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The True Cost of Living in Italy

by Jo Wilkie

This weekend, I will continue with the Healing series, but I have some data points I would like to share here, because I think it’s very interesting.

About three months ago, I started using Pear Budget software to track my half of our budget. I haven’t been doing a very good job since we left the States of keeping track of where our money goes, and I love Pear budget!! Anyway, I have been surprised to note that we actually spend a LOT less on food here than we did in the States.

In round numbers, we spend about $300 less per month here. And Rome? EVERYTHING is expensive here.

I was talking with my husband about this last night and marveling at the change. The differences in what we eat are minimal, but significant enough to add up.

1. You can’t find convenience food here, ie; frozen meals, snack bars, etc. Italians? They eat real food. Now our family does too.
2. In that same vein, the only produce that is available is seasonal produce (so we gorge on asparagus when it’s available in the springtime) and, you can’t really find a lot of frozen foods. The end effect being we have almost nothing in our freezer (unless I’ve made it).
3. The food that you find really is sourced locally, for the most part. The items that are imported are more expensive, but, you would expect that, right? And the stuff that is local is so great, there is no reason not to buy it.

Amazingly enough, I can’t seem to recall if local foods in the States are more or less expensive. My recollection is that they were more expensive, because they are from smaller farms. Is this right?? With the economic situation, are you finding yourselves cooking more meals from scratch? Because I now have the numbers from our budget and spending to prove that eating fresh foods is a lot less expensive- at least here. AND to boot, the food that I make now is better- I used to think my meals from organic, canned beans and frozen, organic veggies were pretty tasty, but I’ve seen the light.

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