Cost of Living in Costa Rica

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Costa Rica?

An important factor that determines the cost of living for foreigners in Costa
Rica is their lifestyle. If you are used to a wealthy lifestyle, you’ll spend more
than someone accustomed to living frugally. Either way, you will still find
Costa Rica to be a bargain.

Despite having one of the highest standards of living in Latin America,
purchasing power is greater in Costa Rica than in the United States or Canada.
San José’s cost of living ranks close to last when compared to 144 cities
worldwide. To see where Costa Rica ranks, see http://www.finfacts.com/
costofliving3.htm. The cost of living in Guatemala City or Panama City is
about 14 percent higher than in San José. Corporate Resource Consulting, a
firm that compares costs of goods and services, rates San José among the least
expensive cost-of -living cities in the world. It is second to Quito, Ecuador,
in the Americas in terms of affordability. CNN reports that Mercer Human
Resource Consulting also finds the country of Costa Rica an inexpensive
place to live.

In most areas, housing costs less than in the United States and hired
help is a steal. Utilities (telephone service, electricity, and water) are cheaper
than in North America. You never need to heat your home or apartment
since Costa Rica’s climate is warm. You need not cook with gas, since most
stoves are electric. These services cost about 30 per cent of what they do at
home. Bills for heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer can
cost hundreds of dollars in the United States, neither of which is necessary
in the Central Valley. Public transportation is also inexpensive. San José
and surrounding suburbs occupy a small area. A bus ride across town to a
neighboring city like Alajuela, usually costs $0.50 to $.90 depending on the
distance. Bus fares to the provinces cost no more than $20 to the furthest
part of the country (see Chapter 10). Taxi travel around San José is also
inexpensive.

Water is relatively inexpensive in Costa Rica, and most monthly water
bills amount to no more than $8 to $15. Low per-unit costs are not the
only reason for cheap bills – many Costa Rican-style appliances are geared
toward water conservation: Semi-automatic washing machines consume very
little water, and low-flow, on-demand showers save additional water. Most
dishes are washed by hand.

A gallon of regular gasoline costs about $4.20, making Costa Rica’s
gasoline prices among the lowest in the Americas (To figure the cost of
gasoline per gallon in dollars take the actual price per liter in colones, divide
it by the exchange rate in colones and then multiply by 3.8). You can find
out the actual gas prices see: http://www.recope.go.cr/info_clientes/
precios_productos/.

Only oil-exporting countries such as Mexico and Venezuela have cheaper
gasoline. However, you do not really need a car because public transportation
is inexpensive and accessible. If you must have a new car, remember that they
are very expensive here due to high import duties. In Costa Rica people tend
to keep their cars for a long time and take good care of them. We recommend
buying used cars since they are usually in good mechanical condition and
their resale value is excellent. Food, continuing education, entertainment
(movies cost about $3 to $4) and, above all, health care, are surprisingly
affordable. Both new and second-hand furniture is priced very low.

When you have lived in Costa Rica a while, finally get settled, learned
the ins-and- outs and made some friends and contacts, you can cut your
living costs more by sharing a house or apartment, house-sitting in exchange
for free rent, working full-or part-time (if you can find legal work legally),
starting a small business or bartering within the expatriate community. Doing
without packaged and canned imported brand-name foods and buying local
products, eating in small cafés or sodas instead of expensive restaurants and
buying fresh foods in bulk at one of the weekend farmers markets (ferías).

Is Costa Rica affordable even for people
on a low budget?

Retirees range from the person squeaking by on $700 a month in
U.S. Social Security to someone who can write a check for a $450,000
oceanside condo.
But those short on funds usually want to know how low can you
go. Because Costa Rica is a socialist country, great attention is paid to
the costs of public services. In simple terms, they are a steal. And they
will continue to be. Want a cell phone? The Instituto Costarricense de
Electricidad will charge you a base rate of 3,375 colons or about $8.10
a month. A land line will cost 3,220 colons or $5.88 a month.

Basic Internet hookup can be had for 8,350 colons a month or
$28.25. But then there also is the charge for using the telephone to connect
to a server. The alternative, a cable hookup, can cost about $18 for
basic service which usually is sufficient for one household. And there is an
obligatory purchase of cable television. The price also depends on which
company has the service contract for the specific geographical area.
Shopping at the weekend farmer’s market or ferias where vegetables
and otherv agricultural products are sold far below supermarket prices.
Even in the supermarket, some products are price controlled. Milk
is 1,430 colons a gallon or $2.61.

