Here’s my list of things that have been really expensive for me since moving in Panama:
1. Rent: Renting a two bedroom apt in a central area of the city that’s just a few years old and comes with all appliances and AC comes at a minimum cost of $1,000 (and that’s hard to find). There are almost no cheap studio or 1 bedroom apartments so unless you can afford $1,000 by yourself you will need room mates. There are some cheaper rents in some of the older buildings but they aren’t easy to find.
2. Groceries: I’ve had to give up a lot of the American brand foods that I was used to because they are too expensive here. I’ve also noticed the food prices of basic things like milk and eggs go up (last year milk was usually $1.20 and now it’s around $1.60). I eat a lot more fruits and vegetables than I used to since I can afford those.
3. Cover Charges: Panama bars love their cover charges! In Kentucky most places don’t charge cover and if they do it’s like $5. In Panama I have had to get used to paying $10- $20 to go into places. Luckily I have managed to find a few favorite spots that don’t charge covers.
4. Electronics: Laptops, phones, TVs, etc are all a little bit more expensive here. One of my friends had me buy the new iPhone 5s in the states for them while I was home for Christmas because it cost $1,000 to buy it in Panama.
5. Furnishings: I really hope Ikea invades Panama someday because it’s extremely hard to find affordable furniture that looks nice and doesn’t break. There’s plenty of expensive furniture stores here though.
6. Electricity: I have become an electricity natzi in order to combat high electricity costs here. My electric bill was always around $50 in Kentucky and I had my AC on all the time and here it’s usually $100 (once it was $30 when I didn’t use AC for an entire month but it was too hot).
7. Cars: In the states you can usually buy a decent used car just a few years old under $8,000. In Panama a used car that price is probably going to be pretty old and not in good condition. There’s also no car history reports so that’s a risk as well. Most people advise to buy new and you’ll notice very high prices on those compared to the states.
Do you agree or disagree with my list? What have been some of the biggest expenses for you? Also check out my article, 7 Things That Are Cheap In Panama.