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Sep 30 2017

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Our August 2017 Costa Rica Cost of Living

If you’ve been following our newsletters, you know that we have been spending an extended period of time this year in Oaxaca, Mexico. In August, we returned to Costa Rica for three weeks to speak at the International Living Costa Rica conferenceand to tour with many of our clients.

Since a friend has been living in our apartment, paying the rent and utilities and even took care of our cats, we had minimal expenses for the month of August. Here is the breakdown:

Transportation – $65.11

For the three weeks we were in Costa Rica, we used one tank of gas, paid a few tolls, and the balance went to a minor repair to weld the bracket holding our car’s air filter (cost: 5,000 colones or $8.77).

Groceries & Meals Out – $121.93 and $50.57, respectively

I didn’t do a lot of cooking during our time in Costa Rica. Paul was on tour much of the time and I was with him on many of the days. Plus, we were at the conference hotel for three full days, during which our meals were taken care of. I did, however, grocery shop on a couple of occasions, preparing simple meals like a pot of homemade chicken soup or pasta.

The rest of the time, we ate out. Our first stop was Savory a la Thai, our favorite restaurant in San Ramón. On the Wednesday night before our flight back to Mexico, we took advantage of Texas Craft Pizza’s 2 for 1 burgers, which were delicious. I’m sorry to say that we did not get to enjoy any of the festival food that is always a draw during San Ramón’s annual Festejos Patronales (Festival of the Patron Saints) that is held every year at this time.

Healthcare – $151.08

The biggest expense in this category, by far, was our monthly Caja expense. Since we were gone the entire month of July, we were under the impression that all we had to do was show our passport with exit and re-entry stamps and we wouldn’t have to pay for the month we were away. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Evidently, the rule is that you must be out of the country for at least three consecutive months and be able to prove it by the stamps in your passport. Therefore, we had to pay for the Caja for the months of July and August, a total of $96.00.

The balance of the spending in this category was to stock up on Chanca Piedra which Paul takes on a regular basis to prevent kidney stones. It was originally recommended to him by his urologist shortly after we arrived in Costa Rica more than eight years ago. He had not had a kidney stone in all of this time. (Note: if you suffer from kidney or gall stones and would like more info, check out Paul’s article, “Paul’s Story – No More Kidney Stone Pain!”

Rent, Phone, & Utilities – $38.86

Since our friend has been renting our apartment during our absence (and graciously allowed us to stay there while we were in town), we didn’t have any expenses for rent or utilities. We did, however, put funds on our pay-as-you-go Kolbi cell phones as well as paying for our Vonage line.

Personal Care & Clothing – $151.44

When we returned to Costa Rica after seven weeks in Mexico, we were both ready for hair cuts, and for me, color to wash away the gray. It cost Paul 2,500 colones ($4.39) for his hair cut. My cut and color and the salon near our apartment cost 10,000 colones ($17.54).

We also did some shopping while we were home, including having a pair of dress pants made for Paul at our neighborhood tailor shop. Here’s the breakdown:

  • two pairs of reading glasses for Gloria – $5.26
  • two pairs of shoes for Gloria – $44.25
  • two dress shirts for Paul at a local Ropa Americana – $9.82
  • a new Costa Rica ball cap for Paul – $7.02
  • a tailor-made pair of dress pants for Paul – $61.40
  • a repair made to one of Paul’s shirts by the tailor – $1.75

Entertainment – $119.58

After watching Food Matters TV’s 10 Day Sleep and Stress Summit, we were so impressed that we decided to sign up for a year’s subscription for Food Matters TV. The regular cost is $9.99 per month but by signing up for a year, we got 12 months for the price of 10, or $99.00. We have been enjoying their meditation videos and documentaries and I like their recipe videos as well. If you are interested in natural health, we definitely recommend it!

For our other television and movie watching interests, we paid our monthly Netflix subscription of $10.59. Though we can no longer get U.S. Netflix, we are mostly satisfied with Latin American Netflix.

And Paul has been enjoying his subscription to Spotify. He had initially taken advantage of a very low introductory rate for the first three months, but in August, the regular rate of $9.99 took affect.

You may notice that, on the spreadsheet, this category is called “Entertainment and Travel.” We have elected not to show our Mexico travel expenses at this time as we will be writing a separate article in the future about our costs to travel to and live in Mexico.

That’s about it for the month of August. Since we were not in Costa Rica for the month of July, following are our Costa Rica cost of living expenses for the two previous months. If you want more information about a particular month, just click on the graphic for that month below:

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