Seats in the Teatro Nacional for a major orchestra performance can
be just 8,000 colones or about $14.60. The cheap seats are 3,000 colons
($5.50) and all tickets are subject to a 10 percent discount for
senior citizens. Movies are only $4.00.

The ciudadano de oro card is accepted universally and can mean
deep discounts. To get one, an expat has to have a pensionado, rentista,
inversionist or residencia cédula.

Bus fares are a steal to begin with. The fare from San José to Tamarindo
on the far Pacific coast is 3,055 colones or $6.23. That’s nearly an all-day
ride. And in the city few routes are more than 250 colones (about 45 cents).
Taxis also are a deal, although recent increases have Costa Ricans
unhappy. The first kilometer of a taxi ride is 420 colones or about 77
cents. Additional kilometers in the city are still 380 colones (69 cents).
Those are definitely not New York City prices.

There are the apartments. Even after paying the informal tax levied
on those who do not speak Spanish well, a decent two-bedroom, secure
unit can be had for $450 a month. An A.M. Costa Rica reporter just
vacated a one-bedroom with loft where the rent was $275 a month. And
this was no slum.

Electrical and water bills are designed for the low-end user. The
Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz rates favor low use. The current
rate is 43 colons (8 cents) for each kilowatt for the first 200 kilowatts
of use. Each of the next 100 kilowatts is 66 colons (12 cents). Larger
consumers pay more per unit.

The government water company just got a 25 percent overall raise
but the actual rates have not been set yet. Company officials promise to
favor low users.

Then there is free. Like nearly all the country’s beaches from high
water to 50 meters inland. And the parks. And frequent entertainment.
Again, prices and use of utilities depend a lot on where the expat
lives. Air conditioning can add a lot of an electric bill. So can alcohol or
cigarettes. Remember, socialist countries like to control your bad habits.
Beer is about 800 colons a can, about $1.45. Local beer is cheaper
by the two-liter bottle, but still it is no bargain. On the other hand, a
glass of decent Chilean or Italian wine in a four-star hotel restaurant will
cost between 3,100 and 3,500 colons (from $5.66 to $6.39). Better to
buy by the bottle (4,000 to 6,000 colons or $7.30 to $10.95) except
for infrequent sprees.

Bars that cater to expats will reflect that in their beer prices where
1,200 colon beer means nearly $2.20 a bottle.

The big ticket items here are automobiles because the government
levies a gigantic tax. So an expat can figure paying twice for what a vehicle
costs in the States. But the insurance is very reasonable, again based
on coverage and type of vehicle. But $100 a year is possible.
Those who simply have to have imported U.S. goods will pay handsomely.

A lot has been said about the Costa Rican health system. And one
must accept the fact that most U.S. medical benefits do not extend outside
the States. An exception is the health plan for retired military and
some federal employees. Patients in the government system probably
do not have their own assigned physician. And the waits are legendary.
However, older patients of the ciudadano de oro category usually
get to go to the head of the line. Expats find they can obtain very reasonable
health insurance from the only provider, the Instituto Nacional
de Seguros. Some group plans reduce the cost even more.

Costa Rican employees are covered because the Caja Costarricense
de Seguro Social takes 10 percent of their gross pay as a salary deduction.
Employees add to the total.

the Central Market like Costa Ricans do can also reduce your living costs.
You can also help yourself by learning Spanish so you can bargain and get
lower prices when shopping.

If you take lessons from the locals and live a modest tico lifestyle, you
can save a lot of money and still enjoy yourself. By not following a U.S.-
”shop-till-you-drop” mentality, you can live reasonably. Taking all of the
aforementioned and personal lifestyle into consideration, the minimum needed
for a decent standard of living for a single person ranges from $1,200 to
$1,500 monthly. A person can indeed live for as little as $35 a day, excluding
housing. Some single people scrape by on considerably less and others spend
hundreds of dollars more, again depending on what one is accustomed to. A
couple can live on $2,000 per month, and live better on $2,500 to $3,000.
Couples with husband and wife both receiving good pensions can live even
better. Remember, two in Costa Rica can often live as cheaply as one. Any
way you look at it, you will enjoy a higher standard of living in Costa Rica
and get more for your money.

