Cost of Living, Part 1

Ever wonder if it’s really cheaper to live in Ecuador than the U.S.?  After nine months, the answer is, “yes . . . and no.” Some things are cheaper: medical expenses, rent, utilities, tropical fruit, services (maids, haircuts, clothes mending, custom furniture), and public transportation. Anything imported is more expensive:  vehicles, electronics, and foods or household supplies. Some things, such as travel or eating out, can be more or less depending on whether you choose simple or fancy. Here’s a sampling of expenses based on our experience in Quito:

  • Rent
    • $225/month    Tiny two-bedroom apartment in Carcelén (about 1/2 hour by bus from the Reach Beyond office)
    • $500-700/month     Average two or three-bedroom apartment in Granda Centeno district (easy walk to office)
    • $700/month      Tiny two-bedroom apartment in Quito Tenis (easy walk to office)
    • $150-300/month   Shared rental with private bath and utilities (varies widely by neighborhood and apartment)
  • Utilities (we are two adults in large apartment, showers every day, two to three loads of laundry per week)
    • $35/month    Electricity, garbage, and street lights
    • $5-10/month    Water, sewage and storm water fees
    • $2-3/month    Gas for hot water, dryer, and kitchen stove (currently subsidized by the government) (without subsidy would probably be $20-25/month)
    • $45/month    Internet, probably on the slower end of the spectrum
    • $5-10/month    Land phone line (but you have to be a resident to get one–we don’t have one)
    • $5+/month    Cell phone charges vary tremendously (we have prepaid cell phones without data plans and typically pay less than $5/month each).
  • Personal Services
    • $100-150/month    Housecleaning maid (1 day/week); we don’t have one
    • $5-7    Scott’s haircut (although you could spend a lot more)
    • $2-5    Mending or minor clothes alterations
  • Transportation
    • $1.50 minimum    Taxi (probably two miles or so in light traffic)
    • $.25/ride    City bus or rapid transit bus (half-price for tercera edad, or “third age,” i.e., 65 and older)
    • $1-1.50 per hour    Longer distance bus trips (also half-price for tercera edad)
  • Meals Out & Travel 
    • $2.50    Lunch (soup, choice of two or three entrees, small dessert, and watered-down juice–not fancy but fills you up)
    • Same as in U.S.    Subway, Burger King, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Tony Roma’s, and many other familiar restaurants
    • $15/night/person    Our rustic hostel in Chugchilán, which included a room with private bath, breakfast, and dinner
    • $100/night/person    A jungle resort I heard of, which includes all meals and many tourist activities
  • Health Care (Separate post coming soon)

For our friends living in other Latin American countries, how does our experience compare with yours?

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About scottandjody

Scott and Jody have been married for 39 years and have six adult children and three grandchildren. Scott worked as a CPA for over 32 years and Jody was a homeschooling mom. They are now serving as missionaries in Quito, Ecuador with Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global).
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