Work Abroad but earn in USD

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Cost of Living in Argentina for a Family

As many of you know, my wife and daughter and I are getting close to our move down to Mendoza, Argentina.  We are excited about it and planning constantly.  One of the things we are planning is an estimated monthly budget for our family in Mendoza.  The following is our estimated budget.  I am posting it here as a reference for folks not aware of the cost of living in Argentina, and also so the experienced expats out there can help us out.  Of course everyone is accustomed to their own standards, like eating out a lot (or not), having a maid (or not), having your own car (or just taking taxis), etc.  You can see from our budget we are planning for private school for our daughter, to own a mid size 4 passenger car, to have some budget for local travel every month, and to have a full time live in helper taking care of our cooking and cleaning. 

Estimated Monthly Family Budget in Mendoza (USD)

Rent (2 or 3 BR + Depend.)

$800.00

Electric / Water / Vonage

$100.00

Cable / Internet

$60.00

Cell Phones

$40.00

Child School & Activities

$200.00

FT Domestic worker

$450.00

Groceries

$150.00

Family Entertainment

$200.00

Pocket Money / Discretionary

$200.00

Local Travel / Major Expenses

$300.00

Savings

$0.00

Car – Gas / Insurance

$150.00

Health & life Insurance

$200.00

Other – in the USA expenses

$200.00

MINIMUM Mo. Budget

$3,050.00

So, what do you think?  Doable or not...too conservative...or are we missing something important?  Please help me vet out these numbers, not only will we appreciate it, but your fellow readers will appreciate it too, cost of living in Argentina is one of the more popular topics for this blog (in terms of the questions people send in).

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32 Comments:

Anonymous Jose said...

As an argentinean (from Buenos Aires, never lived in Mendoza), who has not lived in Argentina for the past 4 years, I'd reccomend you to double the expense for your children activity to about U$400. Consider about AR$ 1000 for schooling of your daughter if you plan to enroll her in an english school, and depending on your lifestyle, you might want to add another AR$200 for other activities which takes you to about US 400.
Health and life insurance, you might want to bump it up to about US 250, since I assume you will want to be really covered (think of MEDICUS, or OSDE in Buenos Aires cost about that much for a family).Also consider about US 250 per year for car license (that's how much I paid)
Also think as much as AR$300 for cell phones if you plan to use it.
This figures I tell you are based on family expenses in BA, please don't take my word for it, just a heads up. Also bear in mind that appartment rooms are generally smaller in Argentina than what you might be used to.
Best of luck, Jose

9/14/2007 12:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may also want to conceder the elections and government changes in the coming months and the possibility of a shift in economic policies. The current price control and limits on energy consumption is unsustainable long term. Therefore, your budget should be prepared for the possibility of an increase of 20%+ (conservative) in the cost of goods and services for 2008.

9/15/2007 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous jamie said...

We just signed up for insurance with OSDE. For my wife and I it was about 660 pesos a month.
For electric, gas and water, I think it will be a little lower than you budgeted for.
I would suggest Skype over Vonage. For one, Skype is free call other Skype users and US$.021 to any phone line in the US. For a nominal fee, you can also have a phone number in the anywhere that rings right to your laptop.
Suerte, Jamie

9/16/2007 09:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Sean said...

Hi Jammer - nice to see you on track...

I think in the end your budget is close, watch out for cell phones, groceries, and kid expenses! cheers

9/17/2007 02:09:00 AM  
Blogger David Wilbanks said...

Hey Jammer.... Can't wait for you to get down here so we can have someone to visit when we go to Mendoza.

Like Jamie, I also recommend Skype. I have a skype in number and the Netgear skype phones. People in Texas call me all the time and it is free to them and me. When we call out it is only 0.21 cents to anyone in the US. It is no different than talking on a regular phone quality wise.

You don't need the phone. You can use your computer if you want.

Also, the inflation here in Argentina is the one wild card that makes it hard to project expenses. Before we came, we heard you can eat out at nice Restaurants for 1/4 the price in the US. When we are lucky we eat for about 1/2. A lot of the time it's the same. Only the wine is cheaper. Expect to pay at least US$10 per main course. A family a four with wine has been running about AR$200 without tip.

9/22/2007 09:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

Hi! One thing that seems high to me is your rent. I have a 2br apt here in Rosario with about 1800sq ft. and it only costs me about $390US a month (3.13 pesos to the dollar). I have visited Mendoza several times and can't believe that rents are that much higher than here which is the greatest city in all of Argentina jaja.

