You’re probably now expecting us to run through a monthly budget to demonstrate how you can slash your living costs and upgrade your lifestyle by moving to Nicaragua.
And for the record, you certainly can enjoy more for less here. After all, this is a country where a seafood dinner for two right on the beach costs $20, a first-run movie ticket goes for $3, a beer costs a little over $1, and a consultation with a US trained doctor costs $35.
But budget setting isn’t a one-size-fits-all idea. You can’t lump every expat living in Nicaragua into the same lifestyle bracket.
In fact, the more expats we meet, the more it becomes evident that how you choose to live your life will have everything to do with your cost of living.
Let’s start with where you live. If you rent, you’ll have to factor in a monthly payment. If you own a house, it’s property taxes, maintenance and possibly HOA fees that need to be included in your budget. Then what about transport? Are you planning to own a car? Will you need a driver? Do you have any specific health needs? Are you looking after children? Will you need a full time maid, a chef, a baby-sitter, a gardener… several gardeners?
Of course things like rent, property taxes, hiring a driver or a maid all cost far less here than in North America; but can you see what we mean when we say one size doesn’t fit all?
You need to develop your own personal budget, customized to your own particular needs and priorities.
Below, we’ve assigned some values to common items that can be mixed and matched to find the right fit for you and the kind of life you would like to lead in Nicaragua.
Sample monthly costs for a couple:
- Propane gas (tank for cooking) – $20
- Telephone – $20
- Water and Electricity – $200 (depending on A/C)
- High speed Internet and cable – $50
- Cook/maid full-time – $150
- Groceries – $200
- Entertainment – $150
- Gym membership – $30
We’ve factored in a good standard of living into these prices. If you want to “live like a local” your costs will come down considerably.
The cost of living advantage is a big motivator for people who have moved to Nicaragua. It’s an advantage that few other places can match – even when counting other Central American countries.
Live here and you can indulge in many of the “luxuries” you may normally deny yourself back home (like full time home help or lobster dinners on the sand) and still trim your budget.
And thanks to the low cost of living, many expats can devote more time to hobbies and pastimes they truly love. Some may even find they can retire earlier than they ever thought possible, without the worry of outliving their nest egg.
Just make sure you do your research to find out what your cost of living in Nicaragua will be.
P.S. In The Insider Guide to San Juan del Sur you’ll find much more guidance, including a shopping price guide for the Fish Market, Meat Market, Basic Groceries, Beer and Liquor. Contact us if you’d like us to send you the table we included in the guide.
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