Sam - How To Expat
Sam - How To Expat

Cost Of Living In Medellin – Our Complete Budget 2020

Cost Of Living In Medellin | The Ultimate Guide

In this article, you gonna see for what and how much we are spending money in Medellin Colombia. This is the complete list for the expenses you will have not just for the cost of living in Medellin, but for everything you need to think about to make it long term in the city.

We already made Cost Of Living videos for Bogota, Panama, Ecuador, and Colombiatoo. But this video is all about OUR personal Cost Of Living. To show you how much money we are spending per month will surely help you to get a better idea of what YOU will spend more or less, especially when you’re planing to live in Medellin Colombia.

This is one of the most burning questions soon-to-be Expats have. There are surely a lot of misconceptions out there what the TRUE cost of living is in Medellin Colombia.

Updates To The Article

 Update June 02, 2020: Adding the new cost of living for the year 2020
 Update June 18, 2019: Adding the new cost of living for the year 2019 

Why The Cost Of Living Is A Big Deal!

The low cost of living in Medellin and Colombia, in general, is what a lot of Expat attracts to the city/country. And let me tell you, it’s a big deal if you do it right you can save up to 70% of the cost of living you have in the US, Canada or Europe.

So if you have a social security check, a pension (military or retirement) or income from online work or investments, you can get 70% more for your money.

That means instead of fast food with your friends you can treat yourself with a filet mignon(which we get for USD 10 per Person). Instead of living in a 500 sq ft apartment, you can live here in a 2000 sq ft apartment…

Cost Of Living In Medellin Colombia

Cost Of Living in Medellin 2018 For A Couple

We tracked our expenses for around 5 months starting in March 2018. We are a couple and the prices are NOT per Person but combined as a couple. We live a lifestyle where we don’t spend too much on luxury. We spent around USD 1360/m as a cost of living in Medellin, but bare with me and read the whole article.

Update: Cost of Living in Medellin 2019 For A Couple

We planned to do another video in 2019 with the updated numbers and tracked our cost of living again, but we found that we are still spending this amount (+/-10%) so this video is still up to date with our current situation (June 2019)

The only difference we have is that we cut down on our rental cost by moving to another apartment by around USD 100/m.

Update: Cost of Living in Medellin 2020 For A Couple

We surprisingly still spend around the same amount of money in the year 2020 on the cost of living in Colombia. The inflation went up since 2018 but the Colombian pesos dropped in those two years basically equaling out the two factors so the cost of living stays the same in USD.

Cost of Living in Medellin 2020 For One Person

If you are a solo Expat just take the numbers you see here and subtract 30%.

Of course, rent will stay the same no matter if you are 1 or 2 people but the additional costs will be around 30% less expensive.

Are You A Backpacker Or Expat In Medellin?

In this article, I will talk about the cost of living for a long term Expat in Medellin. Backpackers, the short term Digital Nomads and Travelers will surely have a different style of budget.

So let’s start with the numbers.

Apartments In Medellin Colombia

Accommodation/Rent in Medellin 2020 it is USD 320  – 2018 it was USD 420

We moved to a new apartment in Medellin, Colombia after living in a furnished apartment. After several months living in Medellin, we decided to make the big step and rent an unfurnished apartment. In this video, we are going to show how the new apartment looks like, how we found the apartment and the process with a Colombian real estate agency.

For us, it’s still crazy that the cost of an apartment like this can be so low. But still, after living in the apartment for many months, we did not find anything that was bad. No water outages, no power outages…

Cost Of An Unfurnished Apartment In Medellin

Of course, this was just our example and is not really representative for most Expats as we live a little outside the main areas in Medellin. So what is the average cost you can calculate when planning to live in Medellin long term?

The average cost for an unfurnished apartment in Poblado is:

  • 1 Bedroom COP 1.5 – 2.2Mio  – USD 470 – 700
  • 2 Bedroom COP 2.0 – 2.5Mio  – USD 630 – 800
  • 3 Bedroom COP 2.5 – 3.5Mio  – USD 800 – 1100

Prices in Laureles and Envigado are around 10% less compared to Poblado

  • 1 Bedroom COP 1.3 – 2.0Mio  – USD 400 – 630
  • 2 Bedroom COP 1.8 – 2.3Mio  – USD 560 – 700
  • 3 Bedroom COP 2.3 – 3.2Mio  – USD 700 – 990

Prices in Estadio and Sabaneta are around 20% less compared to Poblado

  • 1 Bedroom COP 1.2 – 1.7Mio  – USD 380 – 530
  • 2 Bedroom COP 1.6 – 2.0Mio  – USD 490 – 620
  • 3 Bedroom COP 2.0 – 3.0Mio  – USD 610 – 920

x=3200 (numbers rounded)

More about how to rent an unfurnished apartment in this article.

