In the past 12 months, we’ve watched the exchange rate (US Dollar to Uruguayan Peso) and inflation numbers closely. Why?
Life in Uruguay gets more expensive by the day. Uggh! It isn’t a deal breaker at all. It is a good reason for anyone moving abroad to plan well and prepare for things that are beyond our control. Let me explain in some common terms here:
Uruguay’s Inflation Rate: 7. 3%
This means that the prices of products that we buy (appliances, food, paper towels, etc) rose, on average, 7.3.% in the last year. To be honest, the 7% doesn’t worry us near as much as the exchange rate of the US Dollar vs. Uruguayan Peso (not the same as the Mexican or Argentine Peso).
US Dollar vs. Uruguayan Peso Exchange Rate: 24.5 –> 19.2 (lowest point in April 2010)
This means that in April of 2009, we could get nearly 25 UY Pesos for 1 US Dollar. As of today, we can only get approx. 19 UY Pesos for 1 US Dollar. That is a 22% decrease in purchasing power.
(1) In other words to buy a McDonald’s Value Meal costing 165 Uruguayan Pesos in 2009 would have cost us $6.73 US and now it costs $8.59 US.
(2) Our Home Association Fees + Utilities could cost somewhere starting around 7500 Uruguayan Pesos per month (maybe more, maybe less). In April 2009 that would have been $309/month but in April 2010 that cost is now $390/month (nearly $1000/year more for one bill due to the exchange rate alone).
Its amazing how little I knew about these things before and how much I have to learn. I never imagined that currency exchange rates would affect things so much. But as people who are paid in US Dollars but live and work in other countries, we must not only think about but also plan for the changes that are going to come (hopefully the exchange rate gets better).