Seeking Advice:Moving to Santo Domingo

Scutter

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Mar 31, 2005
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Hello Friends, I'm Scutter, an American, living in Minneapolis MN. Ever Since I was Young, back in Grade School, I read an article about the Dominican Republic...I said then , I want to live their some day. Now is my time, Maybe...I have saved up enough money to Live in Santo Domingo,..I want to live with and around the Dominican Culture...THIS IS MY QUESTION FOR ALL, Can I Live, on what I've saved...If I stay a year in Santo Domingo, I Have a TIGHT BUDGET! Almost 600.00 U.S. dollars a month..(Around $590.00). Can I Live Safe and Semi-Comfortably.My lifestyle: I want to learn Spanish from the local Dominican's, I want to shop in the veg., fruit Markets, I'm Vegeterian, and I need to Live Cheap. Can I Find a Decent Studio Apt., or small 1 bdrm, in Santo Domingo, DOES NOT HAVE to be the best neighborhood...safe at least, with caution.? I want to also experience the Night Life, Culture,which would of course include some sight seeeing expenses, and money for going out to some Clubs, if I choose! I also need to buy prescriptions, and see a Dr. Once and a while. I also need Cable News, TV, (COST?)Can I find a livabable apt. for U.S. $100.00, or less?Will I have enough Money to eat at Home/APT., and go out sometimes?? I Like Living in the Central City. Can I Live in Santo Domingo, as I've Described above, on a Budget of $600.00 U.S. Thanks for Any and all INFO.....Scutter.
 

AnnaC

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Jan 2, 2002
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We see your post. You'll have to wait for answers or do a search. Life in the DR isn't as cheap as one might think. It all depends if you want to live as an American or a very poor Dominican.

There's many threads on this topic.

Good luck.
 

quejeyoke

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Jun 20, 2004
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you might be able to swing it but you're going to have to walk the tight rope like michael jackson used to moonwalk. For that, you might as well stay home and live a way easier life with all your Basic needs readily available to you. Last week some1 that makes 80 grand usd a year told me DR is expensive. Go figure. There is no need to suffer if you aint born in the DR unless you choose to do so or come with enough funds to live aloof. [cue in Dream On from Aerosmith here].
 

quejeyoke

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Jun 20, 2004
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but, if you get some good roommates to share the costs ya all might be able to live it. Assuming they all bring in at least as much as your budget.
 

2dlight

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Jun 3, 2004
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Dream On..

quejeyoke said:
you might be able to swing it but you're going to have to walk the tight rope like michael jackson used to moonwalk. For that, you might as well stay home and live a way easier life with all your Basic needs readily available to you. Last week some1 that makes 80 grand usd a year told me DR is expensive. Go figure. There is no need to suffer if you aint born in the DR unless you choose to do so or come with enough funds to live aloof. [cue in Dream On from Aerosmith here].
Would that be " dream on, dream on, dream until your dreams come true"?
 

Naufrago

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Sep 1, 2004
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You'll need more than US600=DR17100, an ok apartment in an ok area will take 1/2 of the money, electric (w/o A/C), cable (Basic), and food (Rice and Beans), will take the rest. But, unless you know people here to help acclimate you the learning cost may be great. If you can work, you should plan on doing something here to get some money coming in. Are you living on $600 in MN? You could work as an English Teacher P/T and bring in another 10K pesos per month, which might just make the difference, along with the medical benefits. Good Luck. Florida might be a better Idea, lots of Dominicans there. ;)
 
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planner

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Sep 23, 2002
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I would suggest it is doable but very very tight!!!! At todays rate of exchange it will be exceptionally hard. You will probably only find an apartment in the poorest areas for that kind of money and you will exist on a limited diet only if you know where and how to shop.

But, it can be done. As for nightlife - it will be limited by your lack of funds. And goodness help you if you want companionship as you wont' have the budget for that!
 

Voyager

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Mar 1, 2004
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Scutter said:
Hello Friends, I'm Scutter, an American, living in Minneapolis MN. Ever Since I was Young, back in Grade School, I read an article about the Dominican Republic...I said then , I want to live their some day.
I think the basic question is WHY? Make yourself a cup of green tea and sit down and think through WHY you want to move to DR?

When I was a young man, my dream was to live in the US! Why? Because of the romantic impression I had from movies! After my first visit to USA, I still wanted to move there! Now ever more! Why? Because my rose-coloured vision allowed me to see only things that boosted my desire but filtered away everything that conflicted with my dream.

Also, please remember that it is not a pleasant thing to be poor in a country such as DR. If your economy allows you to barely survive, then what is the point of moving there? Much better then to stay in US and go to DR for vacation.

However, the final decision is of course based on your own values and what is important for you. You may well see things in a totally differet way than I do? Just make sure you balance your dream with a pinch if reality and make sure you are aware of why you have the feelings you have.

