Oh, "The cost of living is so much cheaper here!"

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johne

Guest
So many people, especially those with plans to move here, make this statement and set it in concrete. I'd like to open a discussion (especially after reading the post from the family moving from Seattle) about COL.
COL< made up of a basket of rent, taxes, food, utilities,.... you all know the rest. It also is a relative scale, to me at leas,t because we have different life styles and standards of living.

My question is, are people honest with themselves when they make the statement? Do most people really think this out? Have these people been in a supermarket? Or a gas station. Or Plaza Salud? or, on and on with ALL the parts of the basket?

I have no horse in this race because I'm doing the" whole living thing" another way which of course is by my choice. But, I would love to hear the observations from the forum on the true story of COL.
 
J

josh2203

Guest
So many people, especially those with plans to move here, make this statement and set it in concrete. I'd like to open a discussion (especially after reading the post from the family moving from Seattle) about COL.
COL< made up of a basket of rent, taxes, food, utilities,.... you all know the rest. It also is a relative scale, to me at leas,t because we have different life styles and standards of living.

My question is, are people honest with themselves when they make the statement? Do most people really think this out? Have these people been in a supermarket? Or a gas station. Or Plaza Salud? or, on and on with ALL the parts of the basket?

I have no horse in this race because I'm doing the" whole living thing" another way which of course is by my choice. But, I would love to hear the observations from the forum on the true story of COL.
Having lived years in the DR, IMO, the issue is exactly what you write above, people have different lifestyles, and to each one, their own lifestyle is the one to compare to.

I'm European, live here with my wife (from here) and two small kids, in Puerto Plata. We're both in our early 30s and have high education.


Many expats write that cost if living is cheap compared to where they come from. I say that this strongly depends on your lifestyle (as stated above) and where you come from. Many years ago, when it was just me and my wife living here, our monthly budget was something very different than it's now. We were fine living in a cheaper area, did hardly consume electricity and everything (basically: food) was just for two persons. That's not the case anymore. With two small kids, I refuse to live in a similar neighborhood where we used to live. Health insurance and ensuring proper education is also a must.


In our current situation, not many things are cheaper than in Europe. More expensive are electricity, and food and means of communication (telcom). Cheaper are: housing, transportation. I have understood that for Americans, gasoline pricing here is expensive, whereas for me it's very cheap. One might say that they pay this and that for electricity where as someone else pays something else. That someone else might need/prefer a/c turned on more often than the first person. Again, each of us has individual lifestyle/needs/preferences. I think that the only valid way to compare if the luz is expensive or not is by the kWh pricing. That pricing is of course sometimes a bit complicated as it changes as per your consumption, but what you've in fact consumed, should be always stated on your bill.


For food, locally produced items are usually cheaper, but this again goes with one's dietary preferences. We mostly purchase local stuff, but we have certain items that go with more European diet (breakfast for example), and those are expensive.
 
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RDKNIGHT

Guest
I can only speak for me ... I live in the punta cana area been here for 6 yrs came from new york city .. for me it's 30-40 percent cheaper than NYC ...electric bill here $300 usd with full air everysecond in the NYC that would cost me easy 600..also food is cheaper ....only thing i dont like is all products are made cheaper a nd break quickly basically there are S***...... Products mean pipes, tools, general house needs.. thank god we have amazon ... I pay more but i get good stuff..... also the apt i have is 4 bedroom i rent for a 1K in NYC that apt is and easy 4K if not more.....
 
D

drstock

Guest
Agreed with all of the above. So much depends on where you come from and your lifestyle. For example, if you are used to paying high fuel bills for heating, you make a big saving here. However, if you then use air-conditioning, and didn't need to where you came from, it gets expensive.
 
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zoomzx11

Guest
There is an old joke about the worlds three biggest lies being
"the check is in the mail, just let me put the head in and I wont come in you mouth."
The cost of living is cheaper here is the fourth lie.

You eat mostly beans and rice, live in a dangerous area, no screens on the windows and have no car
you can live cheap anywhere in the world.
 
