Monthly Archives: December 2012

Healthcare & Other Costs…


A couple of weeks ago my granddaughter got sick with a bad cold. This was a Saturday, and since this cold was starting only weeks after the last bad one, her folks didn’t want to wait until Monday for her to see a doctor. Since they are citizen/residents the Caja was available to them (social services provided by the government). I assumed that’s where we were headed. Not. We stopped at a Farmacia (pharmacy) where my son chatted with the Pharmacist, who was too busy with other sick people that afternoon to help. So off we went into Heredia to another Farmacia with a hospital’s clinic upstairs. We made an appt, waited an hour, then they went in and spoke with a doctor who examined my granddaughter, diagnosed the problem, and wrote a couple of Rx’s. The Receptionist went downstairs, filled the Rx, came back up with them and presented my son with a bill of $114 for the doctor visit and the Rx’s. Amazing.

Equally amazing a week later were my own coughing bouts with a sore throat and what looked like the same cold everyone else was experiencing during the change of seasons. With the memory of my granddaughter’s easy access to healthcare, I walked myself into a Farmacia and pantomimed to the Pharmacist a cough and a sore throat every time I swallowed. She asked me if I had high blood pressure (which I somehow understood with my limited Spanish) to which I replied ‘yes,’ then she presented me with lozenges that I thought were meant to soothe my throat. Turned out one of  them completely blocked the cough for 24 hours at a time. They were eleven cents each. Amazing experience #2.

I’ve kept my receipts for the past couple of weeks so that I could report on the cost of things recently. What I’ve come to realize is that the savings I’m realizing by living here in Costa Rica lie in the rental rates and transportation. If I were willing to be a vegetarian I would probably realize savings in that area as well, but I have a healthy appetite for many things delightfully tasty, so no go on that budget line item.
Landline and dsl: $40/mo
Groceries: $150/mo
One Rx: $80/mo
Rent: $550/mo
Cell Phone: $20/mo – simple w/text, no voicemail
Skype calls to US phones: $7/mo
Transportation: $50/mo – bus and taxi’s
Misc: $100/mo – books, art supplies, eating out
Visa Run: $150/mo – 1/3 of total cost (have to leave every 3 months)
and that doesn’t cover paying people back who loaned me money to live on before Social Security popped in

So, I live frugally, but comfortably, here in the land of fresh milk products and honey…. here’s a list of food items you might find interesting:
Ziploc Freezer Bags: $$6
Large Avacado: $1.20
Large Red Onion: $1
Bag of Dried Black Beans: $1.60
4 Large Bananas: $.80
Bag of fresh potato chips: $3
14 brown eggs: $3
Soda Crackers, 8 pckgs of 4 crackers each: $1