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Cost of living in Ecuador - 2017

Hello,

Before moving to Ecuador, it is important to investigate the cost of living in the country.

As we did in 2015, we give you the opportunity to share your experience and tell us more about products and services average recorded prices in your town/city/area.

Don’t hesitate to let us know if the cost of living in Ecuador has decreased or increased in the past few years.

Thanks to your help, would-be expatriates will have the opportunity to refine and better prepare their expatriation project.

> How much does it cost to rent an apartment/house in Ecuador? 

> How much do you pay for your public transport tickets (bus, subway, train, tram)?

> Staple food: what do people eat and how much do they pay for basic food like bread, rice or pasta?

>What is your monthly grocery budget?

> How much does it cost to see a physician/doctor/specialist in Ecuador ? 

> What is your children's schooling monthly budget?

> How much does it cost to fill up your car’s fuel tank?

> How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc.?

> How much do you pay for your Internet/phone subscription?

> How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?

> How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?

> How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?

> How much does a gym membership cost in Ecuador? 

Thank you everyone!

Priscilla

Top Things I've Learned About the Cost of Living in Quito....

10.  Taxi drivers rarely follow the fare rules after 8 p.m.  Learn what's a fair price for any route and figure that it will cost you more after the evening rush hour .. and even more after midnight.

9.  Bus and trole  fares are 25 cents, with no free transfers.  Seniors pay 12 cents a ride.  Seniors will have their ID/age checked under ten percent of the time.

8.  Rent on apartments at the upper end can be re-negotiated downward after Year 1.  This is a small part of the impact of Ecuador's overall economic downturn.

7.  Compared to the fancier supermarkets, including the Maxi chain, the mom-n-pop vendors will always sell produce and other perishables at a discount.  However, the small vendors often do business with limited or no refrigeration.  Don't buy meat or seafood from them unless you're extremely skilled as a shopper.

6.  City by city breakdowns of cost of living in Ecuador are available at numbeo.com

5.  Even chain-pizzeria pizza can be negotiated.  Next time you buy a pie for over ten bucks, ask for a couple of dollars off.

4.  If the driver doesn't turn on his taximeter right away, he'll probably have a handy excuse for why.  In this case, negotiate the fare upfront.  Otherwise, he will think he has you at his financial mercy at the end of the ride.

3.  Learn the word yapa, which means "a little extra" in the sense of a bonus .. and use it in any situations where you negotiate a price for goods.  If you're buying a bunch of fruits and veggies, the seller will probably be glad to throw in an extra apple or equivalent.  When I bought two major appliances for my condo, the store gave me a free blender and a video player.  Ask for your yapa.

2.  At many businesses, a Gringo who knows the going price .. and has become a regular at that store .. can expect the best deals.

And the number-one concept on this Cost of Living list....

1.  Ecuador shares a border with southern Colombia.  The U.S. exchange rate has gone from 2,000 pesos to a dollar .. to about 3,000 pesos to a dollar in the last couple of years.   Also, Colombia has Expat-favorable tariff rules compared to Ecuador.  These factors have made many goods sold in COL relatively cheaper than in EC.  Shop accordingly.

How much does it cost to rent an apartment/house in Ecuador? 

In centro-north Quito a decent studio/1 bdrm apartment will start around $450. 2 bedroom $550+. 3 bedroom $700+. These residences are in good and safe areas. There are areas like Carapungo where you can rent a small apartment for $175, but this area suffers from congestion, crime, and poor infrastructure. Areas in some parts of the South Quito are also cheap but according to people who live there they suffer from burglaries and other problems, they are simply not safe at night. Every city has good and bad areas and like every other city the bad parts will be cheaper.

How much do you pay for your public transport tickets (bus, subway, train, tram)?
$0.25 cents for a bus. A taxi for a short distance is $1.50. A 5.0 km ride is about $4.00-$5.00 depending on traffic.

Staple food: what do people eat and how much do they pay for basic food like bread,rice or pasta?

Rice is big here, they’re sold in 1kg-10kg bags. It’s about $2.50 for 2 kilograms. Some people buy any quantity direct from a 50 kilogram sack and weigh it, it’s a bit cheaper this way. Unfortunately they don’t sell high quality rice like Indian Basmati. Ecuadorians also love potatoes.They eat French fries with everything and serve potatoes with so many dishes.

How much do you pay for electricity/gas/water etc.?

Electric is between $40-$65 and water about $5 a month.

How much do you pay for your Internet/phone subscription?

The landline costs $10-$20, mobile plan is $28, and internet is $47.

How much do you pay for your lunch pack on weekdays?

It really varies but on average probably about $8. Basically a typical lunch at traditional Ecuadorian restaurants costs $2.50-$3.50. Places like Tom Pollo (chicken), and Gus a meal is about $5. Fast food places like Papa John’s (pizza), Subway (sandwich) Burger King (burgers) and Freshii (healthy food) a lunch costs between $6-8. A bit higher at $9-$12 it’s American Deli (fast casual), Chilanga (Mexican), and Chinese food. Then at $13+ it's Sushi joints, TGIF, and other international cuisine restaurants.   

How much do you pay for an espresso coffee?

About $1.50, but I mostly drink Americano and it costs $1.75-$2.75 a cup. 

How much do you pay for a cinema ticket?

Tickets start around $5 and prices vary on weekdays/weekends, type of screen (IMAX for example), and seating as some cinemas have VIP seats. A soda and popcorn is around $7.

How much does a gym membership cost in Ecuador?

My gym costs $80 a month, some are cheaper but quite run-down. Some cost more but seem a bit pretentious.

