Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cost of living on board in St. Lucia


“The more Southern you go in the Caribbean, the more expensive it gets”.

We didn't took note on what we had spent last year but I know more or less what I have in my account and I burnt it all with small things that I can't even remember. This year, the beginning of 2015, my top “To-Do-List” is to write down all pennies we spend.

The amount of the money we paid in one month surprised me. How much money we spent even we didn't spoil ourselves. We are more strict now because we are really short of money. It was much more than what I expected.
Eastern Caribbean money (XCD)
The expenses are based on our family members, two adults, one baby and one dog on board. We have three meals a day, never skip any and always end our meals with fruits. We bake our own bread almost everyday and sometimes do our own pastry when craving for it. Our 2 years old daughter drinks milk three times a day apart from the three meals, two of the times is with UHT milk and one with powder milk with cerelac. Our dog often eats the remaining food and if no food left we usually cook him the remaining vegetables we had or feed him with dog dry food.

Food is our biggest problem because we eat a lot when I said a lot I really mean it and we have baby who can't skip any meal. We cut on soft drinks and drink water instead because of our baby is in the stage of “monkey see, monkey do”! We drink less beer, we bought a pack both white and red wine. Just on drinks we save a lot. We don't like to drink pack juice as it's too sweet for our taste but we get instant fruit flavored drink mix when we want some sweet treat and I found that we save more money as it cost like 1 XCD per pack which can make 1 liter or more. We drink 1 liter of UHT milk per day for our morning coffee and for two bottles for the baby.
One of our favorite instant fruit flavored drink mix
What we spent last month:
* Eastern Caribbean (XCD)
** 1 USD = 2.7 XCD
Food and groceries_2,094 XCD
Eating out (Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks)_973 XCD
Mail_224 XCD
Gasoline, diesel, water, propane gas_481 XCD
Transportation_23 XCD
Ice_23 XCD
Medical items (us and dog)_119 XCD
Hardware and stationary_239 XCD
Total        4,176 XCD


Mostly we spend on food and groceries.
What are our groceries? Mainly baby diapers, even I don't buy the known brands and try the local brands, it was one of the biggest amounts in the list. I try to purchase local products and brands to save some money on the well-known advertising brands but, in some items, I prefer not to do so, such as in toilet and kitchen papers, dishwasher detergents, cloth detergents. Apart from these, I rather choose the cheapest brand!
A cheaper choice for baby diapers
I usually send an envelop to my mother in Thailand 1-2 times a month with a cd of pictures. In St. Lucia takes more than one month to arrive in Thailand! This month we paid a lot on mailing because we need to send official documents which we couldn't wait for one month to arrive. St. Lucia doesn't have EMS service to Macau or Thailand so we had to send it by UPS. Just one paper to Macau costs more than 200 XCD and takes 4-5 working days! 

This are samples of the prices from the farmers market which occurs every Saturday in Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia. 

Chilies_5 XCD
1 papaya, some tangerines and 5 grapefruits_15 XCD
Passion fruit_XCD
Celery, cilantro, spring onion and 1 cabbage_XCD
Kale_XCD
Total       43 XCD
Fresh from St. Lucia farmer market
Other items:
Cutting hairs  (without washing)_30 XCD
Manicure_60 XCD
1 liter pack of UHT milk_4.30 XCD
Small bottle of Piton Beer (Local beer from St. Lucia)_4.51 XCD
Small bottle of Heineken_5.59 XCD
A cone of ice cream_XCD
1 way bus from Rodney Bay to Castries_2.50 XCD
20 pcs. of Baby diapers_19.95 XCD
Fresh fish from the fisherman_10 XCD/lbs.
Fresh lobster_25 XCD/lbs
Gasoline_3 XCD/lt. (tax include)
Water_10 XCD/40gls.
Boarding for dog_28 XCD/day
Taxi from Rodney Bay to Airport_200XCD

Overall I feel that the cost of living here is more or less like in the United States Virgin Islands where we anchored for more than 4 months. Dominica is much cheaper than in St. Lucia. Puerto Rico is the cheapest. New York is cheaper than in St. Lucia but with a Macau salary all of these places would be cheap! 

Someone told me that “in Bahamas one apple costs 1 USD”. We got 6 huge crispy apples in New York for 3 USD. In Macau 3 apples would be 12 MOP (around 1.5 USD). You must visit St. Lucia where just 1 apple cost us, at least, 4 XCD (1.48 USD)!

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