Monday, August 1, 2011

Grenada on a budget

it's no secret that Lee and I are tight with our money (or lack of?)
and I'm beginning to find myself being much more cheap than him.
shocked? me too!

I think its the pressure of having to get a job as soon as I get back to the states and knowing that we'll be depending heavily on me to "provide" for the family.
It honestly makes me not want to ever spend another dollar.

While I often complain about how expensive things are in Grenada, it is possible to get by on a small budget.

1st - forget about all the things you're used to at home.
  • Air Conditioning - the electric bill will be insane and even though some say "it's worth it to not be hot" it's not to me.  If I can sit in front of a fan and save myself literally hundreds of US dollars a month, I will.
  • Clothes Dryer - another drain on the electricity.  Use that hot sun and hang them outside. 
  • Socializing with friends at restaurants -  this is something I do all the time at home.  If I'm meeting friends it's typically at a restaurant.  Here you can go to the beach or pool and not have to spend money.
  • Shopping - this is an easy one because there is no where to shop really. 
2nd - save $$$ at the grocery store.
  • Brand names - we're lucky to have an IGA here and IGA has lots of great store brands, especially cereal.  You can save several dollars by buying IGA brand instead. 
  • Ice cream, pop, chips - so. much. money.  We rarely buy it and it is a "treat" as much as I hate that word. 
  • Eat less. haha serious, have you seen how much weight my husband has lost and how amazing he looks?  We eat WAY too much at home!! too many snacks and extras. 
  • Cook-  I cook every single day.   I learn how to make the stuff we see on tv and online and its fun and cheaper.  I also bake a lot.  bread, cookies, donuts, pretzels, etc.  Because if there is one thing that is cheap it's sugar and flour.
3rd -  Don't give into the pressure of others.
  • Medical school is a weird environment.  A lot of people already think they are doctors and begin spending money as if they are.
  • You don't have to go $300,000 in debt.  It is possible to do it.  Save what money you do have, don't spend foolishly, and remember that you have to pay that back whether you pass 4th term or not. 
4th - travel expenses
  •  Lee and I stayed over summer break, saved a lot of money and had the time of our lives.  Because we didn't pay to fly home we were able to visit some other islands and have a mini-vacation.  
  • When we do fly we search for the  You won't catch me paying $1000 to get here.  So what if you have to fly a different rate or route than you wanted to?  We saved $800 last August by coming the day after Lee's classes started. serious.
  • We didn't ship stuff down. The apartments are furnished, you live in tiny summer clothing, and you can buy what you do need off someone who did pay to ship it all down here really cheap.
Lee and I's budget breakdown.  I have no shame in talking about money, mostly because its not really our money.  It's some bank in Canada's. and they will only give us $150,000.  So we don't really have much wiggle room in this "budget"
  •  Rent - $650US per month - includes water, gas, cable, and internet. Came completely furnished, washer and dryer, AC, and the nicest landlord you will ever meet.  And it was brand new. We were the first people to live here, sleep in this bed, use the bathroom...
    So it's small. 1 bedroom, 1 bath.  My only complaint is something I never even thought about and that's seating.  It's a little tough to have people over because there are only 4 chairs in the whole house, but that hasn't stopped me from having a few little parties or what not.
    But I can assure you that this is not the norm.  Most people I know pay over $1000 a month.
  • Electric - $80US per month - we are so good with the electric.  Like I said no AC, no dryer, and I am always flipping switches. The only thing that is ever switched on for very long in our house is the computers.  I don't even leave the microwave or TV plugged in. maybe a little excessive. 
  • Groceries - $225US per month - roughly.  There are only  two of us and we don't eat a ton and like I said I homemake stuff and we don't eat expensive brands. rice and beans for Lee! haha jk.
  • Other - minimal.  Sometimes we go on trips with the SOs, rarely we go out to eat, and whatever else comes up.
  • Tuition - ready for this?? $50,000ish a year. sigh. did you do the math?? isn't that more than $150,000 if medical school is 4 years? yep. luckily there is a scholarship, a little Canadian govt. loan, and my hardworking husband worked his whole life and saved every penny he ever made, and I work enough here in Grenada to pay for groceries and the little extras.

Sometimes I wish we could just spend whatever we want because someday we'll have money to pay all this off... but I try to remind myself that the sooner we are out of debt the sooner we can start to provide a proper future for our family (and start a family) and give to all the "causes" I want so badly to help.
oh and a house. I really want a house.

Operation get out of debt in 10 years starts January 1st.  When I get a job.
someone please give me a job!


TiffanyClark said...

I am so proud of you, Kels and Lee! Living on a budget is the way to go. I love knowing where my money goes before I spend it. I'm SURE you'll get a job and I can't wait to see you guys come Christmas time!

Kevin and Julie's Blog said...

Thanks for this post! Very helpful!

Sarah Glenn said...

Thank you for sharing and providing such a good example! Because someone else has done it, you give me hope that we will be OK too on our little shoestring budget. Thank you again - this helped in so many ways!

Rob, Michelle, Luke & Harper said...

Wow, tons of helpful information. You really are amazing! I think frugality is definitely a virtue. My mother was always very careful with money and really sacrificed when my parents were in school. I think the only time I disagree with being cheap is when it is rude to someone else, like skipping out on a tip or nickel and diming a friend. We decided we would rather pay more and forget it then stiff a friend. From what I have seen of you two, you are able to be thrifty while still being generous.

Cat said...

Hey Kels,
Girl, you know I am on the same page given the title of my blog, lol! I've already made a pie chart for our budget in Grenada for the fall and it is TIGHT - like +/- $30 every month. Thanks for the info on the grocery bill. I had $300 a month budgeted, so that's a good #. Part of this lame budget is my insane student loans I have to pay back. Grrr. Before Jonathan even went to St. George's, we sat down and tried to figure out how long it would take us to pay back loans. We factored in our combined loans, mortgage, kid's school, and all the things we want to do, and we came up with 12 years to pay back the loan. Hope we can stick to that if not sooner. As always, loved this post. You are my twin. :))))

Kevin and Julie's Blog said...

Hey Kels,
Can you message me your landlord information on facebook? Thank you!

Kevin and Julie's Blog said...

No I didnt get your FB message. Can you resend it? Thanks!

Jackie D said...

You rule. Your budgeting is really impressive, and you offer some great tips! I'm trying to save up some money myself, just moved to a new city and am paying rent for the first time and everything, it can be really nerve-wrecking. Look forward to reading more from you!

Morsetlis said...

That's inspiring to me when I heard how little you spend on groceries! Also, how did you get a job here?

-Phu, Term 2 CO'2015


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