Wednesday, May 28, 2014



Misc.* (Passport Renewal)
APRIL 2014 TOTAL                        

I’m finally getting around to posting our April expenses. I’ll be blogging about the reason I am so late (it has to do with a spider) soon, so be on the lookout for my tale of woe.  I was really hoping for a first $2,000 month, but it was not to be. Some of the highlights:
Because we rarely go out to eat and I love to cook, our Groceries/Household expenses of more than $500 this month include items we don’t need, but we’re going to continue to buy as long as we feel we can afford them. Some of those items (that we get at PriceSmart) are huge quantities of pecans, chocolate chips, and grated Parmesan. They last 2-3 months (pecans and chocolate chips live in the freezer), still, at about $18-20 each, I wince a little when I toss them into the shopping cart.
Our Doctors/Dentist/Meds category is similar to March, at $250. In April, Paul’s health was a contributing factor with a torn meniscus in his knee. His injury started us thinking about how really vulnerable we are medically (our May expense report will have more details about this).
When he realized that his knee pain was not something temporary, Paul got an ultrasound ($25) recommended by the physical therapist ($25) at our doctor’s office. After reviewing his ultrasound, the therapist thought he should see an orthopedic surgeon (approximately $110 for a consultation). He hasn’t done that yet. We decided to research treatments for torn menisci first. There have been several positive studies citing exercise as a viable treatment, so Paul has joined a gym ($25/month) and is working with a trainer familiar with his issue.
Our doctor wants him to get another ultrasound next month. If there’s no improvement, then Paul will get the orthopedic consultation. At that point, we may have to face the fact that he’ll need arthroscopic surgery. If you’ve read our previous posts, you’re aware that we have not yet gotten our pensionado, which will eventually give us access to Costa Rica’s government health program (CAJA). So if Paul needs surgery sooner rather than later, we have two options: 1) Medicare. Paul has maintained his Medicare in the U.S. so he’d have the option to go to the U.S. for something serious. His Medicare is 80/20, so whatever the surgery cost would be, we’d have to pay 20 percent. And of course, there’s the airfare and other expenses associated with going back to the states. 2) Private health facility in Costa Rica. One of the highest rated hospitals in Costa Rica, Hospital Clinica Biblica, will arrange monthly payments after an initial deposit. Either way, we’ll be looking at thousands of dollars on our fixed income. Not pretty.
This has been a wake-up call for us to get going on our pensionado, so we’ve finally started the paperwork with our attorney. One of the things we had to do first was renew our passports – that’s the $220 miscellaneous expense this month.
This is the end table that Paul built -- total cost $36.56.
And the chair was free from friends!
Finally, some good news. We had been using shipping boxes for end tables for the past eight months. But in April, Paul bought some nice laurel wood and made a lovely Mission-style end table – final cost for materials -- $36.56. 

Folks who’ve lived in Costa Rica for several years have noted how much the cost of living has risen in the past few years. I’m beginning to wonder if we can really ever hit our $2,000 monthly goal, but I am still determined to stick with it. Once we’ve been here a year (October 2014), I’ll re-evaluate. But I won’t be giving up my pecans.