I too would be somewhat concerned about the elections and their aftermath. I am somewhat pessimistic that all things will continue to rise much faster than the current inflation rate.

I have OSDE and it runs me 360 pesos a month but that is for jsut me.

I don't have my cell bill in front of me but I believe it is right at 100 pesos per month for @ 200 minutes. I have Personal. Your cable/Internet is exactly what I am paying with Cablevision.

As to Vonnage or skype. I use voicecheap and I think all the systems are about the same...."Free" to any land line just about anywhere in the world.

Don't know if any of this helps but good luck and please be careful. If memory serves just a couple weeks ago the top brass in the police were fired for criminal activities, Mendoza is NOT the safest city at this moment, or so I have read.

9/23/2007 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

That looks about right... I had 2 kids in private school and 2 cars and was making it on something around your budget... My house was paid for though. I think your groceries number is a little low... although fresh produce is cheaper in Argentina processed foods are not...

9/24/2007 07:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you serious??? I am not from USA but if it costs so much to live in Argentina, how much you are paying in US then? Jeez, and I thought about moving to AR...

10/12/2007 01:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Alexander said...

wow my cell phone bill in the US is $40 a MONTH. Cable is the same in the US.And Electric for my one bedroom apt I paid $25 for 2 months. Are you sure these numbers are right? I visited Buenos Aires in 2004 and we paid for 4 people main dishes(steaks) and 2 bottles of wine about $60 US dollars in a very nice restaurant. And my argentine friend thought it was so expensive. The prices I see here are not that much different then the ones in Los Angeles.

11/17/2007 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger jammer said...

Lots of good comments here, but now to answer a few questions...

Many are wondering why its so 'expensive' in ARG! Let us compare apples to apples, and not rough comparisons. Some are saying what's the point, I live on less in LA or wherever, USA. Here is the point in a few words - quality of life!

Cell Phones (note the plural there), that $40 is for 2, that cost me just over $100 in the US. People are saying I pay $40 a month here, but this is for 2, not 1.

Cable & High speed Internet - I pay almost $120 in TX for this, its half in Mendoza.

Rent - $800 for a 2 BR + Dependencia (maid's suite) - in the USA that would be at least a $1,500 a month rental, realize its in the high rent district where maid suites are standard.

Maid's salary... less than 1/3 what it costs in the US, and that is paying very fair for your help in ARG as some comments here have mentioned.

$200 a month for private school tuition and an activity a week for my daughter, that is more than $600 a month in TX...

I dont need to go on any further, I think you get the point. Those of you saying wow that's expensive are comparing your single life in a studio apartment (with no full time maid) to my budget here for a family of 3 living in a sweet pad in a great neighborhood, plus a full time maid to help us live the good life!

Not everything in ARG is cheap, or cheaper than the US, note cars & premium real estate. But I really think this budget duplicated in the US would be at a minimum 2x more, maybe more like 2.25-2.5x more. Sure, you can live on 3k a month in the US, but no where close to as well as you can live on 3k a month in Mendoza!

11/18/2007 09:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Lee Medovoi said...

Does anyone have any ideas on how to find an apartment to rent (say for a month?) in Mendoza? My family would like to spend some real time there in January or February.

11/27/2007 01:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the $450.00 FT Domestic Worker really necessary? Seems you save quite a bit right there.

12/30/2007 10:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey...I live on long island in new York...and my family of four spends about 8500 a month...in public school and with no full time maid. we are comfortable but Argentina sounds like a bargain! good luck

1/13/2008 02:38:00 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

I'm in Cordoba, and I would think that Mendoza prices are similar. Depending on location, the rent seems a little high to me. We rent a 3BR 3Bath house just on the edge of town with probably about 2100sf, and it runs about $1800 pesos p/month, but then you don't have anything listed for taxes or common expenses either, which the renter has to pay in AR.
Based on experience, you should be able to get a good FT housekeeper / babysitter, including taxes for at, or less than, 1000 pesos per month.
I think groceries are way low, especially not seeing any money for dining out. I'd bump it up to at least 275-300 dollars.
Does Car - Gas/Insurance include a car payment? If so, forget it. Without a car payment, maybe 175-200 dollars a month.
I'd actually reduce the medical insurance to 150 dollars for full medical and dental coverage.

