After watching Amelia and JP's video, we thought we would do a post on our monthly expenses here and compare!
So since we have officially been here a month, we can give you a look into what it costs for us to live here in Ecuador by the beach! We aren't right by the water but only about a 10-minute walk which helps lower the price. As we were listening to Amelia and JP's video, we did notice we have much lower standards of living and expectations. We also have a vastly different lifestyle in general which shows in the monthly cost difference they have versus what we have. Keep in mind, we do not go out or eat out often and normally did not when in the states or when we had money. We are very much homebodies and try not to spend often but invest in our hobbies and activities at home.
Now to start off, we have to cover what our living situation is. We are here to save as much money as we can but also live comfortably. As you may know, Airbnb can charge you a monthly rate, and the longer you stay the more money you will save. The price also varies quite drastically if you are looking for an empty place or a fully furnished place. Fully furnished here is very different from North American standards so do keep that in mind. Our kitchen is considered fully furnished with a small fridge, a 4-top gas-powered stove, sink, drying rack, and a toaster oven. Our rent also covers water (nonpotable=non drinkable), electricity, and wifi. Nonpotable water is ok for showering, laundry, and washing dishes. We planned to stay here for two months, so per month, it comes out to a much lower cost. Sherlock, our cat, is also an expense we would be adding in which includes her food and litter (She's a very particular kitty). Our plan is to find what costs we can lower and do by hand instead of paying extra for someone else to do it. More on that later.
Let's start the breakdown of what will be covered each month: first is of course rent which is always the highest cost. It helps that we are both further away from the beach and that we are in low season which is also their winter season. We don't have a vehicle so there is no budget for that. There is no need, since everything is within walking distance, and this comes from two people who have poor health and haven't worked out in years. So if we are saying we can do it, you are most definitely able to do it. Next are the consumables which include potable water jugs, gas (for stove tops), groceries, toilet paper, laundry detergent, and paper towels. The third is Sherlock's needs, the laundromat for larger items, and misc items. We do have a small budget also for eating out as we DO want to experience their food and atmosphere.
Our monthly rent comes down to $400/mo with everything described above, furnished. We could have actually gone cheaper but that wasn't open to us until it was too late.
Potable water jugs come in by the gallon which is about $1.75 per refill or about $8 per new jug. When moving into a fully furnished home, it should have everything you would need to start living there. Most of the money covers the plastic the water comes in. We fill this about once every 5 days using it for drinking water, cooking, and to rinse after brushing teeth (and to rinse our toothbrushes with). So per month (meaning six times to refill), be equalling $10.50 for water. Gas, we haven't had to pay for yet and we have been here for a little over a month. This is supposedly $5 per tank but we may have to consider paying it in November. For groceries, we made an estimation: $10 a day for two equalling about $310 (in October). For eating out we allocated $10 for two for one meal of the day per week. This gives us $40 a month for special meals. Some weeks we actually decide to skip that and eat at the local bakery a few times a week for that amount (which would mean 4 times total). Toilet paper is about $5 for a pack of 12 which should last about a month. Paper Towels for us are a necessity which costs us $2.65 for a pack of two. Two sets of those are needed per month so a total of $5.30. Laundry detergent is $1 for a bag which easily covers a month and a half. This is only used for lighter items mostly including underwear, socks, tank tops, and shorts. Some of the lighter pants and shirts are thrown in. Everything is air-dried. Sherlock has her own costs we can't ignore: cat food is $6 per bag which lasts a month while her litter is $2 per bag but only covers per week. So $8 per month for just that. Laundromat is costly, not paying by the load but by the pound. Yes, it is only 50 cents per pound but that adds up fast! So we had to budget about $3 per week for heavy items: jeans, jackets, and blankets. As for miscellaneous, we allocated about $100 (such as suntan lotion, knife sharpener, etc). There were always some needs that couldn't be covered in the other budget groupings.
Here is an easier look at the cost breakdown:
Rent Cost: $400/mo
Water Jug: $1.75 per jug x 5 refills= $10.50/mo
Groceries: $10 a day x 31 days (OCT)= $310/mo
Eating Out: $10 for two x once a week= $40
Paper Towels: 2 rolls ($2.65 each) x needed twice a month= $5.30
Laundry Detergent: $1/mo
Cat Food: $6/mo
Cat Litter: $2 per week x 4 weeks = $8/mo
Laundromat: $3 a week x 4 weeks = $12/mo
Misc Items: $100/mo
Total Cost for the Month: $897.80
Though this number is MUCH lower than what it cost us just in rent in Aurora, Colorado, this is still higher than we wanted to spend. If we were living here permanently, the cost would go down as we would love to incorporate more long term projects like building with supplies we can pick up (free) locally and having our own garden. We were also hoping to have found a fishing pole here but only saw ONE person with a fishing pole in over a month here. So that means of catching fish to lower our grocery cost was lost as well. But that's what we have spent and are hoping to find ways to save more!
If you'd like to take a look at Amelia & JP's budget break down to have an idea of comparison: https://youtu.be/x7ZKIp9ZpRA