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drstock

Guest
There is an old joke about the worlds three biggest lies being
"the check is in the mail, just let me put the head in and I wont come in you mouth."
The cost of living is cheaper here is the fourth lie.

You eat mostly beans and rice, live in a dangerous area, no screens on the windows and have no car
you can live cheap anywhere in the world.
None of the things in the last sentence apply to me, but I still live considerably cheaper here than in the UK.
 
B

bob saunders

Guest
https://www.statista.com/statistics/263492/electricity-prices-in-selected-countries/
Based on the link above most of Europe has higher electrical prices than the majority of the DR.
My last bill 200 kWh x 4.44 pesos, 100 kWh x 6.97, and 48 kWh x 10.86 for a total bill of 2,243.53 PESOS or approximately 42 dollars and that is one of our higher bills. Gas - I normal use about 6000 pesos a month worth, so expensive gas but I travel shorter distances so use less, Health Insurance - Palic Prestige which pays about 80 percent on average for all services, 100 percent on many , we pay 8600 per month for two people. Other than oatmeal, Granola, Cheese and Almond milk which we buy at Pricesmart we shop locally and yes veggies and fruit are generally cheap in Jarabacoa. We have the advantage of being gifted fruit and veggies by parents of students. We also have our own orange tree that produces a massive amount of oranges, We also have several other fruit trees. I just bought 50 avocados off Russ, a canadian guy here at 10 pesos each- they are fantastic. Cellphone 1800 pesos per month. Water 625 per month. Food- varies from month to month but certainly more expensive if you eat out of cans and boxes.
 
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ramesses

Guest
None of the things in the last sentence apply to me, but I still live considerably cheaper here than in the UK.
Are there places in the UK where you could live almost as cheap as the DR or is this true for the entire country?
 
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beeza

Guest
https://www.statista.com/statistics/263492/electricity-prices-in-selected-countries/
Based on the link above most of Europe has higher electrical prices than the majority of the DR.
My last bill 200 kWh x 4.44 pesos, 100 kWh x 6.97, and 48 kWh x 10.86 for a total bill of 2,243.53 PESOS or approximately 42 dollars and that is one of our higher bills. Gas - I normal use about 6000 pesos a month worth, so expensive gas but I travel shorter distances so use less, Health Insurance - Palic Prestige which pays about 80 percent on average for all services, 100 percent on many , we pay 8600 per month for two people. Other than oatmeal, Granola, Cheese and Almond milk which we buy at Pricesmart we shop locally and yes veggies and fruit are generally cheap in Jarabacoa. We have the advantage of being gifted fruit and veggies by parents of students. We also have our own orange tree that produces a massive amount of oranges, We also have several other fruit trees. I just bought 50 avocados off Russ, a canadian guy here at 10 pesos each- they are fantastic. Cellphone 1800 pesos per month. Water 625 per month. Food- varies from month to month but certainly more expensive if you eat out of cans and boxes.
Almond milk? I didn’t even know they had nipples?



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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Matilda

Guest
Public transport is much cheaper here than the UK. I travelled from home to Punta Cana on two buses. Comfortable seat, plenty of leg room, aircon, television, wifi, seat belts and toilet. Journey time, around 10 hours, cost RD$800. Taxi in between bus stations, time 15 minutes, cost RD$200. On arrival in England I took a train. Comfortable seats, good leg room, wifi, no seat belts, no aircon, no TV. Journey time 2 hours, cost RD$2,400. Train travelled a little faster than the bus. Taxi to home, time 20 minutes, cost RD$600.

Matilda
 
M

mountainannie

Guest
So many people, especially those with plans to move here, make this statement and set it in concrete. I'd like to open a discussion (especially after reading the post from the family moving from Seattle) about COL.
COL< made up of a basket of rent, taxes, food, utilities,.... you all know the rest. It also is a relative scale, to me at leas,t because we have different life styles and standards of living.

My question is, are people honest with themselves when they make the statement? Do most people really think this out? Have these people been in a supermarket? Or a gas station. Or Plaza Salud? or, on and on with ALL the parts of the basket?

