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?

About scottandjody

Scott and Jody have been married for 44 years and have six adult children and four grandchildren. Scott worked as a CPA for over 32 years and Jody was a homeschooling mom. They have been serving as missionaries in Quito, Ecuador since 2014.
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