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Entered By: Mark
Entry Date: 2009-11-27 23:20:08
Subject: Honduran Cost of Living

    On several occasions, people have asked me, "the cost of living is lower in Honduras, right?"

    Honestly, that's not a yes/no answer. Mainly, it's a matter of having the choice to "live lower", whereas in the States, you are expected to maintain a certain standard of living. Here, you are surrounded by poverty, so living with less is acceptable.

    But let's say, for the sake of argument, that you wanted to move here and maintain the same standard of living "enjoyed" in the USA. The main obstacle is the 30% import tax levied on anything that crosses the border into Honduras. Since Honduras has no natural energy resources, all of its oil and gas are imported. Gas is actually taxed quite a bit more than 30%. There is a $1.30 tax on a gallon of gas or diesel here, making the effective tax rate on fuel closer to 50%.

    Next there's the automobile. You can buy cheap, used automobiles here (although used autos here go for much more than in the USA for the same make, year and model), but you will be repairing them, constantly. The roads are bad and cars get beat up quickly. You and your mechanic will get to be good friends and fishing buddies. Whether you want to buy new or used, add 30% to what you would pay in the USA.

    For electricity, we pay right at 18 cents per kilowatt hour. When we left Texas four years ago, we were paying 9 cents and energy has not increased much since then. So, electricity costs are double here.

    Then there's real estate. It's a third world country, should be cheap, right? If only. We live in a very rural area far removed from large cities. Back in Texas, we might have paid around $1000/acre in the rural areas. Here the cost is closer to $8000/acre, so long as we are far enough from the city. City real estate is much higher.

    Finally, there is food. Again, you can go Honduran, eating a lot of beans, rice and tortillas; or you can go ahead and buy American food if you are close enough to a city. Here again, imports are priced at a premium, partly from taxes and partly from merchants realizing that Americans will pay more for foods they miss.

     Then there's medical care. Here again you can use cheap clinics and save considerably, so long as you don't need anything complicated done. If you want modern medicine, you'll likely need to travel to the USA and pay out of pocket. Travel expenses and lack of insurance will eat your lunch.

    All in all, if you want to live American in Honduras, be prepared to pay more to live than you do now. :-)


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