Cost Of Furnished Apartment In Medellin

Cost Of A Furnished Apartment In Medellin

We recommend everybody who comes to Medellin to first book a furnished apartment. Of course, it’s a little more expensive, but you are more flexible and the process is way easier in comparison to getting an unfurnished apartment.

The average cost for a furnished apartment in Poblado is:

  • 1 Bedroom COP 2.5 – 3.5Mio  – USD 800 – 1100
  • 2 Bedroom COP 2.8 – 4.5Mio  – USD 900 – 1500
  • 3 Bedroom COP 4.3 – 6.0Mio  – USD 1400 – 2000

Prices in Laureles and Envigado are around 10% less compared to Poblado

  • 1 Bedroom COP 2.2 – 3.1Mio  – USD 680 – 960
  • 2 Bedroom COP 2.6 – 4.1Mio  – USD 800 – 1270
  • 3 Bedroom COP 4.0 – 5.3Mio  – USD 780 – 1640

Prices in Estadio and Sabaneta are around 20% less compared to Poblado

  • 1 Bedroom COP 2.0 – 2.9Mio  – USD 620 – 900
  • 2 Bedroom COP 2.4 – 3.6Mio  – USD 740 – 1100
  • 3 Bedroom COP 3.4 – 4.8Mio  – USD 1050 – 1500

x=3200 (numbers rounded)

Of course, the furnished apartment rental market is also seasonal, so in January and during the feria de las floresin August prices can be 50% higher.

More about how to rent a furnished apartment in this article.

The prices are for expat-friendly apartments (apartments that an Expat would actually move in) and while being a little savvy in negotiating the prices or finding the right companies. Of course, you can get a shack in Medellin for USD 50/m and a luxury apartment for COP 8Mio.

Cost Of Utilities USD 70

I don’t want to get into too much detail, so here is a little list.

  • Our average cost of utilities (gas, water, electricity) over the last couple of months: USD 40
  • We have an internet package from Tigo which costs: USD 30
  • So the total what we spend on a monthly basis: USD 70 
Eating Out In Medellin Colombia

Cost Of Food In Medellin USD 220

Food in this article/video is defined as eating out. So like dining or getting lunch. Because we work from home we go out for lunch almost every day to get out of the house. Otherwise, we found us not leaving the house for 2-3 days in a row.

The cool thing is that the cost for a typical Colombian lunch is around $2.50

Of course, if you go out and dine in a nice restaurant you can spend up to USD 40 per person. Though when we go out for a nice dinner we spend around USD 15 per person on a nice dinner with a drink.

The cost of food in Medellin varies a lot, if you go out to the nice restaurants in Poblado (La Provenza and the golden mile) or around the two parks in Laureles, you spend from USD 20-40 per person and getting lunch for less than USD 4 is rare. In all other places though it’s not uncommon to find the COP 8000 menu del dia.

We find that we spend around USD 220 per month. You can get cheaper than that, but we like to spend time with friends at a nice dinner. It’s our substitute for going out and party.

Cost Of Groceries In Medellin USD 260

We find that the cost of groceries per month fluctuates a lot in our monthly budget. Not because the prices go up and down, but because depending on what we have on stock we spend more or less on a particular month.

The cost of food items is incredibly inexpensive IF you stay with the local products. If you want the cereal from the US (which you can get in most stores) you pay the same prices as in the US.

The highlights of low-cost food items are:

  • 30 Eggs for USD 3.00
  • 1kg (2pounds) Chicken Breast USD 6.00
  • 1kg (2pounds) Apples USD 1.50
  • 0.5kg (1pound) Rice USD 0.50

We also include stuff like toothpaste, shampoo… in the term “Groceries”, prices there are all over the place but mostly comparable to the prices in the US.

We find that we spend on average $260 on groceries per month.

Medical Costs In Medellin USD 50

This is the category where foreigners are the most surprising how inexpensive costs are in Medellin and Colombia in general.

  • An example is that a doctor’s visit(45min) costs around USD 35.
  • Dental cleaning in the best dental clinic in town is around USD 32.

What we do is we put USD 25 per person on the side every month for annual check-ups and emergencies and treatments that are outside of our insurance coverage. So we end up with another USD 50 on our monthly budget.

More on medical costs and why the Colombian healthcare system offers more than the US here.

