Cost of living in Chile

Postby briloop » Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:34 pm

A few months ago, while surfing the net, I found an American living in La Serena, a city that I am considering. I sent him an email, asking him about the cost of living there. The following are selected quotes from his reply, dated January 2, 2008:

"Health care is expensive in Chile."

"Take this time to come visit Chile, Argentina, and Panama. Pick the spring or the fall. We liked Mendoza when we visited there on a wine tasting trip. Better prices than Chile's and the people were more Italian but the political and legal systems are less stable than Chile or Panama."

"We think it currently takes 3,500 to 5,000 a month in spendable income to live nicely. Living expenses, minus housing costs, are mid-city US prices. Housing acquisition costs 25% of that in the US but remember, they are not US designed or insulated houses. Less in Argentina but that country restricts expat property ownership."

I've been a member of this board for about six months. From time to time, people post their cost of living experiences on this board. But, some of the information this guy gave in his email didn't quite match up with the information I've seen on this board. So:

Is health care expensive in Chile?

How well is someone living in Chile if they spend $3,500 to $5,000 USD a month on living expenses?

Are living expenses, minus housing costs, are mid-city US prices?

Thanks,

briloop
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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby tonyakaserg » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:14 pm

briloop wrote:How well is someone living in Chile if they spend $3,500 to $5,000 USD a month on living expenses?


Mate they are living like Chileonaires! 8) .. me and the mrs can get by VERY comfortably on US$1500/month (we could get by with less but still trying to readjust my spending habits).. mind u we rent and havent bought a house.. yet.. i dont own a car and as far as health cover i dont find it expensive considering the quality of care u get vs that of the US.. the govt health system also doesnt do a bad job.. u do get to see a real doctor and get treated EVEN if ur NOT covered.. unlike the US...
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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby admin » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:45 pm

Really depends on where and how you are living. Setting aside business related expenses, our cost are about 500,000 - 600,000 CLP a month for me and my wife including health insurance, a house that is much too big for us, maid, and generally enjoying life without being overly extravagant. Say, add in eating out once or twice a week with a few good bottles of wine 600,000 to 800,000 CLP a month. That is in Temuco. I would say 200,000 to 300,000 CLP a month is about as low as you could go anywhere in Chile, with perhaps the exception of living way way out in the campo where you are super self sufficient.

Health insurance is not expensive though in any way shape or form compared to the States. We pay around 70,000 CLP a month for the two of us. I could never even get health insurance in the States at any price.

Business expenses are a whole different ball game.
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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby admin » Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:50 pm

I would say a good rule of thumb for Chile is to expect about 300,000 CLP per month per person as an average base cost of living. Perhaps say 400,000- 500,000 per person in the central region or more expensive cities. Everything else above that depends on what you consider essential (e.g. eating out at every meal, driving a luxury car all day, and so on). In the more rural areas, that would likely be around 200,000 CLP a month per person. These are just estimates.
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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby Asean » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:03 am

Hi admin,
Down here in singapore , It takes around 1.5kUSD amonth to get by and I mean for one person ,no car and a 70sqm public apartment on mortage...welcome to unbridled capitalism..and most folks here cannot even save for retirement...

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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby eeuunikkeiexpat » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:16 am

Another data point.

365000 CLP mensual average for Chile expenses after seven near continuous years of in-Chile living.

Central coastal region; conserge staffed modern apartment, 3 bedroom/2 full bath/large for Chile kitchen, area for washer and dryer, large balcony and all bedrooms with ocean view; gas (fed from centralized tanks for the complex - more expensive than gas natural directo as in Santiago), electricity, water, basic telephone, ADSL banda ancha (with "free" bandwidth increase starting sometime in April); fresh meats and feria bought fruits and vegetables for 1.5 persons (as my pareja splits weekends here and her apartment in Santiago); booze budget mainly local produced wine, pisco, rum.

I am a thrifty shopper but will pay extra for better quality when important usually buying my list of 40-50 main items where they are cheaper. Cook from scratch from the fresh produce. Will splurge on a restaurant meal (a full blown parillada or seafood cena for 2 with 3.4 bottle of wine) about every month or so. Always conscientious in utility savings - turn off lights unplug things when not in use, turn off califont as soon as hot water task at hand done, etc.

____________

Outside Chile expenses (travel excluded) include international major med insurance with maximum deductible; voice mail/international text message/telephone when traveling in the States/emergency international telephone/telephone address of record in the States; Internet fax service when needed; emergency dialup/hotspot/wired Internet access if needed; Skypeout calling and text messaging.
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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby eeuunikkeiexpat » Mon Mar 17, 2008 2:21 am

If you want to save money, get a quality pressure cooker (stainless steel, modern mechanism) and learn how to buy the cheaper cuts of meat (many times actually more nutritious than pure muscle cuts). The energy savings alone will pay for it in no time.
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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby admin » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:24 am

dang, pressure cooker. That is why I am spending so much money. I want one of the new fangled steam powered pressure cookers.

I love my BBQ. Even in the cold rainy winters, I have a place on the side of my house that is protected from the rain. Nice to watch it rain and have a burger.

The super market near our house, Munoz is about 20 to 30% cheaper for most stuff than Jumbo or the other major national super markets. When we rented our house we started with the super market, and worked our way out to a house we liked near by. It is likely worth another easy 100,000 -150,000 pesos a month in cost of food.
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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby admin » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:25 am

I might add, being in Temuco wood is the most common way to heat a house. Total for the year for about 10 meters of wood, dry, split, and stacked ran us 180,000 CLP. I would not split 10 meters of wood for 180,000 CLP.
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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby Chuck J 3.0 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:46 am

$3,500 to $5,000 per month? :shock: I know different people have different comfort levels or nesessity levels or whatever you want to call it. But $3,500 a month? Sheesh! I could live in a 'toney' Santiago suburb where all the TV announcers and politicians live for that amount, and live very well indeed.

Anybody, who is single and can't live on 1k a month in Chile is just hopeless. Married? Not really my dept. but 2K USD maybe? $2,500 tops. And live well. If your house is paid off you could live dirt cheap in this country.

Those people who need $3,500 a month must waste a lot of $ on frivolous crap.
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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby RWS » Mon Mar 17, 2008 9:51 am

All this is good to hear. In my own situation, I must look to sustain myself on about CH$600.000 a month tops, own an apartment in Valparaíso ideally (improbable), rent a small house in the northeastern part of the conurbation more likely, all for 1.5 persons (a brother). It seems that it should be doable, thanks, all.

EE.UU., after arrival I'll ask you where to buy that good quality pressure cooker!
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Re: Cost of living in Chile

Postby eeuunikkeiexpat » Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:13 am

RWS wrote:...EE.UU., after arrival I'll ask you where to buy that good quality pressure cooker!

At A. Paris. Marca Marmicoc. Believe we talked about this Argentine brand on another thread. :)
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