I am traveling between Germany and Portugal this week. Since I got a much cheaper flight route from central Germany (instead of northern Germany, where I usually flight from), I decided to take that route for what I needed to stay at an hotel (altogether I probably saved 200 bucks, if not more). On top of that, my employer pays for hotel stays in cases like this, so it is kinda of a win-win.
However, they don’t pay for beverages from the mini-bar. I happened to be very thirsty at some point, so I decided to go for a water bottle from the mini-bar. I knew they are usually more expensive than anywhere else, but I was thirsty and could not buy it elsewhere. When I checked out, to by biggest surprise, it cost about 5 bucks! Yes, the price was probably there all along, but I never imagined a water bottle would cost so much. This left me angry, but the story doesn’t end here.
I flew to Porto, Portugal. I stayed at another hotel (which my employer also pays for, thankfully) as I don’t own real estate there. One of the things I love about Portugal is that everything (especially food) is dirt cheap. This time, I had a terrible experience, though. I stayed in a part of the city which I don’t really know, so I asked around for a good and cheap diner and I was recommended one. The dishes looked great, so I went for it. They brought me some very simple appetizers (what they call “entradas”), and as they were really simple, traditional appetizers and I was hungry, I ate a few. I am really sorry I don’t have a picture… But essentially we’re talking about bread and butter, really.
The main dish was good, but that was €13! And to my biggest surprise, the price of the appetizers blew it completely. They cost €5,5! You add an expresso to that and I end up paying 20 bucks for the meal. Boy, I am mad at that! In Portugal, you get to eat marvelous food for 5-6 bucks for most of the time, like the one I’ve got today:
This cost me €7, as I also had an espresso. It was damn good! So for yesterday’s dinner, I payed a 4x premium for absolutely regular food! If you were to have such a dinner every day, that would be €600 alone, for the month. For the case you don’t know, that this is more than the minimum wage in Portugal.
Bottom line: I like to live frugally. So frugally that I get sick mad when I get a horrible price/quality service. And my biggest point of this post is a request for you not to be like me. This causes too much stress. I can’t control it anymore, but I had a chance before. Early retirement, as many other early retirees said before, shouldn’t be about hurting yourself. You need to enjoy the road. €20 is nothing on my balance sheet.
Will pay got damn attention to appetizers in Portugal for the rest of my life!