Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cost of Living Part 2 - Alajuela 2008

Part 2 of our assessment of *our* cost of living in Costa Rica...

To Restate for emphasis :-D... An assessment of the cost of living is meaningless unless you know *how* we lived.

In Alajuela, our most representative month was January, 2008. We were renting a 2 bedroom, 1 bath (plus very small "maid's quarters"), unfurnished apartment in a large city. We had no car, no land line phone, no post office box, no cable TV (no TV, for that matter), and water was included in the rent. We had 2 cell phones by this time (yay!). We went to internet cafes several times each week. We ate out at restaurants an average of 1.4 meals per day - still not extravagant at less than $5 each. We shopped at the local supermarkets, and central market, and went once to the feria. We skipped using a housekeeper, and by this time I was doing our laundry (by hand). We no longer had USA medical insurance, but had joined the Caja. Our total for the month, including averaged one-time-only purchases was $1,106.

Here is the breakdown of costs:

1/1/2008 through 1/31/2008 (in U.S. Dollars)

Item - Dollars - Averaged One-time
Dining Out - $267
Groceries - $346
Rent - $234
CCSS (Caja) - $61
Doctors - $12
Medicine - $83
Local Travel (bus, taxi) - $27
Internet - $8
Electric - $16
Gas (cooking) - $0 - $3
Cellular Phone - $11
Long Distance - $9
Local Telephone - $12
Miscellaneous (refund) - $0 -$12
Subscriptions, dues - $0 - $7
Bank Charges - $0 - $3
Clothing - $0 - $4
Purchase Cell phones - $0 - $12
Cell phone deposit - $0 - $2
Gas canister - $0 - $1

Total => $1,086 + $20 = $1,106

Part 1 is our cost of living in Orosí in May 2007, and part 3 is our cost of living in San Pedro in early 2009.


stanhopi said...

It's great to see your price comparisons between Orosi and San Pedro (SJ). Yours give a better sense of the cost of living in CR than many others that I have read. Of course it helps if one can adapt to local ways and commodities and not live 'high-on-the-hog', so to speak, trying to maintain all those usual things we were familiar with from 'back home'.

Another thing that I feel is very useful for the person wanting to come to CR to cut costs somewhat, is that you have shown here that rents can be had for decent places for well under US$300 per month. It always concerned me that everything I was seeing online for rentals was around $400 and up.

Eventually I found a place in Alajuela for only US$236 per month that I am quite happy with. I had always felt that there had to be decent places at reasonable prices as the Ticos have to live somewhere, too, and not at gringo-based rents either. Being patient and keeping an eye out proved that was correct.


Paul M.

Julie said...

re: rents - too true! It drives me a little batty when I see ads for $1500/month. All it takes is a different way of looking for a place than we are used to, and a little adjustment in what we are used to expecting. I suppose if you want everything to be "just like home" then you could end up paying for it. But why? :-)

re: price comparisons - you also have to remember that these are not just different towns, but are different years as well. In the last year, there was a heck of a hike in the cost of living all over the country. We not only moved to a more expensive area, but general costs are higher now. So, we *are* cutting back a bit, as you will see in part 3 (SP).

thanks for the comments, Paul! keep 'em coming!