So I’ve posted a few things about finances here before. There is my most popular post of all time on Cubicle Throwdown, Tipping Guidelines for Diving on Roatan (or Anywhere) that had quite a bit of money info in it, as well as a detailed Dive Instructor Salary on Roatan post that generated lots of love but also some threats from jerks who wanted to hate on “gringos stealing all the jobs here” (again, to those people: first, read my small disclaimer post, then, get your head out of your ass, because I haven’t stolen anyone’s job here – anybody who has been to this island knows there is absolutely nowhere near enough Honduran instructors here to fill all the positions). But yeah, that kind of stuff has left me hesitant to continue posting detailed information about what kind of money I make. Also, some press I’ve had has led to basically everyone at my job finding this blog, which was unintended. I’ve recently had a promotion and the company has changed their standards for paying instructors, so if you want to know what I make here these days in comparison to the posts I already wrote, just email me and I’ll tell you all the (not so juicy) details. I’m not going to be posting it publicly until I leave this company, and I have no plans to do that anytime soon.
That being said, most people are more concerned about what it COSTS to live here than what we make anyway. And that, my friends, I can tell you all about.
My cost of living situation has changed a lot since my Dive Instructor Salary on Roatan post, mostly because I moved out of that apartment and have been housesitting for the last 8 months. I keep really, really close track of my money with an Excel cashflow spreadsheet that I’ve adapted for my needs (email me if you would like a copy), so I know exactly what is coming in and going out every single day.
My current monthly expenses have been like this for the last 8 months:
Rent: zero, awesome!
Electricity: varied wildly from $45-$160 depending on how hot it is and how long I left the fans on. Usually $60ish.
Groceries: $350ish…it seems like a lot, but because I was in the middle of nowhere my eating out/drinking budget was diminished significantly!
Night in town: I usually spent one Friday night per month staying over in town so that I didn’t go crazy living by myself in the jungle for months on end. I took myself out for dinner, stayed at a cheap hotel and went out drinking and dancing with my friends, then had brunch the next morning and headed home. Usually $50-80.
Phone/internet: I burned tons of internet credit, because I was always bored at night with nothing to do. Around $50.
Gas for scooter: $5 or less, cause I was walking to work since the road washed out in October.
Home insurance in Canada: $30 to insure my stuff in storage
Medical insurance: $75ish including my yearly DAN insurance and expat medical insurance
Storage unit in Canada: $55
Laundry: zero, awesome! I have a washer and dryer in this house (part of the reason the electricity is so expensive, but it was a luxury I did not intend on wasting!!)
MONTHLY TOTAL: about $730
Some big changes in my finances have been happening lately including a raise at work, nixing my storage insurance, nixing my extra medical insurance and sticking with DAN, and…drumroll… FINALLY moving out of this damn jungle. It’s been great but I am so, so sick of being stuck in the middle of nowhere by myself and I think it’s making me depressed. I’m bored to tears every night and I didn’t move all the way down to the Caribbean to hang out by myself 24/7. I’m moving back to town (well, just outside of town) at the end of this month. Which means I have a new budget!
My upcoming monthly expense budget looks like this:
Rent: $300 including cable, water and gas
Electricity: don’t know yet, but guessing around $50. More when I turn my A/C on. YES I WILL HAVE A/C NOW I’M KIND OF A BIG DEAL.
Phone/internet: I think I’m going to be able to share a high speed wifi connection with the lady who lives downstairs. If so, basically my life will rule. High speed internet is a very hot commodity here. I am guessing this will be around $50 whether I do that, or stick with my old internet credit deal.
Eating out/drinking: $150
Laundry: I hear there is a washer and a dryer at my new place. The washer is free but the dryer costs something but I don’t know what. I imagine I’ll spend around $10 on it? Or just air dry when it’s not too humid.
Gas for scooter: $45. My commute goes to 45 minutes from 5 minutes.
Medical insurance: $45ish including my yearly DAN insurance
Storage unit in Canada: $55
MONTHLY TOTAL: about $955
I’m down with spending an extra $200 per month to have A/C (dudes, I have done it here for a year and a half without one, I’ve earned it!), high speed internet, cable and um, not living in the isolated jungle by myself. Although I do find it a little disturbing that I’m considering a one-road village of 300 people ‘moving back to town’. It’s all about perspective, people!