Does everyone live in the streets??
First, thank you to everyone that has written something here. I've enjoyed reading all the posts (and I haven't read them all....yet). They are VERY helpfull. Nice, real life experiences of living and moving to the islands. This post is NOT to induce flame responses, but I just what to know real life living. I read one thread that asked what it cost individuals to move to the islands, and I didn't really see anyone actually answer. All answers were mostly that it's hard to answer. Well, if I just moved there, it would be easy to answer. "It cost me $900 for the plane tickets, $1500 to ship my truck (plus $150 at the other end), $600 to ship my stuff, $1600 for two weeks in an apartment, $400 for our first week of food, $3.75 per gallon of gas when we got here". That's what I would have liked to see. Anyways.....
OK, I was (am) considering moving down the the islands sometime around June/July. I'm coming with enough resources to keep me living for well over 6 months. I'd like to be working within the first couple of months though, but I'm wondering....does everyone (who needs to work to iive) end up living in the streets?
In reading many, many blogs and forums, I find it very difficult to 'calculate' whether I'll even be able to afford a simple roof over my head and a single meal a day at the end of 6 months. Most people state it costs 'double' for most things on the island, and expect to make 30% - 40% less than you are used to. Well, with those figures in mind, how does ANYONE even live on the island? LOL I understand what people are trying to relay, but the numbers really don't add up. At least not if you're trying to live a decent life. And, as simple as I might be able to live, I'd still like to have a decent life.
I lived in a Midwestern town, making a little over 50k a year. My rent was $850 a month for a decent house, and I had the usual utilities. My groceries were (per people living on the island) half as much as they are down there. And, I was doing 'OK'. Not rich, but not broke. Just enough left over to spend a little time with friends on the weekends. Never even really took a vacation before.
My fear is that I can't find a job in my field right off, and I end up making $8 - $10 per hour. How does anyone actually live there? Does anyone live on their own working as a cashier? Waitress?
I'm trying not to let it discourage me, as the plan is pretty much already set in motion. I'm very excited, but a little worried that I'll be moving back inside of 6 months, and not because of culture shock or climate or 'island time', but because I couldn't find a large enough cardboard box to call home. 🙂
I'm coming with no job up front (I've read it's better to 'be there' to really get a job), no family (coming with), hoping to bring my vehicle, enough 'stuff' to fit inside my vehicle (I know that it can't be shipped that way) and cash. I've read that if it'll take you $10,000 to live for a few weeks, then double that. Really?!?!?!?!? I'm coming with a years worth of my old salary, and don't know why that shouldn't last me......well, a year. If I 'live on the island', and not try to live like I'm back home, it should get me by, yes? God I hope so!! USVI, HERE I COME!!!!! (fingers crossed)
Many people work two jobs to make it, and many people have roommates. If you work in the hospitality field, some of your meals should be provided. You need to stay healthy if you don't have health insurance. You have to be very creative financially and professionally to make it if you're not able to secure something in your field. If you can write grants and secure grants, that may open opportunities for you. There is no magic, one size fits all answer.
You need to stay healthy if you don't have health insurance.
Accidents and unexpected illnesses happen. Please, please, please get health insurance. It would also be wise to get SkyMed or MASA so you can be flown off island if necessary. Otherwise, it's about a $10,000-20,000 trip.
The people who live in the streets are not regular posters or respondents on this very helpful forum -- living expenses are hard to predict as you have read -- you will have rent - utilities - food - transportation costs, even if it is just gas,insurance, and vehicle maintenance - health insurance, if you can find it, or your contribution if it is provided, withholding and Social Security deductions - entertainment costs [ huge variable ] - some vacation costs which you can save for - and asset acquisitions or upgrades to your lifestyle -- clothing purchases - laundry costs - PO box fees - all the normal daily expenses you have anywhere except some of them are quite a bit more costly here - I think most forum members are reluctant to post numerical examples because of some privacy concerns and also because once you have lived here a few years you find ways to save on some purchases that a newcomer is less likely to have access to due to networking - [ like a $200 furniture purchase at a house sale rather than a $1000 similar piece at a furniture store] .
You will find a job -- or 2 even and that job will lead to a better one, depending on the circumstances and your work ethics or habits - I have seen quite a few folks show up , get a great job and party their money and reputation away in short order - good , responsible work is rewarded here as it is not always the norm.
Coming with cash - a desire to succeed, an open and accepting attitude and an ability to endure unusual frustrations will usually allow you a comfortable lifestyle and a chance at staying for as long as you like it the way it is here.
This answer is no different than any of the others you can find by searching around on this very informative and historical forum - if you want to live and work here like most of us it can be done.
average bills for us
1200-rent-no ac no dryer no dishwasher no pool. 3 bedrooms and a small yard in town
250-gas for two vehicles for the month-one is a van
850-insurance on one vehicle for year-it is not new anymore so the price goes down but usually has to be paid in full-other vehicle is a loaner from a friend, they pay insurance on that one.
