Apartments for Low Income

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Cheapest Apartments In America

June 25, 2013

Charles asks…

How much to retire in Costa Rica?

Some people at work are discussing how much it would take to live happily ever after in Costa Rica. The amount seems too low to be true.

Administrator answers:

The most important factor which will determines the cost of living for foreigners in Costa Rica is their lifestyle. If you are used to an opulent lifestyle, you’ll spend more than someone accustomed to living frugally. But either way, you will still find Costa Rica to be a bargain.

Despite having one of the highest standards of living and being one of the most expensive countries in Latin America, purchasing power is greater in Costa Rica than in the United States or Canada. The country is really a bargain compared to most places. I will explain all of the factors which make this statement true.
San José’s prices are the second lowest of any city’s in the Americas; the cost of goods and services is among the lowest of any city’s in the world. Corporate Resource Consulting firm that compares costs of goods and services rates San José among the least expensive cost-of -living cities in the world and second to Quito, Ecuador in the Americas. San Jose’s cost of living, ranks close to the middle when compared to 118 cities worldwide. The cost of living in Guatemala City or Pamama City is about 14% higher than in San José.

Housing in middle-class Costa Rican neighborhoodsis substantially less than what it does in the U. S. Hired help is a bargain with a full-time maid costing only a couple of hundred dollars per month. Utilities-telephone service, electricity, and water- cost about 30% of what they do in North America. Bills for heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer can cost hundreds of dollars in the States. You never need to heat your home or apartment because of Costa Rica’s warm climate. You need not cook with gas, since most stoves are electric. Public transportation is also very reasonable. San José and its surrounding suburbs occupy a very small area. A bus ride across town or to the suburbs usually costs from 25 -50¢. Bus fares to the provinces cost no more than $10 to the farthest part in the country. Taxi travel around San José is also inexpensive.

A gallon of regular gasoline of gas costs about $1.75, making Costa Rica’s gasoline prices among the lowest in the Latin America. Only oil-exporting countries like Mexico and Venezuela have cheaper gasoline. However, you don’t really need a car because public transportation is so inexpensive here. If you must have a new car, remember that new cars can be very expensive due to high import duties. Because of this, Costa Ricans keep their cars for a long time and take good care of them. We recommend buying used cars since they are usually in good mechanical condition and their resale value is excellent. Food, continuing education, entertainment (movies cost a little over $3.00) and, above all, health care, are surprisingly affordable. Both new and second-hand furniture are priced very low. You’ll find more about these benefits later on.

When you have lived in Costa Rica a while, learned the ins-and- outs and made friends and contacts, you can cut your living costs more by sharing a house or apartment, house-sitting in exchange for free rent, investing in high-interest yielding accounts in one of Costa Rica’s many banks or private finance companies (many pay over 30% annually in dollars), working full or part-time (if you can find legal work), starting a small business or bartering within the expatriate community, doing without packaged and canned imported brand-name foods and buying local products, eating in small cafes or sodas instead of expensive restaurants, or buying fresh foods in bulk at the Central Market like Costa Ricans do. You can also save money by learning Spanish so you can bargain and get lower prices when shopping.If you take lessons from the locals and live a modest tico lifestyle, you can save a lot of money and still enjoy yourself. By not following a U.S.-”shop-till-you-drop” mentality you can live reasonably.

Taking all of the aforementioned and personal life-styles into consideration, the minimum needed for a decent standard of living for a single person ranges from $900 to $1200 monthly. You can indeed live for as little as $30 a day excluding housing. Some single people scrape by on considerably less and others spend hundreds of dollars more, again depending to what one is accustomed.

A couple can live well on $1200 per month, and live in luxury for $2000. Couples with husband and wife both receiving good pensions can live even better. Remember, two in Costa Rica, can often live as cheaply as one. Any way you look at it, you will enjoy a higher standard of living in Costa Rica and get more for your money. Consider that the average Costa Rican earns only $300-$450 a month. Costa Ricans earning under $500 monthly are considered to be lower class; those earning from $500 to $2000 are part of the middle class with anyone making more than $2,000 being upper class. So, you can see a foreigners with a decent income can have confortable lifestyle if they so desire.

You should not be alarmed by high real estate prices you may hear about or see advertised in the Tico Times or Central America Weekly. This recent rise in land prices results from the current land boom and increasing popularity of Costa Rica. Inflated real estate prices do not reflect the real cost of living in Costa Rica, which is still relatively low when compared to Canada, Europe and the U.S. Even more important, the Costa Rican government must keep the cost of goods and services affordable for the Costa Rican people in order to avoid the social problems found in most other Latin American Countries.

