how hard is it really?
I want to know how hard is it to pay normal bills on the island. Lets say I have no car payment and no house payment. What will it run me for 2 adults and 1 child to live on either STT or STX? I have looked through the message board and it does not clearly state a cost. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Here's a link for the Island Trader (st.thomas) and the Crucian Trader (st. croix). Look thru the ads there for cars, housing. You'll need a 2 bedroom at least. In my experience if you run a/c only at night before bed in a specific room and fans the rest of the time through the house - you could be looking at $200-300 for electricity depending on if you have computer, tv, stereo, etc. Maybe a bit high, but that's the figure I use. Rent on STX will be somewhere between $1200-$2000/month on STT it will be higher generally - look in the traders to find good numbers for what you are looking at. If you run out of water in your cistern it will cost about $350 per truckload. Figure cable, phone, gasoline, spending money, dining out, groceries - the trader always has a Plaza Extra ad in it.
we spend about 3 grand a month without the house payment and that includes wapa cable phone yard service groceries eating out cabs gas internet and animals
How could 2 adults and 1 child have no housing costs? If you can afford to buy outright with no mortgage you'll be fine I think.
It's quite possible to live here without A/C. I've managed to quite comfortably for 27 years without it. Nobody can really tell you the costs because so much depends on how you choose to live. Would you eat a lot of steak or a lot of beans & rice? Do you live with a lot of lights on at night all the time?
Thank you, for your help. We would buy a house or condo out right. I can live without a/c, but my wife may not. The cost is high to live there, but does the pay equal out or would money need to be saved for the long haul. Is condo or house better?
in a condo you have association fees, in a house you have all the upkeep,i'd say the association fees are better than the upkeep costs in the long run,houses tend to be money pits unless you buy brand new and sell it after 10 years when things start to go wrong,in a house you have privacy in a condo you share common walls
Jarrett: Look at the archives here about education. I think many people on this board would recommend private school. My feeling is that living here is a more a labor of love- you need to want to be here. It is expensive, frustrating and very, very different. To some, the problems are not enough of an impediment to living as they are to others.
And to answer your question, no the pay here is not higher to cover the higher cost of living. Many people work more than one job to make ends meet.
But no one here really works too hard. The work ethic here is much different than in the states.
well not all of us have "fuckyou"money and so when season comes round again i'll pick up a second job because i have too,and because i'm from the upper midwest where we know how to work
If you want to make a decent living here, you'll work very hard. Those I know who have succeeded do so because they work harder than they ever did in the States. Then some fall into party mode which is OK but it can be a slippery slope here if you stay in it too long. Good luck with whatever you decide. Many live here happily because there are obvious benefits to it & others find they don't like it after a short while. Is the child school age?
I believe condo association fees have been reaching $$$$$ amounts that monthly maintenance & insurance on a home would never reach. For example monthly condo fees at Anchorage is around $550, Cowpet around $900, Mahogany around $950 granted some of this is for insurance but I believe it isn't insurance on your belongings so that would be an additional charge. I know my homeowner's insurance and monthly maintenance isn't anywhere near these numbers.
Looking at monthly condo fees would make one think long and hard about buying condo versus home IMHO.
When I first came here I was shocked by Condo Fees even though they were much lower then they are now. But over the years and becoming a homeowner I have learned Condo Fees and home costs are not that far off, unless you're a very handy person. The salt air and humidity are hard on houses, not to mention unless you build you will probably be buying a older home. Your always doing something like having to paint the roof, seal and clean the cistern, repaint, clean out septic, plumbing problems, electrical. I've been amazed what I've gone through with this house in five years. There's always something going wrong. And if you add in all the things you get in the Condo like landscaping, security, pest service, cable, water, etc, well it adds up to a nice chunk of change monthly and yearly on TOP of the free maintenance.
If you talk to some home owners and ask them about their monthly to yearly expenses it pretty much averages out to be the same or more.
Just be careful with condos & before buying ask about the history of assessments. Many condos do not include water or cable so check carefully. Some condos have fees so high they're a mortgage payment.
I was going to argue with Betty, but decided to make a list first...of what we have spent on one fully occupied house on stx, in a year, and it does come out to more than I thought....if you count pool and lawn service and supplies, work done on the water pump, redoing a cistern, and insurance...but it's still not as much as the annual cost at one of the condos we owned on stx. Big difference for us is that WE get to decide what our money will be spent on, and not the BOD. We're not paying for a manager who may or may not do things we like. We can fire our lawn folks if we don't like how they work. We don't have to watch other people break rules we might not have wanted in the first place...and we like our privacy. But, you don't have the socialization factor that a condo has, especially if you are looking to meet new people. And someone else has the problem of finding a new pool guy if the old one quits. If you're not full time a condo is less of a headache during your absence too. it's more a mind-set issue..or control issue perhaps, but not as much of a major clear-cut economic difference.
I would suggest you hook up with a good Realtor, who can answer a lot of your questions and will know what is and isn't included in the condo fees and can request a disclosure on any house you are interested in and basically work on your behalf. As with all professions, some are better than others, so get references. Rent for a while before buying! Most people say a year, but for some, 6 months is enough time to see how you will settle into island life and what part of the island you like, is convenient to work, school, play, etc.
The decision between condo and house is strictly a personal choice, whether financial or lifestyle. It's good to get lots of input, like you are getting here. Lots of factors. For instance, you have a child...most kids want a dog or cat. Most condos don't allow them. Sometimes kids are not allowed to play in the common areas.
The major expense for most is mortgage or rent. If you take that out of the equation, then groceries (including eating out) would be next. A while back someone started a thread on grocery prices. You could try to find that by using the search option and set it to last year. Even if you buy a house and don't have condo fees, you will have insurance. If you elect to have windstorm coverage, it is extremely high (so high, in fact, that it is often a deal breaker for those looking to purchase with a mortgage). Electricity is currently running about .30 kwh. That could go up. We were over .50 last year. Gas is about $1.00 per gallon cheaper than in the states, and it's a small place, so you probably won't use as much. No "road trips". Private school is expensive too, and is really the best option beyond the first couple of years. Flights back to visit family should be considered too.
Everything here is just general info. It all depends on you, what you do for a living, how you live your life, what is important to you. Some people make really good money and others barely exist. Nobody can really tell you what it will cost YOU to live here. You just have to look at prices, get out the calculator and see where you fit.
St. Croix gas is cheaper than St. Thomas. Currently, gas on STT is close to $3.00/gallon. Betty's correct that it's not a big factor because you won't be driving long commutes.
Here in AZ the price for regular gas is between $2.45 and $2.63 depending on where you buy. What is it in STX now?