I don't rent so I have no idea what rental rates are here in Manta.  I've heard they went up since the earthquake, but I have no concrete facts or figures.  Gringo realtors tend to charge more for rentals and sales, I know that for a fact.  That's why I used an Ecuadorian realtor when I bought my house, and she expected nothing from us (unless that was included in our closing and that's fine with me).  She wasn't even in the country when we closed anyway.  Since we added our pool, my electric bill almost doubled, due to running the pool pump 8 hours a day.  During the summer (with the pool), my highest electric bill was $150, and by the way, I use my AC's, every night in my bedroom when it's too hot to sleep.  I suffer enough in this country that I am not going to toss and turn because I'm sweating buckets, I draw the line somewhere, lol.  Keep in mind, my stove and hot water heater and pool heater, once installed all run off gas.  Delivered to my house and then we exchange cylinders with the delivery guy, are $2.50 each.  My housing association dues are $35 a month and worth every penny. I cancelled my direct TV and now use the Kodi box for cable, which costs nothing.  My internet, which has suddenly developed speed issues, and we increased to 50mb a month is around $50.  Please note this is my third internet company and not sure where I will go next.  The govt internet which is the most stable and truly fiber optic only offers business service in my neighborhood and would cost $200 a month, but we have to have good internet for work and streaming, so that fee may change. 

I hardly ever eat out, as in 4 years the few good restaurants, have raised prices and never change the menu.  I don't eat seafood or rice, and let's face it the steaks here suck, so I always cook.  Unless on those few occasions where we order pizza.  In manta, they suck to, even the good places, so my next thing is to install a brick pizza oven out by my pool.  Already have the contractor, but have to wait on his schedule.  Food here is my biggest expense, no matter how hard I try to cut corners, but I still cook like a North American so that is to be expected.  Good quality dog food was my next biggest expense, but just brought in 40 pounds worth of high quality dog food supplements and I'm now making my own dog food, as my dogs health was drastically declining and my one dog suffers from IBD.  I am also now grooming my dogs, bought the clippers in Miami, even though it's very cheap here and I use my vet to do it, they always come home with ticks even though they are treated monthly. 

I don't drink coffee, but my husband does, but I buy Starbucks on my supply run from Amazon and save a ton of money.  Keep it in the freezer for freshness. I have a cabinet full of spices and toiletries that I buy on my supply run to Miami that lasts us at least a year.  That's how I save money.  I can no longer get my Bausch and Laumb (sic?) contacts and my eyes are allergic to the ones they sell here.  I had also tried the brand they sell here in the US and had problems.  I tried them again here and I just can't.  Plus they are expensive here.  So I get my eye exam here send it to my contact online place and ship a years worth to my hotel.  In the price diff from here and the US, it pays for almost my whole trip. 

There are ways to save money but you have to be creative, patient and know the right people who know where the deals and quality are.  In manta, its harder than Cuenca, Quito and GYE to get what you want with options that also drives pricing.  I have my vegetable seeds I brought back from US and will soon figure out how and where to plant them (I don't have a yard).  That will save me even more money.  With all that said, sorry for the long windedness, my grocery bill runs between $600-800 a month, depending on what I cook that month, that also includes booze and smokes.  The smokes I get in a while in the wall by the carton for $30 & they are Marlboro's from Columbia that I know are being bootlegged.  When a gringo walks up to the junk store they know they want smokes which are hidden in the back, but they know us well now.  I'm now gonna try to buy off of OLX.com, for $23.50 delivered from Quito.  Hopefully I don't get ripped off, lol, but it's worth a shot.

Sophems :

I don't rent so I have no idea what rental rates are here in Manta.  I've heard they went up since the earthquake, but I have no concrete facts or figures.  Gringo realtors tend to charge more for rentals and sales, I know that for a fact.  That's why I used an Ecuadorian realtor when I bought my house, and she expected nothing from us (unless that was included in our closing and that's fine with me).  She wasn't even in the country when we closed anyway.  Since we added our pool, my electric bill almost doubled, due to running the pool pump 8 hours a day.  During the summer (with the pool), my highest electric bill was $150, and by the way, I use my AC's, every night in my bedroom when it's too hot to sleep.  I suffer enough in this country that I am not going to toss and turn because I'm sweating buckets, I draw the line somewhere, lol.  Keep in mind, my stove and hot water heater and pool heater, once installed all run off gas.  Delivered to my house and then we exchange cylinders with the delivery guy, are $2.50 each.  My housing association dues are $35 a month and worth every penny. I cancelled my direct TV and now use the Kodi box for cable, which costs nothing.  My internet, which has suddenly developed speed issues, and we increased to 50mb a month is around $50.  Please note this is my third internet company and not sure where I will go next.  The govt internet which is the most stable and truly fiber optic only offers business service in my neighborhood and would cost $200 a month, but we have to have good internet for work and streaming, so that fee may change. 

I hardly ever eat out, as in 4 years the few good restaurants, have raised prices and never change the menu.  I don't eat seafood or rice, and let's face it the steaks here suck, so I always cook.  Unless on those few occasions where we order pizza.  In manta, they suck to, even the good places, so my next thing is to install a brick pizza oven out by my pool.  Already have the contractor, but have to wait on his schedule.  Food here is my biggest expense, no matter how hard I try to cut corners, but I still cook like a North American so that is to be expected.  Good quality dog food was my next biggest expense, but just brought in 40 pounds worth of high quality dog food supplements and I'm now making my own dog food, as my dogs health was drastically declining and my one dog suffers from IBD.  I am also now grooming my dogs, bought the clippers in Miami, even though it's very cheap here and I use my vet to do it, they always come home with ticks even though they are treated monthly. 

