Costa Rica Cost Of Living Update: Aquafresh toothpaste-$2.27

There is no sugar coating it; the cost of gas is expensive everywhere. Currently, super gasoline costs a whopping $5 a gallon which makes filling our SUV a budget crunching $85. We all complain about the gas prices here so in order to save money, many gringos try to come up with different ideas to conserve gas.

For example, you will find most expats doing all their errands in one day. If you see Mrs. Cunningham at the bank, just say hello and don’t chat for too long. She is most likely on her way to get her driver’s license renewed, followed by a medical checkup, then off to pick up a friend at the airport.

I’ve seen my husband, Rob, do the same thing. If we forget something while out shopping, he’ll just say you’re out of luck until next week. No toothpaste? No problem. There’s a box of Arm and Hammer baking soda in the refrigerator, suitable for not only removing unpleasant odors but for dental hygiene as well. Apparently, having our breaths smell like a refrigerator to save a couple bucks on gas is a worthy sacrifice. It’s this type of frugality that makes my dad proud but makes me get back in the car to buy toothpaste.

However, the better alternative to a gas guzzling SUV is owning a scooter; it only costs $6 a month in gas. Within a year, our scooter had already paid for itself and it is so much more fun than being stuck in a car. I totally get why people own motorcycles and how liberating it feels. It also makes me feel rebellious, even if my rebellion is only 125cc of sassiness—just the right amount for a petite, five foot woman renegade.

Even though the scooter costs us very little in gas, Rob still insists on doing everything in one trip. He assures me that the scooter is capable of handling the load. “There is more than enough room,” he states as he tells me to move further back onto the luggage rack. Although there may be room for groceries, MaGilla Gorilla leaves little room for his wife.

“I have a system. It’s full proof,” he brags. A full proof system, I quickly discover, of losing things we just bought. These are but a few of the items that never made it home: a bottle of Windex, bag of tortillas, three cans of creamed corn, and a gallon of 2% milk that had the unfortunate mishap of exploding all over a confused Chihuahua.

This is not all together surprising, my husband is the type of guy who has fifteen assorted bolts left over after assembling a barbecue. “There are always extra pieces,” he confidently says as the grill leans 30 degrees to the right. And If you ask Rob to assemble an Ikea bookcase, for safety reasons I would suggest you never actually use it for books, but to store something like paperclips, bobby pins, or air.

Since losing our groceries down a hill and making enemies with the neighborhood Chihuahua association, Rob has perfected his skills and now uses a variety of bungee cords, rope, and a complicated plastic bag locking system. And I have to admit, we get a suitcase full of produce from the farmers market and a week’s worth of groceries from the supermarket piled onto the scooter. We can even fit three cartons of eggs.

Rob’s not the only one with this idea. We constantly see people carrying unconventional items on their scooter. Rebar is one of my favorites, as is, three generations of family members. We recently passed a man carrying a six drawer dresser on his shoulders while his friend drove. It reminds me a lot of a trip to Naples, but with a lot less hand gestures and pizzas.

A scooter is a great option to get around paying the high price of gas. It’s also nice not being confined to a car and it lets you enjoy the fresh air that makes Costa Rica so enchanting. Keep an open mind. You never know, one day Rob might be picking you up from the airport on it.