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Mar 29 2015

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In the Mailbag: Shopping for “New” Clothes and Buying a Car: Yes or No?

Our newsletters and posts generate lots of discussion, on our website, in emails, and on facebook. Here’s a glimpse into our mailbag.

Shopping for “New” Clothes

In response to my recent report of a shopping spree at Ropa Americana in our February 6th newsletter, and our “Money Saving Tip” to buy your clothes there, Lynn writes,

I totally agree with your report regarding Ropa Americana. I’ve found some name brands for anywhere from $1 to $4, and since I lost some weight after we moved here over 2 years ago, I needed some “new” clothes.

Main Ropa Americana in San Ramon

Main Ropa Americana in San Ramon

Recently I saw a Tica in downtown San Ramon sporting a Jones of New York blouse, the exact same design that I happened to be wearing that day! It retails in the US for around $125 (but I bought it on sale there for much less). Chances are pretty good that she bought it at Ropa Americana for about $4!

If you visit the Ropa Americana in your photo (kitty cornered from Molinas), make sure you finish your shopping at Karen’s Panaderia next door. It has some of the best pastries I’ve found in Costa Rica!”

And on Facebook…

In response to our article, Paul’s Monthly Tip to Live for Less in Costa Rica: Don’t Buy a Car, there was quite a discussion. Here are a few of the comments.

First, from Marty M:

Paul, I really enjoy reading your blogs because you put everything into perspective. I 100% agree that most people from the states, if not all, would say that one is un-American if they don’t have a car. I have some American friends who ask me if I have a car and I reply no. They don’t understand, but I like not having a car due to all the expenses and I don’t foresee me getting a car. However, I would like one for the family, but the family is healthy and there’s nothing wrong about walking. Also, what you had mentioned about doing less things is so very true, but keeps us home with the family, visiting others, going to a soccer field and playing soccer, etc. Thanks for the insight! I’m sure someone will read it and the light bulb will turn on.”

From Debbie R:

I disagree with you on the statement that you will do less! You can still do whatever you want to do! The buses run every 30 minutes right in front of my house from 4:30 am to 10:30 pm so I can get on one and go anywhere in Costa Rica or wherever I want to go.”

From Rob E:

We do not have a car and as a result can not do some things. I do not have a plane either and can not fly around CR. So be it. For us, we had a life time of being everywhere quickly and made the best use of every second. We could get ten things done in a day and now we might get only one or two things done using the bus. But now we have lots of time and less money. Now that we are retired, we do not need to be in such a hurry and have every minute planned like before. I am so thankful to be off the rat wheel. If you can locate near a bus line you can get pretty much get anywhere. It may not be pretty but doable. Personally, I love the mental challenge of getting from point A to B. And for the 2-3 time a year when things get crazy (e.g. three parties on the same day) I just rent a cab for the day for $20-$30.”

And finally, from Jane H:

We bought a car after months of buses and cabs, and are very glad we did. Our Tico landlord helped us and we got what we feel is a very good price for a very good vehicle. He helped us with everything, down to the reteve, marchamo, new tires, attorney, and much more. We didn’t spend nearly as much as you did. Our gas is minimal for use around town. We tend to take more jaunts to discover this amazing country we live in. If you have any health or breathing problems, taking a bus can be very iffy. You never know when the drop off will include a mountain goat hill to climb, sometimes with luggage. I could definitely do without a car, and did, but our options have widened considerably with our vehicle.”

Related Articles:

  • Read all of our “In the Mailbag” columns at this link.

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