After having lived here for about a year and a half, I have learned from my mistakes, learned from the locals, and learned that if it seems too good to be true, it is exactly that. My hope is that these tips will help make your time in Barcelona more affordable, less stressful, and overall a richer experience.
Generally speaking, here are what I have found to be the cheapest in their respective fields:
- Night life hook-up: Aashi Guest List …Saying those 3 words translates into free entrance to over a dozen of the best clubs all over the city.
- Alcoholic beverage at bars: “una caña” (tap beer) and/or glass of house wine
- Caffeinated beverage at cafes: “un café solo” (shot of espresso)
- Mode of transportation: *looks at ground* your feet! BCN is a very walk-able city!
- Cell Phone Carrier: Yoigo… Students interested in having a Spanish mobile only for calls and normal texts will get the best bang for your buck doing a pay-as-you-go plan with “la tarifa del cinco” via Yoigo
- Stores for random crap: “los chinos” aka stores normally with signage reading “Bazars” of sorts, almost universally ran by Chinese immigrants.
- Grocery stores: Mercadona’s the cheapest overall, but there is also Al Campo, which is more like a Sam’s or Costco. These two are a better value than say Sorli, Bon Preu, Suma, and sometimes Dia.
- Clothing store: Primark. An Old Navy – Kohl’s – Payless hybrid.
- Metro tickets: If you’re going to be here for 3 months or more and you use the metro and/or buses multiple times daily, the option with the best value is to bite the bullet and purchase a “T-Jove” ticket (90 days, unlimited trips, 105 euros).
- Hair salon: Peluqueria del Café – it’s a small shop on Marina Street.
- Don’t tip. Unless you are in awe of the amazing service or just really want to, you don’t need to tip taxi drivers, bartenders, servers, hairstylists, etc. The most common tipping practice is if you do want to tip, leave the change in coins y ya esta.
- Bags and bread are not included. Bring reusable bags to groceries because they’re not included and you will have to pay for them, same for bread at restaurants. Nothing is complimentary.
- If you’re looking for gel manicures or reliable waxing, go to French Kiss on Port d’ Angel in the city center. A shiny, friendly salon, French Kiss does a great bikini wax for under 20 euros.
- Get a library card. Things the many, many public BCN libraries offer: free Wi-Fi, bathrooms, quiet study rooms, DVDs, wide selection of books in English, and obviously plenty of Spanish and Catalan finds as well. Free intercambios at Lesseps.
- Check to see when/ if museums are free before going; Picasso Museum, for example is free on Thursdays 7pm -9:30pm, and if you’re a college student with identification it’s always free.
- 100 Montaditos is a fun, tapas chain that caters to groups and those looking to get a lot for their euro. On Sundays and Wednesdays, almost everything on the menu is 1 euro! Great place to watch games and enjoy free Wi-Fi.