So you’ve wound up in the land of bullfights and buxom newscasters and the cash reserves are running low. Your culo (sweet ass) is all out of action too – so pimping your fine self out in order to save money in Spain is also out of the question. What are you going to do?
Well instead of staying in your unheated flat and crying into your café con leche. you might want to read My Spanish Adventure and let yours truly, your little English prince in shining armour, bail your sorry tapas-starved self out.
Here are ten ways to save a few centimos so you can kick back and enjoy all the fun of the fiesta for a little while longer.
Move to a Sensible Area
You know why I didn’t move to Madrid, Barcelona or Sevilla? Hello! Budget kill!
Surfing around the web and looking at the average rental places in Spain’s biggest cities isn’t likely to come as a shock. Of course they are the biggest in the country and that’s simply because the salaries are the best.
Want to really save money in Spain and still have a cracking experience? Live in the smaller cities (or provincial capitals) that are cheaper. You generally get more for your money in these places too.
Use the Couch Surfing Community
I’ve already talked my hind legs off (image, for a minute, I were a donkey) about how couch surfing can help save you money travelling in and around Spain, but did you know it also comes in handy with things like daytrips, pub crawls and other social events too?
Get online and check out what the CS community is up to in your part of Spain. Here in Granada, for example, they’ve got a little cooking class going on with discounted lessons for group members. And no they’re not even eating each other.
Cannibalism is very much out for 2012.
Gorge Yourself Silly on Tapas
What better way to save money in Spain than by gorging yourself silly on its amazing cuisine? This one might have come new to me since winding up in Granada, but it can still be done quite strategically in other areas of the country too.
All you have to do is time your stomach grumblings with the Spanish horario (lunch 2-4, dinner 8-12) and then head out to your nearest tapas bar. From there get yourself a bevvie and then get some grand tapas to line up your stomach.
The other night I witnessed a hot dog eating contest on little more than 4 Euro. Couldn’t do that anywhere else in the world!
Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
Just because that apartment or hostel room you’re thinking about renting/staying-in has a certain price on its advert or listing doesn’t mean that’s what it will go for.
Unlike in other European countries where you might feel a bit embarrassed to haggle, this country is pretty open to it. Depending on the time of the year you inquire you might be surprised just how easy it is for you to save money in Spain through taking this simple action.
Register Your Rostro
Taking time to register your rostro (face) is a smooth move to make as it can lead to some pretty neat-o benefits like cheap bus fairs and a discount on local services. You can do this at local town halls (empadronamientos), where you’ll just need to state that you want to register yourself as a resident.
I get better Spanish speakers than I to help me out with this. The bloody guiri I am.
Buy Your Electronics Abroad
Planning on coming to Spain without a computer? Ha! Fool! Then you can’t read this wonderful blog.
On a more serious note though it does actually pay to purchase your electronics abroad (for me that means in the UK). Here in Spain they are that much more expensive.
In the UK we have corner stores all over the place, and, at the risk of stereotyping, many of them are often licensed by Indian or South Asian owners.
In Spain it’s different. Here they have “chinos” – owned by Chinese (who, I have to say, as a general rule of thumb from the ones I’ve met, are great speakers of Spanish) that serve as neighbourhood shops where you can buy the stuff you might need for cheap.
I’m like a plague of bird flu at my local one here in Granada. I’m always dipping in to buy things like cheap bowls, bed-sheets, towels and other things that help clean up my filthy act.
Rock the Botellon
If you like standing on a street corner getting wasted, chances are you’ll enjoy botellon. Here in Spain it’s a tradition amongst the youth (but not exclusively so) to get their cheap alcohol from shops and supermarkets and drink it in police-controlled areas.
If you were looking to save money in Spain while still resembling the vagrant mess you really are then this, my friend, is for you. Just join the crowds on the weekend and follow suit.
Hit Up Free Attractions
Travel to Spain and you’ll most likely notice that most of the attractions here demand an “entrada” or gate-fee. Instead of fuming and frothing at the mouth – like I imagine your average spoilt Londoner used to free museum entry would do – simply search out the alternatives.
If you’re looking into what to see in Spain know that every place has at least some free attractions to see. It’s worth doing your research to find them. The Prado in Madrid, for example, has free entries at certain times on the evening. Most museums also have a “free day” so save money in Spain by scheduling your time around these.
Stay With Me
This is the part where I venture away from the tired old money saving list in my attempt to inject a bit of a light-hearted fun into all this finance bullshit.
Stay with me here in Granada and I’ll promise you a good time. You won’t have to pay a dime and I’ll treat you to the warmth of my bed (which consists of a sleeping bag at present). I can’t promise I won’t touch you but what’s a bit of pain (or pleasure if you ask me) if it means you can stretch your holiday or living budget that little bit further?
Got any more tips on saving money in Spain? Share them in the comments…