I don't drink coffee, but my husband does, but I buy Starbucks on my supply run from Amazon and save a ton of money.  Keep it in the freezer for freshness. I have a cabinet full of spices and toiletries that I buy on my supply run to Miami that lasts us at least a year.  That's how I save money.  I can no longer get my Bausch and Laumb (sic?) contacts and my eyes are allergic to the ones they sell here.  I had also tried the brand they sell here in the US and had problems.  I tried them again here and I just can't.  Plus they are expensive here.  So I get my eye exam here send it to my contact online place and ship a years worth to my hotel.  In the price diff from here and the US, it pays for almost my whole trip. 

There are ways to save money but you have to be creative, patient and know the right people who know where the deals and quality are.  In manta, its harder than Cuenca, Quito and GYE to get what you want with options that also drives pricing.  I have my vegetable seeds I brought back from US and will soon figure out how and where to plant them (I don't have a yard).  That will save me even more money.  With all that said, sorry for the long windedness, my grocery bill runs between $600-800 a month, depending on what I cook that month, that also includes booze and smokes.  The smokes I get in a while in the wall by the carton for $30 & they are Marlboro's from Columbia that I know are being bootlegged.  When a gringo walks up to the junk store they know they want smokes which are hidden in the back, but they know us well now.  I'm now gonna try to buy off of OLX.com, for $23.50 delivered from Quito.  Hopefully I don't get ripped off, lol, but it's worth a shot.

$800 a month in food?  At that amount it would almost be cheaper to eat out each meal!

Lewdog :

$800 a month in food?  At that amount it would almost be cheaper to eat out each meal!

Groceries here are not cheap. This evening I bought 2 liters of yogurt drink and 1 liter of milk for $7.

Sophems....

Heated swimming pool ... making your own dog food ... hard-to-find-products runs to Miami ... new pizza oven by the pool....

Wow!

Thanks for a detailed and fascinating look into the mind and life of a creative Gringa :) and ways, some delightfully off-beat, to cope with -- and transcend :top: -- the apparent deprivations that stop or impede many a new arrival.

If you hadn't mentioned the "suffering" I wouldn't have guessed it's part of your life based on the post.

While not everybody is a candidate for a climatized pool or an outdoor pizza oven, this kind of post is an eye-opener that can encourage folks to invent new ways of approaching life wherever they are and whatever their circumstances.

The spice of life is missing if one is always thinking about staying inside a $1,000-a-month budget in Ecuador.

You're having a positive impact on this forum, Sophems, and we're glad to have you.

cccmedia

vsimple :
Lewdog :

$800 a month in food?  At that amount it would almost be cheaper to eat out each meal!

Groceries here are not cheap. This evening I bought 2 liters of yogurt drink and 1 liter of milk for $7.

From everything I've read it seems that beef and dairy products are more expensive in Ecuador due to the lacking number of cattle.

Thanks cccmedia, I try to live as close to a "normal" life as I can.  I'm so used to being a career person who works the 70-80 hours a week, buys what I want and takes the good vacations a couple of times a year.  Without children, I was able.  Now with no work income and lots of time on my hands, I tend to go a little stir crazy here.  I'm not used to having to live frugally, but have managed quite well.  I do really miss my monthly Hard Rock casino visits tho.

Lewdog :
vsimple :
Lewdog :

$800 a month in food?  At that amount it would almost be cheaper to eat out each meal!

Groceries here are not cheap. This evening I bought 2 liters of yogurt drink and 1 liter of milk for $7.

From everything I've read it seems that beef and dairy products are more expensive in Ecuador due to the lacking number of cattle.

This is true, but it's not limited to beef and dairy industries. With the exception of fruits, vegetables (export items), and bread, groceries in general are more expensive. Some bloggers will state how cheap bananas are but won't mention poultry, pasta, olive oil, cereals, juices, or other items. But then again these are probably folk who don't last here.


http://expreso.ec/economia/ecuador-tien … o-HA233678

I worked in law enforcement for 30 year after retiring in 2009. I was in the Army and station in Korea from 1976 to 1977. I enjoyed my stay in Korea and have always wanted to live over seas or in a foreign country. I have read difference articles about South America and the cost of living is inexpensive and the weather is wonderful. I don't want  city living and I don't want the wilderness. I want something in between living.

I try to buy my groceries from super maxi on discount days.  Wednesday's are 20% off on veggies and flowers.  Yes I've tried to buy in Tarqui at the market and at the Mercado in centro in manta.  I have walked away many times when they won't give me a discount.  I usually end up spending more at the markets than in super maxi on discount day.  I used to go to one guy in the Mercado who always treated me fair and made sure I got the best veggies he had, but his selection wasn't always what I needed.  Other vendors have been rude to me when I would ask prices, not sure why since most gringos I know spend more than Ecuadorians.  Since the earthquake the Mercado is closed for repairs and all the vendors are in the streets under tarps and I haven't been able to find my guy and when I have bought from others they have just ripped me off. I was trying to do comparison shopping to super maxi on discount day.  So I really don't waste my time anymore.  There's a lady that has a tienda right outside my development that always is nice to me and is patient with my Spanish and never rips me off but her produce is very limited but I do buy from her when she has what I want.  I've even gone back the next day and given her money back (along with the little man I go to next to her who loves me to), when they've given me too much change back.  The problem is my Spanish isn't good enough to explain correctly but after 15 minutes of going back and forth they finally understand and take the money.  My guess is I'm the only person who has done that and that's why they didn't understand.

