Our Cost of Living in Panama – April

It is the last day of April, and I am totaling up our expenses. I didn’t post anything for March since both of us were traveling out of the country for part of the month but for April, except for a few days in Bocas del Toro, this should be a pretty accurate accounting of what it has cost us to live.

Basics:
House rent $385
Cable/internet $55.02
Electricity $47.27  (no air conditioning)
Food $261.37
Other $360.40 – ($65 for a car battery, about $105 at Do-It center for more shelves, tools, and misc stuff for the house. about $130 at PriceMart for liquor and other household supplies, $32 for more phone minutes, $15 for a lunch out, $9 at the pharmacy. )
Total $1109.06

I also went to the dentist – $250 for my new crown.
Which brings the total to $1359.06

If you add our expenses for the Bocas trip of $439.07  (For details about those expenses see this post HERE.)

The Grand Total $1798.13

For more information about where and how we live, see my first cost of living report HERE.

We will be traveling to the US again in May so I won’t post an expense report, but there should be one coming again in June.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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14 Responses to Our Cost of Living in Panama – April

  1. Ingrid says:

    Impressive…..thanks for sharing!

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  2. oldsalt1942 says:

    I’ve never sat down and done a detailed cost of living analysis like you’ve done (twice). All I know is that I never spend more each month than I get deposited in my bank account by Social Security. This month I spent $208 on a DeLonghi espresso maker and still came out with a few bucks left over.

    I only have a few fixed expenses that don’t change. The rent ($175) and the Claro USB modem for internet access which costs me $44.80 each month. It’s sure not high-speed access, but it’s satisfactory for what I go. Last month I had a whoppingly large electric bill, for me anyway, of $60. That was because I ran the a/c a lot in the heat of the middle day. Now that the rainy season is starting and we’ve had a lot of good cloud cover I used the a/c a lot less and I just got the electric bill this morning and it dropped down to $36 for April’s usage.

    Of course food varies each month (a moveable feast?) but I probably average less than $200/month. Usually when I eat out it’s at a “Fonda” one of the many ubiquitous restaurants where a plate lunch and a soft drink (sometimes a beer) will set you back less than the cost of a Happy Meal at McDoo Doo’s. When I go shopping at El Rey near you I’ll stop in at the Subway sandwich shop for what I call a “gringo fix.” That costs more than the fondas do even after getting the 15% jubilado discount. I did splurge in April, though, and went to the newly opened “Gringo’s” Tex Mex restaurant out on the InterAmericana heading towards Bugaba. Lunch, a margarita, beer and tip came to a bit over $16 and NO, I DIDN’T ask for the 25% old fart discount that the government says I’m entitled to. While the government says the restaurants have to give you the discount the restaurants DON’T get reimbursed, so I never ask at the fondas (what, you’re going to beat somebody up for 25% off a good meal that’s costing you less than $3.50 to begin with?) or some poor guy who’s just getting started. I don’t mind asking for it at chain restaurants or at big places like the Italian restaurant at Hotel Nacional which has the best pizza in town so far.

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    • Kris says:

      We decided to track expenses because so many people are interested in the cost of living here, and because we’re on a budget and it’s easier to see if something is getting out of hand when you write it down. We went to the Gringos in Bocas and liked it a lot. We’re thinking of going to the Gringos meeting tomorrow which I believe is going to take place at the one here.

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  3. indacampo says:

    McDoo Doo’s! Never heard it called that before… We also don’t ask for discounts very often. The exception would be for hotel stays which doesn’t happen to much for us. Our budget has been pretty much blown out of the water with car maintenance and things breaking…or being broken. 🙂 That’s why it is important to have a little “reserve” fund.

    Hope that your meeting leaves you feeling better than the last one!

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    • Kris says:

      I’m going to the meeting more to figure out what’s up with these people, rather than expecting new relationships. Blog research, ya know 😉 It may not be different, but I am.

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  4. tombseekers says:

    I can’t get over the cost of things. Last summer I went to a local doctor. I was seen, without an appointment, within 10 minutes. Ten minutes later I was at the drug store with 2 prescriptions. Twenty minutes and $23 later I had what I needed. In Florida, it would take hours and my deductibles would be twice that amount.

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    • Kris says:

      Oh yes I know. I didn’t have insurance in the US. Here I have access to affordable health care, I think the care is much better quality. I’m a nurse so don’t get me started on the state of health care in the US!

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Nice. I paid 2000.00 for my crown!

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    • Kris says:

      Wow, that seems like an awful lot even for the US! I’ve needed this crown for a couple years but waited until I got here because I knew it would be so much less. I feel like I had excellent quality work and care too.

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  6. cindy knoke says:

    Wow! We should all move to Panama, but then the cost of living would skyrocket. How smart you are and what fun you are having! Good for you~

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    • Kris says:

      Actually I think we will see more and more people moving to Panama and other countries as us baby boomers reach retirement and see that our dollars aren’t going to go far enough in the US. Hopefully they will also see it as a fun adventure.

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  7. Pingback: Our Cost of Living in Panama – June 2013 | The Panama Adventure

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