How to Save Money at Restaurants, Supermarkets and More in Samoa
Food is typically the third-highest expense for holidays in Samoa but it’s also where you have the highest disparity in costs. Eat out at upscale restaurants every day for every meal, including drinks, and you could be spending ST$150 per person per day; that’s ST$1,050 for a week! If you stay at beach fales with breakfast and dinner included and just buy some snacks from the supermarket in between, for instance, you can reduce the cost to as little as ST$20 a day. We have plenty of tips on how to strike the right balance of enjoying amazing food while sticking to a budget in this list of ways to save money on food in Samoa.
Want to know the typical cost of food in Samoa? Head over to The Cost of Food in Samoa: Restaurant & Grocery Prices.
1. Choose Beach Fale Rates with Breakfast and Dinner Included
It is pretty standard for beach fales to have breakfast and dinner included in their already inexpensive rates. Not only that, these meals are substantial, and you might find that you only need a quick snack for lunch. More on that later…
Learn more about how beach fales work in Staying in a Beach Fale in Samoa + 10 Essential Tips!
2. Eat a Big Breakfast at Your Resort or Hotel
On a similar note to the point above, if you’re staying at a resort or accommodation that includes a buffet breakfast, then go nuts! Enjoy a large breakfast of koko alaisa, supo esi, pancakes, toast, muffins, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, beans, bacon and more. That way, you perhaps will only need to snack or have a small lunch until dinner. That’s a huge saving made already!
3. Pick Up Samoan Baked Goods and Fruit for Lunch Instead of a Full Meal
Considering a large breakfast and dinner is the standard experience in Samoa, perhaps you don’t have to have such a substantial lunch? What’s more, the only restaurants that tend to be available when you’re out exploring are resort restaurants, which charge a premium for meals. Instead, convenience stores with their own bakeries are much easier to come by, selling all sorts of Samoan snacks like keke saiga, keke pua’a, paifala, banana chips, taro chips and more! Learn more about these snacks in our guide, Traditional Samoan Food: 20 Foods to Try in Samoa.
And you don’t have to neglect your vitamin intake either, as local fruit is sold for very cheap at markets and roadside stalls. Some beach fale hosts can even point you to a nearby banana or papaya tree, which can be found in abundance in the islands! Check out fruit to sample in 10 Exotic Fruits in Samoa You Have to Try!
4. Cook Your Own Meals
Admittedly, accommodations with kitchen facilities are very hard to come by in Samoa unless you’re staying in Apia. For the limited resorts and accommodations with self-catering facilities, however, buying local groceries and cooking for yourself will save you a ton compared to eating out continuously. So, stay in these accommodations with cooking facilities and follow the advice in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Samoa to learn about where to shop.
5. Scout Out the Cheap Eats!
There are plenty of local eateries, takeaways and even roadside barbecues in Apia and Salelologa where you’ll pick up a meal for about half the price of a resort restaurant! There are too many to list here, so check out The Top Cheap Eats in Samoa for recommendations.
6. Refill Your Water Purification Bottle
Whatever you do, don’t waste money (and kill the environment) by buying bottles of water throughout your trip. If you know you’re staying at a resort with filtered drinking water, have a few reusable water bottles to refill at the resort before you head out. Alternatively, we highly recommend using a water purification bottle, such as Lifestraw, which removes 99.999999% of bacteria and 99.999% of parasites from water. That way, you can refill the bottle from any tap water you come across. We’ve used ours right across the South Pacific with no issues!
For more tips on having access to water, check out Is the Water Safe to Drink in Samoa?
7. Make a Plan of Where You’re Going to Eat Outside of Apia
That’s right, there are very few dining options outside of Apia aside from expensive resort restaurants and the occasional cafe on the east coast of Savai’i. Check out The Food Guide to Upolu and The Food Guide to Savai’i and plan where you’re going to eat, so you’re not stuck dining at the most expensive resort restaurant.
8. Check Menu Prices on “Seki Eats”
Before you head out for dinner in Apia, get an idea of meal prices by browsing the Seki Eats app (Samoa’s answer to Uber Eats). Restaurants, takeaways and cafes list their menus (note, usually not their entire menu) on the app with prices, so you can get an idea of what establishments are in your price range. You never know, you might discover a hidden gem that only the locals know about…
9. Don’t Look for Western Food
Western food, particularly European dishes and European restaurants tend to be the most expensive options when dining out in Samoa. Instead, opt for local dishes, Asian dishes or fried food for more affordable prices.
10. Pay Cash to Avoid Credit Card Fees
When it comes to paying for food in Samoa, we recommend paying with cash to avoid card fees. Restaurants and supermarkets charge an extra 3-5% on all purchases made by foreign bank cards, which certainly adds up after a few purchases! Bring some cash to Samoa with you to start your first few days then exchange it for Samoan Tala either at Faleolo Airport, Apia or Salelologa. When you start to get low, withdraw as much Samoan Tala as you feel comfortable carrying from an ATM to see you through a few days after. Make sure you secure your cash, however, as petty theft does happen in Samoa.
More Ways to Save Money on Food in Samoa
That’s it for our list of the best ways to save money on food in Samoa. For more ways to shave off the cents when it comes to wining and dining, check out the following guides:
- The Cost of Food in Samoa: Restaurant & Grocery Prices
- The Food Guide to Samoa: Places to Eat, Food Tours & More
- Is Samoa Expensive?
Finally, get more frugal tips from The Backpacking & Budget Travel Guide to Samoa.