What and Why:  Part-Time Expat Living (Part 6:  Lower Living Costs, Higher Standard of Living)


I’m back with more reasons why people become part-time expats.

One of the most common reasons is to encounter a lower cost of living along with a higher standard of living. There are places in the world where you can live on a lot less and yet enjoy more amenities than in your home country.

For example, I know of many couples who live on $2,000 per month in Costa Rica. By renting or buying in the right locations, they are able to forego owning a car, they don’t have heating or cooling bills, and they participate in a health system that is much less expensive. These factors alone make for a lower cost of living.

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Fruit and Vegetable Stand, Central America

In addition, fresh fruits and vegetables can be purchased at the local farmers’ markets at prices lower than the grocery stores, another savings. Lower insurance costs and lower property and rental costs can really add up.

If you come from a large urban area in North America or Europe, and you settle in a small town in Latin America, your rent will be considerably cheaper.  You could save hundreds of dollars a month.

Tea Shop, Cordoba, Spain

Every country has its bargains and its expensive items.  The key is to find out what they are in the country(ies) you are considering, and then weigh that information against your needs,  wants, and desires.

What happens for many people is that they settle in a lower cost country and find that they are able to afford things that actually raise their standard of living.  Perhaps they are able to afford domestic help on a regular basis.  Or maybe they are able to travel more.  Or perhaps they can hire a gardener.  Or take flamenco lessons.  Or have more expendable income to give to charity or community projects. 

Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

Research is the key. Make that exploration trip in advance to the place you think you are most interested in. Find out from other expats living there what actual costs are. Peruse the grocery stores and markets to see what prices are. Check rent prices.  Ask about utilities costs.  Write all this down, and compare when you get home. It could be one of the most important things you do in your process of decision marking.

You just might be able to live on less and enjoy a better lifestyle when you find the right place.

Cordoba, Spain

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2 thoughts on “What and Why:  Part-Time Expat Living (Part 6:  Lower Living Costs, Higher Standard of Living)”

  1. I live in Costa Rica on $1,000 or less a month. I have bought a house and do not have to pay any rent or house payment. I eat very simply but very healthy. I have learned how to get food that is reasonable. I do eat in restaurants buy have discovered the economic deals and places to eat. I find it a basically a good place to live except for the unbearable traffic jams that we are exposed to every day in the San Jose area.

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