Cost of Living in Chile
If you can find a 40-acre lot priced at half of the cost in the US, wouldn’t you be tempted to move to Chile too? The cheaper land prices and almost everything else plus the fresh air and beautiful views surely add up to a great quality of life.
Expats move to Chile for a number of reasons: to experience a new culture, meet different people, or go on a life-long vacation. But the fact that can't be denied is that they also move to Chile to get more value for the money they've saved up.
With a little diligence and $50,000 USD, you can own a quality beachfront house in Chile. Real estate in Chile has been a popular investment for expats because of the undeniably cheap cost of a fairly well constructed house or lot. The best real estate deals are those away from the major cities like Santiago or Vina del Mar.
For families, renting or leasing a house is a good option, especially for expats still undecided on their city of choice in Chile. Monthly rent for furnished houses in a good area is somewhere around $800 USD (for a two-bedroom house). Apartments can also be rented for about $300-$500 USD.
Single expats could opt for a shared apartment, which cuts the cost to about $200 USD a month on rent.
Food and Household Expenses
A monthly food budget of around US$200-$300 for a family should be sufficient, and includes the cost of eating out every now and then. Being a country with a thriving agricultural industry, fruits and vegetables are generally cheap.
Eating out can be enjoyed more often than you probably would in your home country. For example, a three-course dinner in a good restaurant costs only about US$12 per person. A meal in a fast food joint costs even less, approximately US$3.
Household items like toiletries cost less than US$50 per month, but imported brands will cause the total to rise a bit.
The cost of water and electricity vary depending on the time of year; wherein summer months can be extremely hot and winter months can be harshly cold. During the summer, the consumption is high so the water bill is around US$58. Electricity costs peak in the winter months to around US$70. The combined cost for the rest of the year (based on the months of low consumption) is about US$85.
Bus routes are convenient and comfortable. The fare varies depending on the destination, and can range from $3 USD (for short distances) to $72 USD (on premium buses and long distance travels). Gas prices can range from $0.95 USD to a dollar.
If one wishes to avoid the sometimes crazy traffic in major cities like Santiago, you can use the railway system. The Transantiago (the micro-bus) or the Subway System fares cost from $0.70 USD to $0.85 USD.
Clothing and Recreation
Chileans are a very fashion conscious people, and they wear capes, ponchos, and jackets. If you plan to work in Chile, it would be best if you invest in more formal or corporate clothes, as Chileans are very particular about appearance and tend to be on the conservative side.
Cheaper finds are available in supermarkets like Jumbo, one of the leading retailers in Chile (equivalent to the US Wal-Mart). Branded clothes are of course pricier, and can be found in upscale malls like Parque de Arco.
From mountains to valleys and plains to beaches, Chile has it all, and more. Chile offers various forms of recreation from skiing up north or kayaking in the Andes or relaxing in the beautiful resorts and on the sunny beaches in the south. Recreation costs average a monthly expense of approximately $330 USD.
Based on a 2009 study by the ICSC (International Civil Service Commission) in Chile, the average total monthly expenditure is somewhere around $4000 USD, and that's considering all basic necessities, budget for recreation, healthcare and even miscellaneous expenses.
It's certainly not dirt-cheap, but with this price tag on a comfortable life in a safe and secure nation like Chile, it certainly is one deal you wouldn't want to miss out on.
Expat Services in Chile
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