There’s nothing quite like going to the grocery store, filling a shopping cart full of fresh fruits, local beef and chicken, and anything else you desire, then getting to the check out and being pleasantly surprised by the nominal bill. This is certainly always a welcome relief, but one that many people nowadays do not experience.
In fact, many today experience the exact opposite; where they will go to the grocery store and feel their heart sink to their stomach at the sight of a massive grocery bill. But grocery bills don’t have to massive. In fact, hardly any of your bills need to massive. A lower cost of living can easily be achieved.
Cost of living is based on many things, one of which would be the relative cost of items in a certain region. Foods and services which might be very expensive in one city or country can be purchased for significantly less in other regions. This is certainly the case with Central America.
Central America in general has an incredibly low cost of living. Food bills are significantly lower here for comparable baskets than in other places, such as the United States and Canada. Other purchases, such as a service like a taxi ride, again are significantly less expensive in Central America.
This information is not new, however. Many North Americans have realized a lower cost of living by moving to Central America. Ask anyone you know who has moved to Central America (it’s actually quite a popular move to make, and growing in popularity all the time), and they will tell you about their significantly lower bills.
But there is more than anecdotal evidence to support this. Studies have been done that demonstrate the lower cost of living one can achieve by moving abroad. A recent study conducted by Best Places in the World to Retire found that 84.2% of those surveyed were able to achieve a lower cost of living by moving abroad. The study focused primarily on those who moved abroad to the Central American region. A follow-up study was conducted, which concluded that 34% of those surveyed reported spending less than half as much abroad as they did before. These are certainly some impressive numbers.
This study does more than just report how many surveyed were able to lower their cost of living. The study also examines why a certain percentage of those surveyed actually saw an increase in their cost of living. This is very valuable information, as many who move abroad do so to lower their cost of living, and thus would want to know which pitfalls to avoid to keep their cost of living low. It was concluded excessive purchasing of imported products was the main culprit for those who saw an increase in their cost of living.
This only makes sense, of course, as anything that has to be imported will have additional fees tacked on, such as transportation fees and taxes. By buying locally, expats can almost be guaranteed to see a lower cost of living by moving abroad.
It’s not just products that cost less in foreign nations, but services as well. For most Americans, the idea of having a personal maid or a driver is a fairy tale; these services are incredibly expensive, and out of the reach of most. Even for those Americans who could potentially afford to hire these services, many do not, because the cost is simply far greater than the benefit. This situation is much different in other countries in the world.
The cost of hiring out services is much lower, within the budgets of most expats and at a price low enough that it actually makes economic sense to hire out these services as opposed to doing them yourself. For example, a gardener can be hired for about $11 a day in Mexico, and a personal maid can be hired for about $150 a month in Nicaragua. That’s $150 a month to have a maid come to your house 5 days a week all month long. In the United States, $150 will buy you one single day of maid service. At low prices like those of Central America, many North Americans, who would never dream of hiring a personal maid or gardener, can afford these services easily.
Not only can a lower cost of living be achieved by moving to Central America, but a higher quality of life can be achieved as well, by way of hiring out others to do services for you like cooking and cleaning.
We’re all looking to improve our quality of life. One sure-fire way to accomplish that is to lower our cost of living. A lower cost of living means more income to spend on other things. And when that lower cost of living can be achieved without lower quality, all the better. Many expats have found that they can do just that by moving Central America. For those looking to lower their cost of living and improve their quality of life, Central America is an excellent choice.
If you would like to read more from the studies referenced in this article, they can be found here: