I made the permanent move last year about 9 months ago. I fell in love with Buenos Aires. I've traveled around the world non-stop the past 3 years but BA was one of my favorite cities. I left a great life in the USA to move here. First of all, I recommend you read this blog started by another American.
It has a lot of helpful advice. Moving here was the best decision of my life. Doing business here is not easy as the system is essentially "broken" but it presents great opportunities for those that are busienss savoy, have good connections and well funded.
It's very affordable here. It all depends on how "flashy" of a life you live. You can make it here on very little income or you can spend a lot. Much depends on your quality of life, the area you live in, what type of apartment you have, how often you go around the city, how often you dine out.
I know some that make it on almost nothing here. I keep track of every single peso I spend in Quicken since moving here. I've never lived on a budget in my life and still don't. When I moved here I tried to live on a budget but I just couldn't do it. I am too accostumed to living a good life. I take about 15-20 taxis a day because I'm always out looking at properties and going to meetings. I dine out in nice restaurants often, go on a lot of dates, travel around every so often, talk alot of the cellphone and live in a great part of Recoleta.
I just looked on my Quicken and I have averaged about u$s 2,980 per month for each month that I have lived here. So just about $3,000 per month which is still a fraction of what I was spending in the USA. You can make it here MUCH, MUCH cheaper.
That figure doesn't include ANY business expenses which has been high with 9 full-time employees, a very high rent in one of the best neighborhoods in South America, office equipment and computers, and monthly business expenses. Just personal expenses alone including clothes as well as groceries, drycleaning and everything else.
Maybe when I have more time I'll post a breakdown of my budget from each category.
Living here is great. For a single guy it's a paradise. The people are wonderful, the food is amazing, the girls are gorgeous (I think I fall in love everyday). Still, it's a lot of hard work if you are trying to start a business. The business environment is almost criminal here. See my blog (bizinargentina.blogspot.com) I just started it and it will take a while to finish it. I'm routinely working 12-14 hour days which I never really did in the USA.
Just be realistic in what you are trying to accomplish here. I never see myself moving back to the USA and not one day has gone by where I missed it.