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How ti Live in Costa Rica on $1,500 Per Month

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  • Robert Williams
    GeeGee_Beatty said:
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 2, 2014
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      GeeGee_Beatty said:

      < To many people are here now struggling. Yes, 5 years ago it was feasible. NOT today!  We have to be honest $400 for rent or $500 is a Tico home, no screens, not <furnished at all or maybe no amenities  or some. I rented for 4 years and in some  of the cheapest $700 places I had to turn on this faucet to get water pressure or no <heat at all on cool nights, no screens on the windows, 2 inch gaps under the doors were the bugs came in, and No W/D.

      Well, GeeGee, I invite you to visit the house I rent in Los Angeles de Grecia. I pay $500 per month and worth every cent in my opinion. It is superior to a house that I own in east Tennessee and receive $550 per month, or a condo in SW Florida where I receive $450 per month. In fact this house is comparable to upper middle class housing in the US. 

      Having lived in SW Florida for most of my life I occasionally return to visit family, or conduct business. But generally within 48 hours of returning to the US I am ready to return. One continues to see hundreds of vacant houses, built during the speculation of the last decade. And in addition to the vacant houses there are vacant store fronts as well. A very depressing sight in my opinion. By comparison here in Costa Rica one sees construction activity (both residential and commercial) which provides a vision of economic growth, not urban decay and blight. 

      People refer to inflation as if it were isolated to Costa Rica. Well, inflation is a world wide phenomenon, and I am reminded of that every time I return to the US. Is Costa Rica perfect? NO, but I would enjoy finding the utopia that so many seek. For instance I see Panama as an alternative to Costa Rica, but if I were to move there I could find fault. We can find fault no matter where we live, but we can adapt as well. 

      Robert
    • Scott Bidstrup
      ... The first house I rented in this country cost me $200 per month. It was small, but relatively new and it was decent. But it certainly wasn t fancy. Five
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 3, 2014
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        > GeeGee_Beatty said:
        >
        > < To many people are here now struggling. Yes, 5 years ago it was
        > feasible. NOT today! We have to be honest $400 for rent or $500 is a
        > Tico home, no screens, not <furnished at all or maybe no amenities
        > or some. I rented for 4 years and in some of the cheapest $700
        > places I had to turn on this faucet to get water pressure or no <heat
        > at all on cool nights, no screens on the windows, 2 inch gaps under
        > the doors were the bugs came in, and No W/D.

        The first house I rented in this country cost me $200 per month. It was
        small, but relatively new and it was decent. But it certainly wasn't
        fancy. Five years ago, I rented a much larger and nicer place for $300
        per month. But it was on a horrible road, and I occasionally had to pay
        a backhoe on my own nickel to come out and open it in bad weather. I
        spent a total of $200 over the year I lived there doing just that.
        Saved me $200 a month on a more accessible location.

        The problem that most people have when arriving here is that they have
        unrealistic expectations: If you want to live like a gringo lives in
        the States in a gated community in a nice neighborhood in San José, like
        Escazu or Rohrmoser, it will cost you more to live here than in the
        States. That's a simple fact. And you can't get around it, no matter
        what you read in the propaganda.

        What Costa Rica offers, is the opportunity to live in the cheap IF you
        are willing to make some sacrifices in your standard of living and live
        like the Ticos do. I live in a rural area, on a gravel road. I have no
        cable TV. Only got a wireline telephone last year. Only got decent
        electric service 3 years ago.

        And I get by just fine on $1400 per month, and that includes paying a
        worker 5 hours a day to help with my 2 acre property.

        The secrets (if you can call them that) to living on the cheap in Costa
        Rica:

        1) Own your own home. Rents are high, and getting higher, but property
        taxes are relatively cheap, unless you live in a mansion.

        2) Don't live in the city. Prices and costs are higher in urban areas,
        and there's no getting around that simple reality. I can buy the same
        pair of shoes in my small-town tienda for c15,000 that I would pay
        c20,000 for in a shoe store in downtown Cartago.

