We haven’t done this in ages, so I thought it might be interesting to track expenses for a month. Maybe this will be useful if you are considering living in Panama, but keep in mind costs can vary widely depending on where and how you live.
We live in David, in a Panamanian upper middle class neighborhood. We don’t eat out, preferring home cooked food from scratch. We don’t shop much or drink much. We live a pretty simple life by some standards but don’t feel like we lack for anything or deny ourselves anything, and we buy whatever we want at the supermarket including some imported treats.
There are other reports and more information on the Cost of Living Page I’m happy to say that even though prices seem to be rising everywhere, including in Panama, our costs don’t seem to be terribly different.
phone 25 (2 $11/mo data plans and some pay as you go talk time)
gas 5.12 (replacement can for the kitchen)
car insurance 34 (liability only, includes the car that is for sale)
car gas 104.20
the produce guy 128
grand total 1292.20
We also spent 103.29 at DoIt (like Home Depot) for paint and some odds and ends to repair band equipment.
We spent 200 on biannual car maintenance
Electricity usually runs about $35 but we are having problems with the meter at the moment. We don’t have health insurance, preferring to pay as we go with an emergency fund in reserve if needed.
The total might be a bit high since we bought enough at Pricesmart to see us through January (we have a deep freezer which is a great help). We also went to the supermarket (91.32) and filled up the car (50.39) on the last day of the month. Usually once a month for the car is enough but we have been to Boquete a lot for band gigs and rehearsals.
So, there ya go! Some say that Panama costs as much as the US but of course that depends on what you compare to what. Panama City vs a rural area in the Midwest? New York City vs rural Panama? For us, it has been a huge benefit to live so well for so little.