Before you go peeking at our expense chart below, I need to make a few statements:
|LIVING EXPENSES||Boquete, PA||Pedasi, PA||Gorgona, PA||Tilaran, CR||Grecia, CR||Tamarindo, CR||Salinas, Ecuador||Bahia, Ecuador||Granada, Nica||SJDS, Nica||PV, Mexico||PV, Mexico||PV, Mexico|
|Rent incl utilities||$ 700.00||$ 750.00||$ 700.00||$ 500.00||$ 650.00||$ 1,150.00||$ 700.00||$ 830.00||$ 640.00||$ 900.00||$ 1,050.00||$ 1,004.00||$ 1,000.00|
|Phone incl data||$ 21.60||$ 21.60||$ 21.60||$ 15.00||$ 15.00||$ 15.00||$ 29.00||$ 29.00||$ 26.00||$ 26.00||$ 16.00||$ 16.00||$ 16.00|
|Groceries||$ 234.00||$ 302.00||$ 197.00||$ 226.00||$ 292.00||$ 242.00||$ 376.00||$ 481.00||$ 368.00||$ 228.00||$ 247.00||$ 308.00||$ 230.00|
|Meals||$ 412.00||$ 365.00||$ 647.00||$ 451.00||$ 246.00||$ 385.00||$ 418.00||$ 237.00||$ 328.00||$ 262.00||$ 274.00||$ 283.00||$ 167.00|
|Drinks Only||$ 66.00||$ 103.00||$ 89.00||$ 14.00||$ 206.00||$ 94.00||$ 81.00||$ 185.00||$ 169.00||$ 211.00||$ 193.00||$ 164.00|
|Entertainment||$ 200.00||$ 132.00||$ 60.00||$ 248.00||$ 94.00||$ 6.00||$ 50.00||$ 178.00||$ 8.00||$ 110.00||$ 114.00||$ 142.00|
|Exercise (yoga,etc.)||$ 38.00||$ 40.00||$ -|
|Incidentals/Gifts||$ 67.00||$ 26.00||$ 205.00||$ 61.00||$ 124.00||$ 132.00||$ 102.00||$ 66.00||$ 72.00||$ 106.00||$ 22.00||$ 4.00||$ 23.00|
|Trans (Bus/Cab)||$ 6.00||$ 116.00||$ 75.00||$ 97.00||$ 18.00||$ 125.00||$ 55.00||$ 8.00||$ 68.00||$ 72.00||$ 28.00||$ 5.00|
|Dental Cleaning||$ 30.00||$ 30.00||$ 30.00||$ 14.00||$ 14.00||$ 14.00||$ 7.00||$ 7.00||$ 8.00||$ 8.00||$ 8.00||$ 8.00||$ 8.00|
|TOTAL||$ 1,730.60||$ 1,773.60||$ 2,016.60||$ 1,431.00||$ 1,700.00||$ 2,256.00||$ 1,857.00||$ 1,836.00||$ 1,813.00||$ 1,775.00||$ 2,010.00||$ 1,958.00||$ 1,755.00|
|Expenses w/o Rent||$ 1,030.60||$ 1,023.60||$ 1,316.60||$ 931.00||$ 1,050.00||$ 1,106.00||$ 1,157.00||$ 1,006.00||$ 1,173.00||$ 875.00||$ 960.00||$ 954.00||$ 755.00|
|ONE TIME EXP.|
|Medical||$ 140.00||$ 128.00||$ 721.00||$ 160.00||$ 60.00|
|Tours||$ 377.00||$ 415.00||$ 308.00||$ 130.00||$ 125.00||$ 224.00||$ 190.00||$ 203.00|
|Hotels||$ 128.00||$ 231.00||$ 160.00||$ 225.00||$ 191.00|
|Transportation||$ 44.00||$ 60.00||$ 90.00||$ 20.00||$ 184.00||$ 30.00||$ 45.00||$ 64.00|
|Spanish Lessons||$ 285.00||$ 117.00||$ 124.00||$ 36.00|
|TOTAL ONE TIME EXPENSES||$ 172.00||$ 345.00||$ 321.00||$ 557.00||$ 1,935.00||$ 845.00||$ 1,072.00||$ 125.00||$ 429.00||$ 254.00||$ 320.00||$ 124.00||$ 96.00|
A few specific clarifications to help you understand the spending patterns:
*Gorgona, PA: Our apartment had a death trap of a kitchen, so we ate out often (25x). Thus, there is no separate amount in Drinks Only because we always had our drinks where we ate.
*Tronadora, CR: We have nothing in Entertainment because all of our Entertainment was actually “free”. We would go with friends to the Tabacon hot spring river with drinks & snacks and sit for hours in the steam for FREE! We also did not get any “medicinal” massages that we love so much that are included as Entertainment in other locations.
*Grecia: Here too when we went out for drinks, we ate.
*Salinas: Can’t put a finger on it as to why groceries were so much more except that everything was always just a bit more. A dollar here, a dollar there. Wine & beer were definitely way more for actually less quality.
*Granada, Nicaragua: I can truly attest that it's less expensive to live in Granada. So to explain why our costs were as much as they were is to explain how bad our living arrangements were. We spent every day AWAY from home as much as possible because it was the noisiest place and home we've lived in. We've now been in Latin America for a year and we "understand and get" noise!! This home was 10 times worse than anywhere else we've been by far!
So to compensate, we went and paid to go to a quiet swimming pool to the cost of $88. This also meant we spent more on drinks while out, it also meant that Mike left home every Sunday, Monday and Thursday for football and thus paid for more drinks out. I also crashed my computer and it cost me only $65 to get it fixed (Incidentals)! Wine & beer are inexpensive at most places. But, beware there are places where you will pay dearly! So always ask to see a menu and what the cost is.
*SJDS, Nicaragua: Our place was a real "efficiency" apartment and we didn't spend much time in it. The owners are dear people but the furniture in the living area wasn't comfortable at all and the space was the smallest we've had anywhere. We felt we paid quite a premium for what we got due to "high season", much more than expected for Nicaragua. Especially when compared to what we paid in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, also a surfing beach town and a country everyone says is way more expensive.
*Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 1st Month: It's football season & playoffs, so what can I say other than Mike enjoys watching the games with other people to get into the spirit. This means we've been out spending more than we would normally on drinks. Also, because we can't see the sunset yet from our home, we've taken to going down to the beach and having drinks. I've now been bribed away from my more expensive glass or two of wine ($3.50/glass) to the $1 margaritas. A cost savings that begins to add up. Also, because this is a much larger tourist town, there are many more entertainment options than we've had anywhere else. And, we're gladly taking advantage of it!!
*Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 2nd Month: Well, the BIG event of Super Bowl cost us $75, which is included in my costs above. However, what isn't shown is that Mike won the First Quarter pool and won $160! So we actually came out ahead with money in our pocket but since I don't post our income, it's still money we spent. Also, this is still a trial and error period here and we went to a function that we'll never go to again but it cost us $60 to figure that out!! Our rent is showing a bit less because we were able to pay in pesos and our landlord used a lower exchange rate than what we are getting for our money at the bank ATM, so a bit of a savings for us.
*Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 3rd Month: A totally normal month of living and, as you can see, expenses went down. We got into a routine and didn't eat out nearly as often. I would suspect that this would be true for any location we decided to settle in. We still went to some shows and to the movies. And, we certainly got together with friends.
Any comments or questions can be emailed to me directly at Tricia