BA Expensive??? - Help!!


Nov 13, 2009
Hi everyone,

This is an excellent website... My thanks to whoever put it together. I am planning to move to BA from New York. One of the factors in my decision is the idea that you can live in BA for much less than in the States. However, I keep reading posts from people saying that BA is a very expensive city.
I'm a little surprised to hear that. Can anyone give me the straight scoop on what I should expect? I pay $2700/ Mo. for my apartment in Manhattan. I would be thrilled to pay 1600-2200 in BA, but would like to believe that I would save some expense on everyday life.

Can anyone offer some words of wisdom? Examples? Thoughts?

Thank you so much... everyone seems really great on here. Can't wait to get there.


I think it depends on what currency you earn and what your expectations are.

You can certainly live comfortably here for the amount you pay only for your rent in NY. But you won't be living in luxury.

The biggest expense & where many people get stuck it housing. If you can sort out a nice place in a nice area for a nice price, the rest will take care of itself.

If you earn pesos, then it is a very expensive city.

Also, keep in mind there is high inflation. This year you'll pay x next year you'll pay x+30%. So, it doesn't get cheaper that's for sure.
This blog has some great posts on cost of living and what to expect, although may be a bit outdated or suited to slightly more frugal spending habits.

I don't live there yet and was last there two years ago - moving there as of Dec - so my point of view isn't the best, but I have been monitoring prices and heard regularly from acquaintances. While prices have gone up a lot, they are nowhere near NYC range. There just aren't the deals there were a few years ago. Costs of hotels, restaurants, entertainment have increased to be closer to North American norms, but groceries, utilities and public transport are still inexpensive. By my best approximation, the cost of renting - by the week, I've never been looking for a longer lease until now - a furnished, design-style apt in Palermo or Recoleta has multiplied by about 2.5-3x over the past 4-5 years.

If you are looking for a furnished apartment, you can easily find a large, modern, design-inspired loft-style place for under 1500$. Even half that price, but it will be smaller and not necessarily in your preferred area. Although comparable to many NYC places in terms of size! (we're a bit spoiled in Mtl)

We are starting off renting a place with and will evaluate whether to stay with them or find something else once here after a month or two. They have a decent selection of places and although I am not thrilled at their commission structure (tenants pay letting fee of 20% to the agency), it does seem to be common and their prices seem better than other agencies (saw one same place advertised with another agency at 20% USD above what we found with them INCLUDING their letting fee). But I think it's one of those things that you just live with and negotiate once you have some leverage (ie once there and have more options).

All this to say - Buenos Aires is a much, much less expensive city than NYC. However, the cost of living is closer to NYC than to somewhere in India or Thailand - so it's not dirt cheap either, and for those who were in BA four years ago, it is expensive now in comparison.
This is a point of continual argument here on this forum-
Is Buenos Aires cheap, or expensive?

Really, it all depends on you.

If you try to live in BsAs on a part time english teachers salary, its quite tough.

But for someone from New York, I think you will find many things, but not all, quite reasonable.

Imports from the US and Europe are expensive, because of high import duties.
Local products are often quite cheap, by international standards.

I think one can live quite well in BsAs for less than in NYC. But my standards may be different from yours. Certainly, if you pay $2700 a month for rent, and go out for $100 meals, wear expensive clothes, take car services, rent places in the country for the summer, and so on- all that kind of thing is much cheaper here.
Robert, I have a huge, beautiful apartment that I share with an Argentinean in a very central and safe neighborhood and I pay a whopping $280 a month, with everything included. Today I bought about 5 kilos of produce (oranges, grapefruits, bell peppers, chard, broccoli, carrots) and I paid $5 for all of it. Meals are cheaper, taxis are WAY cheaper, and in general everything will seem practically free after coming from such an absurdly pricey city as NY.

Last year I rented a lovely, large one bedroom in Congreso and paid $550; even with a year's inflation that's cheap. I actually laughed when I saw that you would be 'thrilled' to pay $2200 for an apartment here. There is certainly no need to pay so much but I'm sure there are plenty of local landlords who would love to charge you that price if you're willing!
We've lived here for about a year now. We've lived in Sothern California, New York City, Miami, and a couple of other cities in the US. It is definitely a lot cheaper here if you are able to continue to earn dollars. Imported items are certainly more expensive here especially electronics. However, if you are able to plan it out and buy those types of items when you return to the US for a visit or have friends bring them down for you, then you are able to maximize your savings. Rent, food, public transportation, any type of service, classes, healthcare, utilities, and general day to day expenses are considerably cheaper here then in most US cities (especially New York). We were on average spending 4x in the US what we spend here in a month, and we have a better quality of life down here.

That said, nothing is perfect. And this is definity not New York City. If you come here expecting New York of South America, you will be very dissapointed. You can have a really good life in BsAs. In my opinion, a better quality of life than in NYC for substanially less money. I find a lot of expats come down here and make the mistake of trying to recreate their life from where ever they came from. Then when it's not the same, they become unhappy, complain, and talk about how it was so much better some place else. No place is perfect. But BsAs, at the moment, is a great place to live on dollars or Euros if you can learn to love it for what it is.
As long as you stay away from buying imported items (i.e. bring them with you) - anyone on here who suggests BsAs is expensive is delusional.

In terms of socialising, at home (Ireland) I'd regulary pay €20-€28 for a steak, €5 for a pint of beer, €10 for a taxi just down the road. Last time I was in NYC (March) I was paying USD$10 - USD$12 for a nice glass of wine and USD$200/night in a hotel only cos I got a last-minute special.

Beware of the unbelievable moaners on this website who want their luxuries of home here - but dont understand that the come at a price. You think Mate or Fernet is cheap or even available in Ireland..?

A pint of Draft Guiness in Belgrano sets me back ARG $30, if I want to TREAT myself. Understand the difference and your money will go a long way here.

Please note that this only applies to people not earning/relying on local pesos - if you are.. WTF are you doing? You need a better plan.
Ailujjj said:
All this to say - Buenos Aires is a much, much less expensive city than NYC. However, the cost of living is closer to NYC than to somewhere in India or Thailand - so it's not dirt cheap either, and for those who were in BA four years ago, it is expensive now in comparison.

Agreed. I am from NY myself and BA is nowhere near as crazy expensive as NY (and Manhattan in particular) but it's not dirt cheap like it used to be, either. And quality things (food, clothing, electronics, whatever) will usually cost you as much or more here than they would in NY. You can certainly find a fly pad in one of the top neighborhoods here for FAR less than you'd pay in NY, and you'll probably dig how cheap the beef and wine are for a while, but once you move beyond those basics you'll need to spend a bit.

And do yourself a favor: don't even try the pizza here. Not once. Don't do it. Even if you're here for 10 years. Grab a few last slices before you leave NY and just hold on to the memories. Those fading, flavorless memories of NY pizza will be far superior to the actual experience of eating any pizza in Argentina. You've been warned...
It's all relative, people in Miami find the weather in New York cold, but someone from Canada might find it balmy. Obviously if you move from NYC and keep the same income B.A. will be inexpensive in comparison. Of course you would find the same inexpensive comparison with most cities in the U.S. compared to NYC.
Pizza Piola or Filo are two great places for pizza. Cooked in the little ovens and thin crust like Italy. Try those places before you complain about Pizza in BA!