May 07 2014

Our March 2014 Costa Rica Cost of Living and Relocation Expenses

If you read our last newsletter, you know that we traveled back to the U.S. to finally sell our house and deal with all of the “stuff” we had stored in the basement for the last five years. Therefore, our expenses for March are broken down into our Costa Rica living expenses and our expenses for the trip to Baltimore.

2014_MarFirst, lets talk about our Costa Rica living expenses.

As you can see from the graphic to the right, we lived on less than $1700 for the month. That includes the payment of all of our fixed bills — rent, electricity, internet, water, security system & monitoring, propane, and phone. It also includes variable expenses for the first 17 days as we left for the States on March 18th. Granted, had we spent the entire month in Costa Rica, some of the variable expenses, like food and gasoline for the car, would have been higher. Even so, we’re confident that we would have come in under our goal of $2,000 for the entire month.

Also included in our Costa Rica expenses is our purchase of a Roku box which we actually bought in the States and brought back with us. Since we plan to use it here to enhance our viewing of Netflix, etc. we’ve included it in our Costa Rica expenses for the month.

Now for an explanation of our trip expenses.

We did purchase some basic groceries for the week we spent in our house in Baltimore, including items like paper and cleaning products. The majority of our meals we ate in restaurants as you can see from the whopping $494.42 we spent on “meals out.” This includes meals for ourselves as well as those occasions we took people out for lunch or dinner. This figure would have been even higher if not for the meals various friends and family members prepared for us or treated us to in restaurants — not to mention my sister, Toni, and our friends, Jim & Mandy, who opened their homes to us and made us feel welcome. Thanks everyone!!

EnterpriseLogoOur “transportation” category includes our rental car and gasoline purchases. We rented a mid-size car from Enterprise for almost two weeks for a total of $278. We were VERY pleased with both the rate and their service. We would not hesitate to use Enterprise again in the future.

Healthcare expenses of $136.92 included several prescriptions which I needed to fill due to some emergency medical needs. You can read more about that in our article on travel insurance.

Thanks to our friends, who loaned us their Tracfone, we had access to phone service during our trip. However, since we were so busy the entire trip, we used a LOT of minutes and they were expensive — to the tune of $64.18. Wow! That’s almost three times what we spend for both of our cell phones in Costa Rica for an entire month.

And now for the biggest expense category, “Entertainment/Travel” “Entertainment included an evening at our local 2nd run movie theater and the purchase of a few magazines. The rest of the category covers our travel expenses, as follows:


We got a pretty good deal on airfare, with each ticket costing $462.61 for round trip travel San Jose, Costa Rica to Baltimore, Maryland. Interestingly, had we bought our tickets two weeks earlier, each ticket would have cost about $200 more. Glad we waited!

Luckily, when we purchased our tickets online, we checked off the box for travel insurance. It was inexpensive ($61.10 for both of us) and turned out to be a lifesaver, as we had to use it. Read more about it in our article, below, about our purchase of travel insurance.

The last item to mention in the travel category is the departure tax that Costa Rica charges everyone upon leaving the country by air. It doesn’t matter if you are a tourist or a resident — everyone pays it. The cost is $29 per person and the money supposedly goes towards the upkeep of the national parks. (However, if you are visiting Costa Rica on a tourist visa and you have overstayed your allotted days (usually 90 days), you may be hit with a higher departure tax so be prepared.)

There are some relocation expenses that do not appear in this month’s expenses. There are several expenses associated with our decision to ship 13 boxes of our belongings to Costa Rica. As we did not pay for these charges until after the 1st of April, they will appear in next month’s expenses.

As usual, to help put things into perspective, here are our expenses for the previous two months:














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