Living in La Paz

by Naomi
(South Africa)

I am thinking of taking a job in La Paz and would like to know if I would be able to live of approximately $300 per month... See, the pay is more, but I am paying off a student loan so that is all I will have to save...will it be possible? I have fallen in love with pictures of the city and am now totally excited to go, but I need to know that I can survive!

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Feb 03, 2010
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cost of living in La Paz
by: BoliviaBella

Hi. Although living in La Paz is often less expensive than Santa Cruz, it might be difficult to live on $300 a month if you plan to pay rent. If you don't have to pay your own rent (if your company will be paying your housing), you probably could live on $300 a month, if you plan very carefully and give up some conveniences.

The average monthly salary in Bolivia is under $400 a month, and most people don't make anywhere near that as the Bolivian minimum wage is currently Bs. 800 per month (about $112/month at the current exchange rate).

But you have to take into account that many Bolivians live in extended families (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. all lunder one roof) and in many cases singles (both men and women) live with their parents until they get married. So a lot of people don't pay rent here.

Also, many people own their land. Bolivians, on average, hate the idea of paying rent. They prefer to purchase or pay an anticrético for housing.

I think you'll find the Live in Bolivia section of my site very useful. Even though it was originally written for expats moving to Santa Cruz, most of the information is general and will be useful to you in terms of calculating costs and finding out more about the aspects of living here you need to be thinking about.

You'll want to be thinking about utilities, for example. Electricity is not cheap here. But water and gas (for cooking) is very inexpensive. So be sure to take a look a the utilities page if your company won't be paying your housing.

Write back if you have any other questions. Perhaps someone in La Paz would be willing to help out by responding as well.

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