1/14/2008 05:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is in response to jammer. The prices still don't seem that inexpensive. All you have pretty much proven is that expenses are half as much as in the US. But US salaries are 5x as much as Argentina. I make about 100k per year gross which is more like 10x what a similarly educated engineer makes per year in ARG. Unless you can make US dollars from ARG keeping your job in the US, quality of life would be 10x worse. I think Argentina is great for US retirees, students, and vacation homes but with the unstable government, I am not too sure I would sink all my eggs there. It is tempting because of my european background to taste the culture, food, and elegant women but not at the risk of financial disaster. If the prices for goods and services are not at least 5x less than in the US, mathematically I do not see it as being rewarding. (This doesn't include that income taxes are much less in the US when you factor in deductions).

2/24/2008 05:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous you are correct. "Unless you can make US dollars from ARG keeping your job in the US, quality of life would be 10x worse". We visited family and friends in 2004 and everything was a bargain. We were there for the last 3 months of 2007 and found prices a little cheaper or the same as in the US. Meat was the exception. Yes, Argentina is cheaper but to live a rewarding life it must be much cheaper than it is now.

We have many Argentine friends living in the US who have returned to ARG with their dollars only to return to the US because of the amount needed for quality of life was much more than they anticipated. We have ARG friends returning in March after 4 1/2 years (took a loss and 2 1/2 years to sell) and a family member who returned to the US last year because he invested all his savings (U$S 180,000) there and finds it is not as cheap as he thought it was and now cannot sell and is taking a loss on his investment. These friends and family's standards are way lower than ours and they still found it was not a good quality of life. Very sad. My husband who is Argentine agrees with you "mathematically I do not see it as being rewarding". Good luck to you in Mendoza, it's a beautiful city.

2/24/2008 07:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am 50 years old, have a wife of 39, two kids, 2 and 9, and I thought to go there, to Argentina because I worked like a horse here, in Paris, and wanted to do something over there, like in tourism. I've been guide for eight years before being a translator for fifteen years. I spend ten hours a day on my bump and I can't imagine doing that until 65 or more. Is it then so pessimistic as many of you say? I have some 500.000 dollars in front of me. Have no desire of business, I never did any, know nothing about it. But if I can't find an occupation, than life could be miserable. Is the school system okay? I heard the french school is okay... In Buenos Aires. But where should I live to be able to be tourist guide? I speak five langage... So many questions... There will be other questions sure. Just wanted to have some ideas. I wouldn't go to Argentina to live as a king. I would just have a bigger apparment, that's all... But really, those comments are not very motivating.

4/09/2008 02:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there, this is Anonymous "This is in response to jammer." Honestly 500.000 isn't that bad of a start. Argentina is still ranked as one of the cheapest places in the world to live, even when compared to Southeast Asia and Africa.

The problem with Argentina is that you can pretty much count on not being able to acquire a job. Even if you do you are going to get paid no more than $400 per month which is pretty pathetic. You are better off being unemployed and trying to collect some sort of a pension. Hell, US unemployment is $400 per month. So forget about working. You need to have cash and investments to survive there and live well. I personally have about $100k in savings and my inheritance is about $1 million and still I would be hesitant to move there. Why? cause you can't work! We all know that socialism doesn't work... more tax means less companies willing to employ people, which means less jobs and less money in circulation which ultimately leads to a regressive environment with the inability to wealth build. I think the sweet spot is $1.5 million in Argentina. You want to spend anywhere from 300-500k on a home and pay in cash and not have a mortgage. (You need to spend this much on a home to live in a safe area) Then you need about $1 million in investments earning a modest 5% interest in an offshore bank to yield you $50k per year and you can live comfortably with your family of four. $50k per year is 5 times what an engineer makes in ARG and believe me, they aren't living comfortably to American standards.

If you want to retire in the developed western world such as England, US, France, Germany, Spain etc you need about 4-5 million. Europe is pretty bad now with the the rediculous European Union that has inflated European prices of goods and at the same time has been a haven for illegal imigration from countries such as Albania and Romania. Seriously, take those Euro's and British pound and convert to the US dollar while it is low and retire in a few years to a cheap country somewhere in South America where your money will go a long way. Argentina is probly the best country to spend your dollar but NOT TO EARN IT!! So if you go there, make sure you have enough cash the first time so you don't mess yourself up. I hope this helps.

In the end you really have to judge your own comfort of living. Everyone's living standards are different.

