how much does it cost?

That’s the question I hear most often – “How much higher is the cost of living down there? Have you thought about that?”

Mid-way through 2016 I did an experiment where I tracked the cost of food as well as the macro- and micronutrients. I nailed a diet at various calorie levels and then stuck with it for six months. My diet doesn’t vary much because I’m not an adventurous eater. (If eating is an adventure there may be something off in your life, just sayin’).

The long and short of it: my current diet (which hits all macro- and micronutrients) will cost about 20% more than it currently does. But, that’s not factoring in the stuff that’s even cheaper down there, like mangos and bananas. I compared the prices in supermarket fliers between St. Croix and Denver. Most items were with 10%, some were less, some were 20% higher.

In order of expense, the cost of living difference amounts to:

  1. Housing (40% less)
  2. Food (20% more)
  3. Transportation (80% less)

In other words, I can live on St. Croix for considerably less than it costs to live in Denver. In fact, assuming I live within walking distance of a part-time job, that job will more than cover my costs associated with food and transportation. In Denver you need 1.5 full time jobs at around minimum wage to even consider renting a studio in most neighborhoods.

My last Caribbean trip cost less per day than my daily expenses in Denver. That was an epiphany: cost-per-square foot of a hurricane-proof bungalow with glass bottle walls on a seaside cliff was 50% less than my apartment with a view of an alley.

So – it will cost less to live with fifty yards of a Caribbean beach than my current studio apartment.