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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cece's Advice #2: Don't Purchase Anything Without Checking the Price

Cece's Advice #2: Don't Purchase Anything Without Checking the Price

I fell victim to purchasing items, mainly food ones, without double-checking or asking about the price quite a few times. By assuming food items like a bag of chips, or even a box of small granola bars would be reasonably priced, even with the currency conversion, I quickly learned to ALWAYS check the prices for further purchases. My issues really only occurred in Paris but I'm not blaming the French for my problems. France, along with Austria, is an expensive country to begin with and as it was the first I visited I had all my problems there. But I did learn from them, hence why I am writing up this advice.

The first case of not asking the price was at the Opera Garnier. Since I was not able to see inside the theater, I decided to purchase postcards...something I imagined would cost 0.50-1 Euro each. I bought two and they ended up being like 3.50-4 Euro. I didn't think about it initially but when I did the Euro-Dollar conversion I'm pretty sure I swore a little. The 2nd instance was at the Eiffel Tower right before my night bike tour. I hadn't had time to get a mini meal or anything so I grabbed a King Size KitKat and a bag of potato chips. Yes, this was the Eiffel Tower so I expected the prices to be a little inflated, but it was 4.50Euro for both items. Once again the Euro-Dollar conversion hit me hard.

Finally, when I went to the mini-market store in Montparnasse I got cheese, small granola bars and pudding. The granola bars didn't have a price on them, but the box next to them which was bigger did so I assumed these would be around the same price. Doing the math after purchasing, the granola bars were priced at 5Euro, 1.5 times the amount of the other box. My reaction: GAH! Maybe I got the cheese price wrong or the pudding price wrong, but either way I didn't check on the price and language barriers made it hard to me to question it.

Which gets me to my advice for anyone traveling in a foreign country while trying to maintain a budget: don't purchase anything without checking the price first. This will make you feel better and maybe you'll save a few bucks. When abroad, and as money-conscious as I am, shocks to the system because you've spent way more than you expected aren't fun. They're just not. So take a few minutes of your time to make sure you're getting what you want for the price you think.

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