Don’t let yourself be fooled by what you hear or read about the cost of living being lower in neighboring countries like Honduras, Belize and Nicaragua. True, you can live less expensively in said places but the quality of life can’t compare with that of Costa Rica. The lack of infrastructure in Nicaragua; the rampant poverty, squalor and violence which permeate Honduras; and a rising cost of living in Belize make Costa Rica the only logical choice. Too many people tend to think a lower cost of living is synonymous with a high quality of life. You really get what you pay for when it comes to choosing between Costa Rica and its neighbors.

When all of the above is taken into accountalong with such intangibles as: good year-round weather, the friendly Costa Rican people, the lack of political strife and serious violent crime (no society is crime free), and a more peaceful way of life-no price is raelly too high to pay for living in a unique, tropical paradise like Costa Rica.

John asks…

Where can I find a cheap weekly apartment rental in Seattle?

Somewhere in Belltown, or Capitol Hill.

Administrator answers:

you can also try the Extended Stay america line of Hotels they cater to your needs if you need weekly rentals some have full apartments

William asks…

Have you ever been homeless (for people without kids)? Did you get your own place through the shelter?

Does a homeless shelter help you get your own apartment, or did you end up renting a room?

I understand you need an address for a job. Did you give the address of someone you knew?

Did you have a job while staying at the shelter?

How long did you stay at a shelter til you found a room or apartment?

How did you end up homeless in the first place? Money, work, mental illness, violence, etc.?

Administrator answers:

I have and it was because my mom died and my father wasn’t around anymore (he moved to South America) and I was on my own I slept in my car for a long time and sometimes at friend’s house and stuff like that. I had a job so I could eat sometimes but it was very hard. Finally I got a place it was a huge house with each room have a different person and so the rent was very cheap. That was like a party house! I finally got out of there and got one roommate and then after that I get my own flat by myself.

This was when I was a teenager and I did not go to a shelter because I did not know where one was in the area.

Mark asks…

I was thinking about relocating in the UK is that a good idea or no?

When I finish college.
Why is that a good idea?

Administrator answers:

NO!!!! Only if you have lots of money. I am an american living in England for about 6 years and the cost of living is over double to what you are used to in the USA. Just a few- gasoline (8 dollars a gallon), housing is double the price of America If you rent expect 600 to a 1000 pounds a month (double USA prices times 2), food costs you about 200 dollars a week and thats for 2 people, and there is the council taxes I pay almost £1000 a year for them and that is renting a very cheap apartment. In the USA if you rent there is no tax, tv tax (yes thats a tax if you have a tv is a round £140 per year) . England does have a problem of taxing you to death so if I had the the choice of coming to England again I would have said NO!!!!!!!!!!

Linda asks…

Is living in Hong Kong going to be hard?

I mean in terms of job/work. I heard the work culture is really tough, can someone explain the severity of it to me please? Would every job I apply to have these long work hours, etc?

Also, can someone please explain to me more about the different areas in HK? I know that Kowloon typically contains some of the poor areas and HK island is the rich, but what about New Territories? Is this countryside area also considered a poor area to live in?

Basically, any information about how easy/hard it will be to make a living?


Administrator answers:

In order to live in a decent apartment (monthly rent at least around HK$12,000), with some extra money to dine out and shop, the minimum monthly income should be around HK$25,000 – 30,000. Restaruants, shopping, groceries and transportation though are cheaper than in Europe and America.

With a population of 7 million strong in a small place as Hong Kong, a lot of talents will be competing for the same job, not to mention that nowadays many more university graduates from China are eyeing in HK´s job market as HK´s salaries are at least triple than China´s. To stay ahead, an employee must devote extra time and efforts to excel others. When everyone is working 9 hours a day, if you put in 1-2 hours extra to accomplish more tasks than the rest of the team then you will win out. A normal office hour ends at 5 pm, employees rarely would leave the office before 7 pm except for low profile jobs like cleaners, messengers.

I´ve heard many overseas employees complaining about the long working hours and a lot of assigned work, it´s a trade-off one must take into consideration before even thinking of moving to the city. One must not expect getting a good income with only 15% income tax and no sales tax yet working comfortably with lots of coffee/smoking/tel breaks as in Europe or America.

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