The 10€ Challenge

Although I generally believe in enjoying my holidays, this extended travel is rather a different beast, and I wanted to experiment with just how achievable it can be. After Barcelona I found my bank account somewhat worse for wear so I decided to set myself a challenge to spend only 10€ a day for the next week. Now bear in mind I had already paid for my accommodation and transport, so this rather tight budget relates to food and entertainment costs only.

 

I had also already done some grocery shopping when I arrived in Madrid so there are a few items I already had, which admittedly may be considered cheating a little, but I’ll try to indicate their approximate costs in parentheses and add them on to my daily real spend to give you an idea. These items were:

 

  • 3 apples
  • 2 mandarins
  • 2 tubs of yoghurt
  • 1/2 block of butter
  • Honey
  • Jam
  • 1/3 bag of muesli
  • 1€ bag of toast crisps
  • Mini egg tortilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 bag of pasta
  • 3/4 jar of pesto
  • Parmesan
  • 1 small can of grilled peppers
  • 1/2 a fresh red pepper
  • 1/4 large tomato
  • Some coffee sachets and loose leaf tea which had travelled all the way from Australia
  • 4 packets of breakfast biscuits
And finally, I admit that this isn’t the fullest of tourist schedules as I was here for 9 days, and am travelling more slowly with time set aside each day for work, writing, learning Spanish, doing laundry and travel planning etc. But you could easily fill the rest of your day with more walking around these beautiful cities. The parks in Madrid are extensive and I barely scratched the surface of them.

 

Ok? Ok. Here we go.

 

Day 1: Madrid, Wed 15 Feb
Breakfast
  • Yoghurt with muesli (0.75€)
  • Apple (0.20€)
  • 4 tostada crisps with butter and honey (0.56€)
  • Coffee sachet (0.25€)

Total: (1.76€)

 

Lunch
100 Montaditos. This is a sort of Spanish Subway, a chain with outlets all over the city – its a cerveceria or kind of beer cafe that sells miniature sandwiches. Weds to Sunday everything on the menu is 1€ each.
  •  3x montaditos + bottle of water (normally I bring my own but I didn’t take my backpack today) 4€
Total: 4€

 

Dinner
  • Fried rice (pre made in supermarket) 3.14€
  • Fresh capsicum (0.32€)
Total: 3.14€ (3.46€)

 

Entertainment
  • Walking through Jardines de Sabatini, Templo Debod gardens and Parque del Oeste 0€
  • Visit Palacio Real museum free Wed/Thu 4-6pm 0€
  • Set up a blog about keeping a budget!! 0€
Total: 0€
It’s really quite a pity that the rose gardens in Parque del Oeste were not in season as I’m sure they must be very beautiful when flowering!
By the way, when something is free, line up early!! I joined the queue way back here…! Yup, it took an hour to get to the front.
wp-1487868319430.jpg
Daily spend: 7.14€ (9.22€)

 

Day 2: Madrid, Thu 16 Feb
Breakfast
  • Breakfast biscuits (0.50€)
  • Tea
Total: (0.50€)

 

Lunch
Lunch was a hostel cooking experiment as I only had a microwave, no stove: pasta with buttered tomato, pesto, parmesan and a poached egg. So I admit today has been a bit of a cheat as I already had these items!
  • Pasta with egg (2.05€)
  • 2x toast crisps (0.09€)
  • Mandarin (0.40€)
Total: (2.54€)

 

Dinner
Back to 100 Montaditos because it was convenient, although it wasn’t 1€ day it was still very cheap. I do realise that some people might want to eat more than this but it’s a great budget option and their sandwiches still feel healthier than McDonald’s! (Onion rings aside)
  • 2 montaditos 2€
  • Onion rings 2€
  • Glass of sangria 1.20€
Total: 5.20€
wp-1487868378709.jpg

 

Entertainment
I tried to go back to the Palacio Real as unfortunately the main part was closed the previous day when I visited, but still had no luck. However, the Museo Cerralbo is also free on Thursdays from 5-8pm. You could also take some time to visit one of the famous food halls such as Mercado San Miguel (although this may increase the temptation to spend money, but some reasonably priced tapas options are available).
  • Gratis entry to museums 0€
  • Gatoteca cat cafe (ok not a usual tourist activity! Also includes 1 drink) 5.50€
Total: 5.50€
Daily spend: 10.70€ (13.74€)
Weekly total: 17.84€ (22.96€)

 

