Cost of Living in Costa Rica

Here is what one couple actually spent in July 2014 (they publish it):

Note that Retire for Less was their goal and is the name of their newsletter

From “Hanging Bridges” Costa Rica by Charlie
Click to enlarge
Chris Howard (my tour leader) has long lists of the cost of everything in his book and budgets at these two levels he says people are actually living on. Bottom line is that everything is not cheap, but you can live on your income or what you budget to live on if you don’t live too luxuriously:

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 Public 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 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
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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