Aug 01 2016

Our May 2016 Costa Rica Cost of Living

2016-MayIn May, Paul and I started making some changes in our diet. We had recently watched a couple of online “summits” that changed our outlook on health, healthcare, diet, and supplementation. The first of the summits was Ty Bollinger’s 9-part documentary, “The Truth About Cancer: A Quest for the Cure.” I’m not sure why I was so driven to watch this; neither Paul nor I have cancer in our immediate families. But I think the fear of cancer affects everyone. So I watched, and about half-way in, Paul started watching with me. We learned that there are a lot of natural ways to boost our immune systems in order to both prevent cancer and to help eliminate cancer from our bodies should it occur. We also watched That Vitamin Summit which was very informative and opened our eyes even further to vitamin therapy. What does this have to do with our expenses? It’s an explanation of why there is (and will probably continue to be) an increase to both our “Groceries” and “Healthcare” budget.

Though organic produce is hard to come by in San Ramón, it’s getting a bit easier with two stores now carrying a limited supply of some organic vegetables: Frutas La Paquereña and Bio Mercado Costa Rica. And at our weekly feria (farmers’ market), we can buy organic extra virgin olive oil, Himalayan sea salt, and other items from Pura Comida. We buy organic when we can, and the rest of the time, when we buy conventional produce, I use a homemade wash of vinegar in water to get off any surface dirt and pesticides. It takes a bit longer, but I think the extra step is worth it. There is also one store in town which carries free-range chickens without hormones. Hopefully the range of our choices will grow as people frequent these stores.

I am also buying more nuts, seeds, and coconut. I make homemade granola with all three, add some whole grain rolled oats, dried fruit, coconut oil, and sweeten it with just a bit of pure maple syrup. We eat that now instead of store-bought granola and other cereals. I also make coconut milk in the blender with dried unsweetened coconut, readily available here, and filtered water. We use it in smoothies, soups, and anything else that calls for canned coconut milk. Plus, it doesn’t have any preservatives!

One thing that we’re not buying anymore is Coca Cola! Paul never drank a lot of it but now, with our new health focus, he has stopped completely. And I never liked it. Instead, I make homemade green iced tea, hibiscus tea, ginger lemonade, and we drink lots of filtered water.

Healthcare – $343.06

We still have the same general healthcare expenses — our monthly Caja payment, an occasional visit to a private doctor or dentist, a couple of prescription medications, and some supplements. But one thing we have started doing is increasing our purchase and intake of vitamins, and I have to say, we are noticing a difference. We both have more energy and Paul is even noticing a difference in his skin. But the best part is that we are protecting ourselves from illness. We are taking significantly more than the RDA of Vitamin C, B-Complex, CoQ10, a multivitamin, Omega 3 oil, and magnesium. I also buy magnesium chloride crystals and make my own magnesium oil, which Paul uses every night at bedtime. It has helped him sleep better and get up less frequently during the night. And, we’ve added another type of magnesium as a foot soak— Epsom salts, called Sal Inglaterra in Costa Rica. All of these supplements add to our healthcare budget but we consider it a great investment in our health.

Other Household – $24.06

pequenomundoThough this is a small amount, it’s worth mentioning. Most of this expense was to replace some of our plastic pitchers and storage containers with new ones made of glass. Though I never microwaved in plastic, I thought it was smart to take the next step and get rid of as much of the plastic as possible. My favorite place to buy household stuff is Pequeño Mundo.

Everything Else – $1,118.44

Rent, phone, and utilities were all normal in May. That accounts for $759.79 of this amount. Only real items of note were the few books we purchased to read more in-depth about vitamin therapy. And, even though we consider Costa Rica a “no-ironing zone,” Paul found a sestreria (tailor shop) in town to press some of his dress shirts and pants. This added about $5 to our monthly spending.

That’s it for May. 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:



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