Day 3: Toledo, Fri 17 Feb
Breakfast
  • Breakfast biscuits (0.50€)
  • Apple (0.30€)
Total: (0.80€)

 

Lunch
Restaurante Palacios. The food can honestly only be described as ‘basic’ at best but it was sufficiently filling for a big day of walking around and for that purpose you can’t really fault a 2 course meal with dessert, bread and drink for this kind of price.
  • Set menu 6.95€
Total: 6.95€

 

Dinner
Cheaping out at the hostel again with my previously bought supplies due to already overspending today.
Pasta with pesto (1.15€)
Total: (1.15€)

 

Entertainment
  • Alcazar Toledo military museum (normally 13€) student entry 0€
Museum of Knights Templar. Unfortunately, this was a waste of money. Hardly any artifacts on display and most of the information provided could probably be found on Wikipedia. But it does explain why Toledo is full of shops selling swords.
  • Student entry 4€
  • Lots and lots and lots of walking 0€
Total: 4€
Daily spend: 10.95€ (12.90€)
Weekly total: 28.79€ (35.86€)

 

Day 4: Madrid, Sat 18 Feb
Breakfast
  • Coffee (0.25€)
  • Toasts with honey (0.56€)
  • Egg (0.50€)
  • Mandarin (0.30€)
Total: (1.61€)
  • Coffee 1.70€

 

Lunch/Dinner
I visited the monthly food and produce market at the Matadero Madrid and lunch kind of bled into dinner through the late afternoon.
  • Mini hamburger 1€
  • Water 1.5€
  • Mushroom samosa 1.5€
  • Large slice of morcilla and apple empanada (these are large like a pizza or pie, not like the small samosa style empanadas) 5€
  • Huge slice of chocolate cake 3€
Total: 12€

 

Entertainment
  • Museo del traje (gratis hours) 0€
  • 2 temporary exhibitions 0€
  • Walking in Matadero monthly produce market
Total: 0€
Daily spend: 13.70€ (15.31€)
Weekly total: 42.49€ (51.17€)
A little over budget today as well, but so far not tracking TOO far over for the week.

 

Day 5: Madrid, Sun 19 Feb
Brunch
Finally a sleep in and then a large brunch.
  • Large slice of chorizo tortilla with coffee, orange juice, bread and peppers 6.60€
Total: 6.60€

 

Dinner
I’m getting a little sick of pesto by now but it serves it’s purpose! And puts me back on track for the week.
  • Pasta with pesto (1.15€)
  • Fresh capsicum (0.32€)
Total: (1.47€)

 

Entertainment
I wasn’t a tourist today as I had some work to do but there are plenty of free options in Madrid on a Sunday including the weekly Rastro market in La Latina, the Archaeological museum and main museums also have various free opening hours so you could easily fill your time for free (just be prepared to queue!)
Total: 0€
Daily spend: 6.60€ (8.07€)
Weekly total: 49.09€ (59.24€)

 

Day 6: Madrid-Seville, Mon 20 Feb
Breakfast
  • Yoghurt (0.50€)
  • Tortilla (2.20€)
Total: (2.70€)
  • Apple (0.30€)

 

Lunch
  • Sandwich 3€
  • Coffee 1.50€
  • Popcorn snack 1€
Train station lunch, what can you do?
Total: 5.50€

 

Dinner
  • Tapas 9.30€
Total: 9.30€

 

Entertainment
  • Walking!
Total: 0€
Daily spend: 14.80€ (17.80€)
Weekly total: 63.89€ (77.04€)

 

Day 7: Seville, Tue 21 Feb
Breakfast
  • Breakfast biscuits (0.50€)
Total: (0.50€)
  • Water 1.50€

 

Lunch
  • Shared tapas lunch 10.50€
Total: 10.50€

 

Dinner
This is a bit of a cheat, but I had a terrible headache this day and went to sleep early without any dinner! So no spend here.

 

Entertainment
  • Walking tour 5€
  • Las Setas 3€
Total: 8€
Daily spend: 18.5€ (19€)
Weekly total: 82.39€ (96.04€)

 

CONCLUSION
This challenge was probably a bit unrealistic when staying in hostels/hotels without proper kitchen facilities. Having said that, I didn’t go too far over (except when socialising). So yeah, if you want to spend very little money, can cook, and don’t plan to socialise too much (or are cooking WITH your social group!) then it’s completely achievable to spend less than 10€ per day on food and entertainment in Spain. Just make sure you check out those free opening hours in advance, and enjoy the long beautiful walks!!

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