Well, some people (expats?) have brought up the topic of prices and it being cheap here. Well in 2002, it was cheap, that simple. just was. Now with inflation etc., the prices are higher, the packages smaller. also since ive been here longer, im more aware of things not being as cheap as i thought at first.
Let me bring up a small example of an every day item you buy in a pharmacy or supermarket. I bought 2 bottles of Listerine in aug. in usa. on sale, 1-liter bottles, 2 for $7 (lets call it 20 pesos). i think the 2 bottles will last me until my next trip in 2007. Im barely down to the halfway mark on the 1st one.
For those of you who want to check prices back home (E. coast usa for me), take a look at these 3 sites. Each week we get flyers in the mail, like you do here. You can see the ones for CVS and Rite Aid online and flip through each page.
here they are:
1. (i click blue, for my area)
for CVS, they ask for a zipcode. you can use 21048 for where my family lives if you cant think of another one.
3. Super Fresh supermarket, a pretty nice one. again, use the zipcode 21157, as they ask for one. its the location im familiar with. then you can see their Weekly special flyer.
Well, this is all just for comparison purposes. its not just the Listerine that would cost me alot more here. I dropped over 50 pesos yesterday at Farmacity without even trying.
After looking at the flyers, tell us, what do you think?
Side Note: For those of you adjusting to the "easy" metric system here in Argentina, a liter of beer is actually 970 grams, and a half a liter is actually 330 grams and so it goes. so much for easy.
During my latest trip back home, i found lots of deals and sales there and each time i return the boxes and tubes and bottles seem to have grown. i actually have to re-adjust to bags being full and sizes being so big. That sounds like a "dig" but its really an observation.
I laugh like a madman when argentines tell me its so cheap to be here for YOU.
Yes it is cheap if you eat meat and buy some fruit and vegetables.
Rents here are dearer than most countries that I know as a foreigner they charge you 3 times more .
Air fares in argentina are dearer than any european country.
Electronics are dearer than any country in the world
Toiletries are very expensive here
Shall i go on
I am yet to see a single person from the most educated nation in South America, who would be able to understand that currency exchange rate has nothing to do with purchasing power. Of course, they say, as long as we have 3:1 rate it must be cheap for you here. So, if you pay 27 russian rubles for a dollar that means Moscow is 9 times cheaper then Buenos Aires and if you pay 118 yens for a dollar, then Tokyo must be about 40 times cheaper. Japanese and russians must be pretty lucky.
As a rule of the thumb, some stuff that is produced locally, like beef, for example, is cheaper. But imported things such as computers and electronics are more expensive. McDonalds meal costs about 4 bucks in US and and 12 pesos here, so you are paying about the same. If you compare prices in Buenos Aires not with prices in New York or California, but with Georgia or Iowa, there is not such a big difference.
The fact that peso used to be 1:1 to dollar for a while is nothing more but an outdated mental reference.


If you want to buy the same brands and products that you get in the US, it is going to be as expensive ans in some cases a bit more. I think that if as an expat you buy the local brands, and adjust your diet a bit, you can really spend a lot less. In some cases the quality will be the same, in others it can be lower, but then again you can choose to spend more. The dollar is expensive here, so if you buy imported goods and add teh taxes etc, it will cost more than it does in the country of origin. That is basically our rule of thumb at home and my mother in law is always amazed when we compare prices, that we spend for a month on gorceries what she spends for a week. If you are creative and adventurous, you will easily find replacements for many american favourites, and in the wost case, you can prepare them, it will just be some extra work. I really don´t think our diet here is much different than in the US. I can see differences with other countries though.