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What is the cost of living in Buenos Aires in 2019?

What is the cost of living in Buenos Aires in 2019?

14 May 2019 Buenos Aires City lifestyle English 0

Welcome to Buenos Aires !

You always wanted to know what’s the cost of living in Buenos Aires, right? Well, we enjoyed compiling information and writing this article. You can also read it in spanish and in french. Just switch the language of our website.

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, a country with almost 43 million people. The Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, or CABA in the common language, is home of almost 3 million people.

Buenos Aires is a city that has quickly internationalized itself recenlty. In 2017, the city received more than 60,000 international students, according to Infobae.

The city is very attractive to international students from Latin America. Most come to benefit from the quality of both private and public universities.

In addition, Buenos Aires offers numerous cultural, sportive and social activities that allow students to develop themselve personally and grow their interpersonal skills with other students from all over the world.

The international exchange is so strong
that it is possible to hear more than 4 languages
in the same classroom !

So, after all, what we want to know is how much does it cost to live or study in Buenos Aires or what is the cost of living in Buenos Aires?

Guess what? We have the answer !

We will divide our budget into several categories:

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Studies
  • Transports
  • Communication
  • Shopping and leisure
  • Parties and Entertainment in general

If you think we missed a category in which you are spending money, don’t hesitate to write us so that we can add it.

We are not talking about Insurance for traveling, or medical care, as we aim at giving information for international students who goes to Buenos Aires for 3 months to 1 year. Most of the expat lifestayle cost can be found on others website dedicated to these kind of stay.

Accommodation

Accommodation is generally the most expensive part of the student budget. For good management of that budget, accommodation needs to be 33% of the total monthly budget. Many times, this percentage is closer to 50%, especially for millenials.

There are several types of accommodation for local and international students in Buenos Aires. The cost of living in Buenos Aires is generally very affected by the accommodation.

In this article we will not describe them in detail but we will write a more detailed note about where you should be looking for accommodation.

We can highlight 2 types of accommodation:

  • Unfrunished accommodation (it is really unfurnished!)
  • Furnished accommodation

We won’t talk about UNFURNISHED accommodations because it’s very difficult to get them when you don’t have local warranties and don’t have time to look for it.

The unfurnished accommodations have cheaper prices but you must pay the facilities for services and monthly fees for these services. These kind or accommodation are most of the time accessible for people who will stay longer in the country. Local law says that the contract need to be sign at least for 3 years stay.

What we prefer are the furnished accommodations with services included (electricity, gas, water, internet-wifi, common expenses of the building, taxes…). Sometimes, some landlord set apart gas en electricity utilities and invoice, so you are in charge of the consumption….be aware that electricity is expensive in Argentina!

From Casa Tropical, after having visited more than 700 accommodations and searched for more than 50,000 online ads, we were able to produce this price report*:

*We want to point out that the price in Argentine Pesos (ARS) may increase over time. We recommend that you look at the price in dollars (USD) to ensure a more stable currency.

Prices in USD may slightly decrease over time but Argentinian tend to adjust their Argentine Pesos prices to the dollar to avoid the impact of the country inflation.

How much does it cost to rent in Buenos Aires?

Accommodation typeMonthly rent (ARS)Monthly rent (USD)
2 bedrooms flat24000-30000800-1000
Bed in Shared dormitories of 6 bedsFrom 2500 to 3000From 80 to 100
Bed in shared dormitories of 4 bedsFrom 3000 to 4500From 100 to 150
Bed in shared dormitories of 2 beds4500 to 6500150 to 220
Private bedroom for 1 person 9000 to 12000300 to 400
Private bedroom for 1 or 2 person12000 to 15000400-500
Studio15000-18000500 to 600
One bedroom flat21000-24000700-800

In general, students manage to get a private single room for about 10,500 Argentine pesos per month (350 USD per month). We found that it is a fair budget and fair price for having all bills included.

If you want, you can browse some good accommodation in Buenos Aires:

Food !

There are many supermarkets and markets in Buenos Aires.

The best tip we can give you about Argentina is that you can get some good local restaurants and cheaper than international chains (hamburgers for example…).

