Once in a while I track expenses so we can see how things are going, and many others seem to find it helpful as they plan their retirement. Of course your costs will be different depending on where and how you live. All I can do is share our experience. You can refer to other reports for more details on our life if you wish.
We live in an upper middle class neighborhood of professional and blue collar families on the north side of David. Our house is probably 1000 sq ft, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, unfurnished (which means no appliances). Costs are in US dollars which is also the currency of Panama.
Rent $385 (We’ve been here 4+ years for the same rent. Something similar probably costs more now)
Cable/internet 41.22 (we changed plans to something a bit less expensive)
Electricity $1.50 (our meter has been broken for months. Yes, they know and they will probably hit us up for back charges, but right now it is essentially free. Usually it is around $35-40 depending on use of AC)
Car insurance $48.30, 2 cars, one full coverage, other liability only
Data plans for 2 iPhones $22.44
Gas for the car $40 (guestimate, hubby didn’t write it down)
Gas for the kitchen $5.12 (gas for cooking comes in a can like for your BBQ, and once a month or so you have to take in an empty can and exchange it for a full one)
Food – $288.26 (we bought a pig last month, 120 pounds worth at $2.50/lb) If we ate 10 pounds (for easy math), you can add $25 for this, total $313.26. Food also includes shampoo, paper towels, and other such things that you pick up on supermarket runs.
Total – $866.83, or if we had paid $40 for electricity,
Have I confused you all? 😀 Basically though, bottom line, just to live cost us about $900.
Optional expenses – beer/liquor $92.23 (we stocked up on a Pricesmart run)
Art classes and supplies – $60
My audible and kindle book habits – $50 (estimate)
Oh, almost forgot, $3 to fix a car tire that got a nail in it, and $20 for lunch out a few days ago, and 2 $10 dinners at Joel’s gigs, and a $5 bike repair
So, maybe around $250 in miscellaneous optional expenses
Somewhere around $1150 to live a good life where we feel like we lack for nothing!
This does not include any travel (which we didn’t do anyway in January).
It also doesn’t include health insurance which we don’t have. Joel has VA and I have insurance in the US (thank you Obamacare!!). We have savings to cover emergencies here.
We don’t take any medications, didn’t buy clothes, didn’t have car repairs, or anything else that might come up but didn’t for us in January.
Most of us have a finite amount of money. If you can’t or don’t want to increase the income, you can decrease the outgo. We came to Panama because we could afford it on our limited income. Little did we know it would be such a wonderful experience! Just think, if we were rich we would have missed it all, and what a shame that would be.