26 Dec, 2023 @ 12:45
1 min read

WATCH: American expat in Spain is shocked by how much he can buy with $20 in Mercadona

An American shopper in Mercadona

REGULAR users of video-sharing social network TikTok in Spain will no doubt have been served videos this year of American residents of Spain running down the differences between supermarkets in their home country and their adoptive one. 

A variation on this theme, and one that is a worldwide phenomenon and not limited to Spain, is the $20 challenge: an experiment to see exactly how many groceries you can buy with 20 bucks.

The latest of these videos to catch the attention of Spanish users of TikTok came from a user called DameDamian. In it, he visits a branch of Mercadona and records a $20 shop, grabbing a carton of apple juice, a dozen eggs, two fuet sausages, a bottle of Powerade, some bacon, a deodorant, some doritos, a can of corn, a loaf of bread, some gum and a packet of fresh pasta.

The total comes to €18, which is just over $20. 


This is what $20 gets you in Spain ??

? original sound – DameDamian

“If we were in America this video would have been over with like the third item I got,” he tells the camera while on his shop. “It’s crazy to see how much cheaper everything is here.”

The video has racked up more than 118,000 ‘likes’ on the social network and more than 1,500 comments.

“I’m moving to Spain,” wrote a user named Sorayadareal, while another commenter named MidnightForeign speculated that the same shop would have cost $35 to $40 in the US.

But one user, called Oli Haciendo Cosas, pointed out something that DameDamian may not have taken into account.

“The difference in salary of y’all in the US is way above ours in Spain so honestly…”

According to website Expatica, the current average wage in Spain is just under €30,000, which is lower than many other countries in Western Europe, and well below the average in the United States of $60,000 (€54,485). 

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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