Living off of my Peace Corps allowance does not leave a lot of room for the finer things in life. I earn approximately $300 a month, or 1000 soles. With this money, I need to buy food, and pay rent, transportation, food, and youth group supplies. A couple weekends ago I splurged at Radio Shack on new speakers and Koss headphones (which, might I add, broke a few weeks later). And it got me thinking about my other occasional splurges… Remember that, when looking at spending power, a sol and dollar are or less the same. So when I say I’m spending 14 soles to buy a jar of peanut butter, imagine spending 14 dollars on peanut butter at the Piggly Wiggly back home. Yeah… ridiculous, I know.
1) Milkshakes (9 soles/$3): Nothing hits the spot like a chocolate strawberry milkshake from Café Andino. The first time I had one was when my Dad was down (I didn’t feel quite as bad ordering one because, well, my Dad was paying) and I was instantly hooked. A life saver after a long hike, when I have a sore throat, or when I’m craving a bit of home.
2) Peanut butter (14 soles/$4.50): What is life without peanut butter? When I don’t have my favorite peanut butter from home (Skippy reduced fat – creamy) I suck it up and buy Shurfine peanut butter at an exorbitant price. It’s usually half of my grocery bill for the week. It’s always worth it.
3) Skittles (3.50 soles/$1.50): I love Skittles. Enough said.
4) Exotic fruits (7 soles per kilo/$2.50): When buying fruit, I usually stick to apples, bananas and pears – the cheap options. But, every once in a while, I splurge on a half kilo of an expensive fruit - like plums or kiwi.
5) Coca Cola (1.50 soles/$.50): My only splurge at site. Okay, not actually a splurge but a treat nonetheless.
6) Showers (6 soles/$2): When I’m in Huaraz on a day trip, I always stop by the hostel for a hot shower. These weekly showers make me deliriously happy.
7) Dove shampoo, conditioner, and soap (35 soles/$12): My all-time favorite splurge. Since Aveda products are not available in Peru (I know, I’ve looked), Dove is the way to go. There is less expensive shower products available so I always feel a little guilty buying Dove but it’s worth it.
So, those are some of the things that I enjoy splurging on in Peru.