The cost of living in Costa Rica has been pretty stable since the last few years, thanks to our good economy! As of March 2017, the cost of living in Costa Rica is 22.92% lower than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account). Rent in Costa Rica is 53.22% lower than in United States (average data for all cities). A middle class salary in Costa Rica averages USD $750. In smaller cities, a monthly income is roughly from $450-500. These fluctuate by region/city, San Jose being the most expensive (by Numbeo Statistics).
We usually recommend to people from the States, Canada and Europe moving here to budget a minimum of US$ 15,000/year/person. Why? because we are used to a certain lifestyle with more luxury than a local. Of course, it is possible to live with less, but it requires compromises. Yes, you can live like a local for far less than the majority of the expats. But overall, it will depend on your lifestyle, how many kids you have that are going to attend the private school, how many times per week/month you will go out, etc. Costa Rica offers a pretty good value in quality of life and there are definitely cheaper places to live. Nicaragua and Panama per example are cheaper but Costa Rica has a quality of life that you won't find there, starting with good water quality from tap everywhere in the country and a free and efficient healthcare system.
Visit Numbeo website to compare the cost of living of your area with that of Costa Rica. Whatever people say, statistics are statistics and will give you the honest answer. Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide. It provides current and timely information on world living conditions including cost of living, housing indicators, health care, traffic, crime and pollution.