Cost of Living, January 2022

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Wow, we haven’t done this for two years. The main increase was food. We have more money than we did so we have been treating ourselves to things like fancy imported cheese and salmon. Our usual supermarket has been stocking more and more fancy imported frozen food which we try now and then. We also buy pork and chicken from growers nearby which is more expensive but well worth it for quality and for supporting our neighbors. But if I ever think we are being careless and extravagant, a trip to the supermarket in the USA sets me straight PDQ.

So, without further ado –

Food – 602.77 This includes Pricesmart (our Costco), the supermarket, and our weekly produce guy.
Rent – 385 This hasn’t changed in 9+ years. We are lucky to have great landlords
Electric – 80 We run the AC from late morning to sundown. It’s hot summer right now
Cable/internet 46.21
My cell phone with internet 26.03 Joel has a pay as you go plan which he hardly ever uses
Gas for the cars – 58
insurance for the cars – 20 They are too old for full coverage so this doesn’t cost much
Gas for the kitchen – we didn’t refill a tank this month, but when we do it’s 5.12 and lasts at least a month
Netflix 8.99

TOTAL $1227

We probably have about $200 in optional expenses as well, my book habit, some charities and businesses I support, like the food bank where my daughter works. We went out to eat a couple times and spent around $60. We’ve gone out to hear other musicians and tossed a fair amount into tip jars. We’ve also spent more on alcohol. Wine? with bubbles? Oh fun! Except for books (maybe $30/month), we didn’t have these expenses before and I’m happy to have more wiggle room now for things like this.

I did not include travel, which is usually trips to the USA to see family.
I did not include health care either. We are both healthy so we pay as we go here. Our main expense has been dental care which is very affordable here. We have Medicare A in the USA and Joel has care through VA which we could use if necessary.
This does not include shopping either. Our main shopping expense is musical and band related things.

It’s interesting to see that things haven’t changed much in the time we have been here. We could easily scale back if we needed or wanted to. We are thankful every day for our lives here! We would seriously struggle in the USA but here, what we have is enough for everything we want and need. So many in the world fight for even survival. I don’t know how we are so fortunate.

PS the banner picture is coffee flowers. Someone gave us some seeds a few years ago, and this plant I put in the shade has survived and grown. Panama is famous for the coffee that grows in the cooler mountain areas, but it will be interesting to see what happens with our plant down here.

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