Friday, February 21, 2014

Quality of Life in Costa Rica vs. Cost of Living

Costa Rica has been called the Happiest Place on Earth by the Happy Planet Index.  The charts below show statistics to prove it. We noticed a remarkable difference in our health and happiness since moving here.  Below are some of our thoughts about why we look and feel better & why we generally wake up in a wonderful mood now that we live in Costa Rica. 

  • Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949​ spending money on books, not bullets
  • Ticos love and protect their environment
  • Costa Rica has a slower pace of life​
  • Ticos have a life expectancy of 78+
  • The National phrase is "Pura Vida" meaning pure life​
  • With an excellent bus system, walking is common at any age​
  • ​With such great weather and diverse countryside, it is hard not to lead an active lifestyle, which Ticos take advantage of daily; beaches, mountains, rivers, lakes
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables are abundant and inexpensive, fast food is scarce and expensive

We also noticed our cost of living has gone down a bit since we moved to Atenas, Costa Rica from Texas. As a family of 4 1/2, consisting of 2 adults and 3 small children, ages 2 & 4 and a newborn, we budget between $2,200 to $2,500 per month.  This figure could be smaller if we chose to live in a Tico style home and sent our children to public schools - that being said, our budget is including private school tuition + school bus and exclusive gated community living.  Here are some average monthly expenses for a family (4 1/2 people) living in Costa Rica:
  • House (large, luxurious):  $900
  • Electricity (house):  $80
  • Water/sewage (gated):  $30
  • Gas (propane tanks):  $20
  • Cell phone:  $20
  • Cable TV:  $30
  • High-speed Internet (ADSL):  $40
  • Housekeeper:  $2 - $3 per hour/$200 - $300 full time per month
  • Private School Tuition (approximately):  $140
  • School Bus:  $60
  • ​Groceries (cooking most meals):  $600
As you can imagine, a single person could easily get by on $1,000 - $1,500 and live very lavishly. We have been pregnant for a while (9 months to be exact:) so we definitely had bigger appetites than usual and my husband makes the joke that he is pregnant with me, meaning we both gain weight, but now that we are no longer with child, we have noticed a smaller grocery bill, especially when cutting down on meats & cheeses. The fresh food is totally inexpensive and we love it and feel healthier for it. My mother recently visited and was surprised to see our kids eating all their salad, like this was not common in Texas. Since we eat robust salads every day, our kids enjoy them equally. These are our thoughts on why we consider Costa Rica to have a higher quality of life and a lower cost of living. I hear folks talk about how things have become more expensive over time, but we can still testify that we are not only happier, but spending less money for that happiness. It might not be the perfect place for some people, but it has been everything we hoped for our family.  PURA VIDA!

1 comment:

  1. a smaller economy with lesser people will not compromise on the quality of life.


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