Cost of Living Update in Buenos Aires Argentina
One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a long time expat living in Buenos Aires is how much does it cost to live there? Well like any other city you can make it much cheaper or much more expensive based on how you live and where you live.
Also, since many expats recently have been complaining about how inflation is eating into their budget and how Argentina is less of a deal than it once was, I thought I would dispel the rumors and put a stop to this nonsense of people saying that Argentina is expensive.
Argentina is CERTAINLY *NOT* EXPENSIVE. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Not compared to any major North American or European City, at all, in any way whatsoever. How do I know. I have recently traveled to the UK, France, Italy, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Tokyo.
The only ones of these cities that are even close to the same category as Argentina are the cities in Thailand that I mentioned.
But here are the numbers for how a young couple could live in Buenos Aires.
Rent for a 2 bed/2 bath apartment, in the Palermo area (a top neighborhood), of reasonable to nice ambiance/amenities, about 70 square meters, will cost about 700 to 900 US dollars per month. More if you want bigger and nicer, less (WAY WAY LESS!!!!) if you go to another neighborhood and have modest accommodations. You can still easily get an apartment like this for 500 dollars per month in many parts of the city and in the interior in Mendoza or Rosario you can get apartments for 300 easily.
Food: here is where you win the most compared to the USA and Europe. Supermarket shopping, especially for meats and produce is super cheap. I estimate that all of our food costs are about 15 US dollars for TWO people per day (excluding dining out). That is 450 per month for TWO people!!
Transportation: another huge win! Argentina has the cheapest public transportation in the world without exception. It costs 25 cents US for a bus ride. Taxis are still cheap too at about 5 dollars for a 15 minute taxi ride.
Dining out: I have heard so many people complain about this… well yes prices have risen, but in 2004 through about 2008 they were just giving stuff away! It was silly and ridiculous the prices they were charging for things. I could pay 8 US dollars for a massive steak dinner with wine and dessert. Now I pay 20 to 25 and a *very nice* steak house with wine and dessert per person. Where can you get that in the USA or Europe? NOWHERE!!
Health insurance is a joke! It is soooo cheap here! Recently I didnt have health insurance and I started having severe headaches and so my Doctor in the USA told me I needed and MRI immediately to rule out the possibility of an aneurism. I was very afraid of how much that would cost. But anyway, I found a specialty lab and convinced them to let me pay out of pocket… how much did that cost? about 90 US dollars. In the USA out of pocket this would cost 1000.
And monthly insurance is the same: about 100 dollars per month for tremendous coverage that even goes so far as to *include* an aesthetic surgery *for free* every 2 years. Are you kidding me?
Suffice it to say, yes, Argentina has gotten more expensive from 2004, when I got here, but it is completely incorrect to say that it is expensive because it just isnt. It is still a great deal in many categories, especially the basic ones like rent, food, transportation and health care.
Now, what is a terrible deal here? Electronics, clothing, household appliances and furniture. All of that stuff is 2-3 times more expensive here than in the USA. Fortunately, these are the things you can make due with less of.