I am a French Canadian, from Quebec, living in Panama, Central America and am living in Coronado, 5 minutes walk to the Pacific Ocean.
We purchased our house in cash money, did a lot of renovations on it and own our car.
When we moved here in Panama, 5 years ago, we could live on $17,000/year. At the present time, the cost of living for a careful person who eat in a lot, is around $22,000./year. We think that we probably spend $25,000 /year, since we tend to go out to dine at night, two times a week. During December, January and February, we can go out to dine 3 times a week. The average cost for a meal with a medium Italian Pizza, is around $8 or $9 for the pizza for 2, and 2 local Beers Balboa, cost us $1.50 per person. A fancier meal in a seafood restaurant, for 2 lovely wine pepper rib-eye steaks , it costs us between $25 and $30. If we eat at my favorite French restaurant, with a view of the Pacific Ocean, it might cost us under $35 if we drink 1 beer each and around $40 if you have 1 glass of wine. We can also eat a BBQue chicken cooked on the grill outside, with fries around $10 or $13 for 2 people .
Cost of the supermarket per week vary for us from :$100 US to $125/week. 2 years ago, it cost us $80-$90. But this is if you buy at Rey's. You can shop at 99's and it will cost you between $80-$100. The food is more limited.
Lot of beers in bar are sold around $1./beer to $1.50. In expensive restaurants, it is around $2. and a glass of wine is $3.50. Bottle of wine is around $17-$20 minimum.
On all of our meals in restaurants, we get a Pensionada or Houbilado discount between 10% to 25% and in Panama City we can get 50% discount on hotel rooms during the week or 25% during the weekend. Houbilado discount apply on doctor's visits 15% which vary from $40-$60 depending of the Specialists. It applies on hospital tests, X-Rays, and other tests and dentist visits.
Health Insurance with MS Panama, a private one, costs us $350/3 months/for 2 people. It covers a certain amount of hospital tests, labs, X-Rays, doctor visits, emergency situations and cancer treatments, up to 70% of the total cost. There is an annual ceiling of medical costs you cannot go above. The Pre-conditions are forgotten after a certain period of time 2 or 3 years and then you can get the treatment paid at 70%. You have a certain amount of labs, X-Rays tests, medical visits to the doctors per year. The hospitals who treat Expats are excellent, as good as in the USA. Doctors are trained in other countries like the USA and are very caring and nice. Most specialists speak English, not the staff.
You can buy T-shirts around $6 , shoes around $15-$25 , sun dresses around $25-$30 , bathing suits average $25-$30 , jeans $$8-$25-$30 and better quality clothing like in the USA. Woman purses cost $25-$30. Medicaments don't need all the time a prescription and depending of the ones you buy are sold at the counter with houbilado discount. It is less expensive a bit from the USA.
Beer costs at the supermarket: $$0.39/bottle, 750 ml Smirnoff Vodka costs $7., Rhum about the same price, Gin around $12 for same quantity. Clos wine, from Chili costs $2.30 for a 1 litre of white or red wine, Chilliean wines in bottles $4-$5 , Italian wine , some French wines $6.50 best French wine above $12 Argentinian wines $6-$7 or more etc.....
Imported supermarket products from the USA are priced a touch more in Panama. Tomatoe can, a touch more than $2 , spaghetti sauce : $3-$5 Cereals $2.99 - $6. + , eggs : $1.75 , bagels $2.25 , bread, low fat milk $2.24, Papaya $1.53, pineapple $1.69, bag of imported orange $3.75, tomatoes $2.25 for 6 tomatoes, cucumber $0.60, bananas $0.35 for 4-5 , lettuce $0.99-$1.35 , $1.69 for 5 apples, 1/2 chicken in a wrapped packet $2.34, 2 or 3 rib-eye steaks $4.50, pork ribs $3.21 enough for 2 people. Filet of beef Rey's, $17 for 3-4 pounds, a full chicken $5., 1 salmon steak $3.80- $5.00, Tilapia for 2 people $4.-$5., French baguette of bread $ $0.75-$1.00 normal whole wheat bread $1.50. Ice cream: $3.25 $1/4 gallon, $4.50 1/2 gallon. Imported Ice cream $6.-$8. Straberry small plastic container $2.24. Soaps and Shampooes are about same cost than in the USA as well as paper towell and toilet paper. Kleenex are above $2.25 for a box.
Cost of car repair is very cheap, although it is difficult to find a good mechanic and you have to keep your car in good condition meaning having lot of check-ups, since it will cost you a lot of money, because of the climate effect. Cost of a new car is more expensive than in the USA. Electricity is super cheap and gas is about the same than in the USA.