Starting a new life in another country requires time and money. (But having a wedding means people give you presents, so that helps.) We have to acquire—in one way or another—all the necessities: appliances, kitchen equipment, linens, and on and on. Things can add up. And quickly.
A lot of things seem to be more expensive in Spain: makeup, toiletries, electronics, cell phone rates, books, cars. It can seem overwhelming when you’re trying to furnish a new apartment!
Luckily, not everything is expensive in Spain, especially if you can find some cheap flights! Here’s what I’ve found to be cheaper
- Fruits and vegetables, but you have to know where to buy them. (Hint: It’s not Carrefour.)
- Alcohol, but wine in particular. I can find one of my favorites, Elias Mora, for around €6.
- Olive oil. I don’t get it, because we make olive oil here (in California, for example), but it’s not cheap. I’ll be honest and admit that my favorite olive oil is Carrefour-brand Arbequina.
- Traveling to other countries, which—duh!—is due to shorter distances, but still. It’s cheaper!
- Climate control. Okay, this is a cop out, because the reason it’s cheaper is because of a lack of a) heating in the south, or b) air conditioning in the northern regions. I have heard there are apartments in Madrid with some air conditioning, though. My environmentalist friend Kristin would remind me of all the good this is doing for the environment, however, and thus I try not to complain.
- Eating out, but only if we’re talking about tapas-style eating out. There aren’t nearly as many chain restaurants or fast-food restaurants in Spain. (Thank goodness!) Thus, you can’t go grab Chipotle for $8 any time you want. But going out for tapas is cheap, fun, and filling. The idea of tapas is getting big in the US, but I honestly don’t think it’ll ever work out. There’s no culture of tapas, and the idea of going from place to place for dinner, which we eat way too early anyway, won’t likely catch on here anytime soon.
- University tuition, but keep in mind it’s actually paid for by your taxes (85% of it, according to Público.es). So, you may only spend between 535 and 1,280 per academic year, according to Master’s Portal. (Mario came up with this one, and he wants to clarify that the trade-off may have to do with Spanish universities not exactly being world renowned.)
In the end, I realized the one thing that’s chaper in Spain is food. Good food, that is. Thank goodness. I love food!
What do you find cheaper (and/or better quality) in Spain? What do you find more expensive?