Cost of Living Deceit

by | Feb 27, 2012 | Archives

Some statistics say we do not have inflation in the cost of living.  This is statistical deceit because most of us find increases in the cost of living where the pinch hurts most… food and energy.

Many people say we do not have inflation in the US cost of living.  Yet most of us find increases in the cost of living where the pinch hurts most… food and energy.

First, those who say we do not have inflation are probably not looking at the 2011 data.    Inflation was very low in 2009 (-.035%) and 2010 (+ 1.65%),  but according to  the average inflation rate for 2011 was up 3.16%. That 2011 rate is the 4th highest inflation since 2000.

Yet look at this report from the Department of Labor regarding the cost of energy and food.



Food prices have increased a whopping 5.3% and the energy costs that count (gas and fuel oil) are up in the unsustainable 10% range!

There are several ways to beat inflation.

#1: Earn more. This is a great solution… if you can… and if it does not cause a deterioration of lifestyle.

#2: Spend less.  Not such a good solution but this works if you had more than “just enough” to spend before.

#3: Shop Better.  This is really a sub category to #2.  Most of us CAN shop better.

#4: Suffer.  Let’s not go there.

#5: Move to a less expensive places to live.

This is why we are investigating Cuba now.   This is also why we have been so active in Ecuador for 15 years. Ecuador is a really great country with a really low cost of living.

There is inflation in Ecuador also so each year or two we double check the cost of living in Ecuador.

First the cost of gas is subsidized so a gallon remains at around $1.50.  Propane in the home is subsidized as well so the cost of travel, heating and cooking at home are very low.

Let’s have a food price review.


Cotacachi organic farm.

Ecuador prices have risen but food costs are still low and food quality really high.  For example one American who lives in Cotacachi asked about the Saturday night get together pasta meal.

We are wondering if the pasta this Sat. night will be made of quinoa (as it was the last time) ? It was soooo delicious that we want to come back with a group if it’s going to be quinoa pasta.  Please put me on your email list.  Thank you.

That meal offered on Saturday nights at Inn Land of the Sun offers a great quinoa (gluten free and high protein) pasta, with meat or vegetarian sauce, plus fresh vegetables and dessert (pineapple pie last week) plus service and tax is just $6.

The Friday night  Pizza meal (meat or vegetarian) is just $5 including dessert (Coconut Pudding last week), service and tax.

The menu for Friday March 2, 2012: Hamburgers or Pollo Sandwiches, & Dessert  $5.00 including tax.
Saturday March 3, 2012: Quinoa Pasta w/Shrimp & Dessert  $6.00 including tax.

Ecuador prices have risen. Ecuador has a tendency toward inflation because the government has been pumping a lot of money into the economy. In recent years it gained extra revenue by defaulting on bond obligations plus through oil revenues and through selling future oil to China.  This money has been spent in many cases without increasing productivity.  Such spending creates inflation.

In addition the government has welcomed expats.  A recent Jan 28th 2012 Economist article entitled  “Ecuador’s retirement capital – Going gently” says:

An “anti-imperialist” country welcomes American pensioners.

American diplomats say some 5,000 expatriates from the United States, mostly over 55, now live in Cuenca, which has enough colonial and 19th-century architecture to qualify as a UNESCO world heritage site.

The city offers a packed schedule of events, including an international art biennale and the national hockey tournament. Its private health clinics are well-regarded and cheap: a doctor’s visit runs to $30 and insurance costs $100 a month.

Its public spaces, like the El Vado walk on a bluff overlooking the Tomebamba river, are being renovated, and many stately homes have been converted into smart restaurants and boutique hotels. People still feel safe walking Cuenca’s cobblestone streets at night—as they seldom do in Quito, the capital.

The inequality between foreigners and locals can be jarring, and may lead to social tensions. Elderly native women still carry loads to market on their bent backs, and ageing cobblers toil in dark adobe workshops. Although most Cuencans ignore the anti-American rhetoric of Rafael Correa, the president, they resent being priced out of the property market.

Cuenca owes some of its growth to liberal immigration policies. Ecuador grants residency to any retiree over 65 whose pension exceeds $800 a month, just $255 above the poverty line. Since older people pay a mere $50 a month for health care from the social-security system, a new influx of retired people could strain budgets to breaking point. Mr Correa will have to be careful not to let one of Ecuador’s biggest draws become a victim of its own success.

