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Cost of living in Argentina - March 2023 (with actual numbers!)

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    This is a spin-off from this thread on how much money is required to live in Argentina.


    Preface (disclaimer)

    As the exchange rate fluctuates and the prices in pesos can take sudden jumps, these calculations are valid to this day, April 1, 2023. This post will be useful for future comparison, as well!

    Today's blue rate on Ambito is 391 (compra), I have exchanged at my local PagoFacil at 385 this morning. I am converting using the 385 figure and we are two adults living in Palermo. I.e., you could have it cheaper if you move to less touristy neighborhoods.



    1 liter of milk , Coto brand, is currently sold for 195 pesos or 0,50 USD
    1 liter of milk , La Serenissima brand, is currently sold for 195 pesos or 0,62 USD

    1 steak (bife) at the butcher shop, 700 pesos or 1,81 USD
    1 loaf of whole bread (600 g or 1.3 lbs) at Craft Vegan Bakery (fancy place) 1040 pesos or 2.70 USD
    1 americano coffee at a specialty coffee place costs about 500 pesos or 1.29 USD
    1 cheese pizza (muzzarela grande - 8 portions), by La Farola is about 2660 pesos or 6,90 USD
    1 pint of craft beer is around 600 pesos or 1.55 USD
    1 bouquet of simple flowers (daisies, roses, chrysanthemums) is 1000 pesos or 2.60 USD

    A bottle of local red wine at Dia is below 1000 pesos or 2,60 USD; if you want to go fancy, the most expensive one is 2700 pesos or 7 USD.
    A can of local beer is 1-1.5 USD

    A taxi ride of 10-15 blocks is 1.5-2 USD.
    A bus ride is 40-45 pesos or 0.12 USD
    A metro ride is 60 pesos or 0.16 USD

    Electronics and home furniture/decor

    One of the most expensive items in Argentina, as they are mostly imported or their component are imported. For example, cotton for fancy sheets is imported, even if the sheets are labeled as Made in Argentina. Electronics is imported partially assembled to Patagonia, they screw the lid and apply the sticker that said it was made in Patagonia.

    A set of sheets, 50 USD at a minimum. over 100 USD for the fancy ones

    A set of face and body towels of good quality: 40 USD.
    A microwave, 100-120 USD.
    A full sized fridge with a sleek modern design (Samsung), 750 USD.
    A 50” OLED TV 600 (43", LG) - 750 USD (50", LG)
    A rug, close to 80 USD.

    Eating out
    We often go out for a large pizza, I order a can of beer (830 pesos, canned, local brand = one pint), my husband drinks water (400 pesos half a liter), then I order a dessert to take away (about 500 pesos) and we spend, on average, between 4000 and 5500 pesos (10 USD to 14.30 USD). This depends on the place and the type of pizza. We don’t order pizza with ham or salami, so we tend to order nor the cheapest nor the most expensive on the list. Our favorite is half queso azul, half mozzarella.

    A basic breakfast at specialty coffee places costs 1800 pesos or 4.70 USD for two Americano coffees and a cinnamon roll. These are fancy specialty coffee places for expats and tourists in Palermo Soho, Hollywood, Recoleta. You can spend 30-50% less if you go at regular places that cater to the local crowd and take advantage of the breakfast promo such as “café con dos medialunas” for 600 pesos or 1.56 USD.

    A 45’ massage is about 3600 pesos or 9.35 USD.
    My private university tuition is about 32000 pesos a month or 83 USD.
    Our private health insurance (basic plan) with Hospital Italiano is 50,000 pesos per month or 130 USD for the both of us. This is also age-based (we are in our 40s)

    Gas(oline) at YPF ranges from 160 to 205 pesos per liter, I.e. 0.41 USD to 0.53 USD per liter (in gallons: 1.55 USD/gallon to 2 USD/gallon)

    A brand new city car (Toyota Yaris) costs about 15,000 USD, a Peugeot 208 costs 22,000 USD. Used cars are expensive, unlike in the US and Europe. Don't think you can get off with 6,000 USD.

    Touristic rentals are aligned to first-world rates -- I am talking mayor cities in the US and Europe, excluding California and NYC which are on a whole different league. The demand is really high due to multiple factors: tourists coming in flocks because they can indulge themselves for little money at restaurants, tons of Russian families looking for first-world class places to rent (of those, there aren’t many). Finally, the recent new law on long term rentals has pushed owners to favour short-term rental, since evicting non-paying tenants has become harder. The chances of having a non-paying tenant are considerable in an unstable economy where the locals have less buying power.

    Smaller units have seen the highest increases, as places that once yielded 250-280 USD a month are now at a min of 500 USD for a monoambiente (studio, 40 sq.m // 430 sq. ft.) in the nicer and safer barrios (Palermo, Recoleta, Belgrano, Villa Crespo, Nuñez). This price is for fully furnished rentals and include utilities. If the building has amenities (pool, gym, solarium, full time security), expect to pay 100-200 USD more.

    Utilities & home-related expenses

    We own a 75 sq.m duplex with a terrace (total 95 sq.m). For our American readers: 800 sq.ft indoor and 1024 sq.ft. overall, respectively.

    We are two adults and we work from home. We have 3 A/C units and two gas heaters and a gas stove/oven. Hot water is through an electrical boiler in our unit. We do not have a TV subscription as we watch Netflix and Amazon Prime. We don't have a landline phone, just an Internet service.

    As we live in Capital, our utilities are subsidized by the Government. This is NOT the case in the Province of Buenos Aires and other provinces.

    We don't dine in fancy places, but we do go out a lot at night. Since we work from home, going out to eat is our treat. We don't need to save, so we are splurging a bit. We could spend less. We have two cars, which adds up quite a bit.