You may be able to make do with $500k only if you watch what you spend. I would suggest targeting a nice home in Pilar N. Gran B.Aires for $250-300k and using left over cash for savings. You also need a pension from Europe or US that will yield you about $1500/month.

Always prepare for a rainy day. Argentina is inexpensive now but there was a time where they pegged the US dollar to the Peso 1:1. I don't see this ever happening again but you never know. The thing about Argentina is that the people have a lot of pride. Buenos Aires is a shadow of its former self but the people still view themselves as superior to the rest of South America (even though Chile and Brazil have now superior economies to Argentina). This really irritates them and I wouldn't be suprised if they did something stupid and try to peg their currency to a superior economy like they once did. Take my information with a grain of salt, I am not expert on Argentina but my European relatives went their to work many many years ago when the passage to the US was closed off. It was different then. Many affluent people flocked there.

P.S. If you buy property, make sure it is in or near the city of Buenos Aires. Argentina has always had Buenos Aires as the hub where everything revolved around. (Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia were once a part of Argentina but separated due to the emphasis on the Buenos Aires economy) Do not buy in any other region than Buenos Aires!!! Once you buy you will never be able to sell your property so keep that in mind. They don't have mortgages there for foreigners and the native financing is maximum 50% LTV with a ten year term @ 10%+. This doesn't make for easy liquidation of property.

4/28/2008 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Figure al least 50% more these days... and going up.

4/29/2008 02:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that you could live in Argentina very well at around 50% of the cost of the USA even with the current round of inflation. This is very dicouraging as I planned to retire and move to Argentina for a few years. My wife is Argentine and her family live in Bahia Blanca. The cost of living in that area seems much lower than what you are suggesting. I am going to Mar del Plata in a couple of weeks to look at rentals and try and figure out what the cost of living would be. Hopefully I can come up with some more modest figures than you are suggesting. We do have a 1 year old child, I will have paid health care in the USA but I will have to pay for health insurance in Argentina. I will buy a used car when I am there and rent of course. 150 for groceries seem low. We pay that per week here. Of course the food is cheaper and far less of the expensive pre-packaged food. Thanks for the eye-opener.

7/03/2008 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger thomas said...

Hi I am Thomas from Texas...

I am 37 married w/3 children (6,4,& 17months)it seems that the paradise I've been told about has many flaws. I am looking to visit Mendoza in May for a couple of weeks. at which time my wife and I will be vacationing and looking for a posible place to live. We were considering moving there as of January 2010. My wife are both college grads and have a military medical pension of $3000.00 dollars monthly and would have only about $35,000.00usto start plus the pension. we want are children to experience other cultures and to learn the language, and we were planning to retire in Mendoza or surrounding areas. We have done much research on the region and think we would enjoy it especially the climate. The US economy as well as many other issues concern us, especially the rising cost of living (energy). In Houston 2 years ago we paid less than $90US for electric now over $200us in freaking January. I have many questions regarding jobs, education, & land. We are interested in many ways to make a living from teaching, to opening a business, to (small) ranching, to hunting. what are the gun laws ????Ultimately we want to know are we better off stay and working our butts off just to pay the bills or would we have a better life in Mendoza, Argentina?? Thank you for your time.

9/27/2008 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You Americans just have no idea about life, what is important nor the relative nature of salaries / cost of living, etc. Americans are so brainwashed by their ultra-capitalist upbringings that they just do not understand what "quality of life" even means. To them, it means making more $ and if you make a lot of $, then you are automatically living the good life.

The most ignorant comments are always posted by Americans who always think in absolute terms and do not realise that a US$500 salary a month may actually offer one a superior quality of life, depending on cost of living. If I can find rent at $1/month, schooling, health insurance and social security are all intact and "free" to ALL citizens (any type of socialism, which does work, despite the ignorant American's previous comment), etc., then that $500 may be worth more than a 6-figure-income stockbroker spending 7 figures a year to sustain his lifestyle.

I have exaggerated the figures, but the point remains. Living in Manhattan, my Wall Street/lawyer friends making 6 figures were actually taking home less than my blue-collar workers in Cleveland, OH, who could afford their own homes at 21 (at US$75K or less for a normal home and 150K+ for a really nice place!), can shop at Walmart weekly for necessities, etc. (In Manhattan, one would spend US $2-$3K/month on normal lodging (forget about buying, unless you want to spend $500K on a shoebox or a million$ on a normal place), usually having to share with flatmates and living with insects and rodents (ubiquitous and non-discriminatory, even to posher more expensive districts in NYC.) I myself saw prices of $10 for a bag of crisps at the local NYC supermarket! $7-$10 for a drink at a bar, $30 to go out to a discotheque (no drinks included), etc etc and you see that a higher salary does not equate to a higher actual take-home figure.