Considering that the minimum monthly wage is $287 and the average
Costa Rican earns only $250 to $350 a month, you should be able to live
well. The upper one-fifth of per capita income in Costa Rica involves families
that make $387 to $577 per month.

Here is one expat’s view of the cost of living here: “If you go completely
native, you can even live on $600 a month, counting $75 a month to rent
a room with no bath but kitchen privileges where there is no hot water to
disinfect the communal dishes. But would you like it? NO!

“Most Costa Ricans eat small amounts of meat, rice and beans, and
mostly fruits. Their dress is clean and neat if not stylish. They do not, at this
salary, have cars. Their homes are not plumbed for hot water, nor do they
seem to miss it. Their children are not given textbooks in public schools.
They ride the bus, they seem happy, their clothes are often homemade, they
own miniature washers and hang their clothes out to dry. They often share
housing, with several earning family members occupying the same house,
making for crowded conditions. The older generations leave a piece of
their backyard to the newer generations. When they can scrape together the
money, they build a house for the new bride and groom.

“On the other hand, wealthy Costa Ricans, live on, what seems to be,
by observing their restaurant eating habits, their clothing and large 4 x 4’s,
in excess of $4000 per month. They buy CD’s, eat at restaurants where the
tab is often more than $20 per plate, send their kids to expensive private
schools costing up to $700 per month, have places in the country and live
in $300,000 homes.”

One American retiree stated, “Most Americans I know in Costa Rica
are frugal, live on a fixed income, drive older cars, and are just getting by.
Many have had to get temporary jobs or start their own small businesses.
They live on $1,500 a month. You need to realize that this may exclude
many perks that we as Americans are accustomed to having: good quality
clothes, travel, electronic toys, eating in steak houses rather than beans and rice
places, using imported condiments and other nice imported foods that
double your food bill.”

Another foreigner said, “The long and the short of it is, it can be hugely
cheaper to live in Costa Rica. Like others have said, the average tico family
lives on $4,800 a year. They’re not wallowing in abject poverty, either. They
have plenty to eat, attractive clothing and a clean appearance. They also have
a TV, they own their own home and they might have a computer. Nothing
is stopping us from also living on $4,800 a year.

“The question is how you want to live. It is no different in Costa Rica
than in the United States. There are families who live quite comfortably
on $30,000 or $40,000 a year, and families that wouldn’t feel comfortable
spending less than $80,000 (or $100,000 or $150,000, etc.). Some things
are more expensive in Costa Rica (goods), some are less (services). You can
live very well here for less money than would buy you “good living” in the
United States, but it may not be the same kind of ‘good living’ you’d enjoy in
the States. Costa Rica is a different country; adjustments are always required.

“If you are prepared to shed some of the luxuries you enjoyed back
home (i.e., big kitchens, nice bed linens, long luxurious baths, fast food
[if you consider that a luxury], high-quality spices, etc.), then you can live
very inexpensively. But you will live like a tico, and ticos live in a third-world
country. Prepare for the differences, embrace your new life and enjoy every
minute of the pura vida, and you can live the good life a la tica (Costa Rican
style) for less money than you ever could in the United States.”

Jim, a fellow expat remarked, “Costa Rica is a place where one can
live whatever lifestyle one desires and can afford to live. I am a 72-year-old
pensionado who has been living in Costa Rica for more than three years now.
I am retired on Social Security and live on less, yes, I said less, than $700
per month. I do not feel that my lifestyle is much better or worse than it
was in California. In the United States I lived on more than $25,000 a year.
Now I own a small plot of land on which I have built a small (750 square
feet) Swiss chalet-style log cabin and have a view that many of my California
friends would literally die for.”

Here is what another expatriate wrote to an on-line forum: “I am
discovering that it is actually much easier than I would have dreamed to live
in Costa Rica on Social Security benefits alone, even though mine are quite
meager. I am astonished when I realize that I am living a comfortable middle
class life on less than $1,000 a month. That includes traveling around the
country and paying to stay in hotels when friends come to visit occasionally.

How to Get By on a Shoestring in Costa Rica:
The Story of Banana Bread Steve
By Christopher Howard

The purpose of this article is to show one person’s resourcefulness
and courage in the face of adversity. The author is not advocating moving
to Costa Rica with little or no money.

About three years ago I met Steve who had lived in Hawaii for many
years. He moved here because Hawaii had become very expensive and
he wanted to make his early retirement “nest egg” go farther. Steve had
always been used to living frugally and in the process amassed a few
hundred thousand dollars.

