado vs. Spain for a Family of 3 Plus a Dog

Relocating with your family and your beloved pet can be an exciting adventure, I know because I've done it!! Whether you are drawn to the vibrant culture and scenic beauty of Spain or the majestic landscapes and dynamic lifestyle of Colorado, understanding the cost of living is crucial. Here, I'm going to delve into the detailed costs associated with living in these two captivating places, focusing on a family of three (two adults and one teenager) plus a dog. Let's have a look shall we!

Housing: A Roof Over Your Heads

Colorado: Housing is often the biggest monthly expense for families. In Colorado, renting a comfortable two-bedroom apartment typically sets you back between $1,500 and $2,500 per month. Including utilities, which can range from $150 to $550, you’re looking at an average monthly housing cost of $2,500. (I want to add this here as well, at the time of writing this, I just looked at a 2 bed/1 bad apartment in Colorado and it is starting between $1208-$1870. Just to factor that in.)

Spain: In Spain, housing is more affordable. You can expect to pay between $600 and $1,200 per month for a similar apartment. Utilities are also cheaper, averaging $75 to $150. Therefore, the total monthly cost for housing in Spain comes to about $1,025. (For further comparison, we live in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, large roof, large balcony, with washer, heat, and AC apartment and it's approximately $1600 total for rent, utilities, and water for the month).

Winner: Spain takes the lead here with significantly lower housing costs.

Food and Groceries: Feasting with Family

Colorado: Feeding a family in Colorado can be quite expensive. Monthly grocery bills for a family of three typically range from $600 to $900. If you enjoy dining out, expect to spend around $60 for two meals a month at a mid-range restaurant.

Spain: Grocery shopping in Spain is noticeably cheaper. You’ll spend about $400 to $600 per month on groceries. Dining out is also more affordable, costing around $40 for two-four meals a month. (Comparison. We typically have cafe outside of the house with friends and it is 1.40 euro a cafe. There is a Starbucks in town and the cafe is 4.90 euro).

Winner: Spain wins again with lower grocery and dining costs.

Specialty Dog Food: Pampering Your Pooch

Colorado: For those of us who love our pets like family, ensuring they have the best nutrition is important. Specialty dog food in Colorado costs about $75 to $100 per month.

Spain: In Spain, specialty dog food is slightly more affordable, ranging from $20 to $30 per month.

Winner: Spain, by a small margin.

Transportation: Getting Around Town

Colorado: Transportation in Colorado includes public transport, gasoline, and car insurance. A monthly public transport pass averages $100 to $150, gasoline costs around $200, and car insurance is about $100 to $200 monthly. This brings the total transportation cost to approximately $450.

Spain: Public transport is much cheaper in Spain, costing about $40 to $60 per month. Although gasoline is more expensive at $5 to $6 per gallon, the overall transportation cost is balanced by cheaper car insurance, averaging $50 to $100 per month. Therefore, monthly transportation costs in Spain are about $365. (Comparison. We walk almost everywhere and it is FREE. We do have a yearly bus card for the family as well that was $20...yes for 3 people, for the year).

Winner: Spain offers more economical transportation options, despite higher fuel costs.

Healthcare: Keeping Your Family Healthy

Colorado: Healthcare is a major expense in the U.S. Health insurance premiums for a family of three range from $500 to $1,500 per month, averaging around $750. These are just premiums often times.

Spain: Spain’s healthcare system is both excellent and affordable. Monthly premiums for private health insurance range from $100 to $300, averaging about $150 for a family. As well if you are on the type of VISA that allows access to the National Health System, then your care is "Free."

Winner: Spain, with its lower healthcare costs and quality services.

Education: Investing in Your Child’s Future

Colorado: Education can be a significant cost, especially if you opt for private schooling. Annual tuition for private schools ranges from $10,000 to $20,000, equating to about $1,250 per month.

Spain: Private education in Spain is considerably cheaper, with annual tuition fees ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, or about $625 per month. (Comparison-in the Spanish Private or International Schools, your child will become bilingual as two languages are required.)

Winner: Spain, offering more affordable private education options.

Entertainment and Leisure: Fun for the Whole Family

Colorado: Entertainment and leisure activities, such as gym memberships and movie tickets, add to the monthly expenses. A gym membership costs about $10 to $70, and movie tickets are around $21 each. This brings the total to about $100 per month.

Spain: In Spain, gym memberships are slightly cheaper, costing $20 to $50, and movie tickets are around $7 each. The total monthly cost for entertainment in Spain is approximately $56.

Winner: Spain, with lower costs for leisure activities.

Grand Monthly Totals


  • Housing: $2,500

  • Food and Groceries: $735

  • Specialty Dog Food: $100

  • Transportation: $450

  • Healthcare: $750

  • Education: $1,250

  • Entertainment and Leisure: $100

Grand Total: $5,965


  • Housing: $1,025

  • Food and Groceries: $490

  • Specialty Dog Food: $75

  • Transportation: $365

  • Healthcare: $150

  • Education: $625

  • Entertainment and Leisure: $56

Grand Total: $2,786

Annual Totals


  • Monthly Total: $5,565

  • Annual Total: $66,780


  • Monthly Total: $2,786

  • Annual Total: $33,432

Wrapping Up

As I'm on this journey, I want to share what I am learning with you. I live by a principal of Andrew Henderson in his book "Nomad Capitalist" , "Go where you are treated BEST," and for us making a lifestyle change was our running towards something, not away from something else. I share to be a resource if you need one, not to bash the US, just to share my experience.

After this dive into the costs, it’s clear that Spain offers a more affordable lifestyle compared to Colorado. The annual expenses in Spain are roughly half of those in Colorado, which can significantly impact your quality of life and financial stability.

Relocating to a new country is always a big decision, but with such significant savings, Spain becomes an attractive option for families looking for a rich cultural experience, excellent healthcare, and affordable living. Whether you are drawn to the sunny beaches of Costa del Sol or the historic charm of Madrid, Spain offers a vibrant and budget-friendly alternative to life in Colorado.

So, are you ready to pack your bags and start a new adventure in Spain? The journey awaits, and the savings are just the cherry on top of the delightful Spanish lifestyle.

Safe travels and happy planning!

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