Furthermore, there are non-monetary quality-of-life factors. In NYC (and most of the US in general), you have to work 60+ hours per week (and usually way more) to make that 6 figure salary you think is so important (even for many 5-figure salaries) and leads you to that very false conclusion that you are automatically richer than someone making 5 figures, for example.

You are also used to a pathetic 1 week norm of holiday time per year, which, to many, especially Europeans and other industrialised peoples (let's compare apples to apples), is insane! (2 weeks if you are lucky is the other norm, and only more than that if you exchange most of the time of your life you are given on this planet to one company.)You are afraid to be sick and ashamed to take off sick days (though you hardly get any time off to begin with, very illogical, in my opinion.) In the end, you work your 60+++ hours in all states of illness, just to prove something to an employer who does not even care and who would fire you from one moment to the next if the figures so indicated. And you think this makes you a better employee !?! What about your life? What about the quality of your life?? The brainwashing thus far undertaken in the USA is astounding.

Also pathetic is the 5-10 minute lunches you take while at work. 30 minutes is the norm and one hour seems "extended" these days and most Anericans don't even dare take a full hour any more, even if they are entitled. What kind of quality of life is that to live on a daily basis?

You also have no job security in this country and I have seen with my own eyes people be let go from 9h - 9h30 after 25+ years of service just like that, with no forewarning, completely erased from the company's memory by 10h, nametags removed, possessions packaged up and the emplyee deleted. Most European nations, for example, offer substantial security for the employee and/or a socialised unemployment / workforce re-insertion infrastructure which you can actually live on (not like your pathetic US unemployment compensation amounts) and these countries usually offer both. The employer makes an investment when hiring and does not and can not just hire and fire because the figures on the financials do not look good.

In the USA, money and figures are more important than people, every time. You measure EVERYthing based on dollar figures. I can only imagine the stress of going to work every day, knowing that every single moment could be your last at that job. That fact alone detracts immensely from your quality of life (on a daily basis, no less) and though unquantifiable, is no less important.

The USA has the highest percentage of obese and overweight people on the planet. More than 2 out of every 3 of you are fat...and it is extremely noticeable and horrifyingly disgusting to foreigners. Again, is this the amazing American dream you always speak of?

You incarcerate the 2nd highest percentage in the world of your own population, just after Iran, I believe. You live in such fear of the police, getting tickets and so forth that you just follow any and all abstract and even assanine rules and regulations without even thinking for yourselves. You offer 125-year or "5 lives to be spent imprisoned consecutively" sentences (how ridiculous can one nation be?!)Is this more of that high quality of life you've been going on about?

You are so pathetically Puritan, that you censor "swear words" and other free speech on tv, (though almost all Americans speak with stupefyingly enormous quantities of "curse words" in real life) as well as nudity and other expressions of humanity considered normal almost anywhere else on the planet. These are more non-quantifiable, but definitively decisive components of quality of life, which Americans never even reflect on. To re-iterate, Americans believe $ = quality of life and to increase salary means a higher quality of life, just as misguided as their belief that higher price = higher quality and that the more $ you spend on something, the better it must forcibly be.

You think your USA is so rich and the most coveted place on the planet to love. (Believe me, it is NOT...Most industrialised-nation citizens would NOT move to the US and if they do, most return to their home countries not long thereafter, as the quality of living here is lacking. You cannot compare someone from sub-Saharan Africa wanting to move to the US to someone from industrialised Europe, most of whom see through the Holywood smokescreens of what a "fabulous" nation you've got.)

12/07/2008 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger jammer said...

I published this last comment above even though it has a lot of unsourced inflamatory remarks in it which make it unreasonable in part but still some parts are not too off the mark.

Next, I'll also say that if you are going to write such a long tome, and be so passionate about it, then why dont you sign it? Seems pretty meek to go anon on such tough, wide-sweeping statements.

12/07/2008 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger georgio_93 said...

I decided to follow jammers post and register a screename here to comment so people don't get confused which anonomous I am. In any case I was the anonomous that responded to you, jammer, regarding the 500k being a good start to move to BA. As to the last anonomous poster who evidently loves socialism so much that he has used "exagerated and inaccurate figures" to prove his point. Well, readers of the posts can be the judge as to whose advise or lack there of to follow.

