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Rising Cost Of Living Diminishes Benefit Of Living In Ba


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#1
julian63

julian63
I'm an expat that first starting spending blocks of time in BA in 1975. It was during the reign of Isabelita (and Lopez Rega and the AAA). I rented a swank funished apt in front of plaza Vinente Lopez for $60 per month - inflation was 80% per month and I never looked at the right side of the menu. One could live lavishly on $300/mo. After 8 months I departed, just before Vidella took over. At that time Lopez Rega was notorious for his statement that in order to eliminate Marxism in Arg he would be willing to kill 50,000 communists, 5000 sympathizers, and 500 mistakes.

Although BA has never been as cheap as those days (I was not here during the months right before Alfonsin left office in the late 80s), the high literacy rate and comparatively low cost of living made BA an attractive city in which to spend time especially since I speak some Spanish and have cousins who are natives. I also made my home in Rio in 2002 - 2013 so spending time in my own apt in the Recoleta was a relatively easy "commute" for a gringo and a welcome diversion from the Rio beach scene.

Now, due to a combination of the ever present inflation and the unusual failure of the USD to keep pace, the cost of living for expats living on USD like me has increased sharply. This may be okay for the natives earning pesos (though I doubt it because I believe wages have not kept pace with price increases), but it makes living here (or spending large blocks of time) a lot less desirable for all those relying on USD.

For example, when taxis, restaurants, and entertainment were an amazing bargain I didn't mind so much the broken sidewalks, the dog poop, the inconsiderate drivers, the frequent power outages, the absurd bureaucracy and the disrespect for the law manifested in many annoying ways. Now a movie ticket at Patio Bullrich costs over $10, (more than a senior discount fare in NY) and my usual $20 pp meals at Marcelo, Rosa Negro or Vasco Francaise are now north of $40 pp. Taxis remain a bargain, but less so.

I am selling my Recoleta apt and will continue to spend time in Bs As but only because my fiancée lives in San Fernando and we will need to continue to spend time here - she has a mom and daughter here etc. If it were not for that we would not spend much time in Bs As. Miami is a lot more attractive and, apart from housing, the cost of living is not that different. And I don't have to contend with the negatives of Bs As.

#2
Bradly

Bradly

julian63, on 18 March 2017 - 12:09 PM, said:

Now a movie ticket at Patio Bullrich costs over $10, (more than a senior discount fare in NY)

But there's likely a 2x1 that you're unaware of. My partner and I often go to the movies, and pay $160 together. But even at $10.00, that's still cheap. The movie theaters near my small hometown in the Midwest (U.S.) charge more.

Buenos Aires remains very affordable -- even cheap -- compared to many cities in the world. Yes, there are differences in quality of life, but they're not so vast.

I get your complaints. However, if you're old enough to have been around here prior to Videla and you're still around now, you know how this place rolls. It's a roller coaster, and it probably always will be. So, enjoy the ride, or get off.

#3
HMSBeagle

HMSBeagle
No need to go back to 1975.   Go back to 2005 and everything was much cheaper and the people were better behaved and far more laid back.  Yesterday I walked into the big supermarket in Palermo at Armenia and the big bottle 200ml classic Tabasco sauce imported from the US was 225 pesos, or $US 14.00...good brand spaghetti sauce from Italy runs US$15....the list goes on, this country produces food so how these prices can be explained, I dont know, but it affects the argie state of mind big time.

Argies being nasty and picking fights with foriegners is the new normal.   Last night a pair of drunks stalked me then sized me up before they lost their nerve...  Happens to me constantly.   A slightly built Colombian man I know was brutally attacked and his smart phone stolen in broad daylight on Florida. Seems like a 500% increase in the police patrols in response to waves of street crime.   Pobreza zero? Ha, pobreza CEO.   This country is going down, down, up, down, down, down up, and so on...

#4
chris

chris
I've been here since around 1993.  Today I was thinking about all the changes - the many traditional places that have closed, the increase in luxury (five star hotels, new international style restaurants), the far greater increase in poverty reflected in the massive growth of Villa 31, the breakdown of the family, growing obesity, declining standards of behavior and dress.... I could go on and on but when I reflect on it all I can't help feeling that things are worse.  Yes, the COL is very high and I find myself less willing to justify it.   Most expats left some time ago.  They used to praise the Kirchner government on this site - until prices got out of control and they couldn't sustain the elitist bubble they were living in.

