In a region not short of possibilities to save money, 3 magic words stand out. Memorize them and you’re off to a lifetime of savings: ‘Frutería’, ‘venta’ and ‘locally’.
1. Buy at the frutería
Don’t buy fruits and vegetables at a supermarket, but at the frutería or ‘fruit shop’. This is the wholesaler where the local farmers bring the crop of their fields.
So it can’t be fresher, nor more ecological, more seasonal and it can’t be cheaper.
No lettuce flown in from Kenya – not even from another province for that matter – but coming straight from around the corner, keeping your local economy healthy as well.
“Pardon? Can we buy at a wholesaler”??
Yes, in rural Andalucía you can. The population density is low, the market is small, so they don’t mind you walking in for just a crate of mandarins, or 3 oranges.
Are there fruit trees on your land? Wonderful. No present is appreciated as much as fresh fruits straight from the tree.
2. Eat at the venta
Now here’s something that will become a life long love affair. Your local venta!
This is a roadside restaurant and bar that until a decade ago was meant for the workers and builders who needed to eat very well, for little money.
The full menú del dia or ‘menu of the day’ can still be between 7 and 10 Euros only (the more tranquil or remote the area the cheaper, within the ‘golden circle’ of some 40 kms around the airport it can be more expensive).
The menu of the day is served between noon and 3PM. Outside of these hours there always are traditional tapas and other food.
And, as anyone who ever moved to rural areas knows: your nearest venta becomes your Cheers, that spot where you go to for every question, every event and to catch up on all the latest news, all the while you’re also learning Spanish one new word at a time.
3. Buy locally
This one is not easy to explain to newcomers. Why shop in the many local grocery stores of the village, when 10 kms further there’s a supermarket?
Apart from getting into a routine that will save you hundreds of kilometers over the course of a year, you will soon discover something else: buying locally means buying so much more than just a product.
This, I will leave up to you to discover – I wouldn’t want to ruin your own explorations.
It’s often a novelty to people from Western Europe: in Andalucía you never need to leave a village. It has everything. And that goes from grocery stores to pharmacy to gym to public pool to garagists. And here’s a truth that seems to be counter-intuitive: the more remote the village, the busier it is economically. Because just like you, the villagers don’t feel like having to drive far for everything, and thus such village has become self-sufficient as an autarky.
The average villager in Andalucía is very, very handy. If he or she can’t help you, you will be pointed to the neighbour who can. The local garagist always has something on offer, and will become a friend and neighbour who cares for your well being. And later on leave a bucket with avocados at your door. In the land of craftsman why stuff your house with the same furniture the whole world has got, while Andalusian or handmade furniture will survive generations?
At the same time this actually living in Andalucía – instead of just driving through it – performs miracles to your Spanish. No need for private tutors or ordering language books.
It performs miracles to your health. Why go to the gym if you live in one?
There are the miracles of olive oil and the miracles to your holiday budget: why go on expensive holidays or city trips? Escapism is no longer needed.
More money saving tips? Read The only 2 beauty products you need.