Years ago we wrote one could live well for $600 a month. Now $1,500 is more appropriate.

Housing prices have risen.  Houses in parts of Florida now cost less than in cities like Ecuador… though Ecuador’s coast still remains an enormous bargain.

Taxes are still really low… almost unimaginable to the average Westerner compared with taxes in the USA… especially for property.

Food costs remain low and quality really high.


Cotacachi market…


at night.

The last time we checked food prices was in 2009 so we asked Jeff and Lin Neal who head up Ateam Ecuador in the Imbabura Province to check current food prices in the Cotacachi market.

They updated our 2009 pricing (Bold)  on February 19, 2012:

In 2009 Lomo fino, the best beef for one kilo was $5.28 ($2.40 a pound).  The beef is now $2.50 per lb.

Chicken was $2.64 a kilo ($1.20 a pound).  The price now is lower at $2.50 per kilo.

One kilo of apples is $1.25 (8 apples) for a kilo. This was 56 cents a pound.  The price is now $1.40 per kilo.

One kilo of pears was $1.25 (8 pears – 56 cents a pound).  Now the price is $2.50 per kilo (these pears are from Chile).

A liter of fresh milk (appx. quart) was 40 cents.  Now it is $.63.

A pineapple ranged, based upon size, from 80 cents  to $1.25. Now the price is $1.00 reg. size

A batch of 20 bananas was between 25 and 50 cents. The price remains at .50.

Lin also priced the following:

Large Tomatoes are 4 for $1.00.

Strawberries $1.00 per kilo

Avocados…depending on ripeness 3 for $1.00 or 4 for $1.00

Lin also wrote:  I hope this helps…we can check on other items if you like. We have  noticed that some of the produce comes from other countries. Examples: Oranges from California (4 for a $1.00), Grapes from Peru, Pears from Chili. You have to really check to see the origin of the produce.


Lin and Jeff

Inflation has not hit food prices much at all.


Cotacachi bean field.

Because agriculture is everywhere in Ecuador. Because transport costs are low (gas prices are subsidized and labor is low) there is not the need of early picking found in the North American national food distribution system.


Ecuador food market.

This means food can actually be vine ripened before it is picked and brought to the market.


Fresh food of every type plus


dried beans  and pastas.

One can also find organic growers and get to know the source.


Organic section at Cotacachi market.

This is one reason Ecuador living and having an Ecuador agricultural business makes sense.


Delegates viewing an organic Ecuador farm.

See details of the March Ecuador agricultural expedition here.

Inflation is everywhere especially for food and water.  Yet the cost of living in Ecuador remains low and as the numbers above show inflation has not affected the price nor quality of fresh food in Ecuador.


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In the 1990s we began taking investors to Panama, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador.  That’s when we realized an incredible need for an easy, super fast way to learn Spanish.  Our delegates were business people with hard schedules and tight deadlines.  They did not have months, or even weeks to learn a second language.

Plus, even though these delegates were successful international business people, most did not have degrees in grammar.  When it came to sentence structure, punctuation rules, parts of speech, morphology and especially derivation of verbs, they were at a loss. They wanted good basic ways to communicate in Spanish that worked and sounded eloquent, right now, without having to become educated in grammar.

Fortunately there is a scientific method of learning (called Super Learning) that was created and refined by a Soviet educational master, Georgi Lozanov.   Lozanov transformed the entire Soviet Union’s educational system to such a degree that this third world nation beat the USA into space.

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Merri teaching a Super Spanish course in Florida.

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For example action is accion.


Manipulation- manipulacion, etc.”

There you have it.  How long did it take you to read these four sentences? 

Ask yourself.  “How many words do you know that end in ION”.

You now know all these Spanish words that you will never forget.

How long would it have taken you to memorize all those words?  How soon would you have forgotten them?

The next lesson teaches how to pronounce each of the nouns.

The third lesson teaches almost as many verbs, almost as quickly.

The fourth lesson shows how to avoid conjugating verbs by sticking with the infinitive (far easier than it sounds).  This simple lesson leaves a person sounding like a Spanish professor without ever conjugating a verb.

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In an incredibly short time you feel comfortable speaking Spanish.

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I was amazed by this as I traveled back and forth from the USA to Ecuador.  The longer I was away from Ecuador… the better my Spanish became.  My second language was automatically improving.  The self improving feature comes because you learn to create Spanish sentences rather than remember them.

