Sadly my time in Buenos Aires is now at an end. I knew at the start that it was unlikely to be open-ended. I’ve had an awesome time in the city, but it is not practical for me as a long-term home and I am now looking to move somewhere cheaper.
Bear in mind that ten weeks living in a city does not make me an expert, however what I’m sharing here is my experiences and the experiences of people I have spoken to in the ex-pat community. If your experience is different then please feel free to comment.
Don’t let my descriptions put you off visiting Buenos Aires as it is a fabulous place, but maybe do some research if you are planning on living here, particularly if you are on a tight budget or a fixed income.
I knew at the start that Buenos Aires was unlikely to be a suitable place for me to put down roots, but I came anyway because I have wanted to come here for a long time and have been boring people with stories about how I’m going to ‘go live in Buenos Aires’ for longer than I can remember.
The cost of living is high in Buenos Aires. If the numbeo.com website is to be believed, higher than Barcelona, Madrid or Berlin, for example. Inflation is high and prices are rising daily.
Although it’s easy to live here as a perpetual tourist, just leaving every few months to get a new stamp in your passport, being a tourist will mean you pay tourist rates for apartments. This normally means paying six months rent in advance, plus another 1-2 months as security deposit, in cash in US dollars.
Even if you come into the country with sufficient cash to do this, remember that in six months’ time you will need to pay the same amount again, so you will need to give some thought to where you are going to get the dollars from.
A one bed apartment in the centre of the city rented in this way will cost you around US$600-700 a month (or more if you want something fancy).
It is relatively easy to pick up work teaching English for example, or other types of work. However they are unlikely to pay enough to live on unless you have some other kind of income coming in. The language schools employ foreigners without papers (meaning you still pay tourist rates for accommodation). A website I looked at employing foreign teachers rambled on about how ‘most of our teachers like to share accommodation with other teachers’. Well whether they like to or not that is all they’d be able to afford on the money they get paid from these jobs.
A job I looked at involved working 3 hours a week (2 separate classes on a Wednesday and a Saturday) for 110 pesos. That’s around $2.60 an hour. You may like to calculate how many hours you’d need to teach to make your $600 rent. Remember those are teaching hours and don’t include preparation time and travelling.
If I wanted to work 50 hours a week in order to barely survive, I would stay in London.