Now in the comments on grocery prices, I usually give my husband a list and he grocery shops.  I hate to grocery shop but when I'm looking for specific things I go about twice a month to see what's available.  Yesterday I needed some canola oil, and now my super maxi has about a 32 ounce bottle of Wesson oil.  Never saw the Wesson brand here before but it was over $10, of course I would never pay that.  But I do watch prices on American products, cause occasionally they go on sale for very good prices.  About 6 months ago, super maxi had Pam spray for $1.49 a can.  I was at the new one in Tarqui, and had an argument with my husband as to why I was buying 6 cans.  I think they had entered the percentage off backwards in their system because it rang up even cheaper, which I didn't realize until I got home.  Now the same can is $7.  When I'm out of my Pam, I bought an oil refill spray bottle to fill and use like Pam, so I will save lots of money just using that in the future.  The price variations just never make sense to me here.

Sophems :

But I do watch prices on American products, cause occasionally they go on sale for very good prices.  About 6 months ago, super maxi had Pam spray for $1.49 a can.  I was at the new one in Tarqui, and had an argument with my husband as to why I was buying 6 cans.  I think they had entered the percentage off backwards in their system because it rang up even cheaper, which I didn't realize until I got home.  Now the same can is $7.  When I'm out of my Pam, I bought an oil refill spray bottle to fill and use like Pam, so I will save lots of money just using that in the future.  The price variations just never make sense to me here.

This is what I've observed about very cheap import items at Megamaxi and Supermaxi. They are usually close to their expiration date. Last year I did what you did and got a bunch of Pepperidge Farm cookies for $1.49 each. Normal price i think was like $6 or $7.

Another thing I observed for some imports is that the price escalate as the stock dwindles. Peter Pan peanut butter is an example. When it first arrives it's $5.49, then $6.49, then when the stock is low they charge $8.49.

As for shopping at Mercados, some people will swear by them, I could care less to shop there anymore and for Quito the difference is minimal. But I do go there to eat Caldo de Gallina and Seco de Chivo. I also buy somethings that I can't find at a supermarket or some items that I want only a few pieces of, like garlic. At supermarkets they sell them by the pack for about $3 and they usually go bad before they're finished, so a mercado is convenient as one can by any quantity regardless of how small. Avocados is another product I get because they are usually rock solid at the supermarket and take forever to ripen, whereas mercados have ripe and hard ones.

The cost of living here as being cheaper can be deceiving.  Can it be, yes but you can't the the lifestyle that you live in the US and expect it to be cheaper.  Electricity here is actually more expensive per kilowatt used, but you don't have all the other fees that the electric companies in the US charge.  Also rates are not all the same.  They rates are based on the zone you live in. So the more expensive areas and the condos on the main beach area are charged the highest rate.  I'm like 3 minutes from the beach by car and I'm in zone 3.  I knew an older couple who rented a condo on the beach and malecon.  It was a decent size 2 bedroom condo.  The lady developed some breathing problems for a while and was on an oxygen machine on and off during the day.  The kept all their AC's in all rooms at the lowest setting because heat and humidity affected her breathing.  Their electric bill for one month was over $700.  When it's hot we use our AC in the living room (in the evening when it gets humid and no breeze) and in our bedroom when we sleep.  My hot water heater and stove are gas,  and my pool pump runs 6-8 hours a day.  In the hot months my bill is $150.  Food is expensive unless you like a lot of rice, and eat very simple.  So it can be more expensive than you think, but eventually you figure out how to live cheaper.  Food is my biggest expense here.

We have a home in Loja and will move there permanently in a few months.  Where is the closest Supermaxi and the other stores you mentioned?  Do you know?
Is it best to take a bus and shop there or drive? or even a taxi?

Thanks for the information!

Robin and Joel

SuperMaxi in Loja:

http://www.supermaxi.com/locales/

Supermaxi Centro Comercial La Pradera: Av. 18 de Noviembre s/n y Gobernación de Mainas (C.C. La Pradera)

Without knowing where your home is located in Loja, I don't think anyone can tell you how to get there and what's closest.  But Loja does have bus and taxi service, if you have a car you can drive yourself, and you can always walk.

Have you already bought a home there but don't know where it is in relation to SuperMaxi and other shopping, etc.?

RobinJoel :

We have a home in Loja and will move there permanently in a few months.  Where is the closest Supermaxi and the other stores you mentioned?  Do you know?
Is it best to take a bus and shop there or drive? or even a taxi?

Thanks for the information!

Robin and Joel

Good morning,

I just checked Supermaxi website and there's one in Loja. Visit the website to know exactly where they are. If you want to get the Pepperidge Farm cookies or other imports cheaply well it's similar to winning the lottery.  :D

Depending on where you live and how many groceries you have you'll probably use all modes of transportation including walking.

Get a membership card, it's free, and will save you money. Wednesday is fruit/vegetable discount and Friday is meat discount and with the high groceries prices any discount helps.

RobinJoel :

Supermaxi....
Is it best to take a bus and shop there or drive? or even a taxi?

Before I bought my car in Quito, I found it quite convenient to bring my groceries back from Megamaxi in a taxi.

From El Centro, I would typically go to the Maxi by bus, which involved a paid transfer to a second bus  at Alameda park.

After paying for the groceries, I would approach the Megamaxi service desk with a mozo pushing my shopping cart after having loaded it himself.  The clerk at Servicio al Cliente would call for an Easy Taxi that would meet us in a few minutes downstairs in the indoor parking garage.

The mozo would load the groceries into the trunk.  I would tip the mozo and be on the way home.

Later, with the car, the path from the cash register is directly to the car.  There the mozo loads the groceries into the trunk as before and it's homeward bound.

There was never a security issue with either method.  Parking was always free.