Within a few months of moving here Steve invested his life savings
in two high interest -yielding investments with the idea of doubling his
money in a few years. This was his game plan but unfortunately both of
his investments went “belly up.” Steve was left with only a few thousand
dollars to his name. As we mentioned Steve had mastered the art of living
on very little money but had never been faced with having no resources
and living in a foreign country. He knew that he would not be able to
draw his pension for four more years. Steve thought of returning to the
States to work and then moving back to Costa Rica when he got back on
his feet. However, he became involved with a nice Costa Rican woman
and had also fallen in love with the country.

His close friends provided him with a place to live for free, but he
still had to find a way to generate income. Since he was born with the
ability to repair almost anything, he did odd jobs in exchange for small
sums of money and food.

After a while he figured that the only way he could continue to live
in Costa Rica was to start a business. Steve had one big problem; no
money with which to start a business. His pride kept him from asking
for a loan from friends. He started to look at small local business and do
research on the Internet. It did not take him long to come up with a
good idea for a small business. He came across a good recipe for banana
bread and his business was born.

At present he sells the bread to tourists and his many friends in the
city of Heredia where he lives. He has purchased a mixing machine, an
oven and his lady friend is helping him.

Steve is a born survivor. All of his friends are sure he will continue
to do well and continue to enjoy living in the country he has adopted
as his home.

I am actually saving money while living on Social Security and haven’t had
to touch my savings. I did come with the intention of simplifying my life,
which I have done. I do not own a car. I enjoy taking public transportation.
I do not buy every electronic gadget and gizmo that comes down the pike.

And you know, I am not missing anything. I feel richer than ever.”
Another American stated something similar: “I’ve been living here now
for one year (exactly), and I have spent more than $1,000 per month in only
one month so far. I didn’t expect to live so cheaply. I do not deprive myself
of much of anything. For amusement, I travel about the country quite a bit,
staying in fairly nice hotels. I eat well. I rent a two-bedroom, gringo-style
apartment and have all modern conveniences. I also have a serious book- and
CD-buying habit that I support.

“The big money-saver for me is not owning an auto. Instead, whenever
I want or need, I rent a car or truck and its driver, — for the hour or for
the day. I also use public transportation — buses, of course, and taxis, — a
lot! I go where I want, when I want but I don’t worry about auto repairs,
buying gas or insurance, or getting a vehicle inspected every year. I promise
that at the end of the month, my transportation costs are way lower than the
transportation costs of all my auto-addicted friends. Of course, your mileage
may vary, particularly if you cannot imagine living without a car in order to
drive to the corner pulpería.

“Besides, I’ve lost 20 pounds in the past year, which I attribute to
walking. Remember walking? What a concept! The only problem is trying
to walk in places where you can avoid the autos!

“I was bragging to some friends about living on less than $1,000 per
month. Two of those friends accused me of being a ‘spendthrift.’ Both
have lived here for more than 10 years, and neither spends more than about
$600 per month.”

When you take into account all these factors and others, such as good
year-round weather, the friendly Costa Rican people, the lack of political
strife and a more peaceful way of life—no price is too high to pay to live in
a unique, tropical paradise like Costa Rica.

Before closing this section, I want to emphasize that you should not be
alarmed by high real estate prices you may hear about or see advertised in
English-language publications such as the The Tico Times. This recent rise
in land prices is a result of the current land boom and increasing popularity
of Costa Rica. Inflated real estate prices do not reflect the real cost of living
in Costa Rica, which is still relatively low when compared to North America
and Europe . Even more important, the Costa Rican government must keep
the cost of basic goods, transportation and services affordable for the Costa
Rican people in order to avoid the social problems found in most other Latin
American countries.

