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Moving to Spain – living costs comparison – Manchester vs Barcelona

Moving to Spain

Manchester vs Barcelona – Cost of living comparison

You are currently living in Manchester and are thinking about moving to Barcelona, yet you are not sure how much money you will need there to maintain your current standard of living? Or perhaps you work remotely and are wondering which of the two cities – Manchester or Barcelona – would be cheaper to live in?

In this article we will compare the cost of living in those two cities, covering the essential aspects of life, such as food, housing, clothes, transportation, personal care and entertainment.

Food

According to Expatistan.com food in Manchester is 5% more expensive than in Barcelona. Let’s take a closer look at the specific products, both in the restaurants and in the supermarkets.

The cost of a basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district in Manchester totals £13 (€16). It is around 5% more expensive than in Barcelona, where you will pay around €15.
However, a combo meal (such as a Big Mac) in a fast-food restaurant in Manchester will cost you £5.91 (€7), which is 16% less than in Barcelona (€8).

Also, for 500 gr (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast, you will pay slightly more in Barcelona (€3.68) than in Manchester (£2.69 / €3.09).
The bigger difference in price (52% to Barcelona’s disadvantage) applies to the local cheese. The cost of 500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese in Manchester amounts to £2.77 (€3.19), and €7 in Barcelona.
The products that are more expensive in Manchester than in Barcelona include:

  • 1 litre (1 qt.) of whole fat milk – £0.92 (€1.06) vs €0.90
  • 12 large eggs – £2.35 (€2.70) vs €2.67
  • 1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes – £1.71 (€1.97) vs €1.77
  • 1 kg (2 lb.) of apples – £2.00 (€2.30) vs €1.94
  • Loaf of bread – £0.91 (€1.04) vs €1.00
  • 0.5 l (16 oz) domestic beer in the supermarket – £1.89 (€2.17) vs €0.96

Housing

Housing in Manchester is about the same as in Barcelona.

Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 sqft) furnished accommodation in an expensive area in Manchester will cost you £1,396 (€1,604) which is around 11% more than in Barcelona (€1,451).

The same size of the house in the normal area in Manchester is around £933 (€1,072) and €1,081 in Barcelona. As far as monthly utilities are concerned, heating, electricity, gas etc for 2 people in an 85m2 flat will cost £127 (€145) in Manchester and €136 in Barcelona.

If you are single or do not need that much space, you will pay £845 (€971) in Manchester and €1,047 in Barcelona of monthly rent for a 45 m2 (480 sq ft) furnished studio in an expensive area, and in a normal area sequentially £640 (€736) in Manchester and €728 in Barcelona. The utilities in the smaller flat will cost you £86 (€99) in Manchester and €92 in Barcelona.

Regarding other housing costs, 8 Mbps of the Internet will cost you monthly £20 (€23) in Manchester, which is 17% cheaper than in Barcelona (€28). You will also pay around 14% less in Manchester than in Barcelona for 3 litres of laundry detergent (£7 / €8 vs €9)
The goods and services that are cheaper in Barcelona than in Manchester include 40” flat screen TV (£316 /€363 in Manchester vs €350 in Barcelona), the Microwave 800/900 watt (£81 / €93 in Manchester vs €90 in Barcelona) and hourly rate for cleaning help (£10 /€12 in Manchester vs €10 in Barcelona).

Clothes

Clothing in Manchester is 8% cheaper than in Barcelona.

A pair of Levi’s jeans will cost you £60 (€69) in Manchester, which is 24% less than in Barcelona (€91).

A pair of sports shoes (Nike, Adidas, or equivalent brands) is around 15% more costly in Barcelona than in Manchester. You will pay approximately €72 for Nike shoes in Manchester, and around €84 for the same pair in Barcelona.

Leather business shoes are also more expensive in Barcelona than in Manchester. You will spend the equivalent of €70 in Manchester, whereas, in Barcelona, the same pair will cost you approximately €81. However, for a summer dress in a High Street Store (Zara, H&M or similar retailers) you will pay less in Barcelona (€30) than in Manchester (£29 / €33).

Transportation

Transportation in Manchester is 38% more expensive than in Barcelona.

A new Volkswagen Golf 1.4 tsi 150 cv (or equivalent), with no extras, will cost you £20,074 (€23,072) in Manchester, which is around 7% less than in Barcelona (€24,899).
1 litre (1/4 gallon) of gas in Manchester is for around £1.23 (€1.41), whereas in Barcelona it will cost you €1.25, which is 13% less.

Regarding public transportation, it is considerably more expensive in the UK than in Spain. A monthly ticket in Manchester will cost you £69 (€79), which is 93% more than in Barcelona (€41).

The costly public transportation can be compensated by cheaper taxi services in Manchester. Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km (5 miles) in Manchester will cost you £13 (€15) compared to €20 in Barcelona.

Personal care

Personal care includes all those products and services that serve our wellbeing and health. Statistically, it is 20% more expensive in Manchester than in Barcelona, according to expatistan.com.

The products and services that are more costly in Manchester than in Barcelona include:

  • 1 box of antibiotics (12 doses) – the average cost in Manchester amounts to €9, whereas in Barcelona – €7,
  • a short visit to a private doctor (15 minutes) will cost you £101 (€116) in Manchester and €67 in Barcelona,
  • hair shampoo 2-in-1 (400 ml ~ 12 oz.) costs £3.31 (€3.80) in Manchester and €2.86 in Barcelona,
  • 4 rolls of toilet paper – the average cost in Manchester is £1.78 (€2.04), whereas in Barcelona – €1.54.

On the other hand, you will pay more in Barcelona for such products and services as:

  • cold medicine for 6 days (Tylenol, Frenadol, Coldrex, or equivalent brands) – the cost in Manchester totals £2.84 (€3.27), while in Barcelona €5.51,
  • 1 box of 32 tampons (Tampax, OB) – you will pay approximately £3.25 (€3.74) in Manchester, and €4.82 in Barcelona,
  • deodorant, roll-on (50ml ~ 1.5 oz.) – you will pay €2.98 in Barcelona, so around €1.12 more than in Manchester,
  • a tube of toothpaste – the price in Manchester amounts to £1.19 (€1.37), whereas in Barcelona it costs around €2.21.

Entertainment

Keen movie-goers will pay €1 more in Manchester than in Barcelona, where two tickets to the movies cost €17. For those of you who prefer theatre to cinema, Barcelona has a better offer as well. The two best available seats at the theatre cost around £67 (€78) in Manchester, which is around 36% more than in Barcelona (€57).

If your definition of entertainment includes mostly eating out, here is how the prices look for both cities:

  • for a basic dinner out for two in a neighbourhood pub you will pay around €33 in Manchester, and €34 in Barcelona,
  • dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in the expat area including appetizers, main course, wine, and dessert will cost you around €67 in Manchester and €45 in Barcelona,
  • a cocktail drink in a downtown club costs around €10 in both cities,
  • a cappuccino in expat area of the city will cost you €4.07 in Manchester, and €2.51 in Barcelona,
  • a beer in a neighbourhood pub (500ml or 1pt.) costs around €4.56 in Manchester and around €3.92 in Barcelona.

For those of you who put a healthy and active lifestyle first, the gyms in Manchester have more economical offers. One month of gym membership in the business district will cost you around €32 in Manchester, whereas gyms in Barcelona will charge you around €51

Cost of living – summary

Summing up, you would need around £2,890.61 (€3,326.67) in Barcelona to maintain the same standard of living that you can have with £3,200.00 in Manchester (assuming you rent in both cities). This means that living in Manchester is around 10% more expensive than living in Barcelona.

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