gra-dult-hood n.

1. A stage in life between graduation and adulthood.
2. Gradulthood often involves jobs that don't fulfil a graduate's expectations.
3. A term coined during the recession.

Now That's What I Call Thrift #18

This week the thrift franchise has taken the opportunity to use one of their foreign correspondents with a “thrift abroad” from Dave Procter in Colombia.

Living costs in South America are a bit of weird subject. Some things are incredibly cheap; like domestic bills and rent. Last year I lived in a large 3 bedroom apartment in a complex with a swimming pool, guards and a parking place for about £90 a month, absolute bargain. Other things though, generally imported goods, can be incredibly expensive, I was looking at treating myself to a bar of Toblerone in Carrefour the other day and then saw it cost the equivalent of £9! All this means a gradult needs to be just as thrifty as in ‘Blighty’ in order to afford those scuba diving holidays to the Caribbean, my version of the European Ryanair city break.

#18: The almuerzo

The daily “almuerzo” (lunch) is perhaps the finest example of thrift I’ve ever come across. It’s a daily institution in Colombia, most people have at least one hour for lunch, sometimes two, and as a lot of people start work at 7.30am, it’s seen as an important time to relax and therefore something to be enjoyed. For anything ranging from around $4,000 (£1.30) to $7,000 (£2.30) in most restaurants and canteens, you’ll generally get a soup and salad to start, and a main course consisting of rice, a meat dish and some lentils or beans. To wash it all down you can also have as much fresh fruit juice as you want. Nothing fancy, it’s just healthy, tasty, wholesome food that’ll fill you up.

The almuerzo exists in various forms throughout most of Latin America, so if you’re thinking of travelling to this part of the world, make note of this as it’ll make your pesos go further to get that elusive Machu Picchu trek. You’ll soon realise that eating out in the evening can be pretty expensive anyway, so the almuerzo is the way forward for getting maximum thrift value!

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