Approximate Cost of Living and Prices
as of June 2010 in Dollars*

Rentals – Monthly
House (small, unfurnished)………………………………………………………$400
House (large, luxurious)……………………………………………….$1000–1500
Apartment (small, 1–2 bedrooms, unfurnished…………………………..$300+
Apartment (large, luxurious)…………………………………………………..$700+
Property Taxes………………………………………. $100 a year on a small home
Home Prices
House (small tico)…………………………………………………………….$70,000+
House (large)………………………………………………………………..$175,000+
House (luxury/gated)…………………………………………………….$300,000+
Miscellaneous………………………………………………………………….. Monthly
Electric Bill (apt.)……………………………………………………………….$15–25
Electric Bill (home)…………………………………………………………………$50+
Water-Sewage (apt.)……………………………………………………………………$8
Telephone (850 impulses)………………………………………………………….$13
Telephone (cell) 200 minutes……………………………………………………..$24
Cable TV………………………………………………………………………………..$30
Satellite TV (full package)………………………………………………………….$60
Internet (ADSL 1024/512 kb/sec) (per month)…………………………..$40
Taxi………………… .¢510 first kilometer, and ¢510 thereafter per kilometer
Bus Fares (around city)…………………………………………………………….$.45
Gasoline (regular gas)…………………………………………….. $3.94 per gallon
Gasoline (super)…………………………………………………….. $4.11 per gallon
Gasoline (diesel)……………………………………………………. $3.50 per gallon
Maid/Gardener……………………$2.00 per hour, $200 per month full-time
Restaurant Meal (inexpensive)………………………………………………..$5.00+
Soda (a diner or coffee shop) Meal……………………………………………$2.00
Restaurant (mid-range)…………………………………………………………$10.00
Airmail Letter………………………………………………around $.33 to the U.S.
Doctor’s Visit…………………………………………………………………….$25–35
National Health Insurance ………. $450.00 yearly for permanent residents
New Automobile………………………………………………….$15,000–$50,000
Light Bulbs, soft white 60W (4ct)…………………………………………….$1.90
Freezer Bags, Ziploc gallon (30bags……………………………….. $2.02 (15ct)
Laundry Detergent, liquid (100 fl.oz)……………………………………….$5.25
140 The New Golden Door to Retirement and Living in Costa Rica
Man’s Haircut with shampoo (styling salon)…………………………. $10-$15
Man’s haircut at local barbershop……………………………………………..$5.00
Foods
Banana………………………………………………………………………………….$.05
Watermelon……………………………………………………………………………$.85
Soft drink………………………………………………………………………………$.50
Beer………………………………………………………………………………………$.70
Pineapple……………………………………………………………………………..$1.25
Apple…………………………………………………………………………………….$.50
Papaya…………………………………………………………………………………$1.00
Grapes (per lb)………………………………………………………………………$2.70
Orange………………………………………………………………………………….$.08
Papaya…………………………………………………………………………………..$.70
Orange Juice (46oz)………………………………………………………………$1.06
Avocado (large)………………………………………………………………………$.50
Lettuce………………………………………………………………………………….$.50
Carrots (per lb)……………………………………………………………………….$.24
Eggplant (per lb)…………………………………………………………………….$.75
Red Bell Pepper………………………………………………………………………$.20
Potato (per lb)………………………………………………………………………..$.60
Broccoli……………………………………………………………………………….$1.85
Cereal (large box of corn flakes) ………………………………………………$3.50
Bread (loaf) …………………………………………………………………………$1.00
Tuna (small can)……………………………………………………………………..$.75
Oatmeal (imported)……………………………………………………………….$2.86
Rice (1lb.)……………………………………………………………………………..$.45
Lasagna, (8oz box)………………………………………………………………….$.90
Refried Beans, Del Monte canned (16oz)…………………………………..$1.26
Chicken Soup, Campbell’s(10.5oz)…………………………………………..$1.27
Kraft Mac & Cheese, (7.25oz box)…………………………………………….$.75
Eggs, Grade A large (per dozen) ……………………………………………..$1.75
Syrup, Aunt Jemima Imported (24oz)………………………………………$3.46
Steak (per lb)………………………………………………………………………..$4.60
Beef, ground chuck (per lb)…………………………………………………….$2.60
Chicken breast, boneless (per lb)………………………………………………$2.99
Milk, whole (1/2 gallon)………………………………………………………..$1.03
Beer………………………………………………………………………………………$.85
Sugar, white (5lb)………………………………………………………………….$1.45
White Flour (5lb)………………………………………………………………….$1.54
Splenda, packets 100ct……………………………………………………………$4.02
Salt, (26oz)…………………………………………………………………………….$.41
Saving Money in Costa Rica 141
Coca Cola (20 fl.oz)………………………………………………………………..$.78
Popcorn, microwave (each)……………………………………………………….$.43
Doritos (13oz)……………………………………………………………………..$3.52
Oreos (15oz)………………………………………………………………………..$1.87
Sundries
Secret Deodorant (2.6oz)………………………………………………………$ 2.95
Razors, Mach3 Turbo refills…………………………………………………. $11.69
Toothpaste, Aqua fresh (6.4 oz)……………………………………………….$1.76
Sunscreen (8fl.oz)………………………………………………………………….$7.07
* These prices are subject to fluctuations and where items are purchased.

