You may have already heard about the low cost of living in Medellin or Colombia. When I arrived in 2010, the exchange rate was around 1500 pesos to one dollar. Back then, my situation was quite different. I started from scratch after being deported at 29. Arriving broke and almost broken, I got to work.
Over time, I transitioned to owning a digital marketing agency with local employees, serving U.S. clients. Medellin remains remarkably affordable despite tourism growth, especially compared to places like the United States, the UK, or Australia.
In this post, I’ll break down my monthly expenses, uncovering the essential aspects of Medellin’s cost-effective lifestyle.
1. Rent & Utilities
Affordable Living in Medellin
- Rent: When renting an apartment in El Poblado, the prices you see on Airbnb might make you think twice. While those listings can go for around $2,000 to $3,000 per month, there’s a local option that could save you big. By renting locally, you could secure a similar apartment for just $600-$800 a month, a substantial difference that impacts your budget.
- Utility Costs: Keeping the lights on and the water running usually adds up to around 500,000 pesos (120 USD) monthly. Living in an “estrato 5” neighborhood, which means a slightly higher utility rate, might affect these costs. And with the heatwave caused by El Niño, you might use air conditioning more often, which can influence your electricity bill.
Going the local route is the best way to rent long-term, even unfurnished. Just make sure to look out for scams online. For deeper insights into local renting and money-saving tips, check out the resources at medellinmasterclass.com.
I work online and live-stream video games every day. So I need great internet. A solid 100 Mbps download and upload speed package for the internet comes at around 145,000 monthly pesos (about 35 USD). Staying connected is also affordable, with local cell phone plans costing approximately 145,000 pesos monthly (about 35 USD). In Medellin, you get value for money while enjoying reliable services, making it a smart choice for a budget-conscious lifestyle.
In Medellin, eating well is manageable for the budget. I use an app called Rappi, an all-in-one food delivery service that allows me to order anything I want. Besides that, I enjoy cooking and grocery shopping. I spend around 1,500,000 pesos (about 370 USD) monthly on Rappi orders and groceries. This affordable approach to food lets me indulge in diverse flavors without spending a fortune.
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4. Health insurance
Colombia offers a healthcare system that’s worth knowing about. Private health insurance ensures quick and quality service if you have the means. While the public system might involve longer waits, personal coverage comes to the rescue.
I choose a higher-end plan, paying around thirteen hundred dollars for the whole year, about a hundred and eight dollars each month. For more details on healthcare options, check out medellinmasterclass.com. In Medellin, quality healthcare doesn’t have to come at a high cost.
Getting help with household tasks in Medellin is both practical and affordable. My maid cleans, cooks, and does my laundry twice a week. I fondly call her my “Medellin Mom” due to her caring nature. She even prepares unique beans, which is a local specialty.
I pay around a hundred and fifty dollars per month for her services. It’s important to note that this amount includes her health insurance and Social Security benefits, which are required by law for domestic employees.
If you’re considering hiring housekeeping help in Medellin, it’s a good idea to go through a reputable agency to ensure you meet all legal obligations. This cost-effective arrangement adds to the overall ease of living affordably in Medellin.
6. The gym
Staying fit in Medellin doesn’t have to be expensive. I’m a member of Smart Fit, a modern gym near my home. For about 90,000 pesos per month, I can access Smart Fit gyms nationwide and in other countries. This budget-friendly option, roughly 22 dollars per month, keeps me active without breaking the bank.
7. The barber
Keeping up appearances matters to me. Despite being 42, I still have a good head of hair. I value looking presentable, as I enjoy dating and meeting new people. A barber visits my place weekly to cut my hair while I take the city view from my living room.
This convenient service costs around seventy thousand pesos, and I add a ten thousand peso tip. I spend about 80,000 pesos every Friday, which is approximately 79 USD. It’s a small investment to maintain my confident look.
Uber is a handy option for transportation in Medellin. I don’t need to travel far because most activities are conveniently located in El Poblado. For my occasional trips to restaurants, clubs, or meeting friends, I allocate around a hundred thousand pesos monthly for Uber rides. This translates to about twenty-four dollars. This budget-friendly choice aligns well with Medellin’s low-cost living, providing an easy and economical way to move around the city.
9. Bar tab
I like going to a nearby sports bar to watch games and enjoy the atmosphere. Having a tab, there makes things convenient. On average, my monthly bill is about 530,000 pesos, roughly a hundred and thirty dollars. This budget-friendly setup ensures I always have a bottle ready whenever I visit. I usually go once or twice a week, socializing and relaxing. It’s a great way to meet locals and fellow foreigners who love the city. While I’ve made friends, I’ve also learned to avoid mixing business with pleasure. Despite that, these outings contribute to my enjoyable and cost-effective lifestyle in Medellin.
10. the co-working space
To keep my work routine dynamic, I choose a local co-working space. I head there a few times a week, spending around 600,000 pesos per month, about a hundred and forty-eight dollars. Beyond being a workspace, it’s a networking hub where I engage with business partners, accountants, and new acquaintances. This setup offers an affordable way to work, connect, and thrive within the Medellin community.
My monthly expenses in this vibrant city amount to around two thousand dollars, or about eight million pesos. Would you be able to live on that per month?
As you reflect on your journey, remember the value of making the most of opportunities. Medellin’s charm extends beyond affordability, offering a canvas for personal growth and exploration.
I’m keen to hear your thoughts – whether you’re in Medellin, planning a move, or simply intrigued by life here. Share your perspectives in the comments section. If you found this insight into Medellin’s cost-effective living valuable, show your support by liking and subscribing. Thank you for joining me on this enlightening journey.