Month 3 (August 2014) In A Nutshell… Money Matters

August, I thought, was a quiet month… Until I started writing this post. We weren’t working the full month, but we were both earning money, here and there. Mike’s parents came to visit and Tarragona was celebrating it’s Patron Saint, Sant Magi. If you’re interested in seeing just how we kept our expenses to about £900 for two people then please feel free to read (and share)! Here is August in a nutshell! Please note: All costs are for two people!

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Zoe Geography
Countries visited: 1
Cities/Towns visited: 3
No. of beds slept in: 1
Modes of transport: Bus, coach and taxi
Distance travelled: 7.158 miles (11.520 km)
No. of time zones survived: 1
No. of languages encountered: 2 (Spanish and Catalan)
Money Matters
Accommodation: £375
Food: £125.57
Entertainment: £274.46
Activities: £53.33
Transport: £53.92
Internet: £0
Visas: £0
Extras: £18.45
Flights: £0

I should probably add here that I had to buy a new camera. I didn’t think it was fair to include it in our normal monthly costs, but for those of you that are interested I’m now armed with a beautiful Lumix Panasonic DMC-G1 that I bought for £118 (inc £5 postage)! I’m super excited to have a camera with an interchangeable lens option, a thread to mount filters onto and something that actually takes pictures when in manual mode.

Total money spent: £900.72 (not including the camera)
Daily Average: £29

Street art and painted posts in Tarragona

Most things have stayed the same between last month’s Money Matters and this one. We’re still living in the same apartment (remember, we got it cheap because we were staying longer?) and we still love it as much as we did when we moved in. Which reminds me… ahem… SIGN UP TO AIRBNB AND GET £15 OFF OF YOUR FIRST BOOKING!

Tarragona this month has surprised us. This very lazy and quiet city broke out into complete mania over Sant Magi. Turns out that three weeks a year this place goes crazy, and we just so happened to be living in the middle of it all and had plenty of time to fill.

The castellers (human towers) display for Santa Tecla, Tarragona

Our expenses were a little higher because we splurged on treating Mike’s parents. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It was Mike’s Mum’s birthday, hence their initial plans to holiday at this time. We suggested that they stay in La Pineda and we think they really enjoyed it and the few things we took them to see/do.

Pam and the boys from House of Illusion, Salou

These are some of our favourite activities from this month:

Moomads Top 3 things to do in Salou:

  1. House of Illusion. At 32 euros each I thought this was expensive, but having been I can honestly say it’s one of the best attractions in Salou. All inclusive drinks, delivered to your table throughout a VERY funny ‘magic’ show with plenty going on and not cringe worthy in the slightest. Highly recommended.
  2. PortAventura still makes our top 3 for Salou. Only now, you can do it for 25 euros each instead of 45 euros! See this post here that tells you all about.
  3. Inflatable sea slides. This is something we didn’t do, but the kids I had been looking after had an amazing time for 10 euros each for an hour. Their Mum, Becky, seemed to enjoy herself too!

When I asked Mike what his favourite things to do in Salou were, he said, “I dunno, I don’t like Salou.” Which I guess is a pretty fair statement to make. Since we’ve both spent a few weeks away from Salou, we both dread ever going back. Instead, we’ve fallen in love with Tarragona!

Moomads Top 3 things to do in Tarragona:

  1. Be sure to visit over a festival. The Sant Magi festivities were a bundle of fun that we just weren’t expecting. There is also the Night of Sant Joan, with it’s feature appearance from the Ball de Diables and Santa Tecla, which unfortunately we are leaving four days into (and before it really starts to get good 😦 ). (FREE!)
  2. Enjoy the view from the Mediterranean Balcony. (FREE!)
  3. Watch the castellers (human castles) in competitions or at their training halls. (FREE!)

We visited three towns in August, one of them being La Pineda, where Mike’s parents were staying. For the ease of keeping all of this info in one place (as September is about to get pretty hectic), I would like to bring your attention to Aquopolis (Aqua-PO-lis?) despite us not actually visiting this month.

Aquopolis is a water park and dolphinarium. It’s also pretty much the only thing to do in La Pineda (other than use the plethora of hotels for their facilities – on the sly, of course). You can read all about it here, and it costs between 14.90 euros and 25 euros for adults. It’s priiiittyyy goooood.

Star of the dolphinarium, Aquopolis, La Pineda

Total money earned: £450 (540 euros)
Although we both quit our jobs at the beginning of August we were still able to earn a little money doing the odd day or two. Earning just this little bit of money has meant that we’ve hardly had to use the card at all since arriving in Spain. In fact, I think it’s only been used when paying for tickets over the internet.
I underwent some old school child minding, which kinda just involved taking them to the pool, playing with their toys and stopping them from hitting each other. Mike covered a few days of work at the restaurant he was previously employed at when other’s needed days off. Heather and Ady at Uncle Sam’s in Salou are now being incredibly helpful in our search for winter work. It all worked out very well in the end.
August was quite a big month even if it didn’t feel like it. We’ve not gone very far or done very much but we’ve taken in a lot of culture. I should say cultures, because what we’re used to in Tarragona is certainly not what you get in Salou or La Pineda. It’s been both good, bad and frustrating (following some lengthy interview procedures for work this winter that unfortunately went nowhere). But overall, I think we can say we are happy to have ‘made it’ outside the UK for yet another month!
Some good news for this month, Dani at the Credit Card Insider sent Moomads our first formal email asking for advice and an insight into our travels. If you would like to check out our response on how to maximise your travel experiences the Moomads way then click here. It was a very exciting moment for us!

I’m going to leave you with all that to digest! I have an upcoming post about Tarragona (including many a festival antic and pretty pictures) and I will also be posting about our upcoming travel plans in the next week!
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