Tell me if I'm forgetting anything..
As far as increase cost of living, I have so far noted the following:
Insurance cost if we buy.
private school cost
electric and water
What other things can you think of? I know people have said on here that in general, "everything" is more expensive, but I'm trying to get a more specific idea. We're trying to get an idea of cost of living there before we move.
Some other things are, building materials, perscription drugs, furniture and appliances.
But booze & cigarettes are cheaper. 🙂
We're moving this summer to STX, so "cost" is something we've been dealing with.
Let me suggest another way to look at "costs" ....
Up here we drive new cars. Not going to do that on the island.
Up here we paid $5300 in property taxes this year (doesn't include city or state taxes) for a nice home in the burbs and "free" public education in schools that are good, but overcrowded and life-sucking.
Up here we sit in damp-cold Ohio six months out of the year watching our waistlines expand.
Up here we HAVE TO turn on the AC or Heat.
Up here we have the cost of maintaining our swimming pool which we get to use 5 months of the year.
Up here we spend $5000+ a year to vacation at the beach.
I'm sure there are some more "up here's" I'm missing. 🙂
Heres your flip side Neil,
We may drive old cars but you can spend alot of money fixing them. Gas is slightly cheaper but insurance is not, much more then where we last came from.
We do not have high property taxes but our hurricane insurance is a killer, I pay about 8k.
Most work hard to live here and do not get to get out and get a tan near as often as you first hope. We have one gym left and they make you pay through the nose and our roads are unsafe to exercise on.
Most feel like that have to turn on the a/c to be able to sleep at night not to mention the hot summer days.
In most cold climates you close your pools in winter and have a much cheaper bill, here a swimming pool is a big wapa drainer all year round.
You will still spend that 5k and possibly more to see family and vacations. Its expensive to get off the rock.
Its not any cheaper, I'd be very skeptical of anyone telling you it is. I know thats not what you were doing Neil, you were just trying to look on the ligher side. But what you imagine and what is...well its more expensive for most.
Well just to be nit picky a little: private schools cost more in the states. Down here it is a pretty good deal compared to private schools in the states that cost on average $14,000 per year, starting in K and increasing with each grade level increase. So as far as cost of living goes, sending your kids to private school may be cheaper on island if you had always planned to send your kids to private school wherever you live. It's only more expensive for those who may have always counted on public schools and wouldn't send their kid to public schools here.
Also, rent may be more or less expensive depending on where you come from. Coming from New York or a major city, rent in the islands is much much cheaper. Coming from Nebraska it might be a lot more expensive. Same goes for food.
Basically, a lot of "cost of living" expenses are relative and many people are able to survive quite happily without being prohibited by the "high" cost of living down here. I for one find it much cheaper in STX than in other places I have lived eg Miami, Boston, New York.
It's cheaper to dress down here. There isn't a lot of "dress for success" for the most part. My property taxes are a LOT cheaper than the US. I stick with Toyotas & my car insurance is cheaper because I drive them for years & years. I'm on my 3rd car here in the 26 years I've lived on STT. I never use A/C in the car & have never lived with A/C in my residences. I made a determined effort to acclimate myself to the heat when I first came down. I've found that if you leave an air-conditioned house & get in an air-conditioned car the heat really gets to you when the A/C isn't available.
Pools are nice but you're surrounded by one of the most beautiful swimming pools in the world & it's free & requires no skimming or pumps. If you like magazines, subscribe to them. The rates are the same (including specials) as the mainland but buying individual copies are a lot more expensive.
There is no sales tax and no state income tax. My salary here is lower than in the states, but it about evens out when you factor that in.
Hi Neil,what part of Ohio are you from. We relocated from Columbus. I know what you're saying....
"Up here we sit in damp-cold Ohio six months out of the year watching our waistlines expand.
Up here we HAVE TO turn on the AC or Heat. "
It's one extreme or the other up there. I do miss "krogers" tho 🙂
I know a group of people living on STX whose food budget is $5 per person per day. They are able to stick to it, and they are not suffering. One group member is in charge of shopping and cooking for everybody. That does not include restaurants and bars. If they want that, they have to pay for it themselves separately.
To anybody (in the VI or elsewhere) who feels that they have to work a lot so they can spend a lot, or who thinks that making little money means having a sub-standard life, or who hates their job, or who doesn't have time to spend on things they really want to do, I recommend the book, "Your Money Or Your Life -- Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence." It's a classic, and has changed many lives. It is not a get-rick-quick book. See reviews at Amazon.com or elsewhere for more info.
If you don't like to cook this would be a very expensive island. If I break down my bill its more like $8 per person per day (including all household items like, detergent, cleaning products, bathroom stuff, etc). I'm not willing to sacrifice fresh fruits and vegetables. And we do not eat fancy, mostly vegetarian and chicken, but I do love to cook. There are definitely ways to save money but coming from stateside, I do believe it takes most a while to learn how to simplify. And groceries are definitely more here. I've know more then one newbie to get some serious sticker shock at the grocery store and disappointment at the selection.
Thanks Betty for the cold glass of reality 🙂
This board is certainly a great place to learn.
Anybody want to guess at what the value of a home is that requires 8k in insurance?
I'm sure all of us here represent people of various incomes, attitudes and must-haves.
One of the things we're looking forward to leaving behind is our purchashing of useless crap, overpriced new cars, fastfood, and spending of money on visiting places we'd rather be because we're living in the wrong place. Seems to get worse in the winter, wonder why 😉
As far as the value of the home its no place. I believe the rule of thumb is 2% or 3% of the home price is what you will pay in hurricane insurance. Hurricane insurance is just something many people don't budget in when they first start to look at buying a home here. Its part of why so many houses have apartments here, to pay the insurance or help pay the mortgage. You can buy more home with a house that has a rental.
I think you will find we have all the useless crap you have stateside, instead of expensive cars people have expensive boats and people love their fast food here as well. But you're right about it being warmer.
Wondering....is the hurricane/earthquake insurance in addition to standard homeowners insurance? (I'm not talking about mortgage insurance). For example, here in florida we get homeowners insurance (fire,theft,etc) which also covers hurricanes but at a separate and higher deductible.
Also, for those of you that own houses. I read that the hurricane insurance is 2-3 percent of the value of your house. Is this what you are paying? From looking at MLS listings, a decent house in St Thomas I figure will run atleast $595k. That's 12-17k per year (595k times .02 or .03). Does that sound right to you?