Photo Credit: TN
Living In Barbados: 5 Ways To Decrease Your Expenses
If you’ve visited Barbados, you understand that living costs are comparable to New York. At times, they can be higher, but with good reason. Many products are imported from the United States, United Kingdom, and other Caribbean islands. While living on the island, I was shocked to see how quickly I blew through my monthly budget, so as per usual, I focused my efforts on finding cost-effective hacks. Here are five ways to decrease your expenses! It took four months to grasp these tips. I hope they save my fellow expats a load of time!
No matter the item, Bajan-made products will almost always provide the lowest price. Local products are free of duty fees and sometimes offer up to 50% off. If you’re looking to save on grocery items, I recommend shopping at Popular Discounts or buying bulk at PriceSmart. Purchasing fruits from a street vendor in Cheapside Market will grant you a much higher discount.
TRAVEL WITH YOUR FAVORITE BRANDS
If you insist on using US/UK brands, go ahead and add them to your luggage. There may be an overweight fee, but trust me, it’s worth it. Most importantly, remove the packaging for new products and space out your duplicates. If customs discover these items, they’ll assume they’re resale products, and you’ll be charged a fee.
TRY THE MOM AND POP SHOPS
On the island, restaurant recommendations often lean towards high-ticket, casual and fine-dining options. We’re talking anywhere from $60 to $200 US for a main course and drinks, but if you want to add pocket-friendly options to the mix, visit the smaller restaurants and street trucks. Here are a few of my favorites:Velma’s Place, Lisa’s Doubles, Bearded Hoggs BBQ, and Fire Byrd.
A LONGER STAY EQUALS CHEAPER ACCOMMODATIONS
I highly recommend utilizing Airbnb for an apartment or house rental. They usually offer discounted monthly rates, but if you’re searching for a significant discount, find a realtor or join a Facebook expat group that will connect you with member-owned rental properties. Remember that anything less than a 6-month stay will often equal a higher rate, sometimes double. That includes both furnished and unfurnished options.
The average monthly rate for a subcompact car is $1,500 – $2,500 US. With subcompact options like a KIA RIO or a Suzuki Swift, you’ll not only save on the rental price, but gas mileage will be lower as well. Utilizing smaller rental companies will most likely cut these prices in half (Island Drive, MAH Rentals). If you’re visiting the island with a friend, split the expense! It will involve some pre-planning, but it works well if your locations are close. If your accommodations are near a main road, a ZR Van (Think NY dollar van) will be your cheapest option at $1.75 US a ride. These vans stop running in the evening, so night outings will require a cab.
Check out my Barbados article, “10 Important Things I Wish I Knew Before Moving to Barbados“
Looking for more Barbados travel tips? Watcht my vlog series on Youtube!