Can You Afford the Cost of Living in Panama?
So…doing the math and wondering if you can afford to live in Pedasi or Panama in general? A few other bloggers touch base on the cost of living. Kris Cunningham gives her breakdown of life in David, and Christopher Powers details his costs of living in Panama City. Those are both great baselines for comparison because they’re opposite ends of the country, and while Kris provides a retiree’s viewpoint, and OC (other Chris) provides costs based on grocery store visits for a family of six.
Which brings us to…umm…us. Smack dab in the middle of the country, in almost the dead-center of the continent, in what could also be known as near-middle-earth for LOTR fans, is the town of Pedasi – a place becoming increasingly popular with expats, beach-goers, adventure seekers and all around cool people.
So what does it cost to live among the awesome? Well, it could be more than you think, or not as much as you thought, it depends on what you’re thinking.
And now back to your regularly scheduled blog post…
After one year in Pedasi, here’s a break down our cost of living but with a small disclaimer. A lot of the time we lived rent free thanks to our new found careers as House Sitters. But when we did rent, a 2BR / 1 bath Panamanian style home (with one AC) in town set us back $450 per month. Add to that an electricity bill that averaged just under $20 and water bills of $5, all in we were at $475 for rent.
And now this is where the waters will become murky. Some people eat out more often than others. Some people drink more often than others. Some people eat expensive food more often than others. And some people do more…stuff than others. Okay, no more rambling, here’s our Collective Soul-esque Disciplined Breakdown…
Wow, booze takes up a big chunk of our expenses! Not that I need to justify it for people, but I’ll break down our most expensive month for booze: October 2014 was $233. Divided by 31 days and that’s 7.5 drinks per day. Now divide by 2 people and we’re at 3.75 (although I probably had 4.5 and Shelly had 3). Now take into consideration I’m Canadian, and the beer here is like water compared to Canada. Anyway, it doesn’t bother us, we know we’re not drunks – but this is just an illustration as to what one can expect living in Pedasi.
Things I didn’t include:
- Tips (sometimes it’s included in the bill and we forgot to separate it)
- Car expenses (read all about the cluster-f@#K adventure with our car)
- Los baños (a few quarters to use the crapper wasn’t worth mentioning)
- Rent/Electric/Water (this will be dependent on your needs) Ours was $475/month
- Border runs to Costa Rica and Medellin, Colombia
So what’s it cost to live in Pedasi? Well, if we paid rent every month, it would have cost us just under $1330/month.
Don’t drink? Well, you’re looking at just under $1200.
Don’t drink or eat out? Then you could spend as little as $1075.
Don’t drink or eat out or pay rent? Now you’re under $600 month – nice work Thrift Shop!
If you feel like doing the math and averaging the costs of restaurants per visit, we went out the following number of times each month over the course of a year:
I wish we had separated our booze at restaurants from our grocery store booze. That would give us a better idea of where that booze money was being…absorbed. You’ll also want to factor in that we arrived in mid August 2014, and when you need to network, you need to spend some time at the restaurants and bars.
Anyway, that’s the cost of living in Pedasi for two dudes in their late 30’s and all prices are in US dollars.
I’d like to thank my super-organized, book-keeping wife, Shelly, for tracking expenses to the best of her ability whilst being married to me and my inability to remember which pocket(s) I kept the previous night’s receipt in – if I kept it at all!Courtesy of Panama Dude