#5
Bradly

Bradly

chris, on 18 March 2017 - 04:22 PM, said:

I've been here since around 1993.  Today I was thinking about all the changes - the many traditional places that have closed, the increase in luxury (five star hotels, new international style restaurants), the far greater increase in poverty reflected in the massive growth of Villa 31, the breakdown of the family, growing obesity, declining standards of behavior and dress.... I could go on and on but when I reflect on it all I can't help feeling that things are worse.  Yes, the COL is very high and I find myself less willing to justify it.   Most expats left some time ago.  They used to praise the Kirchner government on this site - until prices got out of control and they couldn't sustain the elitist bubble they were living in.

But expats make up more than half of Villa 31's residents and remain very pro K?

#6
Crema Americana

Crema Americana
  • LocationLoma Hermosa
Unfortunately the degradation of society is a worldwide thing. I found Americans to be trashier than ever last I visited. I'm grossed out even walking into a McDonalds or many public spaces... that doesn't happen to me as much here.

People used to dress better and have more class, that's for sure. I remember when I first came being surprised at how people would dress up just to go see a movie at the mall or hang out with friends on a Friday night. Now everything is a lot more... loose. Maybe I'm just getting old. :D
* Eclair *

#7
julian63

julian63

Bradly, on 18 March 2017 - 05:48 PM, said:

But expats make up more than half of Villa 31's residents and remain very pro K?

Technically, you may be right, however, that observation is not relevant to the issue of this thread. The politics of the ex-pat community is not the issue. The issue is the cost of living for those relying on USD (or other hard currency) incomes has risen markedly. Consequently, BA has become a less desirable ex-pat destination. Moreover, I would venture to say that most readers don't consider the Bolivians, Paraguayans, and or Peruvians that inhabit villa 31 as 'ex-pats' as that term is understood at this English language site, but even if they were included in the definition, they do not rely on USD incomes.

#8
julian63

julian63

Crema Americana, on 18 March 2017 - 06:27 PM, said:

People used to dress better and have more class, that's for sure. I remember when I first came being surprised at how people would dress up just to go see a movie at the mall or hang out with friends on a Friday night. Now everything is a lot more... loose. Maybe I'm just getting old. :D
No maybe about it. You are getting old. I can assure you of that. In fact, it is the one thing we all have in common. We are all getting older. However, you need not attribute your observation that things seem to have become a lot more "loose" (by which I understand you to mean a lot less classier) to your maturation. The decline of "class" aka sophistication, good manners, propriety is another reason why Bs As is becoming a less desirable ex-pat destination.

#9
syngirl

syngirl

julian63, on 18 March 2017 - 06:38 PM, said:

Technically, you may be right, however, that observation is not relevant to the issue of this thread. The politics of the ex-pat community is not the issue. The issue is the cost of living for those relying on USD (or other hard currency) incomes has risen markedly. Consequently, BA has become a less desirable ex-pat destination. Moreover, I would venture to say that most readers don't consider the Bolivians, Paraguayans, and or Peruvians that inhabit villa 31 as 'ex-pats' as that term is understood at this English language site, but even if they were included in the definition, they do not rely on USD incomes.

Yes but can I say, this really happens to every expat place eventually, there is always some new-hot-cheap place "where you can live like a king" around the corner. People move in while things are cheap, when they can leverage their (sometimes fixed) incomes from the USA and live a life they would not have access to back home. Then as prices creep up, up, up and those same expats get older moving on or moving home starts to get more appealing. Most expats, whether it be in Costa Rica, Thailand, Czech Republic, Spain, Argentina etc don't actually want to spend their last years abroad. And each of those places gets replaced by another (Nicaragua, Cambodia, Hungary, etc etc etc) Expats, especially those on fixed incomes, stay while they are still mobile, but once they feel their pocket suffering, they pack up stakes and move on. The people who really stay through the ups and downs are 99% those who married a local. Those without true ties forcing them to stay on in a country tend to look for the exit much earlier than those of us with family here.

#10
Serafina

Serafina
  • LocationPalermo Soho
I think that Buenos Aires is still a viable option if you want to be part of a certain 'cosmopolitan' atmosphere. The number of cultural events, of young people involved in creative events, the laid back policy makes a fertile ground for new generations or artist and young entrepreneurs. I think you could have the same level of cultural choice only in a few 'capitals of the world' (London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, NYC to name some) but at a higher cost. Those who came here for the cheap cost of living alone (and the weather) are the most disappointed one.

Though I am stunned by the beauty of Argentina's inner territories, I could never see myself living there. The lack of infrastructure, services, and products would be very limiting. But again, everyone of us has a different lifestyle and purpose in Argentina.

My hope is that this is already the DOWN of the rollercoaster and things are going to improve. Argentina has never faced a situation like this one, however being considered part of the cheap and easy to exploit also contribute to the current state of affairs, in my opinion.
"Life is what happens while you are busy making asado." - Juan Lénon




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