About supermarkets in Buenos Aires, we highlight Carrefour, Dia, Vital, Makro, Coto, Disco and jumbo.

The big supermarkets also called “hypermercados” usually offer interesting prices, discounts and promotions.

It is also possible to take advantage of offers on weekends or buying in bulk.

Some tips

It’s a student tip that everyone knows, and surely you know, buying non-perishable food in quantities helps a lot to take care of your budget.

Nowadays, fridges and freezers are very powerful and allow you to keep meat, eggs, vegetables and other foods at a good temperature that has to be kept at a low temperature.

In our daily life as international students, we realized that shopping every 15 days was a super good idea to manage our food budget.

The most important thing is that after those 15 days purchases, the fresh products needs to be consumed first, the base of a good economy is to take advantage of each one of the resources.

Leave frozen food for later. Scheduling meals helps you to save a lot of money, rather tha eating "on the day". If you do it right, you can eat a balanced diet without spending more than your budget.

And there is more…

Obviously you can buy in the local markets of the city. And we recommend you to do it at 100%. The products are great and cheaper, they are local and with your purchase you benefit the local agronomy & economy and also support the country in which you are living in many ways.

In general, we are spending about 3000 pesos per month, but we take care of ourselves and we are almost experts in food purchases. I can assure you that we don’t spend anything outside of what is necessary.

We can assume that between a few restaurants and groceries, you spend arround 4500 pesos per month (150 USD per month). Data was crossed from 5/6 international students with different habits, some are vegetarian and other cooked 2/3 meat per week. So we found it to be a very balanced budget.

Studies

Most of the courses are free or with minimum costs, but there are expenses that you must calculate to study. You will probably need to buy pens, notebooks (to take notes) and print notes or make photocopies (a lot!)

These costs are not very high, but they should be taken into consideration.

We are not going to calculate a budget for this category, since we would have to analyze according to the type of studies. Architecture students have different costs than Arts or Economics students. We recommend you to check with your school or fellow students to have a better idea of how much can it cost you for your field of study.

We consider to calculate 10 USD per month of expenses in the studies. (approx 400 pesos per month). But that will depend a lot on the career and the number of subjects. Thanks to Tobias’ comment (see spanish articles comments), we can complete this budget.

We will better calculate about 400 ARS (10 USD) per course. So everyone can calculate this budget with more precision, according to the number of courses they are studying.

For example, if you are taking 4 courses this semester, we could calculate about 1600 ARS for the semester in supplies (40 USD/months). We still think it will be a bit lower than that, especially if your school provide courses and materials with an intranet or PowerPoint/word documents. You won’t need to write/copy too much.

Transports

Transportation can really affect your cost of living in Buenos Aires. But don’t be afraid, you can handle it very well.

Here 2 important link for you:

It is very important to pay attention that the prices in ARS increase from time to time and even more in the transport industries. We recommend to check with the transport companies this information or in real life…by taking the transport yourself.

We’ll be writing a whole article about transportation in Buenos Aires soon. As for now, you need to focus yourself in that cost of living, and make sure you can manage well your student budget. For that, we have several good tips to share.

“An alternative for people who are in the federal capital, who want to save and also improve their health is the use of EcoBicis in the city of Buenos Aires, the service is completely free, and is available to Argentines and foreigners alike. A simple procedure is enough to access this magnificent option”.

Commented by Colombian friend Miguel from www.viajaraargentinahoy.com.ar

About 4 tickets are used per day (round trip) even if you don’t always go to your university.
But you and I know for sure, you’re going to use your transportation card to go to parties or visits friends within the city.

Cost of transportation by subway SUBE in Buenos Aires
The cost of transportation is per trip and depends on the number of trips. The more trips you make, the less expensive the fare.

Here is the table of costs. The costs in Argentine pesos can increase with time. Look at the price in USD to get an idea of prices in time.

Here we leave you the prices of transports that we had when we wrote the article, on October 17, 2018.

