Friday, August 25, 2006

Cost of Living in Montevideo


if u are one of the few who don't have to worry about things as pedestrian as money, feel free to skip over this post.

Why do you want to live/come/go to Montevideo???

This is one of the most frequently asked questions we get. I'll attempt to list some of the reasons below:

-Climate which is opposes the Northern hemisphere, which means we can "snowbird" a bit.
-Outside of the tropics, so avoiding a lot of the disease/bugs/smells/crazy rainy seasons, etc. that accompany the tropics.
-Urban, pedestrian friendly atmosphere with liberal use of open space and trees.
-Interesting, old colonial architecture.
-Low elevation (lots of oxygen :) )
-Close to river and ocean (temperature moderating and good for import/export)
-Close to Brazil (beaches!)
-Close to Buenas Aires ("paris of south america")
-Liberal property ownership for foreigners - good banking privacy laws
-Relatively safe
-Access to fresh dairy and a diet not TOO unlike ours (although there is a regional obsession with grilled meat -- hard to stay a vegetarian :) )
-Good internet connectivity
-Proximity to Argentina, and their currency crisis a few years ago made it relatively affordable to live (even in a falling dollar environment)

Truly "cost of living" was one of our primary concerns, and it was the first filter I used in determining where we would move.

It was the easiest, since it immediately took a few places off our list of possibilities, including the San Francisco bay area (where we were living previously).

So, what does it cost to live in Montevideo ???

I'll use this post as a repository of the cost of things -- from the everyday to the more obscure.

These costs are being entered at a time when there are about 24 pesos to the US dollar.

This exchange rate can and will fluctuate so take that into account.

These fluctuate widely. We're paying 950/mo for a furnished 3 bd/2 bath in a really good/urban setting. Our place was built around 1930 with updated (large for montevideo) kitchen and baths, very high ceilings, and terrace (outside) sitting space. My kinda place. They were asking 1200/mo., so I imagine there is room to negotiate other rental prices here.

We also saw apts for rent for as little as 250/mo in the city. We looked at a couple for around 700/mo *on the beach* in "Pocitos". These were for the most part top floor (12th) apts, that are supposed to be nice here. To me, they seemed more like burnout miami beach late 50's condos circa 1991 -- right before it started to get nice again :) To each his/her own.

In addition, there are lots of multi-bedroom apts in nice areas near or overlooking parks, etc for under 500 if you don't need one that is furnished...and if you aren't too picky or worried about the size of your kitchen....there are lots more.

Obviously, Montevideo has a lot of the economic opportunity. If you don't need to live in the city (or don't want to) u can get things a lot cheaper (outside of the big tourist stops of Colonia de Sacramento and Punta del Este).

Everyday stuff - lots of things here seem to have a 23% sales tax (that will be included in these prices):


512Mb/s DSL - $55/mo
cellphone calls - .25/min (ouch)
landline - around .025/min (i think)

calls to land/cell from hotels are OUTRAGEOUS -- watch this if u come for a visit -- something like $1.00/min to a local cellphone.


Dunno 'bout cars. To own, most are cheapo "fiats" and the like. A used one will run u about 2500-3500 prob. I don't plan on owning, so that is just what I "heard"

Taxi: 2.50-5 bucks pretty much anywhere in town
Taxi from a/p: 20-25 to center of town (lots of tarrifs on the a/p trip)

Flight to buenos aires: about $75-80 on day of flight
Ferry to buenos aires: about $50 -- but i need to get an updated price on this


Upscale dinner for two $30-$40ish for dinner for two (u can pay alot less too, or a little more)

Really nice south american Cab, or Tannat, or Pinot 2002, 2003 $'s so cheap compared to the states i haven't even bothered trying the cheaper wines.

small-ish frootloops box - $2.00
baguette - $.40
lays (pringles knockoffs - $2.25
12 "ecologic" eggs - $1.50
2.2 lbs of ecuadorian bananas - $1.00
2 chilean kiwis - $.75
fresh parmesan - $3.8/lb
butter - $1.8/lb
small non fat milk - $.50

(disclaimer: did a "kentucky windage" on the prices from pesos/kg to dollars/lb in my head : ))

It seems the dairy stuff is pretty damn cheap. It's all local and there is no shortage of grazing land. Whether it is subsidized -- i'm not sure...but i notice that none of the dairy stuff is taxed at the 23% rate...the milk has no tax. I suspect (but don't know) that the beef is probably very cheap too....

Like (almost) always...I think the lesso n here is if you can buy local (other than telephone service) do so.

These goods were purchased in a relatively upscale "supermarket". There is also a street market with fruits and vegetables that is in different locations throughout the city daily where outstanding prices can be had for very fresh/delicious fruits and vegetables, but i don't have a receipt to remember the exact prices....I'll try to add them next week.



Judi Bartholomew said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FuBarrio said...


"golden lotus" has not found the missing items from her luggage. the speculation is that they were stolen from either d.c. or buenos aires.

employees may have used the new regs as "open season" to steal expensive/unopened cosmetics. a friend that traveled with lost some "expensive" cologne (unopened) as well....of course they left behind all the half used toothpaste and preparation H, cuz god knows u can only make bombs from high-end unopened cosmetics, right? :)

FuBarrio said...

p.s. what is the point of my illustrious psuedonym if your username is your name and u sign off "Mom" :)

good to hear from u, as always!