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picaflores
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October 16, 2013 11:22 pm  

How do you all think the cost of living here compares to State side living.
I realize it would be different from state to state...

Just looking for some input.

Thanks!


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JulieKay
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October 16, 2013 11:27 pm  

I think food costs are similar to when I lived in NYC. Packaged foods are much more expensive, but local meats, eggs, and vegetables are comparable to stateside. Potato chips cost a fortune being shipped from the states. It just depends upon how easily the food item ships and its shelf life if it isn't local.

Electric bills are crazy. Our bill is $550/month and we don't use air conditioning. We don't have a water bill since we are on cistern water.

We pay $20 a month for basic cable. And our cell phones are the same rates as the states.

Gas is a bit more expensive, everyone keeps waiting for it to get crazy expensive but hasn't happened yet.


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sheiba
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October 16, 2013 11:33 pm  

$550 a month? And you don't use a/c? Somethings not right. I use a/c often and my bill is typically less then half of yours.


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JulieKay
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October 16, 2013 11:37 pm  

3 bedroom house, water pump, appliances, lights, and pool pump, which uses quite a bit of electric.


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Afriend
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October 17, 2013 1:22 am  

It's always difficult to explain the cost of living in the islands mainly because everyone has a different lifestyle. Also, some costs will be higher and others lower. For instance, you won't be purchasing any winter clothing and your summer wardrobe will probably be simpler that it is back in the states. Likewise, you have any heating costs but that could be offset by the higher electricity costs, especially if you are a heavy user of air conditioning. Some food costs will be higher and others about the same as you now pay - you won't find anything that's cheaper. Gas is more expensive (but not by much) but you won't be doing as much driving (there's simply not as may places to go and distances are probably shorter) so you'll probably use less gas. Big ticket items (appliances, TV's, furniture, electronics, etc.) will be more expensive.

I tell people that generally speaking you can expect that YOUR living expenses will be somewhere between 30% and 45% more than they are where you now live (unless you live in a major city like NY in which case you'll probably experience a 15% to 30% difference.


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mtdoramike
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October 17, 2013 11:41 am  

I think food costs are similar to when I lived in NYC. Packaged foods are much more expensive, but local meats, eggs, and vegetables are comparable to stateside. Potato chips cost a fortune being shipped from the states. It just depends upon how easily the food item ships and its shelf life if it isn't local.

Electric bills are crazy. Our bill is $550/month and we don't use air conditioning. We don't have a water bill since we are on cistern water.

We pay $20 a month for basic cable. And our cell phones are the same rates as the states.

Gas is a bit more expensive, everyone keeps waiting for it to get crazy expensive but hasn't happened yet.

WOW, $550.00 a month? You really need to have them come out and run a test on your electrical system. You may have a short or several. My sister in law started having high electric bills as well and I talked her into getting it checked out. It was a good thing she did, there were numerous shorts in the wiring due to rats getting into the ceiling and chewing on the wires.

I was going to say 25% higher than the states. But that would only be a guess on my part. So things higher some about the same and some even cheaper than the states.


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OldTart
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October 17, 2013 11:50 am  

WOW, $550.00 a month? You really need to have them come out and run a test on your electrical system. You may have a short or several. My sister in law started having high electric bills as well and I talked her into getting it checked out. It was a good thing she did, there were numerous shorts in the wiring due to rats getting into the ceiling and chewing on the wires.

I was going to say 25% higher than the states. But that would only be a guess on my part. So things higher some about the same and some even cheaper than the states.

I agree. There is something very wrong with that sort of an electrical bill when you're not using A/C and you should have it checked asap by a licensed electrician.

The rule of thumb has always been that COL is around 30% higher than average stateside and that seems to remain constant.


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JulieKay
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October 17, 2013 11:54 am  

WOW, $550.00 a month? You really need to have them come out and run a test on your electrical system. You may have a short or several. My sister in law started having high electric bills as well and I talked her into getting it checked out. It was a good thing she did, there were numerous shorts in the wiring due to rats getting into the ceiling and chewing on the wires.

I was going to say 25% higher than the states. But that would only be a guess on my part. So things higher some about the same and some even cheaper than the states.

I agree. There is something very wrong with that sort of an electrical bill when you're not using A/C and you should have it checked asap by a licensed electrician.

The rule of thumb has always been that COL is around 30% higher than average stateside and that seems to remain constant.

Dudes. We have a pool pump that runs ten hours a day. Chill. Nothing is wrong, I've had electricians out here for various reasons and all our wiring is in conduit in concrete walls. If we were staying we would switch to solar.

That said we have friends with bills as high as ours for various reasons. Thus is OUR cost of living, remember? It's all relative.


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OldTart
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October 17, 2013 12:00 pm  

Dudes. We have a pool pump that runs ten hours a day. Chill. Nothing is wrong, I've had electricians out here for various reasons and all our wiring is in conduit in concrete walls. If we were staying we would switch to solar.

That said we have friends with bills as high as ours for various reasons. Thus is OUR cost of living, remember? It's all relative.