Trips per monthARS per tripUSD per trip
1 to 20 trips120,4
21 to 30100,33
31 to 408,750,3
41 and more7,50,25

Unfortunately, the prices mentioned in the official pages are not updated. And as Tobias said (see below), official pages are not updated either…so…we decided to give you the “street” information asking people what they really spend.

Some testimonials from students

We have 2 testimonies from students living in Buenos Aires, who mentioned differences between reality and the information available online.

The bus is at 22 ARS, the subway at 20 ARS and the train at 21 ARS. In general, you go to the faculty every day. You have to go 2 times, that is, 4 tickets. So yes, you spend 88 pesos a day and if you go out on weekends somewhere, that is, counting 30 days of the month, your transportation cost is 2640 pesos. From Monday to Friday, it would only be 1760 pesos.

Hugo, international student in Buenos Aires, 7 of May 2019

Here comes another testimonial from Tobias, another student living in Buenos Aires. We thank him for sharing his point of view with us all.

Hello good evening, I live in Argentina and there are several erroneous data, first the cost of transportation is 22 ARS for a one way trip (bus), I take 2 buses per day and underground (subway) in total it is 4 trips, per day, so I spend 88 ARS and per month 2288 $ ARS without counting Saturdays and Sundays, the pages that you mentionned (Casa Tropical) are not updated and what they do not clarify in those official pages is that if you did not take the transport every two hours you do not get the fare discount.

Tobias, Argentine student living in Buenos Aires, 5 of May 2019

Today (May 7), we are talking about a fare at 20 ARS for the first 20 trips, which allows us to see that in 5 months, the fare has increased 66%. We will look at dollarized prices to have a better constancy of prices over time. Calculate about 0.44 USD per trip by subway and about 0.5 USD per trip by bus.

The SUBE card has a cost of 60 pesos to get it (3 USD)*.

*Beware, the conversion rate might be different when you buy your card. Pay attention to the price in USD to get a better idea.

We will maintain a budget of 2640 Argentine Pesos (ARS) per month for public transport (58 USD per month). A slight variation in the ARS/USD change can make a big difference here for a while. We prefer you to calculate 60 USD in transport and don’t be scared if it is a bit lower, than otherwise.

Communication

In Argentina there are 3 classic operators: Claro, Movistar and Personal.

Now, there are other companies that offer good communications packages at a much better price.

Being the historical operators Claro, Movistar and Personal have prices a little high for what it is to have a chip to call or send messages.

We use Tuenti, a Spanish company that offers very interesting packages. On top of it, the card is triple: Nano, micro, mini SIM. So it fit everyone cellphone.

Get a monthly contract

For international students who do not have an Argentine ID card (Documento Nacional de Identidad) it is impossible to get a plan for cell phones.

However, you could negotiate with one of the companies mentioned above. Many times there are sales operations in the streets to pick up new customers.

It is the opportunity to open a line without having ID.

We know that it is a bit tedious to get a monthly subscription plan only with your passport.

Do not hesitate to ask your Argentinean classmates if they can help you to register with your DNI in order to get a subscription (in Tuenti for example).

The plan or subscription is the best option for cell phone use. It is cheap and easy to carry. You can recharge your balance at any “kiosko” in the city or even through the company’s website with your credit/debit card.

Another alternative: the prepaid chip

If you can’t get a subscription, the second best option is to get a prepaid card. That means that you will load your sim card with a balance and use it day by day until you no longer have any credit available. It’s the “Pay as you go” formula.

You can get a prepaid sim card at any kiosko in the city. Choose your company carefully. Of course Claro, is the most famous, but Personal and Movistar have interesting promotions or discounts sometimes.

How much will my communications budget be?

That will depend on your formula: Subscription or prepay card. Overall the communication budget is not that important regarding the total cost of living in Buenos Aires. You can really managed to make it low.

Let’s say you get a Subscription promotional combo at Tuenti. What we see on the page is 250 pesos (5.5 USD) per month for 2.5 GB of data. We helped many international students get their card at Tuenti, they really enjoyed it.

Which seems enough to us, even if you are an influence and need more data, you will spend about 300 pesos per month to have 6 GB.

We will write an even more detailed article about communications in Buenos Aires soon.

