Cost of living in Peru

I get a lot of emails and questions about the cost of living in Peru. There really is no such thing as “the cost of living” in Peru. What one person spends in Miraflores in a month will be entirely different from what another person spends in Accha, and averages tend to skew the big picture.

Here’s a comment about cost of living in Lima from an expat airline pilot:

“How much you save depends on your own personal circumstances…..working wife/single, kids/no kids (school or university age), social habits/stay at home guy, etc….so hard to say. I made 140K last year as a year 2 Captain….BUT you pay about 30% tax, and 10% goes to your pension so every month they take a whopping 40% out of your pay check. Lima is not as cheap as it used to be, housing has increased significantly, aprox 100% in last 6 years……this is fact, I just sold my apartment! Schools range from 500-1000 USD/month and if renting don’t expect to pay less than 1K per month for a decent place.

It’s true that some areas of Lima are very expensive, but on the other hand most people in Peru have a far lower cost of living (and income) than what’s quoted above. Per capita GDP in Peru 2010 was $9,200 (CIA factbook).

So I decided to do my own little experiment: I took $200 (about 544 Peruvian Nuevos Soles) out of my local bank account here today. I will try not to use my bank card for anything in the next few days, just cash, and keep track of how much I spend each day and how long it takes for my $200 to run out. Hopefully I will make it through at least a few days 🙂

Sadly, I’ve already spent some of my $200 because bills were due today. Here’s what I’ve spent so far:

  • Garbage pickup, 2 months: S/.13.00 (~ $4.78)
  • Water & sewer, 1 month: S/.14.00 (~ $5.14)
  • Electricity, 1 month: S/.42.20 (~ $15.51)

Maybe today wasn’t the best day to start my experiment, because I’ve just completed 2 of my biggest recurring purchases in the past few days: diapers and dogfood 😉

Check back tomorrow and see how my wallet is holding up!

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7 thoughts on “Cost of living in Peru

  1. Pingback: Cost of living in Peru – day 4 « Life in Peru

  2. You see I am peruvian and I live very close to Mirafllores and yes definitely, the cost of living in Miraflores is a little more expensive than in most “distritos” but it all depends where you buy your groceries, your clothes, etc. There are many other places that you can buy all your stuff at half the price you get them in Miraflores and with the same quality, I would advise you to make a budget taking into account the most basic expenses from rent, food, etc. write everything down! that helps! and also are you staying in Lima on vacations or you , are planning on living here permanently.
    If anybody needs a good piece of advice from a local, let me know.

  3. I´m sure you are! Peru is adorable! and of course you get to learn a lot from every experience we live, RedandGonzo are you an english teacher? My name is Luis and I am a qualified spainsh teacher, my wife and I came back from abroad last year. And we are beginning to set up our own language center, We already teache a number of companies and students from differente nationalities,we are planning on moving to Miraflores since is close to everywhere. We’ll see…

  4. RedandGonzo, I hope your teaching experience is going well! I’m hoping to teach English in Peru in the near future. Do you have any suggestions on how to find a good job? I’m also trying to find an affordable place to live in Cuzco, any tips?

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