Con dinero todo es más

One thing I don’t know that I will ever get used to is how cheap food is here. I find myself going through the supermarket, painstakingly adding my purchases up in my head so that I won’t go over my budget, and then reaching the end of my trip far below my spending limit. But even the supermarket prices pale in comparison to how cheap things are in the Saturday outdoor market.


For example, I have just returned from the market, and I spent a grand total of 6 euros and 30 cents. At the current exchange rate, that is $8.66 for all my American readers, and 5.40 pounds for all you Brits (I don’t have a fancy L pound key on this keyboard, alas). Here is what I was able to buy at that insanely low price:

  1. 6 red pears. I don’t know that I have ever seen these in America, or maybe I just wasn’t looking. They looked fun, so I got a kilo.
  2. 5 red bell peppers.
  3. 7 small tomatoes.
  4. 1 lemon.
  5. 1 head of garlic (I am going to make hummus, since I can’t seem to find it already made here).
  6. 1 quart of garlic olives. There is an olive vendor that comes on Saturdays with vats and vats of different kinds of olives. I am going to try all of the different kinds eventually. Today was my first time buying “different” olives; usually I just buy the unpitted green olives. These olives have pits and were brined with whole cloves of roasted garlic. Not super adventurous, but it’s a start.
  7. 12 mandarin oranges.


So let me see . . . 1 kilo is about 2.2 pounds. Let’s assume that in America, I could buy this produce for $2 a pound (ha! For some produce, that is erring on the cheap side . . .). 2 pounds of pears would be about $4. 2 pounds of tomatoes, another $4. If the market was good, the lemon would be about 50 cents, and 2 pounds of oranges would be 2 or 3 dollars. Already we have blown past the price I paid today in the market, without even adding in the peppers, the olives, and the garlic.


Add that to the fact that prices on the shelf here already have tax factored in, and I am in for some serious sticker shock when I get back to the good old US of A.


4 Responses to Con dinero todo es más

  1. Hey, thanks for the kind words on my blog, and I must say, your blog is quite interesting as well. And I completely agree that I will DEFINITELY miss how cheap the produce is here. The thing is, in my town, a lot of the non-produce grocery products are actually MORE expensive than they are in the United States. Hmm. I will also miss the coffee a lot. Probably the most of all.

    -Alex (

  2. We don’t have one here in Alcalá, but I was just in the Mercadona in Medina Sidonia yesterday and I couldn’t find any! Do you know which section of the store it would be in? The organization of Spanish grocery stores still baffles me . . .

    I don’t really have much “market vocabulary” either. Mostly I point and say “un kilo”. :-)

    • Lauren says:

      The section is sort of hard to explain–it’s near a bunch of pre-prepared foods in my store, not the tortilla and pizza but the pre-cooked ravioli and various sauces/pasta salads. Hopefully that helps!

  3. Lauren says:

    If you have a Mercadona nearby, they have hummus, and it’s really good! I admire your trip to the market, for some reason the markets here intimidate me, maybe because I feel like I’m lacking in “market vocabulary,” whatever that would be.

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