I have no horse in this race because I'm doing the" whole living thing" another way which of course is by my choice. But, I would love to hear the observations from the forum on the true story of COL.
I lived in the DR for 14 years (2004-2016) - made my plans when the peso was at 52 to one $ - and when I arrived the exchange rate tanked to 25... so there is that...And others ought to factor that possibility into their plans. I see that the rate is around 52 now but I do not think that it has been higher than that in recent memory but it certainly has been lower. So could you still afford your life if the exchange rate fluctuates wildly?

And - like others - there is the "it all depends" - rents are cheaper but so are landlords in that the landlords will not make any repairs so that is on you. Plus relationships with landlords can be difficult and while buying a place is easy, selling - not so much.

Health insurance is cheaper but it is hard to find a "full service doc" who will look at your entire health - there is a sorta "diagnose it yourself" system where you have to run around to various specialists and keep your own records, get your own blood tests before each visit, hire your own nurses for hospital care...

Fresh food is cheap and good but there is not the selection or variety that can be found in most US supermarkets...If you love tropical fruit, (and PERFECTLY Tree ripened almost impossible to find elsewhere) then you will be fine.

Restaurants are not so great and quite expensive - (am not counting the comedies and Platos del Dias which are decent food at good prices) - you will not find the variety of various ethnic groups that are found in most major cities - but the prices can rival USA once the ITBIS and propane are included.

I lived in SD and did not have a car except for renting one for the occasional trip... but TAXIS in the Capital were an amazing luxury since they did not charge for waiting time - just the flat rate of around $2.50 to go about anywhere at anytime. It was like having a chauffeur driven limo.

But the ONE THING that really set life in the DR above the US for me - as a female - was the MAID.. To have someone come in and do the cleaning and laundry? Change the sheets? Do the dusting? Even cook? Go shopping for you if you wanted?
THAT can not be had in the USA except in the very top of the pyramid...

So there are things that are NOT in the COL - as in home help - that are available here... and NOT available in the developed world. It was not so much that my life was that much less expensive when I lived there (it was - but not by that much) but that I had luxuries there that I could not afford here.
 
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chico bill

Guest
If you want to live like as a semi-hermit in a hot house with bugs and eat a lousy diet (rice and beans, street plucked chicken and the neighbors mangoes ) and not drive, and don't need much hospitalization in an emergency, yeah then it's cheaper.

But if you want a car, and fill it 3 times a month, want a few beers a week and make weekly trips to the supermarket for a cart full of groceries then the US is head an shoulders cheaper (Factor out places like California, NY, NJ & DC )
Food - 40% cheaper in the US
Cars - 50% cheaper
Fuel - 50% cheaper
Electricity - about equal in US if high user if you want to live like a westerner in a Area "A" section (Refrigerator, AC, night lights, hot water, swimming pool. But in the US power is 24/7, 365 reliable - so no inverter or generator to maintain
Dining out - similar but better quality and selection in US
Medical & dental - 3-4 x higher in US
Water - 2 X higher but you don't need bottled water
Domestic Help - 3-4 x higher in US
Medical Insurance - 5 times higher in the US. But you get what you pay for here

Do you realize for a small bottle of Presidente it is now almost $1.80 US per bottle. For 6 bottles of that in the US you can buy a six pack of Modelo Especial with money left over for a stick of Oberta beef jerky and pack of Red Vines and $2 in change - that's living !
 
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zoomzx11

Guest
If you want to live like as a semi-hermit in a hot house with bugs and eat a lousy diet (rice and beans, street plucked chicken and the neighbors mangoes ) and not drive, and don't need much hospitalization in an emergency, yeah then it's cheaper.

