So you are considering moving to Puerto Rico, and one thing you have to really think about is the cost of living in Puerto Rico. The cost of living in Puerto Rico is mostly expensive, at least when compared to many other places in the US. however it may not be as expensive as say New York City or San Francisco.
But, in all honesty, it is not cheap to live here, especially if you want to live with all the commodities that you are either used to or desire while living in a tropical island.
Cost of living in Puerto Rico is higher than the US. Mostly due to the fact that everything you buy costs more, from groceries to TVs and just about everything you would find at a store (with the exception of Puerto Rican Rum). Also, utilities, YIKES! Much more expensive in Puerto Rico, expect to pay over 25 cents per kilowatt here. Manual labor tends to be cheaper, such as gardeners, small house remodeling projects etc. Some things are not as badly priced but you get less value for your money such as slower internet for a set price when the same price would get you much faster internet in the sates.
If you would like more details on the cost of living in Puerto Rico keep reading below.
It seems that the cost of living in Puerto Rico is blamed mainly in how expensive the electricity is, which it is a factor, however keep in mind that most of the goods have to be imported via boat and the current US Law prohibits Puerto Rico from importing anything that doesn’t come from the US directly. So, not that this post requires me to discuss on that but I just want you to be aware so that you understand that there are many factors that affect and drive up the prices.
So what’s cheap and what’s expensive?
Well, manual labor tends to be cheaper that what I paid for in the US. For example, gardeners, independent plumbers and electricians, maybe small local auto repair shops, and even small remodeling jobs for the house, those sorts of things are generally cheaper than what I used to pay in the US. Having said that, auto parts may be slightly more expensive since it has to be imported in, also auto services at an authorized dealer may be slightly more expensive. But for the most part, the manual labor in Puerto Rico is not as bad as everything else.
However when you think about the “cost of living in Puerto Rico”, you are thinking about how much you pay for utilities, groceries, etc. Those sorts of things are expensive, very expensive. I will use some numbers to show you, we hare a family of 4, which is mom, dad, and 2 small children. We conserve energy every way we can, we unplug what we are not using whether it is the TV or the microwave, we also use as much natural light as possible, and the A/C (small window unit) is only on at night when we go to bed. Also ALL of our appliances are energy star rated, bought no earlier than 2012. How much do we pay in electricity each month after all that? An average of $400 per month, some months we pay as much as $500, others we go down to about $350 (usually in the winter months). I’m talking we MELT in the summer months, it is HOT in our house, my thermometer has measured 96ºF inside my house, and we STILL pay that much.
How about water/sewer? Well, our latest bill came at just over $100 per month, we do not have any leaks, we do shower once a day and our dishwasher and clothes washing machine uses much less water than the average. Why is it so much? The water company (AAA) has been having some financial problems and the minimum prices were raised for all of those not living in public housing, so you pay the minimum basic which you would pay even if you used no water PLUS whatever amount of water you use.
How about goods and services?
Well, there are a few things in which the cost of living in Puerto Rico doesn’t seem like that much but you have to look closer, because you don’t get as much for the same price. For example, it’s like when the price of the peanut butter didn’t change but the jar is not as big as it used to be. Which is what happened here with the milk.
A “Gallon” of milk in Puerto Rico costs $5.79! That’s non-organic, antibiotic and hormone filled cow’s milk! What’s worse, the “gallon” of milk is actually 8 ounces smaller than a REAL gallon! So our gallon of milk is really 120 ounces as opposed to 128 ounces. A half gallon of milk costs $3.00. Oh and all milk costs the same whether it is skim, 1%, 2%, or whole milk. Goat’s milk and lactose free milk is even more expensive. Where to find organic milk? Please let me know, I haven’t been able to find any.
Services like the internet are also not TOO bad but the speeds you get are much slower than you are used to, this is another example on how the cost of living in Puerto Rico is more expensive than it looks. Example, you can get a “triple pack” with the cable company at a reasonable price, say $80 per month, but your cable will be basic, your internet won’t be dedicated to your house with shared speeds up to 15 Mbps (faster if you pay a lot more), and the telephone service will likely not include calls to the US (unless you pay more of course). I used to get more than that with faster internet in the states for a cheaper price. Want dedicated internet with the phone company? About $75 per month will get you up to 10 Mbps (more like 8 really) and a land line with calls to the US included.
Fruit, veggies, all more expensive, even if grown locally. TV’s, cars, toys, games, furniture, just everything about 10% or so more expensive, sometimes more sometimes a bit less or a markup than what you would expect in the states.
To add insult to injury, EVERYTHING is taxed! I’m talking even a bottle of water has tax, even the blood tests that you need for medical reasons has a “sello” which is another way the local government taxes you. Tax here is 7% for “sales and services” meaning that if it’s sold or if it is a service, regardless of what it is, it WILL be taxed!
Expect to pay more for the same things here. plain and simple. I honestly buy many things on Amazon Prime, take advantage of the free shipping, that way I can save some money.
Even though the cost of living in Puerto Rico is higher that one would prefer, keep in mind that it is not all bad, after all you are in a tropical island with warm weather and available beaches year round! That’s good right!? =)
Anyway, please let me know if you have any questions or comments regarding the cost of living in Puerto Rico!