Well, only my personal views on this rather intricate matter.
 

paddy

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Oct 4, 2003
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Naufrago said:
You'll need more than US600=DR17100, an ok apartment in an ok area will take 1/2 of the money, electric (w/o A/C), cable (Basic), and food (Rice and Beans), will take the rest. But, unless you know people here to help acclimate you the learning cost may be great. If you can work, you should plan on doing something here to get some money coming in. Are you living on $600 in MN? You could work as an English Teacher P/T and bring in another 10K pesos per month, which might just make the difference, along with the medical benefits. Good Luck. Florida might be a better Idea, lots of Dominicans there. ;)
what sort of income..social security,pension etc...in american dollars would be adequate to live comfortably in the dr?? and i guess it depends if it's monti cristi or sosua and so forth.
 

Naufrago

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Sep 1, 2004
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paddy said:
what sort of income..social security,pension etc...in american dollars would be adequate to live comfortably in the dr?? and i guess it depends if it's monti cristi or sosua and so forth.

You could get a nice apartment, not luxury, in SD for 12,000RD per month, multiply that by 4= 48,000RD/month. 50K pesos is a pretty good Dominican Salary, and you could live nicely. Currently 50,000/28.5= $1,754US. If you're single you'll be better off than if you have kids in private school, wife, in-laws, etc., and have more disposible income for a little fun.
 

suarezn

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Feb 3, 2002
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Yes it can be done. Plenty of Dominicans "live" on a lot less than that...but the problem here is that you're not Dominican and you may find it hard to eat rice and beans every day or live without some basic comforts suchs as reliable running water or electricity. Will you be willing to bathe with a bucket of water or wear wrinkled clothes because the power went out right in the middle of ironing. These are some of the challenges poor dominicans face on a daily basis. They are used to it, so they have found ways to work this out...but will you?

If you do decide to go ahead with it...I would suggest you move to a smaller non-touristy town. For instance in Cotui you can find a nice house (a whole house) in a decent neighborhood for about 4000 pesos a month (about 150 USD/month). The same house will cost you about 15,000 pesos in a not so nice neighborhood in the capital. The tradeoff is that if you don't own a car you won't have as many choices available for nightlife, shopping, etc...

I do have the question of how do you make it with 600 USD/Month in MN?
 

Naufrago

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Sep 1, 2004
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suarezn said:
I do have the question of how do you make it with 600 USD/Month in MN?
I had that question too. If he's getting a Disability check, he's also probably getting public housing and food stamps, free medical, that's why I thought Florida might be a good place to check out, very good social services down there. As you know, there is nothing comparable in the DR.
 

TEHAMA

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Feb 3, 2004
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$600 jumped out at me too. The poorest of the poor in the US live like kings compared to the poor in DR. If he thinks for one second he can make a go of it, then do. The flight alone would cost about that much.

Florida is not that cheap either. MN has some great small towns, almost village like. I would try there first.
TEHAMA
 

TEHAMA

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Feb 3, 2004
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Actually, I just remembered a place you might get for $200. Its VERY TINY, TINY. Two rooms maximum with 24 hr security and constant water supply. Other utilities extra. PM me if interested.
TEHAMA
 

sweetdbt

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Sep 17, 2004
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Scutter,

In your OP you did indicate that you have been saving for this, so I'm "assuming" (correct me if I'm wrong) that the $590 a month would be interest from your savings as opposed to a disability check or other source.

Do you know what interest rates are in the DR? They are 5 or 6 times what you get from US banks. If your $ is in a bank in the US, by moving just a portion of it to the DR, you could significantly increase your monthly income. If you don't mind saying, I think knowing approximatly how much you have saved would help the board in presenting options to you.

Is there some particular reason for choosing SD over all places in the DR? As saurezn indicated, there are places like Cotui which are mas barato. Even the Presidente is cheaper. RD50 for Grandes at La Piscina!

OK, sorry but I read your post more carefully and see that you have saved with the idea of staying a year. The higher interest would only help a little in that case. It's going to be tight. If I were you, I'd wait a while and save some more, or plan for a somewhat shorter stay. You could live on 600 a month, but you might not have much fun!
 
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Voyager

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Mar 1, 2004
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As people have advised here, it can be done on that kind of money.

Sure, basically anything can be done. I know a family in Sweden, with 4 kids. They live in their own house and own an old Volvo. They've sent two kids to University. Monthly income for that family is equal to US$3,000. That is less than BushBaby advised for a 3 kids family in DR. (If my memory is correct!?)

The question is... or rather, MY question is... what added value to my life would it bring to move to DR and then sit on a park bench and watch other people pass by on the way to a cinema, to a restaurant, a trip to visit friends in another city etc. and myself be able to afford one beer a month at the most?

So I come back to my question about the WHY you want to move to DR? I think it is very important to have the answer to that question completely clear in one's mind before making the move.