One week, $200 – that’s all she wrote :)

Further on my series of posts on cost of living in Peru, time to fess up that out of $200 I started with exactly 1 week ago, there’s nothing left in my wallet.

Nada, nichts, zilch, nothing.

The final straw came yesterday morning as I started to boil water (we boil our drinking water) and the gas in the kitchen ran out. I called the gas company to bring a new cylinder of gas and, as always, they asked me with how much I would pay. This is so they can make sure the driver has correct change. I mustered up the confidence to open my wallet and saw I had S/.60 (~$21.80) left. A cylinder of gas is S/.35 and change. I don’t think most people tip the driver, but I do. After all, the guy’s delivering cylinders of explosive natural gas on a motorcycle in Peruvian city traffic for 12 hours a day, I think he’s earned a tip.

Since my previous post on day 4 of my “cost of living in Peru” experiment, this is how we’ve spent the last of my $200:

Food: I loose track of how many times I go to Mega – our local grocery store. Since the store is about a half a mile from our house I walk to Mega and back, consequently I only buy as much as I can carry (and still chase the baby if I need to). I think I go to Mega 4-5 times per week. I spent S/.20 at Mega yesterday and S/.36 the day before if I remember well. Some time earlier during this experiment I spent S/.170 or so at Mega because we bought expensive items like laundry detergents, etc.

Bread, snacks, etc: I spend S/.2.00 for fresh bread every morning and occasionally S/.6.00 – S/.10.00 to buy yummie treats at the bakery in the afternoon. I often take Pitufiloquita to the park in the morning and we both get our S/.1.00 ice cream when the sun is out.

Restaurants: Saturday we ate at “Sr. Panda”, a nice little restaurant right by our house. We like it because the food is good and reasonably priced, it’s only a block away, and “Sr. Panda” is about the only place in Cuzco (maybe all of Peru) where you can get good, hot and greasy chicken wings.

We also like “Sr. Panda” because right nextdoor is an arcade where I can take Pitufiloquita while we’re waiting on the food – just so she doesn’t raise too much cane in the restaurant 😉

I believe I spent S/.28 (~$10) at Sr. Panda and maybe S/.5 – S/.8 at the arcade.


Mamacita and Pitufiloquita playing at the arcade


Brianna getting ready to race at the arcade

Long story short, I managed to make it through a week on $200. That’s about right as far as our cost of living here in Peru goes. Our rent is $220 per month, our bills are around $200 (some are discretionary such as cellphones and satelite TV) and with food, restaurants, day trips and the like we usually spend between $1,000 – $1,400 per month for a family of three (5 if you include the mutts).

When I lived by myself in the US my bills were around $2,400 per month just for mortgage, car payment, gas, utilities, etc. That was before buying food and any discretionary things like going out to eat.

How about you, how much is your cost of living and in what area?