150-210-electric for said house-no ac no dryer no one home during the day
400-700-food for month-includes cat food
100-200-toiletries for month
100-eating out for month-we dont eat out but about twice a month
both of us work, i finally have health insurance-344 per paycheck-no personal insurance to be had on island.
not sure but i think it was about 2-3 thousand to ship car and personal property-no furniture shipped.
two plane tickets plus cat
once it took me over a year to find a job.
if it is something you want to do, you probably can do it. good luck to you.
NextFaze.... I think you've misread some of "the numbers"
If you have $18K set aside, you're doing great.
In short, you'll need money for rent, food and utilities until you find work.
$2000 a month should cover rent, utilities and food - if it's just you and don't need luxury.
Plenty make do with much less.
You'll also need money for a car and car insurance.
Finding 'some kind of work' shouldnt' be that hard. But these days, finding a "good" job anywhere is tough.
A "good" paying job might take you a year or more, unless you have special skills.
Mostly importantly, have money set aside to 'undo' your move if it comes to that, especially because it seems you haven't been here before, and don't have 'inside info' from friends already living here. Otherwise, nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Don't forget to set aside $400.00 to $600.00 for a bullet proof vest.
gymrat130, though we have the highest murder rate per capita, that does not mean that we all need to wear bullet proof vests.
OMG, the OP made me laugh and laugh when I read do we all live in the streets. But there was another chick on here asking if she could find a place to live for herself, her husband and their 3 year old for less than $600 a month. Really, where do you find that place ANYWHERE?
I moved to STT from Florida with my bf, who has a couple of friends here. We saved about $15000 between us, $5000 of that we used to buy a vehicle. Neither of us had a job before we came, but worked in the restaurant industry and had little trouble finding a job once we got here. I found one I loved right away, actually was working within a week of arrival. He's still finding his "just right" place, but has been employed since within two weeks. We are both (right now) making pretty good money. We pay $1100 per month in rent, about $100-125 for electricity. We paid $65 to fill up the gas for the stove (6 months ago) and haven't had to fill it back yet. Cable and internet run about $100 together. Gasoline has gone up to $4.50 a gallon at my nearest gas station, so I guess that bill is going to be going up, but we fill the tank about every 7-10 days. I still have at&t from when I lived in the states, so that bill is the same as ever ($80/month) I work in a restaurant, but have to buy my meals just like anyone else. I am sure we spend around $300-$400 on groceries/toiletries/etc per month. I really don't remember how much the plane tickets cost, maybe $300-400 each? We shipped some of our things, but no furniture or anything, just regular post office and probably 7-8 30-40 pound boxes. I think that cost another $400 or so. We stayed at my bf's friend's house for a couple of weeks and borrowed their car until we found a car and a place to live. They were very nice about that, actually. We, of course, kept the car full of gas and gave them a couple of hundred dollars for the use of their house. We go out to eat frequently. Neither of us have health insurance. The car insurance was a flat $250 per year. We eat out and go out frequently. At least once a week we go to St John for the day, that trip usually costs us anywhere from $100-300, depending on what we decide to do. I hope this is what you were looking for. Everyone has different experiences, you know?
Thank you for all the replies, both public and private. They've been great. I was a little concerned about the whole 'bullet proof vest' comment though. I have carried a sidearm for many years, and am licensed to carry it concealed (I know not there though; already researched it). I looked into the some crime stats, and was a little surprised. It seems pretty bad, seeing it on paper (screen). And, carjackings are up??? Really?!?!? Where do you run to?? It's an island for crying out loud!!! LOL Overall, I think this is going to work out OK. I'm hoping it is slower. I'm hoping people are friendly. I'm hoping the views are beautiful. I'm hoping that I don't get bit by a foot-long centipede. I'm hoping that there are at least a few single, lower middle-aged women there. I'm hoping I don't run out of money before giving it a real attempt. I'm hoping I can survive on whatever income I find. I'm hoping I don't end up one of the 51/100,000. I'm hoping to make a few good friends. And if I 'fail', I'm hoping I have the time of my life. :@)
Ignore gymrat; s/he's just trolling.
What is the carjacking statistic?? I am not sure I have ever read or heard of that being a problem in the VI - am I being an ostrich here?
I really don't have any idea where that car jacking in STJ quip comes from -- I don't think there has ever been one, much less on the rise - maybe they are talking about breaking into parked cars? And since they mention Charlotte Amalie in the ST Croix section , they may be a bit confused or less knowledgeable overall anyway.
Carjacking on STJ? In "some locations"?!! That's just not true. For heaven's sakes, STJ is a place where people hitchhike -- and let strangers into their cars -- all the time. Car theft, sure -- they take 'em, strip 'em, and send 'em over to Tortola the same night. It hasn't been on the rise, exactly, but nor has it been on the decline. I think the author must have misunderstood or misused the term.