When my wife and I first came here from Tennessee in 2007 we realized we were making a major life-changing move to a foreign country and thought it would be best that we would come here with a completely open mind and be willing to accept change.
We also decided to just observe everything around us for at least six months before we started making any major decisions. During this learning period, we found that having an open mind and the willingness to make adjustments were factors that were critical to our happiness living in Costa Rica.
It also had a big impact on our financial well-being. I cannot stress enough that the same is going to be true for any foreign country one may move to. One very interesting thing that I have found is that people who are not willing to adjust and accept changes – are the ones who fail and return home.
They think that they can move here and have all the food and material conveniences of home when they arrive. Folks, it is not going to work that way. Hopefully, the following will provide some beneficial input when moving to a foreign country.
Because food is a major factor, it rapidly became clear to us that if we wanted to eat and drink all the same foods that we were accustomed to ‘back’ home,’ it would be expensive. The foods that we are accustomed to obviously have to travel a long way, and I can guarantee you that those costs are going to be added to the price. It only makes sense that buying imported foods anywhere is going to be expensive as compared to locally produced products.
I remember that in the US when the vendor used the word “imported” you always knew it was going to cost more. This matter was one that we had to solve quickly. The words kept coming back to us “Keep and Open Mind, and Be Willing to Accept Change.”
We first changed our shopping habits and started exploring the concept of going to the weekly Farmers’ Market where they come in and bring their offerings.
Where else can one buy a large assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, and take home a full bag for about $6?
We also started buying locally in the small town where we live. We decided that we had to slow down on shopping at the stores that specialize in catering to the Gringos because of the “import” factor.
The lessons learned from these changes were a major factor and prompted us to start becoming more adventurous with our foods. We discovered that not only did we love the local foods that were new to our taste buds such as the different casados, pico de gallo and of course gallo pinto. and we were pleasantly surprised to discover that it’s healthier and we both lost weight.
Losing Weight & Feeling Great Retired in Costa Rica.
In fact, during the first two years, I lost a total of 26 pounds, which puts me to the perfect weight for my height and age, and I feel better.
As an additional benefit, it turned out to be a lot cheaper than back home in the US. Where else could I have found a healthy full-course dinner at a restaurant in the US for $4.85?
Making a change of life to a new and different country like we have is definitely a learning experience. You can learn something new every day, and I have found that you are never too old to learn.
In this article I have tried to provide some insight based on our experiences regarding one category that has a major impact on the cost of living here in Costa Rica.
I have kept track of all of our monthly expenditures on Quicken for a very long time. In fact I have used Quicken ever since the program was introduced in the US.
Our Cost of Living in Costa Rica? About 30% less.
Using my past and current records history, we found that taking into consideration the category of groceries and supplies; in the US we used to spend about $625 per month on that category. Now, it is an average of $430 or less depending on Stef’s purchase desires at the time.
This, my friends, is a savings of around US$200 per month or about 30% cheaper than our cost of living in the USA. And, probably much more when you take into consideration not using the “import” type stores in Costa Rica that try to cater to the Gringo appetites and desires.
Again, keep an open mind and be willing to experiment on new and different things. The results for us have been more than positive.
Written by VIP Members Pete and Stef Bogatinoff who moved to Atenas, Costa Rica from Nashville, TN in November of 2007.
Pete’s 35 year career was in the tire business, and retired as a Marketing Executive from Bridgestone/Firestone in 2002. Prior to moving to Costa Rica, he started and managed a successful boat dealership/boat brokerage business based at Center Hill Lake near Nashville.
Stef has always been in the business of helping people, and has always excelled at it. She had a very successful personnel placement business in Nashville, which she sold prior to moving here.
- You can see Pete & Stef’s Affordable Rental Apartments in Atenas, Costa Rica. From only US$75 per day, US$450 per week or US$850 per month on this website here.
- You can see Pete & Stef’s Atenas vacation rentals website here.
In addition, Stef served as Chairperson for the Atenas Annual Charity Cook Off event from 2012 through 2014. All they can tell you about the move to Costa Rica is: “We have never looked back!”
Lower Your Cost Of Living In Costa Rica With An Open Mind. Our grocery bill is about 30% cheaper than it was in the USA.
Article/Property ID Number 5528
Are you into beautiful Costa Rica?
All interesting things you want to know about Costa Rica are right here in our newsletter! Enter your email and press "subscribe" button.