I gathered all the receipts I could find from our trip in July 2013, and the table below represents the actual costs we paid. I did convert the prices from the Costa Rican colon to the American dollar for an easier comparison.
We also purchased this lovely box of Choco Zucaritas (chocolate Frosted Flakes), pictured on the right, on our first trip to the grocery store (for the kids, of course!). We weren't paying attention to the price, until we got back to the house and realized we paid a whopping $7.50 for this 18 oz box of cereal--ouch!! The price for a bag of potato chips also almost gave us cardiac arrest. Wish I had the receipt for that one, but I don't, so can't remember how much they were. Once we realized how much we paid for those two items, we didn't buy them again--sorry kids! haha
This chart is just a small sample, but I think you can start to get an idea of why eating like an American will break the bank, while eating like a local will save you a lot of money. Plus I also didn't put on the chart the FREE coconuts we ate and drank. The coconuts came from trees on the property. Most people grow food on their properties, with the most popular probably being bananas, pineapples, and coconuts.
So, if you're willing to forgo the normal American diet of lots of meat, cheese, and processed foods, you will definitely find yourself saving money on your grocery bill. And, as the majority of ex-pats discover, you may also lose a few pounds and feel healthier in the process. In fact, several of our friends living in Costa Rica report coming off their cholesterol and other medications due to their new, healthier eating habits. Awesome!
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