    These are our expenses for March 2023

    • HOA fees (incl. water)  - 23k pesos or 60 usd
    • Electricity - 6800 pesos or 18 usd
    • Gas - 925 pesos or 2.40 usd
    • Internet - 5500 pesos or 14.30 usd
    • Mobile phones (2 lines) - 5400 pesos or 14 usd
    • Groceries and household products - 56k pesos or 145 usd
    • Eating out - 43k pesos or 112 usd
    • Transportation (public transportation and gasoline for our two cars) - 21k pesos or 55 usd
    • Cars (includes car insurance, taxes, maintenance etc.) - 85k pesos or 221 usd *

    *We had some car issues last month, hence the cost. Our new car insurance is 47 usd/month. The yearly tax for owning a car is about 400 usd/year.


    Where to find current prices

    Supermarkets: Coto, Dia, Carrefour, Disco, Jumbo, Vea for groceries and small and large appliances, basic furniture

    Electronics retailers: Fravega, Rodo, Musimundo, Megatone, Garbarino, Tio Musa, Casa del Audio

    Restaurants and cafès - check on these deliver app websites: PedidosYa, Rappi

    Telecom (mobile) companies: Personal, Movistar, Claro, Tuenti

    Telecom companies (landline and cable TV): Telecentro, Flow (former Cablevision)


    Pizzería el Mazacote, San Telmo. Price list (end of March 2023)

  • Thank you, serafina , for this exhaustive study on prices of commonly-used items and services. Your monthly utilities charges were very interesting to me, as ours are considerably higher and the apt sizes are very similar (and both in CABA). Until around 2016 or 2017, ours were negligible, then they increased quite a lot as the govt started cutting back on subsidies. I wonder what makes the difference. Neighborhood?

  • Rice , I am no expert on how the subsidies work. This page lists the criteria.

    It may have to do with the fact that your unit is not the first home (residence) of the owner, so it gets less/no subsidies.

    Tbh, we didn't ask for subsidies, they were applied to our utility bills since before we bought the place.

  • That’s probably the answer, serafina . Macri realized how insane the subsidies were, and barrio by barrio, started rolling them back. Undoubtedly on income-producing properties first. There was a big difference, I want to say an extra US$30-35 per month for gas. Since we never need to turn on either heat or air conditioning, we use gas only for heating water and for the gas oven/stove.

  • Thanks, @Bombonera . Some items would be the same (or close to) for one person, like utilities. We are also blessed to be out of the rental market, which is expensive in 2023.

    Coming from the old continent, I realized soon that here you don't pay for the location fanciness or convenience, but for the location safety and infrastructure. You can probably live for half the money and in an equally beautiful property like ours in Capital, but it would be in neighborhoods where they cut the electricity in summer, you can't go out past sunset for safety reasons, the sewer has issues, old buildings with gas issues and the restaurant offers is just pizza and asado.

    Also, having lived in San Isidro and having family in Olivos, I can say that those are expensive areas with a smaller rental market, as most people have been living there for generations, so they own. This drives the prices higher than in Capital, where you'd at least have more choice and competition can leave you some juggle.

    We also had considered renting in Olivos after living in San Isidro, but we weren't able to find anything modern within our budget at the time. We were surprised to see that we could rent brand new apartments for the same price in Villa Crespo. Some things here doesn't work like one would expect to. It is part of the learning curve!

  • I totally get you, @Bombonera . As I have explained here, we first stayed in San Isidro for 3 years and I was constantly reading on expats forum that Palermo was the place to be. However, when we visited Palermo I wasn't impressed. We would take the train early to Retiro, and then a bus to go to Plaza Serrano, only to find closed shops. I later found out that the social life here starts at noon, dinners end late in the night. Commuting wasn't feasible with public transportation as we felt like Cinderella, except that our carriage left Retiro at 11.10 PM.

    In hindsight, it isn't feasible to take advantage of the perks of Palermo when commuting from zona norte, especially if you have to rely on public transport. We once went out for dinner with a couple of friends visiting Buenos Aires for the first time. They were staying in Palermo or Recoleta, and we stayed out too late to take the train. We had to take 2-3 buses, and the whole journey back to San Isidro took 2 hours. Never again!

    Staying so far from the City, there was no convenience in having available a variety of food in Palermo, too a long ride to make an excuse to venture to the city to buy a few items (we should have come with a long checklist, but then how would we bring home all that stuff?!).

    My husband was quite critical about the "Palermo expats' hype". Guess who is now the biggest fan of Palermo...

    When we visit his family in Olivos, or go to San Isidro and drive past the tree-lined Avenida del Libertador in La Lucila, I often dream of living there, in a nice single house with a garden and a pool, with lots of colorful flowers and hummingbirds visiting them.

    When I express my feelings, my husband keeps replying "coming to zona norte is nice, and it feels home because this is where I grew up. However, the convenience and opportunities and closeness to everything that we have in Palermo, can't beat the greener courtyard in zona norte."

  • We live in La Lucila mainly because Adri grew up in the area and her family is in the area, so I can't see us moving to the Capital.

    She's a city girl, having lived in Belgrano and worked in the centre, but I prefer the open spaces and would live in the countryside given half the chance.

    My only gripe is how long it takes to get into the countryside and leave the city behind, but then it's not the destination that counts, it's the journey.

  • A quick glance at serafinas post shows when it comes to shopping for everyday goods prices in the capital are a hell of a lot cheaper than they are here....milk here for instance is over the 240 peso mark and that's on an offer.

    I've noticed on supermarket online sites like Vea as soon as I enter my local supermarket location prices for a lot of goods shoot up by at least 10%. 😒

    Lack of competition is the pits!!