The portion of the brain that creates is more powerful than the portion that recalls.  When your mind creates something… it owns it!  You do not have to remember .

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When the course ends… the mind keeps working… and creating… so next time you begin to speak Spanish you’ll be surprised .  You improve even though you have not actively worked on your lingual skill.

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The ONLINE course is available at the highly reduced price of $149, but in this special offer we are knocking another $70 from the price so you can start now for only $79.  

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Here are some testimonials from the course.

Here are a few quotes from delegates of the course.

One delegate from St. Louis wrote:  Hi Gary,  Just ended forty-five years in dentistry last week, and I’m on to a new career.  What is my new career?  Still formulating, but the eye -opening,mind expanding Super-Spanish course last weekend in St. Louis surely shows me the opportunity exists to expand my horizons.

Besides having a lot of nice people to learn our new language; the methods Merri and you developed proved to be just what you said they would be.  We all and I in particular relaxed our way to new learning.  I feel so very comfortable with the basis of my new language skills that I know I will be spitting out great Spanish sentences by the time I reach Ecuador in October.  Last year I spent six weeks in Ecuador and now I plan on conversing with the people.

Today’s excerpt of your newsletter really hit home. You do what you say you will. There are no surprises or hidden sales tricks. The only tricks are beneficial to our learning.  Thank you for a wonderful experience that I was quite unable to grasp how you would pull it off.  You did, however, and I look forward to other courses that you offer, and I have absolutely no doubt they also will work beneficially.  Best regards, Denis Molloy.

Another wrote about the Super Spanish course:   Buenos Dias, here is a testimonial for Super Thinking-Super Spanish.  Please feel free to use all or part in promotions for the course.  In addition, you may give my email address to any prospect “on the fence” about enrolling.  Yesterday, in Cotacachi, Ecuador, I finished Super Spanish.  I had high expectations for the course and they were exceeded.

After three days, I can speak Spanish in complete sentences. In simple conversations, such as buying groceries or ordering a meal, I can make myself understood. I think that’s incredible!

Although I am far from the competence level of a native speaker, I feel I’ve taken a giant step forward in learning Spanish so that I can experience the people and culture of Ecuador.  The foregoing benefits would have more than justified the time and money I invested in Super Spanish.  And learning some Spanish was not the most important benefit I got from the course.

Prior to leaving the USA, I had felt for some time that the pace of life there was unhealthy for me (and for most people) and I did nothing about it.

I’ve thought about the pace issue during the course.  One of the key elements Merri Scott designed into Super Spanish is placing the student in the optimal state for learning.  In class, the past three days, I’ve been re-introduced to guided journeys and introduced to the calming effects of Baroque music (  What a blessing! I’m inclined to make one or both a daily part of my life.   Rob Christi.  Cotacachi, Ecuador

Another attendee from a course wrote:   “I took this incredible class a few weeks ago, and I would like to tell anyone that is interested, that it is an amazing three days of learning with lots of laughs included. You leave everyday wanting to learn more and are so excited to do so.

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“They made learning Spanish easy and fun in a very relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.  I would definitely recommend this course.  Even if you know some Spanish, this helps make it easier because of the less stress that no verb conjugations gives you.  This gives you more confidence in yourself to try and speak it more.

“I liked how simply the course was organized and the positive attitude about learning.  Thank you so much for helping me to learn Spanish!” Nadine Taylor

The ONLINE Super Spanish course has our, full satisfaction or money back, guarantee. Try Super Spanish for 60 days.  If not fully satisfied, simply let us know for a full refund. 

The course is available at the highly reduced price of $149, but in this special offer we are knocking another $70 from the price so you can start now for only $79.  

Learn Spanish online $79 - using coupon code SPANISH70 at checkout to immediately save $70 off the regular price of $149.

Still not sure?

Take just ten minutes to let me prove to you that this super fast way to gain the basics can let you can communicate in Spanish in an incredibly short time.



Click here for FREE Super Spanish video.

The ONLINE Super Spanish course has our, full satisfaction or money back, guarantee. Try Super Spanish for 60 days.  If not fully satisfied, simply let us know for a full refund. 

The course is available at the highly reduced price of $149, but in this special offer we are knocking another $70 from the price so you can start now for only $79.  

Learn Spanish online $79 - using coupon code SPANISH70 at checkout to immediately save $70 off the regular price of $149.


Read the Economist  article Ecuador’s retirement capital

See USA Inflation rates since 2000