Work Abroad but earn in USD

Monday, February 06, 2006

Use Those Greenbacks: Picking Up a New Skill

For this post, I just wanted to make an observation. One of the things all expatriates should be doing while here in Argentina is taking advantage of the overvalued dollars they're holding on to. The key with Argentina is that you need to learn to buy locally.

Buying the Right Things

What do I mean by buying locally? Simple, buy stuff that's made here and that doesn't have an international price. If you walk into an electronics store, you're going to get overcharged no matter what you buy. All the stuff is imported. That means you're paying the international price, plus 21% VAT, plus an import tariff. The final price ends up being at least 50% higher than what you'd pay at home (and sometimes even more).

In general, food and household products are cheaper here, but not if you buy the imported brands. The same goes with furnishings for your house. If you buy imported, you'll pay a lot more. Even the locally made stuff is not incredibly cheaper.

The one market that is 100% local is services. That's the very best buy that you're going to make here. If you've ever wanted to learn an instrument, pick up golf, tennis, or some other sport, or take a class, this is where you should be doing it! The fact is, a golf instructor in Buenos Aires can't sell his services to Europe. He has to sell them to residents here. Its a local market.

I just recently started using a personal trainer at the gym -- something I did once or twice back in the states, but would never consider using on an on-going basis due to the expense. Well, here in Argentina it is possible because the fee you're paying is literally one-fifth of what you'd pay in the U.S.

Next up will be working on my tennis and/or golf game -- I've always wanted to improve. I've also been considering classes for photography, dancing, flying, and sailing. I'd be interested to hear what kind of classes and skills the rest of you are picking up, if you'd like to comment.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you recommend where to get piano lessons? Thanks

2/09/2006 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger rickulivi said...

Excellent advice.
My wife took a cooking class some time ago. She had a chef spend an entire day with her at his kitchen, and it cost far less than it would have costs in Calif. This was a one and one teaching class. It was wonderful.

2/10/2006 02:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there! I've written before to you, hoping you'll respond this time. Know you're busy, though.

Your recent post recommend a US expat in Bs As to take up an art or craft like photography because the prices
are in our favor. My Portena friend I have made her when I arrive a month ago recommended the same thing to me last night! But the question is, where do I go?

Do you recommend a WWW SITE through a university, i.e. La UBA or something, where I can take up a class or personal lessons of the sort? My interests are speaking more Spanish with people in groups, Bs As history, fishing, photography, cooking, singing and the like. I have eight years of Spanish behind me.

Thanks! I appreciate your help. And I know I'm not the only out there appreciating your site. You may want to be more specific in your postings for those who are living in the city like me. For example, you could answer the questions I posed here through your site.

Looking forward to your reply.

2/11/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger maskow said...

Exactly! Piano Lessons!

If you find someone post it back here...I'll do the same.

2/11/2006 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger maskow said...

I found UBA's Castellano para Extranjeros program to be terrific.

Way cheaper than private lessons and they gave me the discipline of a regular group setting that I needed.

I met some terrific people there...great opportunities for long term friends.

(Hey Ex-Paddy! Have you run into the Long Term/Short Term schizm in the expat community yet? It's an interesting dynamic.)

2/11/2006 07:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2 years ago I took private, one-on-one language lessons for the price of a New York cup of coffee. It was great, and she was excellent and lovely...
Still struggling with the language, though.

2/13/2006 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

This is a quote from another site i visit from time to time.

"I know of a place--my husband takes lessons at a studio called Franz Liszt on Ayacucho 1164. If you are a classical pianist, this is a good place for you. The cost is 160 pesos a month for 4 one hour lessons. (you can do 80 pesos a month for 2 classes if you just want a piano to practice on). You can practice on their pianos if you are a student Mon-Sat. They have 2 grand pianos and a couple of uprights. Oh, and the teacher doesn't speak English so it is a good Spanish workout"

Hope this helps.

2/14/2006 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Ex-Pat! Can you or another help? There is an institute advertising on a lighted sign on Viamonte around 2100 for classes in television producing, photography and the like. And they list a website, but I've forgotten it and won't be in BsAs again for a few months. Do you know the website address of this institute? I'd like to check out their course list.

2/28/2006 04:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is a question w/r/t gym memberships. I'm moving to the city in exactly two weeks time with savings and plans to stay until graduate school commences in the fall. I would like to know if foreigners are typically charged more and if there are any particularly popular/reasonably priced gyms downtown. I'd like to know what a reasonable membership fee would look like.

I love your site - it's been giving my parents and I some peace of mind as I prepare to leave!

Thanks again,

3/01/2006 03:30:00 PM  

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