Living in Rome can be a tad expensive, just like any European city. But don’t let this downside hamper your visit in the Eternal City. Enjoyment isn’t always equates to expensive after all. In fact, you shouldn’t be worry at all because there are tips and tricks for you to save that hard-earned money while living in the city.

So let us not beat around the bush and save some money!

To bargain some items, make sure to build a strong circle of friends. Yes, being a loyal customer can help you save money in other parts of the world, especially when it comes to things like airlines. But it helps you even more in Italy. Why? Because everything is based on who you know. And because, unlike in the U.S. or England, even (and especially) the smallest family-run establishments tend to adjust their prices depending on whether they consider you a friend. Make one local pizzeria, restaurant, fruit and vegetable stand, or shoe cobbler your favorite, and you just might notice that, by the third or fourth time you return, little charges will be knocked off your bill, the total will be rounded down, or you’ll get free items thrown in for free.

Shopping can be a bit pricey, especially in Rome. To address this predicament, shop during the saldi. Even if Rome’s prices seem high the rest of the year, that’s just because everyone is waiting for the saldi, that wonderful twice-annual tradition where every store in town slashes their prices. Generally taking place for six weeks, once around New Year’s and once in mid-summer, it’s the perfect time to stock up on clothes. It’s also when you should consider making pricier purchases, like leather boots, handbags, computer items, even a mattress.

Not only the shopping is expensive, but the food as well. The answer? Try to eat the like Romans do. At the risk of painting an entire culture with a broad brush, in general, Italians don’t eat dinner out every night, but cook (wonderful, big) meals for their families. They don’t drink, and they definitely don’t make a habit of shelling out for €10 cocktails at bars. So, when in doubt, take a cue from the people living around you. They’ve figured out how to live in Rome without going broke.