The minimum wage in Guatemala is the equivalent of $10 per day. This applies to unskilled factory workers. The minimum wage in agriculture is $10.9 per day. Those who earn the minimum wage in Guatemala benefit from certain bonuses. The equivalent of $33 per month is offered every calendar month as a bonus to the minimum earnings.
At the end of the year, typically around Christmas time, minimum wage earners also get a bonus in the form of a one month’s salary. This is called bono 14 in Guatemala (known as the 13th wage in some countries).
How far the minimum wage gets in Guatemala
If you were to earn the minimum wage in Guatemala, you would earn $10 x 20 (days). This means you’d earn $200 per month. The average salary in Guatemala is $400 per month. The minimum wage doesn’t get you far in the country. Clearly, the biggest expense is rent.
You can pay around $300 per month for a 1-bed apartment outside of the large city centers in Guatemala. Buying an apartment is even more difficult. A square meter typically goes for $1000 in Guatemala. For an 80 square meter apartment, you’d have to save all of your wages for 22 years in the country.
Most locals prefer to join their wages as couples and get credit to buy homes. The good news is most other costs are fairly low. Food is one of the small expenses in Guatemala, compared to other countries. 12 eggs cost around $1.8. A loaf of bread costs around $2. Bananas cost $1.2 per kilogram, as do potatoes.
If you shop in markets or supermarkets, you can save even more. Guatemalan markets are known to be some of the most affordable in the world. What can you buy here to save? Fruits are particularly cheap here. You can buy some of the best exotic fruits in the world here. Some are only found in Guatemala. They can’t be exported as they rot quickly as they have to be consumed within 1 or 2 days. You can find these fruits cheaply at the local markets. Vegetables also tend to be cheap here. The country doesn’t have the best soil for large scale farming, but there are plenty of small local producers of affordable vegetables.
Transport is also very affordable in Guatemala, even for someone on the minimum wage. Since gasoline only costs $0.8 per liter, a one-way ticket on public local transport is just $0.2. A monthly pass is just $11. While the minimum wage is fairly low in Guatemala, there are plenty of people living a decent life earning it. The highest cost for these earners is with accommodation. But almost all other costs such as travel, food, and entertainment tend to be some of the lowest in the region. The good news is that this cheap food is often even healthier than more expensive imported processed food, which means the minimum wage here has a different value than you might first think.