Living in Lima, Peru used to be a bargain, but those days are gone! Prices are up across the board, but wages are still stubbornly low — so unless you are spoiled with a nice hefty foreign source of income,  you are going to want to budget. Here are a couple ways to pinch your soles to make them go further.

Saving on Your Rent

Sure it’s nice to live in Miraflores, or another upscale neighborhood, but it’s costly. Why not concentrate your search on some of the centrally-located, but not so elegant districts? Look for lodging close to the main avenues in neighborhoods like Surquillo, Chorrillos, Barranco or Magdalena.

Saving on your Groceries

Hit the city markets – there’s at least one in each district – and you’ll find that you can save remarkable amounts of money on food. You will save on meat, fruit, vegetables, fish and poultry. Just be sure to wash your produce well before eating.  Chicken can be as much as 7 soles per kilo cheaper in the markets. Fruits and vegetables are also much cheaper, but make sure you wash them well before eating. Shampoo and other personal care items are usually cheaper in drug stores than grocery stores.

Saving on your Transportation

Traveling by taxi may seem cheap compared to what you might be used to, but it’s quite extravagant compared to taking a bus.  You can travel from one side of Lima to the other for about 3 soles on a bus. It’s best to always have exact change on the bus to avoid having to argue to get correct change back.  Note that the bus fare can be different depending on the route and the distance you’re going to travel. When unsure of the fare, ask another passenger before the cobrador (the fare taker) comes by.  

Saving on your Entertainment

There are a lot of cheap things to do for fun in Lima. There are many free art exhibits to be found around the city,and the public museums are a bargain (private museums not so much so).  Cinemas often have discounted rates on off days; be sure to check if they offer a fidelity card which can give you further discounts. Beaches and parks are free.  The Parque de la Amistad in Surco is a lot of fun for kids and has inexpensive things to do as a train ride and peddle boats. The Bosque El Olivar in San Isidro is a great place to go for a picnic and a game of Frisbee or football. Parque del Reducto in Miraflores is also a great option especially if you go on Saturday morning you´ll find a lot of activities to do with your kids. If its summer time, walk down to the beach and jump in the water. On Sunday morning, Av. Arequipa is closed to traffic allowing you to rent a bike or a pair of roller skates (the route is close to 10km round trip). There are also free aerobics classes Sunday morning beside Parque Kennedy in Miraflores.

We’d like to hear from you. What are your tips for expats who want to save money while living in Peru? Share your experience with others in our forum topic: Ways to save money in Peru