        3) Be willing to live like a Tico, and give up your gringo lifestyle
        unless you are fully prepared to get out your checkbook. If you're not
        flexible enough or wealthy enough to do that, accept that your
        inflexibility is going to cost you dearly. Because there are many
        aspects of the economy here that have accustomed themselves to making
        lots of money off of inflexible gringos. For example, I live in the
        mountains so I don't have to air condition my house, and I heat it, when
        necessary, with a fireplace. But if I were to build a gringo-style home
        at the beach, and install a heat pump for my HVAC and watch my power
        usage get bumped up into the higher usage rates, I'd end up paying more
        for HVAC that I would in many areas of the United States, that have even
        harsher weather. That's one of many examples I could give.

        Do I regret having moved here? Not for a minute. I live here on the
        cheap - much cheaper than I could in the U.S. - because I have the
        flexibility to live like a Tico. If I weren't flexible enough to do
        that, I would have been better off (economically, at least) in the States.

        Those are the cold, hard facts about living in Latin America, and they
        are especially true of Costa Rica. So it's time to get the
        propaganda-induced stardust out of the eyes and see living here as it
        really is - if you want to transplant your gringo lifestyle into Latin
        America, you can - but be prepared to pay dearly for the privilege.
      • geegee_beatty
        Well said Scott and honest. We feel we got the best of both worlds. We live in the mountains of Grecia and have the luxury, but not the costs of Escazu etc..
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 3, 2014
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          Well said Scott and honest.


           We feel we got the best of both worlds.

          We live in the mountains of Grecia and have the luxury, but not the costs of Escazu etc..

           You are right about that. It cost about 30% more to live in those American cities. And they are 

          a traffic nightmare and have water problems.

           We don't need  A/C and have spring time weather most of the time. ON those

          cool days a gas fireplace is all we need.

          We have the luxury and my taxes are lower because we are not in the American Cities of C.R.

          When we came we rented down there and in a month asked ourselves, "WHAT are you doing here?

          IF we wanted the USA we can go back home. We still have a home there also. BUT what is the point to come to those areas and eat,sleep, entertain and all American restaurants in those places?  In a 35 minute drive we can be down there in all that madness IF we want a dose of that.

          .

          I think more and more people should be looking outside of the downtown San Jose areas if they want a less expensive life style like you suggested and learn to adjust to some of the C.Rican brands. Some of them are much better and we have grown to like them.


          As one of the other comments said, On $1,500 stay away from,the booze,bars,and women." for you men that are thinking to come here. IT is a good point. We have several friends in Jaco that are living on the beach in a tent. Went through all their money and thought they had enough to live in a TOURIST TOWN.

          Not so.


          Good point if you are going to live here for good buy a home. It will be an investment. The market will come back to C.R. and the prices will be going up. Rent has a lot,because the cost of living here has.


          Be realistic and honest with yourself. What are you willing to give up for what you might discover that you did not need. I did not need the personal comfort of a lot of Americans that only spoke English around me. I did not need all the american food and congestion.

          I needed fresh air,space, spring time weather, a garden and new interesting people be it Ticos, Nicas and adventuresome American people.


          J/g



        • costacoffee2
          I do agree that one needs to cut costs to live on $1500 per month,however one must remember that more Ticos live in the gated communities and own luxury homes,
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 3, 2014
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            I do agree that one needs to cut costs to live on $1500 per month,however one must remember that more Ticos live in the gated communities and own luxury homes, than expats do. So, to say 'live like a Tico' meaning to live with less, this is not really true. Many prosperous Ticos have huge haciendos and lot's of working class people own the fancy houses that you or I may like to rent...if we could afford them.


            .
          • Jim Cottone
            Robert, I agree completely. While my place is not as nice as yours, it fully meets my needs. My landlord installed screens, at my request, before I moved in. I
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 3, 2014
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              Robert,

              I agree completely. While my place is not as nice as yours, it fully meets my needs. My landlord installed screens, at my request, before I moved in. I pay $300 per month rent, which includes water and laundry service. My 4 meg Internet service (in my name) and electric bill bring the total up to $400. Having just gotten my Cedula, so I no longer have to pay for local buses, and seldom take taxis.

              I could NOT live in Tennessee for that amount of money, and public transportation is nonexistent in most communities. I may even purchase a scooter to give me a bit more flexibility in the near future.

