Another Month’s Living Expenses 2015: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

When it comes to expenses May proved to be another big month for us. Total costs for day to day living expenses came in at $1601.23 USD, which is $200 more than we actually wanted to spend.

Contributing factors in our overspending this month include a $155 USD truck repair, way too much eating (and drinking) out and a higher than average electricity bill. (See below for further explanation.)

Below is a summary by category that shows exactly where our cash went. For a more detailed in-depth view to our expenditures take a look at our daily spending.

One Month's Living Expenses: SJDS, Nicaragua - May 2015


Is the convenience of owning a vehicle worth the added expense?

We own a 2001 Hyundai Galloper that we paid $7000 USD for 3 1/2 years ago. It’s been a very reliable vehicle, however, rarely a month goes by where it doesn’t need some sort of repair.

If you choose to own a vehicle — unless it’s brand new — you’ll need factor in the cost of regular maintenance when planning your budget. Although labour is extremely inexpensive here compared to what we were used to back home, parts are not. 

Electricity Doesn’t Come Cheap!

Electricity in Nicaragua is extremely expensive. Four times more expensive than in the US, in fact.

Our $85 USD electricity bill for this month was reflective of air conditioning usage. During this billing period we ran the air conditioner in our bedroom approximately half of the month and usually only a few hours per night.  

Since April and May are the hottest most uncomfortable months of the year, we choose to live with air conditioning for this period of time and this period of time only. But if you’re someone who can’t live without air conditioning and plan to use it a daily basis, you can expect your monthly bills to be exponentially higher.

Entertainment & Eating Out

While analyzing our daily expenditures we noticed a tendency to eat out because we were lazy. This drove up our overall food costs and did nothing to enhance our life. Moving forward we intend to eat healthier, less expensive meals at home more often. Eating out will still be prevalent, but we plan to limit the instances to occasions that also involve a social and/or entertainment factor.


We can’t deny the fact that day to day living expenses are a lot less in Nicaragua than in most cities in Canada or the US, but just like at home, how little or how much you spend each month will be totally reflective of your spending habits. 

Posted on July 20, 2015, in Cost of Living and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. As always love the budget. These will be used to figure out our long term plan too. Thanks as always!

  2. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for sharing, I find these very informative.

  4. Thank you Gordon and Elisha. This is Rick from Toronto living in Honduras. Please let me know if a bar there comes up for rent. We would like to move there. Thank you.

  5. This info really helps us with our ultimate plane to move to Nica. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Your COL info is very useful. Would you mind giving a quick rundown on the type of lifestyle that these numbers represent? Is it just a couple? How often do you eat out, travel around, do activities that cost extra money, etc. etc.?

    I am looking at COL info on various sites and trying to adapt the info to fit my family (we have 3 kids)

    Thanks for a site with great info.

  7. Thanks, love it. I have been doing a fair amount of research and just came across your site. I have been trying to convince the wife to make the move in a few years when I/we retire. SJDS is what I have my eye on. We will be 39, both kids 18+ and living on a $2000 a month military retirement. The idea of moving to Nicaragua is so much more appealing then the American Dream of working until I’m 70 to just to make ends meet and then passing away a few years later. It sounds like we can really enjoy life and live down there. We a trying to fit a trip down this Novemebr in. Keep on living and save a cold one for us.

  8. james p duncan

    Your info is so great and up to date.


  9. I have just started looking at retiring early…I am 49 and my wife is 50.

    I greatly appreciate the valuable information shared.

    Thank you very much. I hope to purchase a home in Nica in 2017.

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