But if you want a car, and fill it 3 times a month, want a few beers a week and make weekly trips to the supermarket for a cart full of groceries then the US is head an shoulders cheaper (Factor out places like California, NY, NJ & DC )
Food - 40% cheaper in the US
Cars - 50% cheaper
Fuel - 50% cheaper
Electricity - about equal in US if high user if you want to live like a westerner in a Area "A" section (Refrigerator, AC, night lights, hot water, swimming pool. But in the US power is 24/7, 365 reliable - so no inverter or generator to maintain
Dining out - similar but better quality and selection in US
Medical & dental - 3-4 x higher in US
Water - 2 X higher but you don't need bottled water
Domestic Help - 3-4 x higher in US
Medical Insurance - 5 times higher in the US. But you get what you pay for here

Do you realize for a small bottle of Presidente it is now almost $1.80 US per bottle. For 6 bottles of that in the US you can buy a six pack of Modelo Especial with money left over for a stick of Oberta beef jerky and pack of Red Vines and $2 in change - that's living !
Not sure that I would put alcohol in with the list of basic needs but to each his own.
I am guessing that Modelo Especial is some sort of beer but you lost me on Red Vines and Oberta Beef Jerky.
How about some cigarettes to go with the beer?
 
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cobraboy

Guest
If you live a more Dominican life, it can be cheaper.

If you import your first-world lifestyle, it can be much more expensive.
 
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chico bill

Guest
Not sure that I would put alcohol in with the list of basic needs but to each his own.
I am guessing that Modelo Especial is some sort of beer but you lost me on Red Vines and Oberta Beef Jerky.
How about some cigarettes to go with the beer?
Whatever blows your skirt up. I don't smoke but if you do then puff-away, just not in public near me.
Depending on where you live in the US I think cigarettes are higher in the US because of taxes, but most are better tobacco than most brands (even US name brands) sold here
 
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chico bill

Guest
If you live a more Dominican life, it can be cheaper.

If you import your first-world lifestyle, it can be much more expensive.
Which do you live ? Probably no AC where you live ? Got TV ? Drive many vehicles si ? Got cable and internet. Food shop frequently ? Have a pool ?

I don't think most expats, except those dead broke come to DR to live like a campesino and roast a pig over a pressure-treated wood in an outdoor pit (yes I have seen it). Nor take a chicken, tear its head off dip in hot water and pluck it's feathers, nor live in a dirt floor shack with a $2 Chinese padlock on a hasp for security. Or eat a Styrofoam container meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If that is your lifestyle - you would be living better in a trailer park in Louisiana
 
W

william webster

Guest
Pretty hard question to answer.... so many variables

Definitely some aspects are cheaper - others, not so much
 
C

cobraboy

Guest
Which do you live ? Probably no AC where you live ? Got TV ? Drive many vehicles si ? Got cable and internet. Food shop frequently ? Have a pool ?

I don't think most expats, except those dead broke come to DR to live like a campesino and roast a pig over a pressure-treated wood in an outdoor pit (yes I have seen it). Nor take a chicken, tear its head off dip in hot water and pluck it's feathers, nor live in a dirt floor shack with a $2 Chinese padlock on a hasp for security. Or eat a Styrofoam container meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If that is your lifestyle - you would be living better in a trailer park in Louisiana
I live a hybrid existence. I rent a nice house with a pool for a fraction of the US. I drive a good, but used SUV. My businesses are in my home. A/C is in two bedrooms, the bill varies from RD$3500-10,000, the upper end in warmer weather. We eat modestly, but I'll go for the occasional good beef. We don't drink much at all. And we eat out so much during tour season we are homebodies the rest of the year. No TV. Decent remote innerweb.

I live on about half of what it cost to live in the states, but it is a vastly simpler life...by choice.

Now if I wanted to buy a big house in a prime neighborhood (we once looked at lots in a gated community in Santiago, 2000m for US$450,000...wowsers!), drove a new car, ate out all the time, ate only imported foods, etc., etc., etc., it would cost double of how I lived in the states.

Pretty hard question to answer.... so many variables

Definitely some aspects are cheaper - others, not so much
I agree with Bill: many variables.

I have posted this matrix before on costs in the DR:

 
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johne

Guest
If you live a more Dominican life, it can be cheaper.

If you import your first-world lifestyle, it can be much more expensive.
Yes, this is the answer that addresses the "it's a relative thing" in a nutshell.
 
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drstock

Guest
Are there places in the UK where you could live almost as cheap as the DR or is this true for the entire country?
I lived near London so property prices and rents are higher than other parts of the country, but otherwise prices are pretty much equal throughout the country. So no, I don't think there are places in the UK where you could live as cheaply as in the DR.