We tracked every single purchase that we made on our trip through Central and South America. At first we used just a journal and a pen, but recently switched to AndroMoney app.
We recorded the purchase in the local currency and use the average exchange rate from the times that we withdrew money from the ATM’s. We rarely use credit and debit cards for security reason.
Here is the table of all the expenses that we have incurred on the trip so far…i mean ALL of them. For clarity we separate daily expenses from major car shipping and flight ticket purchases. The expenses are from our trip from San Diego, California to San Paulo, Brazil. We left on October 26th, 2015 and finished our South America tour on March 31st, 2016, or 158 days. These are expenses for 2 people, so if you are trying to make a per person estimate, then some categories could be divided by 2, i.e. food.
|Uruguay-South Korea Shipping||2064.07|
|Flights to South East Asia||1976.27|
|Fligth Montevideo - Sao Paulo||650.80|
The car shipping from South America to South Korea is not final, there will be some port fees in Korea. This will be updated once we know.
Now lets look at the total money spent in each country. Peru, Chile, Mexico and Argentina come in as the top spenders, this is due to the number of days spent in each country and not necessarily due to cost of living.
If we take into account daily expenses per each day in the country, then it balances out a little bit more. Our budget is $100 a day, not including car shipping and major flights. It seems like we are pretty close to it, with an average of $85. And with car shipping and flights the daily average is $121.
We can see that Argentina, Chile and Peru are still the highest. However, Peru comes in the top 4, mostly since we visited Nazca lines and Machu Picchu.
Okay, so we now should look at what exactly we spent the money on. So here is the description of the expense categories and what they inlcude. Car/Motor – Gas, insurance, maintenance, parking, tolls
Clothing/Beauty – clothes and accessories, laundry, shower
Entertainment – Museum, national parks, tours, sports
Fees – postal import fee, visa fees, border crossing fees
Food – breakfast, lunch, dinner, groceries, snacks, wine, beer, water
Living – Camping, hostel, AirBnB
Medical – doctor fees, drugs
Personal – cell phone
Publications – copies, postcards, stamps, stickers
Social – gifts
Transportation – boat, bus, ferry, car fumigation, rail, car import fee, subway, taxi
Pie chart is good, but we need to see the total amounts a bit better.
We drive a 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser that gets about 10-12 mpg when fully loaded. So take all the gas spending in consideration. We drove a total of 17,500 miles. Unfortunately we did not keep track of mileage for each day, sorry. We will do that once we get the car back in Korea.
We spent a total of $3975.16 on gasoline, here is the breakdown.
That works out to be, on average, 4.40 miles per dollar…shit thats a bit expensive. Maybe we should really look into a diesel.
If you think that you can spend less money then us, here is where you can actually make a difference, besides driving a different car.
You can save a bit of dough by cooking your own food, so lets look at food expenses of eating out vs. cooking.
If we assume that eating out is twice as expensive as cooking yourself, then we could have saved around $1200. Take that we a grain of salt, since you cannot cook yourself everywhere.
Another way we could save money is by free camping. Well, not all places feel secure enough to do that, plus we need to shower and use the toilet once in a while. First we will look at where we ended up sleeping.
To make it easier for accounting reasons, everything that is not camping is considered hostels. Trust me, we dont stay in fancy 5 star hotels.
Surprisingly, almost every country has a some nights in hostels. Most of those times is from visiting the major city where car camping is complicated.
The chart above shows the total expenses in each category by country. Not surprisingly staying in a hostel is more expensive than camping…duh.
Map of average daily expenses by country
We split it up into two maps for clarity.
That’s it folks. If you want to know something else, please write and i will provide the data.