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Thread: Santo Domingo is EXPENSIVE - Living Expenses for Past 3 months

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Santo Domingo is EXPENSIVE - Living Expenses for Past 3 months

    I'm posting our family actual budget costs over the past 3 months. I hope this information can be useful to people considering moving to Santo Domingo in the future.

    BACKGROUND: I moved here 2 years ago with my husband who's on assignment here for work. We agreed to move down under the prerequisite that we would not 'compromise' our middle class quality of life outside this country - ie, we decided - sure we'll come to santo domingo, but not if it means we have to change our diets from grilled steak to fried Jumbo salami. So yes, the expenses shown below will seem high to some people here who are willing to be more mercenary than we are - true you could live in an apartment without air conditioning, but we slept at 18 celcius room temperature outside this country for 40 years of our lives, we want the same here, etc. So anyways, here we go:

    PEOPLE: 2 people involved - both expats


    AUGUST 2011:

    $1811 = RENT - We live in Naco in "Western standards" - clean, quiet, 24x7 electricity, zero bugs, etc.
    $930 = FOOD - Groceries + colmado orders + bottled water
    $302 = FOOD - Restaurants
    $191 = GAS - For 1 car
    $115 = GYM - For 2 people
    $167 = MAID - 3 times weekly + her transport
    $499 = EDUCATION - Various courses we're taking
    $300 = CLOTHES - girls will be girls (but things are MUCH cheaper in America...)
    $297 = CLARO - Cable TV + High Speed Internet + Telephone home + 2 Blackberries
    $46 = SALON - once a week
    $204 = ELECTRICITY BILL - Those AC units sure do add up...
    $872 = MEDICINE + DOCTORS - Each consultation costs 3000 pesos, this month I got sick due to some 'local' food-born issues, if you're a foreigner reading this, remember that some drugs can be expensive here, and also that your defenses living in a germ-free country for 40 years may not be as strong as those who have lived here all their lives or the mercenary expats that can chug whisky + agua de calle chaser


    TOTAL AUGUST: $5734

    --------------------------------------------------

    SEPTEMBER 2011:

    $1811 = RENT
    $844 = FOOD - Groceries + colmado orders + bottled water
    $590 = FOOD - Restaurants
    $203 = GAS - For 1 car
    $115 = GYM - For 2 people
    $167 = MAID - 3 times weekly + her transport
    $180 = EDUCATION - Various courses we're taking (including equipment)
    $182 = CLOTHES - girls will be girls (but things are MUCH cheaper in America...)
    $297 = CLARO - Cable TV + High Speed Internet + Telephone home + 2 Blackberries
    $46 = SALON - once a week
    $370 = ELECTRICITY BILL - breached the kwh threshold where the discount applies i guess
    $227 = MEDICINE + DOCTORS

    TOTAL SEPTEMBER: $5032



    --------------------------------------------------

    OCTOBER 2011:

    $1811 = RENT
    $537 = FOOD - Groceries + colmado orders + bottled water
    $596 = FOOD - Restaurants
    $316 = GAS - For 1 car - we took a few weekends away
    $115 = GYM - For 2 people
    $167 = MAID - 3 times weekly + her transport
    $95 = EDUCATION - Various courses we're taking (including equipment)
    $192 = CLOTHES - girls will be girls (but things are MUCH cheaper in America...)
    $297 = CLARO - Cable TV + High Speed Internet + Telephone home + 2 Blackberries
    $46 = SALON - once a week
    $194 = ELECTRICITY BILL - breached the kwh threshold where the discount applies i guess
    $187 = MEDICINE + DOCTORS
    $369 = HOTELS - we took some trips across the country on weekends

    TOTAL OCTOBER: $4922

  2. Likes susan77, mido, Matilda, windeguy liked this post
  3. #2
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    Did someone tell you the Capital was going to be cheap?

  4. #3
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    I 'm curious, what are you getting done at the salon that cost you 1800 pesos each time? 64,000 pesos for rent - big place? Al seem reasonable except I wouldn't have the restaurant bill. My wife hates reastaurants, and almost $600 in cloths in 3 months. We come prepare- no reason to buy.

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    I don't pay rent since I own my property nor do I have air conditioning. Even on the North Coast my monthly budget is still 50% of yours not including trips out of the country. No it is not cheap unless you live like a native. As you pointed out items including gasoline, electricity, clothing, Internet and telephone service cost more here and that does add up.

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    Just out of curiosity, what is your cost of living in your home country?

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    It costs me about $4000-4500 per month in SD Este - and that is if we do not have to fix the car or any other major issues come up. But that is me, my wife and two kids. My rent on a house is much less expensive. I also have Medical Insurance at Platinum level for all four of us. But if we got a couple of more things that we would want, then it would be $5000 a month easily.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicagoan View Post
    Just out of curiosity, what is your cost of living in your home country?
    Very hard to estimate for me for two big reasons. I have not lived in the US for 10 years. And it would vary dramatically depending upon where exactly you chose to live. I would guess that I could live in many places in Florida for about the same as I live in Cabarete.

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    4 tanks of Gas per minimum per month at $50 per fill ( you said car not truck) That's a lot of driving. I drive 300 miles per average week, so that's about $40 in Canada, where the gas is almost the same price as the DR.

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    Default Yes it appears to be

    This looks like the evidence for why after 3 years we haven't moved into Santo Domingo, even though I have a big commute from La Romana every day.
    However many working folk live far more comfortably in terms of cash flowing out...living in normal residencial areas...even where I live in La Romana...which I call a Barrio....(maybe selling it a bit cheap).
    If you have an "International" wage it's ok but on Dominican money....you pitch where it's more affordable...yes a little noisy though!. Interesting to see the expenses listed like that. And yes my wife's salon trips at 650 pesos a go make me tease her....certainly not into paying more...and then of course on the actual day she emerges from the salon it looks worse than before! Hat day! Then it grows back.

  11. #10
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    Thanks for this, Kim, it's a useful guide. The hair salon expense does sound high - even in pricey places a wash and dry is about RD$600, your expense sounds like you're having your hair cut or coloured every week! Also, any reason you haven't taken out health insurance? I also recommend saving clothes shopping for trips home or online purchases.

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