Archive | What Things Cost

Ice Cream Inflation…and How to Beat It

Ice Cream in Argentina - Inflation and DiscountsI truly believe Argentina has some of the best ice cream in the world. Unfortunately, Argentina also has inflation of around 30%.

What does this mean for ice cream? Well, a kilo of Freddo ice cream has jumped 119% since 2011! (If you happen to have USD you’re lucky as the price has decreased almost 25%.) Here’s some sample prices from the past few years:

November 2011: $80 pesos (U$S 17.39)
December 2013: $130 pesos (U$S 13.68 )
March 2014: $145 pesos (U$S 13.81)
January 2015: $175 pesos (U$S 13.06)
August 2015: $215 pesos (U$S 14.72)
January 2016: $250 pesos (U$S 17.73)

There’s only one way these numbers are going to continue going… up.

So, what’s the ice cream lover to do? Luckily there are some ways to get that cost down…

Store Specials
Most of the stores offer specials of some kind. Volta offers 2-for-1 kilos on Mondays. Freddo offers 2-for-1 specials on their new online ordering system. In addition, there is usually a lower prices on basic flavors like chocolate, strawberry and dulce du leche. Check out each store for it’s offers. (Freddo even has it’s promotions page online.)

Go Off-Brand
While the major chains have high prices, there are numerous smaller shops that have more reasonable prices. You may not get the same quality, but it should add up to some savings.

Get a Discount Card
All the newspapers and most of the cellular/Internet services have their own discount cards that offer reduced prices at certain merchants. We have Club La Nacion and we get 20% off at Freddo every day and two-for-one kilos Tuesdays and Thursdays just for showing the card.

Get Grocery Store Coupons
You know those long strands of paper that you get when buying something at the grocery store? Yeah, most of those are useless coupons for Dish TV or tire balancing, but quite often they’re discounts on ice cream. Be sure to check them out before throwing them away.

Of course, now that summer is here, I have not seen an ice cream discount in some time, but wait a month and they’ll most likely make their return.

Use a Daily Deal Site
This is perhaps the best way to save on ice cream. The daily deals sites always seem to have ice cream deals. Last week I bought a kilo of ice cream from Groupon for $87 rather than $175. Checking today, they also have a deal for two kilos with delivery for $170. You will need a local credit card to purchase from any of the daily deal sites.

So, even though the posted prices are quite crazy, you’ll never really have to pay full price if you follow the tips above. Now, off to the gym…


Health Care Costs in Argentina

Sister and BrotherWhile public health care in Argentina is free, most people who can afford it choose to go with private healthcare plans. Under private insurance, there is a much wider range of doctors and specialists available and less of a wait for services.

Private health care costs vary widely based on age, family size, plan options, etc. For a single person in their twenties, you may be able to find a plan for $800 pesos per month. One popular plan, OSDE 310, is available for around $1500 pesos per month. And yes, tourists can sign up for plans as well though terms seem to be 6 month minimums.

I thought it might be interesting to graph and show what my family of four pays for medical insurance. We have a mid-tier plan with a division of Swiss Medical, which is fairly comprehensive, but does not include free plastic surgery (yes, some higher plans include this).

The charts below show our insurance costs from January 2012 through today. First, here is our monthly cost in pesos:

And the same chart in USD at the blue rate:

As you can see, there is a huge increase in our peso cost. Our healthcare plan went from $2,334 in January 2012 to $5,474 in December 2014 – a 135% increase in three years! (Note: we added my son in August 2013, so that may have added some cost.)

However, in dollar terms, we went from U$S 542 in January 2012 (official rate and blue rate the same) to U$S 408 in December 2014 – a 25% decrease!

Unfortunately, most people live their lives in pesos, so health care costs that are increasing at least as quickly as Argentina’s sky high inflation are a real source of concern. I wish I could add more commentary to this post, but I am by no means an expert on this topic. I’d love to hear from others in the comments on their own experiences.