Riding The Metro In Medellin Colombia

Cost Of Transport In Medellin USD 95

One of the best things about the city of Medellin is that public transport is very good. Ok, we admit that during the rush hour it sucks but other than that it’s great.

Metro and Bus

This enables you to skip getting a car and rely on alternative ways to get around the city. You can take the metro which will take you anywhere for USD 0.80 flat. Most buses in Medellin have the same prices.

Uber and Taxi

Uber is slightly less expensive in Medellin than a normal taxi. But both have very low fares as you can ride in a taxi for 15min with paying not more than USD 4.

So most of our rides cost around USD 3-6.

We calculated that we spend around USD 95 per month on transportation here in Medellin.

Cost For Entertainment In Medellin USD 60

As we said we don’t go out and party much, we would rather go out with friends and have dinner, that’s why a part of the monthly cost for entertainment surely goes to eating out “Food”.

The other cool thing is that many attractions are free in the city. You can go to city parks, malls, play sports, go to nature parks which are absolutely free.

The other thing is that many of the paid activities are very inexpensive.:

  • Cinema USD 3.00
  • Concert Entrances USD 5-20

So we find ourselves to spend around USD 60 on entertainment in Medellin.

Cost Of A Cell Phone Plan In Medellin USD 25

We have a Claroprepaid plan which covers 2GB data 200min call and a lot of messages we never use because we communicate through Whatsapp.

The cost for that is around USD 12 a month.

So we spend USD 25 per month to be connected through our phone.

Keeping The Spirit Up While I Was In The Hospital

Cost Of Health Insurance In Medellin USD 100

Health Insurance in Colombia is very inexpensive. No matter if you get the EPS coverage or go with an International Health Insurance.

We pay around USD 100 per month for the two of us.

More about health insurance inthis article about healthcare in Colombia.

Miscellaneous Costs USD 60

For everything else like clothing, hair salon and other stuff like that finds its way in our budget with an additional USD 60.

Cost Of Living Medellin 2019/2020 (still the same in 2020)

Cost Of Living Sum 1

  • USD 320  –  Accommodation
  • USD 70 –   Utilities
  • USD 220 – Food
  • USD 260 – Groceries
  • USD 50 –   Medical
  • USD 95 –   Transport
  • USD 60 –  Entertainment
  • USD 25 –   Cell Phone
  • USD 100 – Insurance
  • USD 60 –   Misc.

USD 1260 –   Cost Of Living Sum1

The sum of the above mentioned costs is USD 1260 (was USD 1360 in 2018).

This is just what generally is defined as “Cost Of Living”.

What we should not forget are our annual and other costs you have, in order to make the right calculation to make it long term in Medellin Colombia.

In our case, we add an additional USD 30 for taxes (more about taxes in Colombia here). Unfortunately our home country Switzerland is far, so we have to calculate an additional 300 for our travels to Switzerland and inside Colombia.

We pay into a Swiss Pension fund with USD 125 per month.

So we have:

  • USD 1260 –  Total Cost Of Living
  • USD 30 –    Tax
  • USD 300 –   Travel
  • USD 125 –   Pension

USD 1715 –   Cost Of Living Sum2

The sum of the above mentioned costs is USD 1715 (was USD 1815 in 2018).

The 20% Rule

What I like to do is just put another 20% on top of my cost for savings/emergency expenses. This is a financial rule which I picked up some time ago and which reflects the reality of my financial situation.

We take the USD 1715 and add an additional 20%.

So finally we end up with a true Cost Of Living in Medellin of around USD 2060.

This is what we have to earn net to make it long term in Colombia.

Long Term Expat And Newbie Expat

Be aware that these are our numbers and you have to be a little savvy with negotiations and prices to get them. We are fluent in Spanish live in a local’s area and don’t spend a lot on luxurious stuff. There is a big learning curve to get the cost of living down to the amount we have it now.

We get a lot of questions about how we are able to live like that when many people just spend around USD 1400 on rent. This is why we have been here for quite some time now and know how to get around.

Conclusion – Cost Of Living In Medellin Colombia

The cost of living in Medellin is extremely inexpensive especially if you count what you can get and in which quality. You are able to reduce the cost of living in North America or Western Europe by up to 70%. And if you take it easy and don’t spend too much one luxury expenses you can get even lower than our USD 2060, to make it long term in Colombia.

The post Cost Of Living In Medellin – Our Complete Budget 2020 appeared first on How To Expat.

Sam and Tacha
About Us

Our mission is to help fellow Expats and Soon-To-Be Expats, to start their journey, avoid Gringo Prices, and settle down hassle free.

We are:

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  • Culture Fanatics
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