Relocating to STT
What is the recommended monthly amount of cash flow for a couple looking to relocate without work at this time?
What do you spend at home and what are your needs, must haves and can do withouts?
Willing to live in a one bedroom or studio to start in St. Thomas. Just want to work and get to know the island. My husband and I are both not afraid to get our hands dirty and have a variety of skills.
It's difficult to give you precise amounts as everyone's lifestyle/needs/wants/desires are different but for planning purposes figure you'll spend anywhere from 25% to 35% more than you do now to maintain the same lifestyle in the USVI's.
I am thinking of moving to the USVI as well and have been doing my research. I have seen the 25-35% as well from other people here but I have to assume that depends on where you live in the US. In Florida, the cost of living is very low compared to other parts of the country (at leas where I live in Florida). If I moved to New England, NYC, California, etc my cost of living would be quite a bit higher than here. I am definitely seeing that food, gas, utilities are much more expensive in the islands. I feel like adjusting your way of life helps with some of it. I can't imagine I would use as much gas as I do now since it is physically impossible for me to drive as much as I do now on an island 🙂 But I am still in very early research phase and let me tell you, it is fun! I am learning so much and can't wait for a PMV!
I have made it a priority to not spend more than 30% of net income on rent. Our rent does include WAPA, water, Dish and Internet so we stretched that 30% obviously. Unless you are lucky enough to land a job that offers health insurance you need to budget that as well. We do just fine here making what people stateside would consider a middle class salary, my wife stays home with baby. We limit our dinners out. We buy bulk meats and separate for individual meals. It can be done if you aren't swept into a lifestyle I see many of my friends involved in. (They do make more than me and do not have kids though)
Thanks Sparty- That is very useful info. I am curious about how much my electricity would run me. In Florida we are used to high bills in the summer months because of AC but I am able to cut it down by making sure I am not running the AC high when I am not home. Sounds like electricity will definitely be more in USVI.
Water- Does everyone have a cistern? My water cost is very low here. I pay about 35$ a month but that is a 2 bdrm place, just my daughter and I. No pool. When I was in a 4 bdrm house, my son lived at home and we had a pool etc it ran more around $75. How does water work there?
It depends on the rental.
Most homes have cisterns, condos you pay from 5-10¢ per gallon, some places in/around/close to town are on on potable water from wapa (no idea of cost there). Some residential homes that have rentals are are metered and you pay for your usage, some are not but if water runs out, you share in cost of buying water (usually divided by number of apts./people in building or on property which runs about $380 per 5200 gallons.
My sisters and many friends live in FL and pay a ridiculously low amount for running their central AC, 24/7/365, compared to what we pay, not running any AC. We were paying about 56¢ per KWh. Think we're down to about 39¢ per KWh, at present.
Some rentals include electricity, (up to a certain amount, especially if apt. has AC), some don't and you either pay WAPA bill or pay landlord amount of your usage.
Food is definitely more expensive here than FL unless shopping at Whole Foods there and quality and selections are not as great. You definitely have to "shop around" as rare to find everything on your list in one place and sometimes they may be out of a certain product or brand, island wide and it may be a couple weeks (or more) before it's stocked again. You won't be finding fresh corn for 10¢ an ear, that's for sure.
We left STX 3 years ago. We now live in southern Florida.
We could not afford to run the ac at all in STX.
I turned the ac on here over 3 years and have never turned it off. Although we may spend a little more on electricity in the summer it is still markedly less than STX!!!
The AC cost is interesting to know. Uncoils live without it but I can imagine my daughter doing that.
I would say $3500.00-$4000.00 a month depending on cost of rental, food, plus I always like to recommend newbies coming to the Islands have enough cash stowed away to buy one way tickets back home. You would be surprised how many people I have seen that had to beg barrow and steal the money to get back home on. Remember, Dreams are free, making them a reality gets expensive.
(don't shoot the messenger because you don't like the message)
It's been said a million times. Bring 10k.