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Jan 10 2012

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Paul’s Monthly Tip to Live for Less in Costa Rica: Buy Local

Buy local and avoid stores like PriceSmart, AutoMercado, and other stores that carry expensive imported products and throw your food budget out of whack.

Before coming to Costa Rica, we were thrifty food shoppers, spending a little over $450 per month. Our food budget in Costa Rica is about $330 per month.  This savings can be attributed to more fruits and vegetables and buying locally. By that I mean, find the Costa Rican substitutes or equivalents for many of your favorite American foods and ingredients.  Sometimes the products are identical but the language barrier can stymie your search.

Gloria is writing a book covering just this area, with over 1000 categorized foods, cooking terms, and more, translated in English and Costa Rican Spanish. Here’s just a small sample of what’s in the book:

If you avoid the PriceSmarts of the world, your food expenditures will decrease significantly. Not that we don’t ever visit these stores. We still go several times a year, and spend less every time because we’ve found less expensive alternatives.  Where we once spent up to $200 per visit, we now spend $30.

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