July was another big spending month for us. Though some of the categories were higher than normal, the biggest reason for the increase in spending was the costs involved in our legal residency process.
Residency – $246.00
Last September, we started the process to change our legal residency in Costa Rica from “temporary” status to “permanent.” At the time, it required an outlay of $400 USD ($200 per person) to get the process started. In July, we paid an additional $123 USD per person to finish up the process (2 payments of $98 and 2 payments of $25). Other expenses related to this included $13.99 postage to have our cédulas mailed to the correo (post office) in San Ramón, parking and tolls (about $20) for our two visits to Migración, and lunch both days (about $34), all of which have been included in their respective categories.
Groceries – $434.41
Our grocery budget was higher than our average for two reasons. The first is that we traveled the entire month of June, so when we came home in July, we needed to buy more than normal just to stock our kitchen. The other reason is that we made one of our infrequent trips to PriceSmart for things like big bags of chocolate chips and nuts, olive oil, and feta cheese. We also buy Fresh Step kitty litter there in 42 lb. bags, though that expense is included under “Pet Care.”
Health Care – $300.53
Dental care was the big reason for higher than normal health care expenses. Both Paul and I had dental cleanings and exams, and Paul also had bite-wing x-rays done. Here is the breakdown.
- $75.61 – (2) Dental cleanings and exams: 20,000 colones each ($37.81 each)
- $18.90 – Bite-wing x-rays: 10,000 colones
We also ordered some CoQ10 online which a friend brought us from the States. Two bottles cost us $32.88 total.
The other expenses in this category are our monthly Caja payment and prescription medications not available through the Caja.
Other Household – $24.57
One thing we’ve noticed about small appliances we’ve purchased here, in general, they don’t seem to last. (The exception is the food processor I bought at PriceSmart a couple of years ago.) But the toast won’t stay down in the toaster, the light that tells you if the coffee pot is on or off doesn’t work and its warming plate hangs down at an awkward angle.
Those things, we just work around. But when the microwave “start button” stopped working, there was no work-around. Luckily, in Costa Rica, at least in our town of San Ramón, there are repairmen who fix small appliances. I was never a big fan of “just throw it away and get a new one,” so we have used this shop several times over the years. Paul brought the microwave in one morning and was able to pick it up that afternoon. Total price, including a replacement part, was 13,000 colones ($24.57).
Miscellaneous – $124.41
Ah, miscellaneous, that catch-all category for things that don’t fit elsewhere! In July, we went to a fundraiser for our local orphanage, so included in this category are the tickets to the benefit and money we bid on one of the auction items: two months of Spanish classes for two people from a local language school. Also included in this category is a new case for my iPad which I ordered online as well.
As usual, to help put things into perspective, here are our expenses for the previous two months. If you want more information about a particular month, just click on the graphic for that month below:
- Paul’s Monthly Tip to Live for Less in Costa Rica: Visiting the Dentist
- Our Costa Rica Food Budget Breakdown
- Applying for Permanent Residency in Costa Rica