Many of his assertions are correct about Americans... we do tend to measure everything in dollars but that is only a byproduct of life in America where everything you do depends on $$ since in order to have the quality of life the socialists have we have to earn our own way instead of bleeding it from those (via taxation) who work hard and are successfull.

I am BTW first generation American. My parents are from Italy and France and if socialism was such a paradise, we would have stayed there.

The so-called "free healthcare/social security" is not free, it is derived from the 50-60% income taxes that europe has in addition to 20% VAT taxes and in some cases a wealth tax, and inheritance tax. Secondly, you cannot rely on the socialist healthcare system because it only covers basic needs and medication... not complex surgeries (you still need european privatised insurance for that). As for the social security in europe... it sounds fantastic but in reality it is quite pathetic. You retire at and earlier age... 58 instead of 67 at 80% of your gross pay. Little does anybody tell you that the average european salary is about 20k euro which therefore yields you 16k euro per year. The US yields you about 33% of your gross salary up to 90k which is about 30k US per year. A US pension living in Europe is > than a European pension even after the currency exchange.

Your NYC analogies can be taken with a grain of salt... the simple fact is that NYC has a lower cost of livng than London, Milan, Paris, and Moscow which are all socialist to communist cities where the cost of the same goods and services are not relative to their corresponding salaries.

Regarding vacation: Europe gets at least one month off vs the US only 1-2 weeks. This is true but everyone should understand that most europeans are finding it impossible to travel during this "free" time off because they simply do not have the capital to spend on their vacation other than going down to their local beach and tanning for the month. Nonetheless it is still true that they get more time off.

The US job security is indeed lacking. This is a true statement. Italy has fantastic job security IF you are so lucky to even acquire a job in the first place! Then when you get your "secure" job you have to be greatfull for your 20k euro gross salary that gets turned into a 10-12k net salary after the non-deductible taxes.

As for obese people... you are correct. We do have a higher percentage of obese people because we work long sedatary job hours and don't have the "ample" time europeans have to work out, fornicate, and lay out in the sun all day, when your not protesting/striking in the streets about reduced pensions. We are also fat because food is about 50% less in America because we don't TAX it! Socialism is about making the basic needs for life either cheap or free and yet they have some of the highest food prices in the world!

As for the incarceration... we do incarcerate a lot and the reason for this is because we actually have a functional judicial system. Europeans rarely incarcerate because it is so beurocratic they cannot even keep up with the crime.

I believe you are wrong about the US not being a coveted place to live. Most US citizens never wind up leaving the US and most non-US citizens like my parents never wind up leaving the US. This tells you all you need to know about America. I understand where you are coming from but I don't believe you know the intracies of our lifestyle because you don't live here. And if you do live in the US, why aren't you living in a socialist country where you can embrace your philosophy? Secondly, what I can never understand about my fellow Europeans is their need to degrade and mock the US.... if it is such a bad place, why isn't everyone moving to Europe or S.America? I grew up under both systems and I will take capitalism any day of the year but that may be because I am productive and successfull citizen :)

12/08/2008 03:20:00 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

I lived in Paraguay in 2005 for 11 months, and I had a monthly stipend of US$1300. I was very happy with this amount, I felt like I had plenty for daily life, a few new clothes, and a little budget travel when the heat got to me (I hadn't had money for clothes or travel in ages).

I returned to the States and was living on about $800 a month in Boston, and was not happy. I could not make ends meet and had to borrow about $500 a month just to be able to go to the dentist, pay rent, etc.

So for me, with inflation, I can survive fine on about $1500 (after tax), in Paraguay or in Boston, Massachusetts.

I think that the difference is, that here in the US, I would rent just a room, shop at discount supermarkets, use my old used car, go to potlucks and inexpensive gigs. Borrow CDs.

In Paraguay, there's not great used clothing and discount supermarkets. Foods from home are more expensive. I spend more on telephone and internet (no free open networks). Instead of using furtniture and stuff I have collected over the years, I have to buy a new bed, pots, pans, etc. Even public restrooms cost a little! Instead of my old used car, I have to hire a taxi to go out. Instead of potlucks, I end up going out to restaurants because I have less of a network of friends and family.

In order to be happy in Paraguay, I need more money or a well-developed network. So far, since I worked mostly with a poor rural community in the Peace Corps, my network doesn't really translate into cooperative living or other benefits which would reduce my expenses.

