Going to the grocery store when you are in a different country could be a little intimidating. But with a little bravery you can master grocery shopping like a native Panamanian! There are a few tips when you are grocery shopping in a country where the labels and signs are in Spanish. The first tip is to be a little adventurous. Don’t be afraid to try a new brand of product, or try a food that you have never experienced! For instance, if you normally buy “Doritos” when you lived in your home country, try a Panamanian brand, like “Kachitos”. You may find that you like the local brand better PLUS the local brand is less expensive. The worst case scenario is that you find you like the brand you are normally buy better, so next time you go to the store, buy what you want. You will be so proud of yourself that you tried something new. And you might surprise yourself to find that you not only like the local brands better, and you will save money in the process! By the way, if you buy the Doritos brand chips, you’ll pay a whopping $5.49 a bag. It pays to buy local products!
Another tip is to create two columns on a piece of paper. In the first column, list the things in the grocery store that you buy the most. Then using your Spanish/English dictionary or google translate, write the Spanish word next to the English word. See there, you are not only making it easier to shop but you are learning more Spanish in the process! An example: If you buy tuna in water the can will say : atún en agua. If you want to buy tuna in oil then the can will say: atún en aceite. It will make shopping for the first few times a lot easier if you are not guessing what things are! Be brave and resist buying the brands you have always used in the past. For instance, in certain cases you will pay a higher amount for your well known brands because they are imported. Notice that StarKist tuna (imported) is $2.40 a can but the local brand Two Oceans is only $1.08 a can. Buying local brands is one way you can save money in Panama.