Saving tips in Argentina

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    • Helpful

    Life is already hard as it is, but in Argentina, things are taken to the next level.

    I hope this thread will help us share saving tips.

    #0 - Exchange money on the parallel market to get the best rate

    Very basic tip, but not a given for someone coming from the first world. Exchange your money on the black market, they will give you twice the pesos.

    If you are really a Pro, you can WU yourself money at Ezeiza and pick it up at the WU rate straight from the airport. This way you will have pesos in hand right at your arrival.

    (WU gives rates around the MEP value and not at the official one)

    #1 - Bodegones offer considerable discounts on low nights (20-30% off)

    There are a couple of bodegones in my area that will offer a 20-30% discounts on "low" nights such as Sunday to Tuesday for cash payments. You can stuff yourself up and bring home the leftovers.

    #2 - Lunch is cheaper than dinner - look for lunch specials

    Maybe a given for mosts, but it was a novelty for me. Lunch is usually cheaper than dinner, although food selection may be less. On a positive note, lunch here can stretch as far as 3 PM and some bigger places (such as La Farola, Academia, etc.) have their kitchen open non-stop. If you can find a lunch special (menú ejecutivo) you can have a late lunch and be done for the day with just breakfast, one meal and a light snack before bed.

    #3 - Some places run specials at certain times ("happy hour")

    Our favorite beer place often runs a 2x1 offer on pints from 6PM to 9PM, which is not bad at all. A pint is currently around 800 ARS, i.e. 2 USD. If you can have 2x for 2 USD, it is a steal! And it is crafted beer.

    #4 - Furniture places run their specials over the weekend and offer considerable discounts for cash payment in their showroom

    We are furnishing a new property and I am doing a lot of online research on the subject. Most places have a website and run sponsored ads on Facebook and Instagram. Prices are updated on their website, but not shared publicly on social media (which I find very annoying). Some also sell on MercadoLibre. However, given ML's cut, prices on ML are not very convenient. Try to buy directly in person, cash in hand to get the better deal.

    #5 - You can get free help from Chat GPT

    Chat GPT is a controversial AI engine, already banned (blocked?) in some countries. However, I find it extremely useful because you can ask it questions like a 5 years old, from "when was Buenos Aires established" to "what's the blue rate in Argentina". The most useful use of ChatGPT is to fix my writing in a foreign language or translate texts for me. For example, when I have to reply to a Brazilian client, I ask Chat GPT to translate my reply in Portuguese. When I am writing a work email in Spanish, I ask Chat GPT to fix my Spanish.

    #6 - Buy in specialized stores instead of supermarkets

    Contrary to the First World, in Argentina supermarkets are more expensive than smaller shops. We buy our paper items (roll of paper, toilet paper, tissue etc.) from the local perfumería, as it is usually cheaper than supermarkets and they offer a 10% discount on cash payments.

    Liquid soap - there are cleaning product stores where you can buy 1 lt bottles and 5 lt bottles for very cheap. As a reference, you can look on Mercadolibre.

    #7 - Install a water filter instead of buying bottled water

    #8 - Free museums

    Some museums offer free access to seniors, or very discounted rates. Others have a free admission day, such as the MALBA. On Wednesday, admission is 50% off for regular tickets, and free for seniors and disabled people.

    Once per year, there is a Museum Night (Noche de los museos) where about 40-50 museums are free and open at night, too.

    #9 - Free admission at the Teatro Colón

    Sometimes, the Orchestra or Ballet does a rehearsal open to the public for free. You have to stand in line to get your ticket, but if you have time... Sometimes they offer tickets at a reduced price for seniors and disables (like 2 USD for a night at the Opera!). These are advertised on the social media, such as on their website:

    #10 - Some supermarkets offer considerable discounts on low days

    Get a Coto customer card (free) can get you 15% off on Tuesdays. Limitations apply, but still...

    #11 - Credit cards and installments

    If you qualify for a local credit card, you can pay in installments to try to beat inflation.

    Both local debit and credit cards allows you discounts on certain days and in certain stores. These are in form of cashbacks.

  • I keep thinking I should use top #2. I’m out of the habit of midday eating a main meal but the advantages are right there. It also means I’m not turning up at opening time in the evening before the grill has fired up!

    Great post as always.

    The only reason why I am skipping lunch is because I am in class at 6 PM when I gets cravings. By the time I am out (usually at 9 PM), I could eat a cow guilt-free.

    I usually end up having pizza and beer. Still guilt-free. :th_giggle01:

  • Thanks for taking the time to put ths together serafina. :thumbup:

    I'm not much use when it comes to money saving tips as it's the missus who knows all the tricks....I just tag along to carry it all. We go to the mayorista once a week and use the 30% back offer. I usually get wine which is cheaper than anywhere else. She gets toilet paper. I also got a box of Kit Kats that were on a super cheap 2 for 1 offer.

    The retail trade here is a con...they have to do as they're told when it comes to prices.

  • Actually saving up money is impossible in this country because every day that you hoard it, it's worth less.

    But as for saving money on shopping, I ride 20 mins to Coto in San Isidro for free parking and 15% discount on certain days, which is every day for Mercadopago.

    Yesterday I bought the wine at 3 for 2 again, but one does wonder if they hike the prices simply to reflect this. The supermarkets are not charities after all.

  • What does your average Jose do here in that regard? I guess even buying a $USD 20 bill is worthwhile if you have a few spare pesos.

    I suspect you’re going to tell me that most people can’t even do that?

    That's an interesting question and since this regime of corrupt arseholes consider the middle classes (which they would like to wipe out) as dollar-hoarding anarchists who manipulate the blue market to topple them, one wonders if people of more humble means even think about the dollar exchange rate.

  • I totally understand saving dollars. But I’m not sure I understand why they would want to exchange for pesos except in emergencies. If you’re not exchanging on a regular basis, would you pay much attention to daily fluctuations?

    Perhaps my imagination isn’t healthy enough.

  • I totally understand saving dollars. But I’m not sure I understand why they would want to exchange for pesos except in emergencies. If you’re not exchanging on a regular basis, would you pay much attention to daily fluctuations?

    Perhaps my imagination isn’t healthy enough.

    I have experience of a couple of purchases we've paid in dollars. One was the car and the other a ride-on lawn mower. At the blue rate of course.

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  • I notice you drink it neat. Never with Coke and a few cubes of ice?

    Yesterday I managed to snag another bottle of Capt. Morgan Gold for $5600 and there are still some around on Mercadolibre.

    I prefer it neat. I've never tried Captain Morgan so no idea how they compare. There was a touch of spice in the HC 7 anos.