I feel like life is flashing right before my eyes, and so is my money. It’s hard to be thrifty in a new country, but it’s important if all you have is savings to get you by. Luckily for me I am living with a host family during my study abroad experience in Granada, Spain. This means that most everything is already taken care of for me….meals, shelter, the basics you know? But having this awesome experience also brings on the temptation to spend. Everything is new, I want to try everything! And what’s worse is that you don’t hardly have a clue how to spend wisely in a foreign culture (and dealing with a foreign language). Let me introduce you to some of the differences in spending that I’ve come across while living in Spain compared to the U.S.
Rule #1: Remember The Euro is NOT a dollar.
I have to try to remind myself of this every purchase I make, because it’s easy to fall into the habit of “oh the entrance is only 10€” or “the jacket is only 20€” and then it turns out to be $30. The key is to always check the conversion rates because they change from day today. Right now it’s about $1.40 for every 1€, but before it cost less $ for €.
Rule #2: Share
It’s inevitable. If you go to tapas with friends nobody gets an individual check, it’s all compiled together. Try to take turns with who buys what on what day.
Rule #3: Trust the locals
If Your lucky enough to come in contact with one, especially some one trustworthy, always rely on them. Any one experienced with the city, the country or just the culture in general will know the tendencies of the market. If you’re lucky enough to come across a local towny they will have the most valuable information at your disposal. Where to shop, what to get, how much. It’s all good stuff.
One last thing, sometimes more is better. If you can shop in bulk you tend to get better deals, but not always. And the most important thing is to learn from your mistakes. A wise man once told me “A good way to learn is from your mistakes, a better way to learn is from some one else’s.” This is true on so many levels, but some people aren’t that privileged. Some times you have to go out there and figure out things for yourself. If this is you that’s ok, you live and you learn, right?? Just try to pay attention to those who have already learned the hard way ok? That’s it, I’m headed to bed. Until next time…