People have been asking about costs of everyday items where we live. I’ve been keeping receipts and thought I’d share what we pay for things while living in Granada, Spain.
Overall, we’re finding it very reasonable to live here. I suspect we’re in one of the cheaper areas of the country. I feel things in Granada are quite a bit less than bigger cities and high-traffic coastal towns in Andalucia. With that said, I also have seen that smaller, inland pueblos are even cheaper yet.
Inspired by a couple of Go Curry Cracker’s posts outlining their digs while traveling to different continents, I thought I’d show you what ~$1,300 per month (1,000€) looks like in Granada, Spain.
Fortunately for us, the U.S. Dollar has strengthened against the Euro quite a bit since we first arrived a mere six months ago. Back in July, our rent equated to about $1,430 per month. Now that figure is down to under $1,100.
What’s that you say? You need an abundance of cheap passport photos?
Please, for the love of Pete, do not make my mistake. Do not go down to your local Walgreens or CVS store and get them done there. It may seem like it is convenient, but here’s why it is a bad idea:
That kid working the photo counter was just trained yesterday on how to use the equipment and you’ll be his/her first customer.
Oh, and they’ll be able to get to you right after they check-out those 8 people in line in front of you.
You only get one try at your photo so you’d better make it a good one!
It’ll cost you over $10 per person for two (2) lousy photos of the proper size.
If you only need a couple of photos every 10 years for your passport renewal, this may be acceptable. If you are moving to new country, applying for visas, international driving permits, and to foreign schools, you will need umpteen numbers of passport photos. All potentially in different sizes, so…
When I started this blog, I put a reminder on my calendar one year out. I wanted to commit to trying this for 12 months. I had forgotten about it until it prompted me this morning that tomorrow, April 10 is its one-year anniversary from my first post.
If I can trust the analytic tool built into this thing, it says I get more views in a day or two now than I did an entire month early on. I feel some of my better stuff came during those earlier months so I thought I’d take this opportunity to call out a few.
In 2008 when I first started working for myself as an independent contractor, I went from a decent salary to a very decent salary almost accidentally. I had just left a terrible work situation that put a dent in my self-confidence and was feeling shell-shocked*. I was fortunate to return to work at a former employer to help with a merger project. It took a few weeks for me to get back to my normal rhythm but I did eventually. Better yet, I began receiving some nice pay checks.
In the early weeks of my new job I was still feeling the sting to my self-confidence left by my former employer so I partook in a classic American pastime: retail therapy. On one of my work trips to Chicago, I came upon a pair of fantastic $600 shoes at Nordstrom’s. I became obsessed with these shoes. I needed to have them. They would prove that I’d made it. They would prove that I was worthy**. So I bought them.
As a parent of almost 9-year-old twins, I’ve been thinking a bit about what activities we’ve paid for that have been worth their cost. I’ve been playing a little game where I ask myself if I had to do it over how much would I be willing to pay to have our children obtain a particular skill.
My filter for such a list is as follows:
Will this skill be useful throughout their life?
Will this skill be more difficult (and potentially more costly) to obtain at a later age?
Is this skill best taught by someone else?
Below is a list of my top 3 best buys. Our involvement in these as parents has been pretty minimal other than opening our wallets and schlepping them to the activity. I’m also coming at this from a perspective of dual-working parents. As a soon-to-be stay at home dad, I’d consider taking these on myself in lieu of the expense.**
** Where it makes sense. Does any one else have kids that listen and trust complete strangers more than you when it comes to learning something new?
Around this time of year, I start hearing and reading about people’s resolutions for the new year. A portion of them deal with their level of happiness and this idea that folks are going to resolve to be “more happy”.
I struggle with this for a couple of reasons.
1. Happiness is a byproduct and not a goal. It seems everyone’s time would be better spent understanding what actually causes them to be happy than making that itself the goal.
2. Constant happiness is unsustainable. Emotions are relative and in order to feel the peak sense of happiness, you also need to experience states of indifference or unhappiness. Every peak has two valleys after all. Maybe I’m getting hung up on semantics and the definition of happiness. I don’t know.
Beyond having our basic needs met, I tend to think people want to sense that they are fulfilled. Not content or happy, but that they are contributors and part of something greater. I know I do.
Forgive me while I stay on the numbers game for a minute here. This is the time of year I spend a healthy portion of time evaluating our finances from the previous one.
I must say, I feel like a bit of a schmo as I browse all my favorite personal finance blogs. Many of which are posting their yearly budgets. Mr. Money Mustache famously spends $25K per year, the 1500’s are shooting for a cool million to support their $30K of yearly expenses and Justin at Root of Good published his $32K retirement budget.
So who the heck are we that we need $50K? I’m not sure, so let’s dig into this a bit.
No, this isn’t a post about how to become one of the nation’s highest income earners. Not that kind of one-percenter. I’m talking about those tenets in life that probably fewer than 1% of us actually follow.
I like lists. I’m also a rule follower. So during my slow, snowy commute home today, I jotted down some rules about how to live a more meaningful and deliberate life. I’m not going to pretend I follow all of these to a ‘T’ but as I sit here and reflect, they certainly would lead to a “rich” life in the top 1% as I define it. And none of them have anything to do with money.