When I left the heat of Texas for the spring like weather in Boquete Panama I knew I’d save a lot of money by not using an air conditioner nine months out of the year. And I was right. Homes in Boquete don’t even have HVAC systems because you just don’t need it with the average temperature of 75 degrees… every day! But there are many other ways to live BETTER for less in Panama.
CARS – because my husband is retired, we don’t need two cars. So having one car saves on the costs of the car, car insurance ( only $243 a year), maintenance, inspections, etc. Gasoline costs about the same as the USA but at least we’re not filling up 2 cars anymore.
CELL PHONES – In Texas I had a land line and a cell phone. The combined bill was $250 a month. In Panama, I have a cell phone and I use Skype. Originally I used a $15 Panama cell phone but when I moved here, I took the SIM card out of that phone and put it in my unlocked IPhone. I could pay $15 a month for data plan but I just don’t need access to data all the time. WiFi is readily available so I use that. When I’m traveling in Panama or doing a tour, I can buy 7 days of a data plan for only $3.95. Instead of having a monthly calling plan, I just add minutes when I need them. Total cost is about $20 a month.
DOCTOR VISITS – It costs $10 to go to the doctor in Boquete. If you see a specialist in David or Panama City it is $25 – $50. These prices are without insurance. No appointment is usually necessary. You just walk in. If you’re too sick to walk in, the doctor will come to your house for an extra charge. Try getting that with Obamacare!
EMERGENCY ROOM – I went to the emergency room because I was having sharp pains on my right side. I was seen right away by a doctor who spoke very good English. Total costs for 2 IVs, lab tests, and the emergency room was $48… without insurance.
A friend’s husband slipped and hit his head. He was in the hospital 10 days, had Cat Scans and MRI’s plus his doctor’s care… total costs $590!
HEALTH INSURANCE – I have international health insurance which covers me in Panama, the United States and just about any other country. Total costs is $2400 per year. I recently had eye surgery in Panama City. The doctor filed the insurance forms and was paid. I had zero out of pocket expense. There are more affordable health reimbursement plans for $50 to $100 per month, depending on your age There are no age or pre-existing condition restrictions.
FRESH PRODUCE – Fresh produce is readily available and very affordable. My costs for produce is at least half what I paid in Texas. The best prices are at the farmer’s market.
FRESH FISH – Because Panama has the Pacific Ocean to the South and the Caribbean Sea to the North, you get a huge variety of fish at very affordable prices. I paid $30 a pound for sea bass in Texas. It is $3.50 a pound in Panama… sometimes less. Tuna, shrimp, grouper, amberjack, and other fish are all much cheaper in Panama
REAL ESTATE – It costs more to buy a house in Boquete than it does in Texas. But you usually get a 20 year tax exemption ( no property taxes), compared to the almost 3% of value property taxes I paid in Texas. House insurance is much cheaper in Panama than what I paid in Texas.
RENTALS – It is much more affordable to rent in Boquete than it was in Texas. Plus you have much better views and weather. I pay $600 a month for my 2 bedroom, 2 bath fully furnished rental with washer and dryer..on a large property with spectacular views. In Las Tablas I know a couple who is renting a furnished 3 bedroom house about 7 minutes to the Ocean for only $400 per month. In Volcan I know several people who are renting nice houses for less than $500 per month.
ELECTRIC BILLS – Electricity costs about the same per kilowatt in Panama. But because you are not using air conditioning or heat, your electric bills are must lower. $50 per month is our average electric bill in Boquete.
WATER BILLS – Water costs $60 per year for unlimited use in Boquete. I paid $69 per month for water in Texas.
A little savings here and a little savings there – all add up to a how you can live BETTER for LESS in Panama.
MASSAGE – I paid $65 for an hour for a massage in Texas. In Panama I pay only $25 for a one hour massage an it is much better than the massages I got in Texas.
I’m sure I’ll think of other savings in Panama later. I will add more savings as I think of more things.
Come see how you can live better for less in Panama.