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CR Cost of Living v Other Retirement Havens

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Hahahaha... When I clicked on that URL, I got a message from my browser that it was "untrusted" hahahaha. A .gov website from the US. My first laugh of the day!


Then I thought..... "well, hmmm.... maybe someone hacked into it etc etc etc...." With all the talk about privacy on the other thread, I'm hesitant. Still, it's pretty funny.

Edited by eleanor2
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Since it seems one cannot copy and paste certain links (?) because of the way this site is formatted, for the benefit of those interested in the cost of living comparisons based on US State Department employee per diems, I'll type the link as it appears. Please delete the spaces meant to keep it from looking like a link. Don't forget the periods!


http:// aoprals. state.gov /web920/per _diem_ actionasp? menuhide= 1&countrycode =1048

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This website is using a self-signed SSL certificate. Since the certificate is not issued by a publicly recognized certificate authority like Verisign, which costs money, your browsers will warn you that the certificate is not trusted, or some such (they tend to dumb-down the error messages now-a-days). The site is almost certainly safe. It is unclear to me why the State Department feels it is necessary to encrypt such a site since it contains no personal or confidential information.

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$147 for lodging and $109 for meals seems apppropriate for someone who is:


- Temporarily assigned to San Jose

- Staying in an American-style hotel such as the Marriott

- Eating at fairly expensive restaurants and having a few drinks


but really has nothing much to do with the cost of LIVING in Costa Rica.

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Dear E2:


It has very much to do with LIVING (caps are yours) here because it relates the maximum amount that US govt employees can be reimbursed as they travel around the country or while residing here on assignment short term. It is not meant to describe the allowance for long term rental housing which would be covered elsewhere in an 'employment contract' and subject to that employees job position, length of service and whether a rural or urban work site.


I am suggesting that it allows a person pondering foreign retirement to review the relative cost-of-living in various countries and use these published allowances to compare them with every other country in the world.


I'll oblige you with an example.


If 'lodging' has a max payment of $147 here and $109 for three meals/day but $87 in Managua for a hotel and only $65/day for food it seems obvious that one can gain some reasonable baseline perspective of the cost-of-living between the two countries.


My conclusion from a study of the data for Costa Rica v favored alternative 'retirement options' like Ecuador and Panama showed that CR was in line and not excessive as claimed by some.


According to their website, rooms are advertised for $73 - $199 depending upon which of 7 Marriott locations you select in Costa Rica.

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"Short-term" is what I was alluding to in my post and not someone who is assigned here for several years. As far as I know, per diem expenses are paid only to people on some kind of temporary assignment or trip. But, I don't know if that is really the case.


And frankly, I really DON'T (caps mine) see any correlation between these numbers and LIVING here. As we all know, living costs can be all over the place, depending on many factors. Obviously, Tom Brady and family would not have the same living costs as me.

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$109 per diem on food alone??!! I'd be raking in about $80/day!


My esposo travels frequently for work now and he gets about $40 per diem which I found generous. But obviously he needs to work for the US gov'mint. B)


PS- I didn't get the "untrusted" note. Guess logging in from the USA has something to do with it?

Edited by lucybelle
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  • 1 year later...

There's lots of math to do to get a handle on the information in this website.  It would have been a lot easier if they had just put price per kilo or price per each, if that is appropriate. 

Here are some recent prices from my shopping expeditions:   eggs - 30 eggs for 2,000 colones.  (Haha - this is kind of a trick since I live near a big egg farm.)  Eggs - are sold by weight and not by the each or by the dozen.  A typical package has 15 eggs (mixed grades and sizes) and costs around 1,000 to 1,500 colones - mas o menos - depending on the weight.  I bought some recently at a supermarket for 1,127 for 980 grams. 

18 roll toilet paper supermax (Maxi Pali) - 6,500                  carrots - 550 kilo

2 liter club soda - 1,160                                                        bunch of spinach - 700

Pkg Jack Mejitos corn chips - 710                                         pkg of 6 gala apples - 1000

Tuna in chunks, in water - 930                                              sweet potatoes - 800 / kilo

Lizano mayonnaise - 1,575 400 grams                                 cantaloupe - 600/kilo

Heinz Barbecue sauce (my luxury!) 1,500                             purple cabbage - 1200/kilo

Ketchup - 875 (about 350-400 grams)

Blackberry jam - 935

Chunky salsa - 1,150 (about 400 grams)

Package of pasta - 1,050

Assortment of Twinings black teas - 3,100

Tosh limon/green tea cookies - 1,325

Badi ground cinnamon - 625

Whole wheat flour - 1,000 (Bioland 1 kilo)

Brown rice - 940  - (900 grams +-)

I don't pay a lot of attention to meat prices.  I buy meat from a local butcher who is a young man that was my English pupil many years ago.  His meats are very good quality and I just buy what I want and don't really look at the prices.  Sometimes he gives me an itemized receipt..... sometimes not.  He grinds his own ground beef every morning and it's so lean, I usually have to add some fat of some kind.  I NEVER buy meat at the supermarket!  All you  have to do, mostly, is just smell the meat department and you will then be saying, 'nononono'.  The only meat I ever buy at the supermarket is for my dog (sorry sweetie....).



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