One advantage of bringing groceries home by taxi is that you don't have to concentrate much on traffic and other drivers on the way home.

cccmedia

Prices Feb 2017

**Supermaxi Supermarket**
¼ kilogram asparagus $1.32
Rotisserie supermaxi chicken $7.80 kilogram/$3.55 pound,  (or about $10 a chicken)
Jalapenos from deli section $8.16 kilogram/$3.70 pound
Black olives from deli section $7.09 kilogram/$3.22 pound
1 dozen eggs, large $2.00
2 small avocados (Green Garden,mature)  $1.29
6 pk Club Beer 12 oz bottle (local) $5.74 
6 pk Heineken 12oz bottles $9.78 (on sale normal price $12.50)

**Cafes and Bakeries**
Croissant from Cyrano $0.67
Juan Valdez Coffee (Black) 16 oz $2..30 take out
Dunkin Donuts 1 coffee, 1 fresh orange juice and 1 egg muffin  $4.99

**Restaurants**
200 gram Argentine steak with potatoes, tiny salad and carbonated water $11.50 (Habemus Parrilla @ Amazonas, La Mariscal) Maybe I’ll write a review.

Shrimp fettuccine, 2 small pieces garlic bread, and blackberry juice $11.29 (Il Capoo @ CCI food court Iñaquito)

**Used books**
Novels/books $2-$5 from English used books store in La Mariscal and from street vendors on Amazonas.

**Street Food**
10 Quail eggs $1, eat them with a toothpick
1 Doughnut (not so good) $0.50
1 Cheese Empanada $0.50

**Dry Cleaning**
$1.70 per dress shirt

Is anyone familiar with Mercer's cost of living city rankings? Well for 2016 Quito is ranked #127 out of 209 cities. Ten spots below at #137 is Athens, Greece, and 10 spots above at #117 is Portland, Oregon. If you want access to the entire list, simply provide your details, and they'll send you link to access. By the way, #1 is Hong Hong. I think people will be surprised at how many cities Quito is more expensive than. These include Toronto(143), Vancouver(142), Lima (141), Mexico City (169), and Bogota (190).

The methodology they use is straightforward, and basically they calculate how much money an expatriate would need in the cities ranked relative to one another. So for example an expat living in Honk Kong (#1) would need a lot more money than someone living in Quito to maintain the same lifestyle. Companies use these rankings and specific city reports to determine how much to compensate an expat working in any of these cities.

This is just another metric but it's very valuable for expats who want to maintain their quality of living regardless of where they live.

From time to time I will include glimpses of cost of living in Quito by posting relevant and updated price information. 
   

Maid
$20 for a day. Usually from 8:30-3:30/4:30. This a professional maid with a uniform. I also give here $3 for almuerzo or sometimes I'll bring her back a half of pizza pie or whatever. I didn't negotiate this price, this is how much my landlord pays her and I pay the same. Excellent service, and nothing ever goes missing, and If I could I would have her clean two times a week but she's fully booked.

Tattoos
About $35 per hour by some of the better tattoo artists in Quito

Haircuts
Men/Kids $4-$12, on the high end are places like SportsKut ($10)
Women $12+ 

Dry Cleaning
Coat $3.50
Sweater $2.50
Comforter/Duvet $9.00

Vsimple,
I was at super maxi yesterday and bought apples to make my apple butter, the red delicious ones.  I guess it's been a while since I bought them but they were $4/kilo, before the Wednesday discount.  I was telling my husband how great they looked and they have never been so nice so it was ok that they were expensive.  They were hard not soft, no bruises or scrapes and waxed and polished nicely.  I peeled and cut them today and they had lots of brown bruised like spots inside even tho on the outside the apple wasn't soft, like it had been dropped.  Even tho before they weren't as pretty I think they were better apples, but we will see tomorrow when my apple butter is finished. 

On some of the prices you listed, it seems like it's cheaper in Quito than here.  Or I'm just getting taken advantage of and never knew, which is probably more like it.  I've never had good luck with maid service here.  Tried quite a few and thought I had the perfect one, even tipped her every week, but she had a baby and we inherited her cousin and she never came back.  After the earthquake, I started noticing things missing from upstairs which I can't figure out.  She always wore tight clothes & left her purse downstairs.  The problem is that I don't take inventory very often until I go to look for something.  I had at least 2 pair of sandals disappear, and one was brand new.  Then my razor disappeared out of my shower, and she didn't even clean my showers.  Then my pack of brand new toothbrushes disappeared out of my supply closet.  The problem is I have so much random stuff and I buy for a year, so I don't know if it's missing or not.  After the shoes, I took all my real jewelry which I had in random places to miami and put it all in a safety deposit box.  The tell tale sign was after we returned from Miami, I was looking in one of my bedroom closets, where I have my dress and a few winter clothes hanging along with my dogs clothes and I noticed a shoe box on the floor of the closet pushed all the way to the back.  I keep trying to remember if I put it there and honestly don't think so.  My shoes that I have boxes for are all stored in the boxes and in the top of my bedroom closet.  I need a step stool to reach anything in it and sometimes I still can't reach.  No shoes were in the box but a long piece of costume jewelry that I had bought in Fiji was thrown in the box.  I had totally forgotten I had it (& that's wh it's hard for me to tell what's missing), cause I hardly ever where that stuff anymore.  Thats when I started piecing everything together.  My husband got sick less than a month later, spent a week in the hospital in Quito.  I flew his son down for 3 weeks so we didn't have her come, as he must be careful with a transplant and infections/sickness.  I finally said let's just not have her back I'm done with it and I will clean the house with your help.  While I can't rightfully accuse her of taking anything as I never saw it, nothing I have looked for has been missing since she hasn't come back.  But I have never found and continue to relentlessly search for items that I know are missing.  Funny thing, we always left coin money in a dish in the kitchen but that never went missing.  I guess she knew we would always pay her travel with that and would know.  Sad thing is if she needed stuff, she only had to ask and I would have given her lots of stuff as I would occasionally.  So be careful if you decide to have someone clean your house.  It may be fine the first year and then out of the blue make you feel like you are going crazy when you can't find stuff.

