Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cost of Living: USA, Costa Rica, New Zealand Compared

In the last three years we have lived in three different countries:

Portland, Oregon USA until April 2005
San Jose, Costa Rica until April 2006
Auckland, New Zealand current

Frak! That's a lot of moving, new banks and new bills to deal with. Yesterday I-Hug our ISP shut us off, though that story deserves it's own blog post (bastards!).

To sum up our living preferences, Adam and I like to live in neighborhoods were we can walk to a shops. In Portland our neighborhood was a twelve minute bike ride downtown and near a local pizza shop.

In San Pedro we were close to the university and downtown. There was a grocery store and a few good restaurants within walking distance.

In Auckland we are in the equivalent to Portland's Northwest 23rd neighborhood (fancy people barrios). There are lot's of coffee shops, restaurants and shops selling outrageously overpriced clothes.

Here's the comparison of living expenses in all three locations:

Northeast Portland, Oregon USA
Mortgage - 1,600
Electric - 40
Water & Garbage - 70
Internet* - 0
Phone - 20
Food - 350
Total (US Dollar) - 2,080

Barrio Dent, San Pedro, Costa Rica
Rent - 800
Electric - 40
Water & Garbage - 72
Internet* - 100
Phone - 18
Food - 250
Total - US Dollar 1280

Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand
Rent - 1296
Electric - 180
Water & Garbage - 36
Internet* - 48
Phone - 27
Food - 318
Total - US Dollar 1905

* We always get the fastest connection available for residential use. In Portland we were the neighborhood ISP. We hooked up about 5 neighbors with internet for cheaper than they were paying, we (Adam) provided the hardware and tech-saviness.

In terms of wages I took about a 25% paycut working in Auckland, but my purchasing power remained the same. So I can buy the same amount, but if I wanted to save up money in Kiwi dollars to convert to US Dollars I will take a 30-40% currency cambio hit.

Taxes seem a bit higher, though not excessive [Adam disagrees and thinks the taxes ARE substantially higher]. It's nice to have a functioning health care system and no homeless people. All the kiwis who go to the states, make the same comment "There are so many homeless people in the states". Yes there are, unforunately, the US government doesn't like poor people right now. Who knows maybe it will change soon. That reminds me I need to update my voter registration card.


Anonymous said...

Cool post! how's the toe? snowboard season right around the corner, fresh snow on Hood last weekend!

Rent - 375
Electric/Water & Garbage/Internet* - 150
Phone - 50
Food - 400**
Total - US Dollar $975

*all combined and shared with housemates
**that's what I budget for anyway, I'm sure it includes going out a lot

ahhh the single life.

Roberta Robles said...

Hi Anon
Where are you living? You are a super budget person. I can't believe you pay more for food than rent.

Toes much better but I still feel it in the cold whether.