Whether traveling or living in Spain, we all want expert advice on finding bargains. Lauren Aloise knows her city well and gives the inside Scoop on minding your euros.
By Lauren Aloise
It’s a question on everyone’s mind when living in a big capital city– how can I save some money? Luckily, in Madrid it is pretty easy to hold on to your hard earned euro once you know a few tricks and websites to help you out. Here are some of my tried and true tips for saving money in Madrid.
1. Subscribe to money saving websites
One of the main ways I find out about free events in Madrid is by subscribing to some excellent websites. These informational sites have already scoured the web to bring readers the best in inexpensive Madrid entertainment, shopping, dining, deals, etc. So instead of spending time doing the research yourself, I recommend you check these out.
2. Stay informed by the City Hall:
Madrid.es is run by the City Hall and is home to the official city agenda. As most events are public and put on by the city, they are usually free. This should be one of your first stops when looking for things to do in Madrid!
3. Use the Library
If you are living in Madrid and looking for a way to save money, there is no better place than one of the many public libraries. Most have sections with books in English, and many also have free wifi access and areas to work.
4. Find free tapas
Whether or not you consider them “free” (many point out that they are simply included in the price of the drink) tapas can be a really cheap way to eat in Madrid– if you know where to go. The bars that generally serve free tapas are unassuming and traditional. You might have to try some pretty bad tapas before finding the gems, but once you find them you’ve struck gold!
5. Walk the city
Before you invest in a metro pass, think twice and ask yourself if it is really practical. If you won’t be leaving the center of Madrid it is likely that walking everywhere would be a healthier and more environmentally (as well as economically) friendly option.
6. Don’t buy new
As the longtime home to one of Europe’s biggest flea markets (El Rastro), it’s no surprise that the current trend in Madrid is second hand markets filled with used clothes, furniture, and more. Check out the city agenda for different market locations. Another option is joining Facebook groups and websites where people advertise goods they no longer need. Within the expat community people are always moving, and often need to get rid of great furniture and appliances for very cheap prices.
7. Check for discounts
It sounds obvious, but it is very easy to forget to check for discounts, assuming there won’t be any. Not true! Luckily, Madrid is filled with discounts for museums (most are free in the evenings), nightclubs (most are free before 1:00 a.m.), and restaurants. Check sites like Groupon and LetsBonus.
Overall, living in or visiting Madrid is only as expensive as you make it. You can certainly live the high life here, but with only a few simple tips and tricks you can have an amazingly eventful schedule without spending very much at all.
Originally from small-town Massachusetts, Lauren Aloise always planned on trading cold, rural winters for the buzz of a big city. Currently going on her fourth year under the Spanish sun, she lives happily in busy Madrid where she runs Madrid Food Tour and writes about travel and expat life at Spanish Sabores. She appreciates fantastic cuisine and the high quality ingredients found in any Spanish kitchen, and when not writing is surely out for a tapa and a glass of Spanish wine.