Sophems :

Vsimple,
I was at super maxi yesterday and bought apples to make my apple butter, the red delicious ones.  I guess it's been a while since I bought them but they were $4/kilo, before the Wednesday discount.  I was telling my husband how great they looked and they have never been so nice so it was ok that they were expensive.  They were hard not soft, no bruises or scrapes and waxed and polished nicely.  I peeled and cut them today and they had lots of brown bruised like spots inside even tho on the outside the apple wasn't soft, like it had been dropped.  Even tho before they weren't as pretty I think they were better apples, but we will see tomorrow when my apple butter is finished.

Those red apples, red grapes and other fruit are for once in awhile treats. Seriously who can afford to buy those fruits on a regular basis. I get almost all my fruit now from the intersection. 1 dollar 1 pack of baby pears or whatever they're selling for the day.

Sophems :

On some of the prices you listed, it seems like it's cheaper in Quito than here.  Or I'm just getting taken advantage of and never knew, which is probably more like it.

I'm not surprised, but I'm sure some items are cheaper in Manta than they are here. It's too bad you don't like seafood, because Manta is arguably the best area for seafood. Manabita seafood restaurants in the capital are popular and serve some great stuff.

I have never liked seafood, and have tried some of it.  The only fish I can eat is salmon if all the skin is removed and it doesn't taste fishy and the real Chilean Sea Bass, as it's called in the US but not the real name of the fish and of course I've never seen it here.  Since moving here, my husband who loves all seafood, has developed a toxicity to all shell fish even if it's used in making sauces but doesn't have the pieces in it.  He goes through what's like sever food poisoning for 3 days, so I tell him, why should I eat seafood?  He doesn't think it's funny because he loves it.

Hello, all,
After reading all of the posts here, I have reached the conclusion to not retire in Ecuador (Quito or Cuenca) as previously anticipated. It would be difficult to deal with erratic access to potable water.  One can live quite comfortably on $1500/month in central VA. I reside in a 1-BR apt with patio overlooking the forest in a nice neighborhood off main arteries of traffic and has 2 swimming pools, tennis courts and fitness center a gratis; own a car (gas is about $1.90/gallon) BUT am vegetarian and opt for antennae (not cable) t.v. which is a gratis. There is a new German market chain here called Aldis where one can buy the following at major discounted prices:
*portobello mushrooms 10 oz. container - 99 cents
*bag of mini seedless cucumbers - 99 cents
*16 oz of l93% lean ground turkey - $3.29 if a meat eater
*dozen of eggs - ranges from 69- 89 cents per dozen! best deal ever
*German or organic coffee from Central America - $3.99/12 oz ground - great deal
*toufu block - $1.79
* bag of orange, red and green sweet peppers ( capsicums) - $1.99
*chicken -  $1.80/lb. (often times just 88 cents/lb. at Kroger's)
*Brie, Feta or other popular gourmet cheeses - 10 oz. container $2.79 (compared to $4.99 elsewhere)
*12-oz bag of fresh baby spinach (washed) - $1.49 (compared to $3.99 elsewhere)
*3-lb bag of baby kale (washed) - $1.99 (compared to $3.99 elsewhere)
*cereals - $1.49 - $2.99
* multi-grain, organic bread - Dollar Tree (have to get there on Tues or Thursday) where we also buy salsa, spices, toiletries, Mister Plumber, Chlorox, laundry detergent, deodorant, shampoo, talcum powder, and other sundries - $1.00
It's true, though, that rent and car insurance/maintenance are major costs, but food is definitely cheaper here from what I've read. As Gardner noted, also, in many regions of the U.S., one must own a car, as PTA is insufficient.
That was an interesting read about Bethlehem, PA but still cold temps and snow, yes?

As the proverb goes, Life is a tradeoff. We have to make the most of where we retire, n'est-ce pas?!
PS

peripatetic_soul :

Hello, all,
After reading all of the posts here, I have reached the conclusion to not retire in Ecuador (Quito or Cuenca) as previously anticipated. It would be difficult to deal with erratic access to potable water.  One can live quite comfortably on $1500/month in central VA. I reside in a 1-BR apt with patio overlooking the forest in a nice neighborhood off main arteries of traffic and has 2 swimming pools, tennis courts and fitness center a gratis; own a car (gas is about $1.90/gallon) BUT am vegetarian and opt for antennae (not cable) t.v. which is a gratis. There is a new German market chain here called Aldis where one can buy the following at major discounted prices:
*portobello mushrooms 10 oz. container - 99 cents
*bag of mini seedless cucumbers - 99 cents
*16 oz of l93% lean ground turkey - $3.29 if a meat eater
*dozen of eggs - ranges from 69- 89 cents per dozen! best deal ever
*German or organic coffee from Central America - $3.99/12 oz ground - great deal
*toufu block - $1.79
* bag of orange, red and green sweet peppers ( capsicums) - $1.99
*chicken -  $1.80/lb. (often times just 88 cents/lb. at Kroger's)
*Brie, Feta or other popular gourmet cheeses - 10 oz. container $2.79 (compared to $4.99 elsewhere)
*12-oz bag of fresh baby spinach (washed) - $1.49 (compared to $3.99 elsewhere)
*3-lb bag of baby kale (washed) - $1.99 (compared to $3.99 elsewhere)
*cereals - $1.49 - $2.99
* multi-grain, organic bread - Dollar Tree (have to get there on Tues or Thursday) where we also buy salsa, spices, toiletries, Mister Plumber, Chlorox, laundry detergent, deodorant, shampoo, talcum powder, and other sundries - $1.00
It's true, though, that rent and car insurance/maintenance are major costs, but food is definitely cheaper here from what I've read. As Gardner noted, also, in many regions of the U.S., one must own a car, as PTA is insufficient.
That was an interesting read about Bethlehem, PA but still cold temps and snow, yes?