"Dude", apologies for trying to be helpful in pointing out a potential problem.


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JulieKay
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October 17, 2013 12:01 pm  

Dudes. We have a pool pump that runs ten hours a day. Chill. Nothing is wrong, I've had electricians out here for various reasons and all our wiring is in conduit in concrete walls. If we were staying we would switch to solar.

That said we have friends with bills as high as ours for various reasons. Thus is OUR cost of living, remember? It's all relative.

"Dude", apologies for trying to be helpful in pointing out a potential problem.

"Dude," we aren't stupid. My husband is an engineer. Chill sometimes with the aggressive advice.


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Ca. Dreamers
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October 17, 2013 12:04 pm  

WOW, $550.00 a month? You really need to have them come out and run a test on your electrical system. You may have a short or several. My sister in law started having high electric bills as well and I talked her into getting it checked out. It was a good thing she did, there were numerous shorts in the wiring due to rats getting into the ceiling and chewing on the wires.

I was going to say 25% higher than the states. But that would only be a guess on my part. So things higher some about the same and some even cheaper than the states.

I agree. There is something very wrong with that sort of an electrical bill when you're not using A/C and you should have it checked asap by a licensed electrician.

The rule of thumb has always been that COL is around 30% higher than average stateside and that seems to remain constant.

Dudes. We have a pool pump that runs ten hours a day. Chill. Nothing is wrong, I've had electricians out here for various reasons and all our wiring is in conduit in concrete walls. If we were staying we would switch to solar.

That said we have friends with bills as high as ours for various reasons. Thus is OUR cost of living, remember? It's all relative.

Pool pump with SWG, water pump with UV purifier, electric washer & dryer, electric stove, several ceiling fans, TV's and Computers plus lighting @ night and we are home all the time add up to about 900-1000 KWH per month. Do the math, $500+ is where we are.

CD


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JulieKay
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October 17, 2013 12:06 pm  

Pool pump with SWG, water pump with UV purifier, electric washer & dryer, electric stove, several ceiling fans, TV's and Computers plus lighting @ night and we are home all the time add up to about 900-1000 KWH per month. Do the math, $500+ is where we are.

CD

Yep. We are twinsies! 😀


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OldTart
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October 17, 2013 12:16 pm  

"Dude," we aren't stupid. My husband is an engineer. Chill sometimes with the aggressive advice.

Oh come along now. "Aggressive advice"? No good deed goes unpunished when you offer a valid suggestion to what on the surface appears to be a problem. I'm glad you don't have a problem.


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speee1dy
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October 17, 2013 12:17 pm  

our electric is about 200-250. i am going to az the end of this month and going to safeway and other grocery stores and take photos of items that we normally buy here to compare. should be very interesting?

food for us a month here is about 400+

cable is about 100

broadband 50

cell 200

my mom told me that a lady at the bank came from P R and the cost of living stateside is about a third.

you can rent houses there for about 750 apartments for 500 and in laughlin nv you can rent an apartment for about 300
rents in the panhandle are about 500 for a house


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STTGuy
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October 17, 2013 12:28 pm  

Dudes. We have a pool pump that runs ten hours a day. Chill. Nothing is wrong, I've had electricians out here for various reasons and all our wiring is in conduit in concrete walls. If we were staying we would switch to solar.

I, too, used to run my pool filter 8 hours a day. A friend on mountaintop turned me on to the "Savior Pool Filter" (Google it). I've had it for a year. I now run my pool filter two hours a day, and that's only because it's too much trouble to reprogram the timer for less time. It was a pain to get shipped here (Amazon has the best price, but wouldn't ship it), but worth the trouble.


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IslandHops
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October 17, 2013 12:48 pm  

Dudes. We have a pool pump that runs ten hours a day. Chill. Nothing is wrong, I've had electricians out here for various reasons and all our wiring is in conduit in concrete walls. If we were staying we would switch to solar.

That said we have friends with bills as high as ours for various reasons. Thus is OUR cost of living, remember? It's all relative.

"Dude", apologies for trying to be helpful in pointing out a potential problem.

"Dude," we aren't stupid. My husband is an engineer. Chill sometimes with the aggressive advice.

"Dude" - can I play too?

Switching to an intelleflow(sp?) pool pump will likely save you more than it's cost in the near term. If you are on STX I hear Quality Electric has them in stock. Again, you may already have one, or considered this as an option, so this is only a humble suggestion. Sorry to hear your bill is that high. Despite the cost, Wapa seems to be more reliable recently (touch wood) with far less outages.


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Jamison
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October 17, 2013 12:53 pm  

I find most things pretty cheap here, but im good at being broke.


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JulieKay
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October 17, 2013 1:07 pm  

Thanks for the various pool pump advice and yes we have considered them but we aren't able to stay on STX any longer. We'll see what they buyer of our house wants.


