Squeezing the most out of life | An Aussie and a Colombian living life with a wandering spirit. Eight years together & over 60 countries up our sleeves, we're sharing the love |

Gluttony on a budget

Champagne on a beer budget is a good Aussie expression I like to refer to, even though I know it doesn’t sound like much fun to skimp on food! Fine tuning our taste buds, to reflect our wallet, has been an interesting challenge – but we haven’t exactly been going hungry. We have managed to hone down eating costs to only $100 USD a month each. And there is definitely no sign of emaciation.

It’s a no brainer that eating in season, buying local and cooking at home are the main ways to slice expenses. But we have some other tips to share, especially for those in the same unemployed or long term travelling boat.

Realise beans have more going for them than a personal contribution to global warming – high in protein, cheap as, well beans – you can’t go wrong. For about 50 cents a packet of dried happiness, you can keep the fart jokes flying, save on heating and get in touch with a world of warmth. Lentils, chick peas, white beans, split peas, kidney beans – all local options for spreading the love in Argentina.

Go mostly vegetarian – not that we are pushing a veg philosophy but it’s always going to cost less to reduce the number of meat meals – quality meat any way. Do your bowel a flavour and embrace more green things. Don’t shop at the supermarket, the local verduleria is your best bet for quality, price and taste.  There are also many take away, pay by the weight, vegetarian buffets dotted around Buenos Aires.

Learn to like soup – apparently if you know how to cook some legume and veggie soups for winter, the water content alone leaves you feeling full for longer. For a few dollars you can make a massive pot of sweet potato, lentil, ginger and chilli goodness. Root vegetables like pumpkin and beetroot go along way for a few cents.

Lower your expectations – the ingredient options in Argentina are lacking in variety compared to many countries. Get surfing for new recipes that the locals are used to creating with what they have. Stop staring in the fancy restaurant windows and remind yourself that being a ‘long term looking for a new life in a new country person’ requires some abstinence.

Drink less – save up your drinking nights, ditch the booze and get that happy glow quicker because you have lowered your usual piss-head toxicity levels. You can still relish those cheap ass local bottles of red – just drink at home before you go out like the Uni days. The local spirits are even cheaper than the vino, but for $1 USD a litre of vodka we have yet to brave the brain damage. Drink mate tea to fill you up, feel better and be nice to your liver for a change.

Embrace your inner pastry devil – for a couple of dollars you can eat a hearty amount of calories and stave off hunger. The media lunas or croissants are heavenly, let alone the array of empanada fare – meat and cheesy options are the cheapest available snack outside your kitchen for about 70 cents each. For $2 USD at a cafe you can get three media lunas, a juice and a coffee.

Try some new foods – like the odd looking vegetable options you have never seen before. Grown on local farms they are the cheapest per kilo choices at your local veggie shop. Starchy plantain, tapioca, white eggplants, maize and an endless world of weird looking potatoes awaits.

Befriend the local Parilla man – apparently even the not so high quality meat here is great. On every city block awaits a rosy-cheeked, chunky man standing next to an open fire  lovingly grilling some cheap cuts. For about $3 USD you get a fat white bun with a large chunk of beef and a good choice of sauces to slather on. Park food panchos or hot dogs (about $1 USD) are also high in meat happiness and abundant everywhere.

Pack and go – your Mother knew what was good for you. Get nostalgic and take lunch in your pack when you visit the free stuff around town. If you lived on bread and cheese hiking around Europe, you will know what we’re talking about. The bonus being plenty of friendly folk to chat to on all the local park benches.

Consider the local situation – the other night I watched a well dressed man rifle through a bin. Another time a lady was fossicking through the street rubbish and picking out the best bits of  bread dumped by the bakery. People here are struggling to find work, let alone eat good food. A big part of travelling is keeping things in perspective and remembering that most of the time we are lucky to even have options for our growling hunger. Suck it up!

If all else fails you could consider practicing your stealth tactics, or bow and arrow skills, and get hunting in your local park. We’ve heard the cats are tasty!

Bought to you by Dodgy Planet – a scabs guide.


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There are 4 Comments to "Gluttony on a budget"

  • Rusty Wood says:

    Hello gorgey and spunkola. I am laying in bed with my poxy little phone browser, reading your exploits. I have been so busy at work I haven’t even had a chance to catch up with you. I’m so sorry to read the job situation. Sadly as is usually the case the positions are waiting in the towns and villages far away from the bright lights. I know how your travel spirit will be yearning for some wide open spaces – perhaps the move will be a good thing 🙂 In the meantime I hope you can enjoy your lease in BA.

    The puppies are snoring beside my bed. Sasha is smashed after a late session of agility training. She is going through tunnels, climbing ramps and jumping over and under gate obstacles now. She stares intently with those big intelligent eyes. The all knowing wolf beast.

    Love to you both. Long email to come soon.


  • sporks says:

    Sounds like the all knowing, wolf beast ‘kill machine’ project is going smoothly! Good to hear it, has she grown any beastier? Photos?

    It’s all good on the leaving BA front, exciting actually (you know me well) just trying to find cheap stuff to do until we go WWOOFing in the wild early September. Heading West tomorrow on a cheap ass train to see what we can see. Maybe we’ll even brave the tent in the cold. Maybe.

    Glad your busy and loved up. Big hug to you both and a hi from Andres! Kris x

  • russsell says:

    My budget no longer allows me to drink like I like to, and my liver is happy about that.

  • sporks says:

    Me too Rusty – believe it or not I have not tasted a vodka since leaving Australia! And the red cannot be approached with quite the same gusto. Yay for Liver. Kris

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