As the proverb goes, Life is a tradeoff. We have to make the most of where we retire, n'est-ce pas?!
PS

It is established that food costs more here. But "erratic access to potable water", is unfounded. Gardener didn't even substantiate her claims, and I called her out on that, and specifically asked "did you use water test kits", to which she didn't reply.

The water in Quito is perfectly fine, it's actually good to me, and my many people here, including my healthy landlords who are in their late 70s and who I've seen drink it unfiltered straight from the tap.

I specifically stated that Quito enjoys AquaRating status which is an international organization that accredits water authorities.

Try it out here, rent a room with bathroom in house in your target area, and live here in Quito for a couple/few months, the difference will only be what you pay for the room, and airfare. Keep in mind being an expat is indeed a challenge, it can be a wonderful one, and can really enrich your life if you know how to go about it. I believe you meet that criteria, and for $1500 you'll live okay. And you don't have to live in Centro (or noise central), you can do better, like living a bit more north. With $500 a month you can live in a nice 1 bedroom apartment in a nice and safe area with walking distance to parks, supermarkets, cinema, restaurants, etc.

Best of luck.

peripatetic_soul :

One can live quite comfortably on $1500/month in central VA. I reside in a 1-BR apt with patio overlooking the forest in a nice neighborhood off main arteries of traffic and has 2 swimming pools, tennis courts....

See our new thread titled "Peripatetic Soul Investigated Ecuador .. And Decided Not to Go." 

    www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=655102#3590991

Hello,

I hesitated to post that thread and apologize if not relevant. Perhaps Admin can delete it?

Errata--I didn't mean to imply that I would only have $1500/month retirement income. I also haven't retired yet but agree with you wholeheartedly about exploring before making a major move to another country.   I appreciate your clarifications. Thank you much.
PS

Alright guys so while going through old receipts, I came across an old grocery bill from last year and while looking at it realized that the prices are very similar to now. So that's good news and indicates that inflation is indeed low.

Here's an observation of numbeo price which lists a 3-course meal as costing $30.00 for two people at a mid-range restaurant. I think that number is a too low, even if there are cheaper mid-range restaurants there are many more mid-range restaurants that cost much more which should result in a higher price average.

Amazing...simply amazing.

Thank you all for shining what can only be described as a fairly harsh spotlight on what must must be a truly expensive place to live.

One can't help but wonder just how exactly the locals do it...? I mean, we're talking about a place where the "minimum" wage is $USD375 per month (correct me if I'm wrong, but I "believe" that's the new minimum for 2017?), and the "average" monthly wage is in the $USD800-range.

But people here are talking about twice that figure as being insufficient. Really? Must be a serious two-speed economy going on there, right?

Here's the other thing. The premise of the thread was "how much are you actually spending on ALL of the day-to-day items. Has anyone actually given a detailed breakdown of daily/weekly/monthly expenses...?

No. Of course not.

Too much to ask, it would seem.

I admit I eat out a lot because I really don't have a kitchen. Luckily I live in Montañita where food is plentiful. Here's kind of what I eat. Not every day. This is sort of what a family might eat but they would prepare it themselves at home. More fish note rice and more beans and plantain if they were poorer, more chicken and pork on richer days.

These are the local inexpensive restaurants on the family side of Montañita, as opposed to the tourist side

Morning: desayuno criollo $3 bolon de queso, dos huecos, cafe con leche y jugo

Lunch: almuerzo $3 sopa con legumbres y prescado ensalada patacones y arroz con jugo

Dinner: parillada: :$4 carne o pollo y menestras con arroz y ensalada y cola

Most days I eat two meals, or one meal and grab an empanada for $1. Or grab a fried chicken and fries combo (papipollo) for$2. I don't eat much and I also grab fruit for a few cents throughout the day from my neighborhood grocer (bananas are 10 cents). Plus my go to beverage is Guitig, the national mineral water. I've cut back my coca cola habit ( which was hard, they use the original recipe with sugar here!)

Basically my food bill because I buy premade is about $300 a month.

My place is $300 and spartan but I chose location, a nearby town offers more for the same price.

Add on an additional amount that covers health and medical.

And of course my furkids have their requirements.

And you can see how the budget starts to create.

Thats a very extensive list but not necessary.  The cost of living is 1/3 of the US. Imports of cars,  American Spirits or Electronics are expensive.  Most Expats in EC will go to Panama or Colombia 1x year to buy items such as listed above.

Susan_in_Ecuador :

I admit I eat out a lot because I really don't have a kitchen.... Morning: desayuno criollo... $3 bolon de queso, dos huecos, cafe con leche y jugo

That's a really good look at the 'inside baseball' of a decent diet in Ecuador .. if you're willing to 'go local'.

I don't typically go out for breakfast .. and had to look up bolón (de queso) .. which apparently is some kind of cheese ball.

I suspect that Susan eats huevos, not huecos, for breakfast, since it's more common to eat eggs than holes, despite the extra cholesterol. ;)

cccmedia

Yup, my spellcheck is English but I add in words in español as I write them. Now I need to add huevos to huecos and buenos and huesos.

We're all learning.

After a few months you also learn who cooks best and least expensive, who is best value, etc. It's rather fun. No short cuts to finding these spots as they evolve getting better and worse over short stretches.