So I would say to the person who thinks that we Americans think that the only thing that matters is money, no, we don't. We just know that it is a substitute for a lack of some of the things that make life livable no matter what a family's income. Just try to understand, we are not judging your quality of life to be lower because you earn $500 a month.

4/20/2009 03:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why oh why did you need to respond to facts with lies & exagerations. 6o% Tax where? For who? Obesity7, yes we all see plenty in the US which is ample evidence of poor diet. The fact is vacation time in the US is garbage. Europeans don't travel? Check the % of Europeans wwho hold passports comaperd to US citizens. Then go to Fla any summer & see the Europeans who are able to to flock there in big numbers year after year, due to having ample vaction time. Free Healthcare? No. Free at the point of delivery!It is usually comprehensive cover." Who was it said a little knowledge can be dangerous". Re, incarceration, sure you lock plenty up. But I doubt if any European would swap their crime rates for the "functional" appalling US figures.Seems that your Judicial system displys little evidence that it works.
What's this drivel about communism & socialism? The cold war is over pal & Joe McCarthy is long dead. Keep your rhetoric & slave away in the US. In return I shall keep my European standard of living which enables me as a blue collar worker to vacation annualy in the USA as a cheap destination for European visitors. With regards to Americans & reciprocity I note that most only visit Europe as the trip of a lifetime. Due in no small part to low earnings & inadequate vacation provision. In conclusion "there are none so blind as those who will not see"

5/24/2009 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger EMMA said...

The thread has gotten off of the thread of the cost of living in Argentina.
My situation is that, yup, I've lived in the states all my life, never been anywhere else. I've been fired and forced (by my exemployer) to get a disability designation, my retirement has been taken away, my life savings have been stolen. I do have a home that I'm trying to hang on with both hands. The tiny "benefit" that I'm getting is way, way, way little to survive on. I've looked for a way to survive for several years now, and I haven't find such a thing.
So, if some of you world trekkers have knowledge of a place that is cheap to live in, I would appreciate some input. My "needs" are not very high, I don't need medical insurance, I don't eat a great deal (underweight) and I can "work" - but since I'm designated "disabled", I haven't found an employer willing to employee me. On the other hand, I do need a place to live at my age and health status, so I'm not looking to visit but a place to live.

6/05/2009 09:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi my job is thiking about moving me to argentina for a project. I don't knwo which city yet but ithas to be a big one i am guessing. My questions is If iam gettign paid in US dollars and living in aregentina woudl $4500 salary be sufficient for me my wife and 2 infants? and how much I can actually save comairing to us?

6/09/2009 08:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Italy had an income tax rate of 60% in its highest bracket between the years 2000-2004, they have come down a lot since Barlesconi's more capitalist policies. The Netherlands has a 52% tax bracket on any income over 54k for 2008. Secondly, I don't seem to understand why you are ranting about Americans and the way they live. You criticize us and then you vacation here? Europeans always talk about how they despise America but then they wear our clothing, listen to our music, and watch our "hollywood" movies. I don't get it.

I am still confused as to your point? Do you hate capitalism? Do you hate America/Americans? Do you hate our way of life? Do you want us to become socialist? If you are not living here, why are you so concerned with the way we live. The day the United States stops being a super power and passes the torch to China is the day you will start having to conjure up your own defense budget because we won't have the money/resources to save you again.

6/28/2009 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

I am looking at leaving the US. I am a single father with a 10 year old daughter. If I were looking to move to AR and purchase a 80 Hectare ranch or farm, what would be a general cost estimate? Is there decent land that is close enough to school?

7/29/2009 09:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an excellent blog with plenty of good information for a future expat. Although I am curious about the finances for my own situation.

I am 29 year old male with no children, moderate spanish, and have been remodeling homes for since I was 16. I have also been proactive in various entrepenuerships.

I have never paid a cable bill, dont care for cell phones, get my internet from the random wifi spot (starbucks is coming correct?) and am completely content living with no concern of crime rate. Not to mention I am border line vegan and very easily entertained.

Does any one have an idea of what a cost of living would be for one such as my self?

8/05/2009 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I am grateful Obama is calling the Falklands the Malvina's. Maybe in the future they will be speaking two languages on the Malvina's. If there is a next war in the Malvina's the US should turn it's back and let the UK do it on their own.

3/12/2010 03:46:00 PM  

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