At the request of one of the clients on my monthly Retirement and Relocation
Tours, I wrote an article about how a couple can live well on $3000 to $4000
per month. In it I broke down the costs using a typical budget and proved
it was possible. But what about the single person with a limited budget?
A single person can live cheaply in Costa Rica. I know a couple of single
men and women in the Heredia area who have mastered the art of living
on less than $1500 monthly. They don’t live in luxury nor do they live like
paupers. Typically, they do not own an automobile but rely exclusively on
public transportation which is very affordable. They don’t own a home and
rent small apartments. They do part of their shopping at the local weekend
farmers’ markets where they can stock up on a lot of fruits and vegetables
like many Costa Ricans do. Some buy their clothes at second-hand stores.
When they eat out they tend to eat breakfast and lunch at one of the small
cafes or sodas in Heredia’s Central Market. They go to bargain matinees and
seek other inexpensive forms of entertainment. For health care they belong
to the Caja, the public health care system which costs them $50 dollars or
less for complete health coverage. They use Internet cafés at less than a dollar
an hour instead of owning a computer.

Most of these people are very happy with their simple lifestyle which
they could never have in the States for the same price. When you take into
consideration that most Costa Ricans earn far less than $1000 monthly and
get by easily you can see that with $1500 monthly you will be able to live
well. In the States or Canada a person would be below the poverty line with
that income. I have actually met retired foreigners who live on less than
$1000 per month and seem to live well.

On my monthly retirement tours I give people additional advice and
methods on how they can live affordably in Costa Rica. After almost 30 years
of living here, I know how live well and save money.

Here is an example of a budget for a single person who has no more
than $1500.

Rent……………………………………………………………………….. $200 to $300
Electricity and water……………………………………………………………….. $20
Cable TV………………………………………………………………………………. $25
Monthly Transportation…………………………………………………………… $50
Monthly public health insurance (medicines included)…………………… $50
Food………………………………………………………………………………….. $200
Entertainment…………………………………………………………….. $100 -$150
Misc…………………………………………………………………………………… $200

How to live like a king or queen on
$3000 or $4000

When you read the title of this article you will probably think that it is
impossible to live so cheaply and so well. This is especially true if you reside
in an expensive area of the U.S. like California. You could probably scrape
by on a few thousand dollars a month up north but you certainly wouldn’t
be living in luxury.

Let’s see why the title of this article is true. A couple who owns a $150,000
home (three bedrooms and three baths) free and clear and has a car will
probably have the following monthly expenses in Costa Rica.

Private medical insurance………………………………………………………..$200
Dental care………………………………………………………………$50 per month
A part time maid………………………………………………………. $100 to $150
Part time gardener……………………………………………………………………$30
Beauty parlor ………………………………………………………………………….$75
Food including inexpensive fruits and
vegetables from a Farmer’s market and many
imported American products……………………………………..$500 per month
Entertainment (movies, socializing)……………………………….. $200- $300
Dining out a couple of times a week…………………………………………..$300
Private gym…………………………………………………… $50 – $100 per couple
Country Club (after you pay initial fees)………… $100 to $200 per month
Car insurance for a relatively new car………………………………………….$100
Utilities (water and electricity) …………………………………………………$100
Telephone (using Vonage or Skype for long distance) ………….. $75-$100
High speed Internet …………………………………………………………………$50
Cable or satellite TV ……………………………………………………………….$50
Car repairs ……………………………………………………………………………..$50
Garbage ……………………………………………………………………..$40 per year
Property taxes on your $150,000 home ……………………….$20 per month
Misc. expenses ………………………………………………………………………$300
Other possible expenses
Travel to U.S. or other countries …………. $3000-$5000 or more per year

Really your lifestyle determines what you will spend here. You can
choose to spend a lot more money if you are a high roller or yuppie type or
substantially less if you wish to live modestly. I know single people who live
for less than $1000 per month and others who have expensive tastes who
spend what they would in the States. Nevertheless, you can live very well on
the budget above. I should know because I have lived here almost 30 years
and buy and do everything I want for under $4,000 monthly.

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