We recommend that you fill out the form you saw at the end of this article to receive our news by email.

If you need help with your sim card, you can ask your landlord or your flatmates to help you. In Casa Tropical, we can offer you a great communnity with very amazing landlords and great flatmates. Don’t hesitate to rent your room or flat here so you can more than just a room.

Shopping

In most cases, international students will come with their clothes so there is no too much shopping to do during their studies.

But it can happen. Shopping Malls are the most expensive places to go to buy clothes, but it can offer you, international brands and better quality clothes.

In the city’s fairs, you can also find clothes at cheaper prices.

A jean (vaquero) can be priced arround 70 USD and a t-shirt arround 30 USD. Globally, the prices are expensive compared to what you can buy elsewhere or in your home country.

Bring some clothes with you

When entering Argentina do not forget to bring clothes for 2 seasons: Summer and Winter. So, you don’t have to buy a lot of clothes for your stay. A good coat is welcome for winter season.

The budget for clothes will depend a lot on you, if you are fashionista or not. Many of the students we know and ourselves too, we prefer to put the money in trips rather than in new clothes. The cost of living in Buenos Aires can depend on that budget if you don’t prepare yourself for various seasons (summer & winter).

We think our generation is more interested in the experience than in consumptions. It’s not a generality, but it is a global trend.

It is also possible to go to Avellaneda Avenue at 3000-4000 to buy cheaper clothes.

Let’s assume you have a budget of 50 USD in clothes per month. Even if you don’t spend it every month, you can make a larger purchase every 2/3 months.

That seems reasonable to us. in total we are talking of 200 USD inclothes for a semester. If you buy a pair of boots or shoes, a coat, or some other high end clothes for a trip, a jean you needed or something else, it doesn’t seem so crazy.

Entertainmenent

Going out is expensive. In other words, if you buy the drinks, the tickets in clubs, the taxi or uber to move, it starts to be a major expense. It can even be more expensive than your transport budget.

Going out doesn’t really impact the cost of living in Buenos Aires. Many people we know don’t go so often to parties or clubs outside, most of the time, they make something at home, and clubs have free entrances on list or without lists.

You and I know you prefer home parties. That’s why we like Casa Tropical very much, since we can filter the listings by mood: festive, studious, good vibes (some reunions in the week ends). We tend to prefer this platform when we book our stays, so we don’t miss the chance to know other people and be in the right mood.

Home “previa” vs club parties

Some will want a house where parties are hold and others a more studious one. Each one can choose according to his tastes and mood. The most important thing is to be in the right place.

La previa

Most people tend to organize “la previa” wich is the before at home, rather than in a bar (expensive), mostly south american people are very used to it. People keep preparing themselves for the party, they enjoyed talking to their friends before actually going out. We areally hope you will get into a local before and party to get the full essence of it.

Clubbing

Going out at the club can cost around 40 USD, including drinks, tickets and taxis.

From our experience is a reasonable budget for Buenos Aires, between the taxi that will depend on our location if it is central or not (approx 600 pesos – 20 USD), 2 drinks (approx 600 pesos – 20 USD).

We will maintain a budget of 2 parties per month at 40 USD each, so that it is not so high. In total it would be about 80 USD per month (2400 pesos per month).

Sounds crazy in Argentinian pesos, but we have seen many international students finding the local prices “cheap”;…only the first 3 months…then they realized you tend to spend more because you have the feeling it is cheaper.

Be carefull with your finances. If you want to enjoy it all, save money for your trips…you might not come back here for a long time…parties can be hold at home or in your home country too.

Here we are…our final budget for the cost of living in Buenos Aires. Let’s see what we have.

So, after all this…what is the cost of living in Buenos Aires?

CategoryMonthly budget (ARS)Monthly budget (USD)
TOTAL22190704
Accommodation10500350
Food4500150
Studies40010
Transports264058
Communication2506
Shopping150050
Entertainment240080

Et voila! We hope we’ve answered your cost-of-living questions. We are 100% available to answer your questions and improve this budget.

If you are living in Buenos Aires, tell us a little about how you handle your budget.

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