              Jim
              -- 
              Jim Cottone
              American Professional Photographer
              https://singbiker.net
            • Carole Saylor
              I wish I would have known I was going to have to live sub-standard before moving here.  I wouldn t have.  I m a country girl who was living in the big city
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 4, 2014
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                I wish I would have known I was going to have to live sub-standard before moving here.  I wouldn't have.  I'm a country girl who was living in the big city so I fell in love with the jungle and rural living here and found what I thought was the perfect place for me.  Then the Costa Rican government changed all that, a long sad story that many of you know.  I regret my decision to move here, every day of my life. 

                I go to Panama once a month to do most of my grocery shopping.  It costs me about $30.00 to take my car across the border but I make that up just filling the gas tank.  And the groceries are about half what they are here and I can get American brands that taste like what I'm used to.  Now I can have a hot dog that tastes like a hot dog, not what is passed off for a hot dog here that has about as much flavor and texture as a tube of lard.  And so far, the quality of everything I've purchased there is better than the quality I get here.  But no, I would not want to move there.  Living in Latin America is like living on another planet.  I would prefer to go back to Earth but, sadly, that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

                With the high cost of electricity, I can't afford to operate my ceiling fans which is my only means of cooling my house.  So if you come to my house, you will swelter right along with me.  I cook with propane and heat water with propane, so that does not add to my electric bill.  I was going through some old papers from the states yesterday and found my annual statement from the electric company.  I used three times as much electricity there and paid less than I'm paying here.  There I had heating and A/C, an electric hot water heater, and a pool, none of which I have here. 

                I suppose if you can live on rice and beans, then $1500.00 would be doable but I don't like either one.  Until last week, I had not been out to a restaurant for about two years.  Generally, they are much too expensive for the quality of food they serve.  Last week a friend invited me out for lunch.  The restaurant which had pretty good food is 90 minutes from my house, so with the price of gas, I won't be going there very often. 

                 The savings would be marginal if I got rid of my car, no gas, no insurance but the nearest bus stop is a mile from my house and the road to get there is almost always ankle deep in mud.  The taxi from the main road (not from my house) to Limon is 14,000 colones each way and finding a taxi out there is like finding a four-leaf clover.  That is what I paid for the last trip, about two years ago, so it's probably more now.  So getting rid of the car would not be much of a savings, if any.  And losing the freedom of having a car would make me hate this place more than I do.   Although I hold my car together with bubble gum and baling wire, doing without it would be the epitome of sub-standard living for me. 
                Carole


                   

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              • spiritgaw
                Carol, You control your destiny, not the Costa Rican government.. Your definition of sub-standard is not entirely correct. What you have encountered is a
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 4, 2014
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                  Carol,
                         You control your destiny, not the Costa Rican government.. Your definition of "sub-standard" is not entirely correct. What you have encountered is a different style of living. Remember... your not in Kansas anymore! It's not right to be unhappy, life is just to short!

                                         Jerry
                • kathleenfeeney61
                  Hi Carol, I am a mature single woman. I just drove my Volvo here with hopes of living here cheaply for two years around Ciudad Colon. I want to immerse
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 4, 2014
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                    Hi Carol,


                            I am a mature single woman.   I just drove my Volvo here with hopes of living here cheaply for two years around Ciudad Colon.   I want to immerse myself in the Spanish language and learn it.   I hope to study at the Univeristy For Peace starting in August.  

                            I am looking for any living space .. a studio is all I need so long as there is secure parking for my car.   My budget for rental is about 350-450 USD per month.  Do you have any ideas for me on how I should proceed to find safe living space?   I contacted realtors but so far they tell me 650.00 a month for basic living space.  Please respond if you can help me.   I am sorry that your experience has been so unhappy for you. Kathleen Feeney ... A commited believer in Pura Vida!

                  • costacoffee2
                    Don t know if you are aware that you will have pay import duty on your vehicle within 90 days of the date in your passport, which could be approx 60% of the
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jan 5, 2014
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                      Don't know if you are aware that you will have pay import duty on your vehicle within 90 days of the date in your passport, which could be approx 60% of the value posted in  the Blue book of Costa Rica?




                    • spiritgaw
                      Kathleen, Here is a web-site that seems to have some fair priced rentals. Good luck in your search.... Jerry
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jan 5, 2014
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                        Kathleen,
                              Here is a web-site that seems to have some fair priced rentals. Good luck in your search....  Jerry
                         
                         
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