But I do have a preferred breakfast and lunch location currently

ddagencylv :

The cost of living (in Ecuador) is 1/3 of the US. Imports of cars,  American Spirits or Electronics are expensive.  Most Expats in EC will go to Panama or Colombia 1x year to buy items such as listed above.

We appreciate your input on this thread, DD. :top:

I hadn't previously seen that precise statistic of cost-of-living in Ecuador being 1/3 that of the U.S. .. but I wouldn't quarrel with it since you did a good job of stating key exceptions.

-----

Excellent point about Ecuador residents going to Colombia to buy electronics, etc.  That's a relatively new phenomenon for many Expats, and Ecuadorian locals as well, in the last year or two. 

And it's not restricted to electronics and booze.  Rent and real estate are major expenses for most folks .. and they're both much less expensive in Colombia now than about two years ago.

If one googles convert usd to cop, you'll see the chart showing that the Colombian peso was at or under 2,000 pesos to the U.S. dollar until almost the beginning of the year 2015, about two years ago.  You'll also note that the peso has fluctuated at about 3,000 for most of the past year.  It's currently at 2,984 pesos to the dollar.

This has boosted Expat buying power bigtime in Colombia.  Since Ecuador's currency is the U.S. dollar, this benefit for dollared Expats is not available in Ecuador.

On top of this, Colombia's tariffs were not boosted as much as Ecuador's in recent years, amplifying the Expat bonus. :)

cccmedia

expat_sooner :

Must be a serious two-speed economy going on there, right?

Yes.

In Quito it is truly a tale of two cities in one city. $800 in Quito is nada. $1500 is ok. There’s a lot of info on expat.com, read up.

Agreed. Starbucks? And you have that lovely South American coffee at you doorstep? Hummm.

Ecuadorian coffee: go to SuperMaxi, SuperAki, MiComisariato ( the big supermercados). Go to the coffee area. Look past all the instant coffee that is popular and up in the corner or down in the corner or squished to the side you will find our Ecuador coffees. Now, what to do while traveling if you cannot abide instant.

On the go drip coffee: Buy a bag of ground and small sized filters. You may want to buy a mug too as a small cup never seems enough for a real coffee drinker. Next time you have a bottled water, save the bottle and cut off the top half.

Now armed with your mug, ground coffee, water bottle top and filter, you have a mini drip coffee machine. Put the filter in your water bottle top, put in two heaping teaspoons ground coffee (more or less to taste) and slowly add hot water to drip through the grounds into your mug.

Now go have a happy day.

To elaborate on what I previously posted or about Quito being a tale of two cities in one city. This reality is visible to anyone who is objective. So while people like to point out that the minimum salary is $375 per month, why not also acknowledge that the starting salary for a nurse at a public hospital is $1200 a month.

Just yesterday, I had a conversation with an Ecuadorian about this topic, and said “you know some people think Quito is cheap”, to which the reply was, “not if you want something good.” And something good is what is mostly ordinary in developed countries. Lets take pizza for example, a food one member here said “sucks”, if you want decent pizza go to Via Partenope where a Margherita for 1 is $10 and to reiterate that’s for one person, or Cosa Nostra, or Al Forno where prices are similar. The same is true for beef which people complain about as been inferior. Then why not eat an Argentinean steak which comes from grass fed cows and is renowned the world over?  Perhaps it’s too costly, and that’s the reality. Dinner for two at some mid-range restaurants including two glasses of typical wine but excluding salad and dessert can easily cost $60-$70.

My point here is if you want what you’re accustomed to (relatively) then you will not get it at third world prices. What you’ll get at third world prices is a third world product, and people earning the minimum wage that’s how they live. Instead of a decent pizza then it’s a cheap $1 slice of soggy dough-rich pizza that’s sold from carts and some bakeries. 

Glimpse into Quito's cost of living March 2017
1 kilogram of large Tiger shrimp $17 (mm)
4 corn on the cob $2.50 (mm)
Small bottle of non-MSG Tabasco sauce $5 (mm)
1 Michelada $4 pub next to Dan Carlton
1 shot of 12 year old whiskey $9-$12
Burger King Whopper meal $7.49
Abstract painting (sukasa) 60x150  $115
1 liter cheap Chilean wine(Clos) in carton $7.49
McCormick Ranch Dressing 300 grams $2.79

No Starbucks for me. Love EC, will comtinue to support local brands. I have nothing but time God willing. Definitely not in a hurry.

When I first moved to manta, we could find Argentinian beef that was imported.  Probably for 3 years now, I have never seen it again.! Occasionally, we keep trying to steaks only to find no matter how we cook them, they are almost inedible.  However, I always buy my Starbucks whole bean coffee, yes I have a US grinder, and Hidden Valley Ranch large size powder mix from Amazon.  Just keep in freezer/fridge if you live in a high humid area.  It lasts a long time.  I've learned how to make my own hot sauce with fresh peppers (thanks emeril lagassee), laundry detergent for HE washers and many more things.  I order everything from Amazon and bring back a year's worth of stuff at a time.  I would be willing to bet my spice storage is the biggest in ecuador.  But I use all of it and save lots of money that way!!  I have even started making my own lotion with oil, beeswax and essential oils I bring back from the US.  St. Ives lotion at Walmart in Miami is less than half you can get here, and I don't even care really for that brand.  Contact solution is another one much cheaper.  The best is a 4 pound box of baking soda at Walmart is less than $2.  I always bring back 2 boxes every time.  Aluminum foil is another thing I bring back.  The local brand is crap here and the good brand is expensive.  Hundreds of other things to many to mention, but if you don't eat rice and simple salads food and toiletries are not cheap here.

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