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loucypher
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October 17, 2013 1:23 pm  

Be prepared to do without:
O.J $20.00 gal.
Milk $12.00 gal.
Breyers Ice Cream 1/2 gal. $11.00
Cold cereal $9.00 to $10.00 box depending.
POS car you wouldn't pay $1000.00 for where you are now. About $4000.00 here.
Electric 5x what you pay now.

This is just for starters.


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picaflores
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October 17, 2013 2:21 pm  

Thanks for all replies.

I was looking for something like a " 30% rule", when discussing wages/cost of living...

For us, we moved to Stx from St Maarten over a year ago, and found it all more expensive here . We went to visit Sxm a few weeks ago, and prices are still much lower there than here, don't really understand that.
We thought on St Maarten that 35 cents/KW was expensive.....

When we go visit family stateside (West Coast), groceries just seem super cheap compared to Stx.

Interesting to read how others here see/experience this.


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Anonny-mouse
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October 17, 2013 3:20 pm  

"Dude," we aren't stupid. My husband is an engineer. Chill sometimes with the aggressive advice.

Oh come along now. "Aggressive advice"? No good deed goes unpunished when you offer a valid suggestion to what on the surface appears to be a problem. I'm glad you don't have a problem.

I don't see how on the surface it appears to be a problem. Power is expensive here. I have lived in four houses in the last four years and my WAPA bill averaged over $500 in all of them. Its not the wiring, it is our lifestyle, which is really fairly normal. We tried being power spinsters but the reality of it is that if given a choice between sitting in the dark sweating for free, or paying $10 to have lights indoor and out, the TV on, AC in the bedroom, a cold beer in the fridge and ice cream in the deep freeze, I will happily pay every day of the year. If the time comes when we can not afford it, then we might have to move, but until then, why live uncomfortably? I know that many of you are great at keeping your WAPA bills low, but for that you have to make sacrafices. A $100 power bill in the states (which is pretty average) translates to a $500 wapa bill here. It is expensive, but certainly not necessarily an indicator of a problem at home. WAPA costs a lot of money. It is just one of the realities of living here.


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Exit Zero
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October 17, 2013 3:39 pm  

One thing to consider is your current tax situation - your Federal Income Tax will remain essentially the same but there is no State or City Income Tax - Property Tax is fairly low compared to many stateside locations, and many exemptions apply that don't exist in most jurisdictions - some states [Conn. for ex.] have a personal property tax on vehicles etc. which isn't collected here - often Water and Sewer assessments are collected quarterly in many stateside towns that are usually not applicable here with cisterns and septic being very common - if you are renting some differences like these are not relevant.
Some judicious grocery shopping can make a big difference - the breakfast cereal I buy at Costuless is almost half the cost of the same product at Pueblo - on occasion even ice cream is on sale at acceptable prices - fruit and vegetable prices vary greatly at different locations and days - it is well worth watching the weekly sales at all the grocery stores, adjusting your shopping habits takes some effort and creativity in menu choices but is necessary if you are trying to control food costs.
Many people shop online and have some items shipped - I do it for specialty coffee beans and occasional clothing purchases but rarely otherwise.However I have found auto parts online to be a real savings.
I certainly do find my clothing expenses [ and needs] are considerably lower here than my friends stateside and a tank of gas lasts a lot longer here for me than when I am up in the states and the distances driven are much different. Your need for a car that can maintain highway speeds of 60mph or more and a comfortable 500 miles road trip can make a price difference in your vehicle choice here.
Really good quality surge protection including a whole house protector have made a big difference in my major appliance life expectency - replacing light bulbs with efficient CFL made a noticable dent in my WAPA bill immediately and I am slowly shifting to LED where I can. Paying attention to what electric devices are consuming power even in their OFF mode can also be an effective saving.


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mtdoramike
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October 17, 2013 5:06 pm  

"Dude," we aren't stupid. My husband is an engineer. Chill sometimes with the aggressive advice.

Oh come along now. "Aggressive advice"? No good deed goes unpunished when you offer a valid suggestion to what on the surface appears to be a problem. I'm glad you don't have a problem.

Next time I will try and not point out a potential problem. But "DUDE", I would have preferred sir, gentlemen, hey you, but dude, I say have another rum and coke and don't worry bout it mon.


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JulieKay
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October 17, 2013 5:10 pm  

"Dude," we aren't stupid. My husband is an engineer. Chill sometimes with the aggressive advice.

Oh come along now. "Aggressive advice"? No good deed goes unpunished when you offer a valid suggestion to what on the surface appears to be a problem. I'm glad you don't have a problem.

Next time I will try and not point out a potential problem. But "DUDE", I would have preferred sir, gentlemen, hey you, but dude, I say have another rum and coke and don't worry bout it mon.

Wasn't talking to you, Mike. Sorry if you were offended.


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OldTart
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October 17, 2013 5:33 pm  

Wasn't talking to you, Mike. Sorry if you were offended.

How very odd. I merely seconded Mike's genuine concern about your high electric bill and you quoted us both in your "dude" response but apparently I'm the real scapegoat and with no bloody clue why.

If any appellation were to be involved I'd personally prefer "dudette" - if anything and which would be preferable.


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