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Dannyjames
8/26/2019 05:05 EST

Hi,
I am considering a job offer which involves a move to Nassau. I have been offered apx $8000 per month. Nothing has been mentioned about a housing allowance? Should I be asking for one on top of that salary or will that salary give me a decent standard of living?
Thanks
D

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MrsQ
8/28/2019 13:03 EST

Hello,

$8K per month may be enough, but it will largely depend on where you'd like to live on the island, the number of people in your family, and the type of lifestyle you want to have here.

My husband and I are American expats with no kids and we live in the Cable Beach area on the west side of the island. We live in a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condo in a gated community on a canal. Our rent is $3,500 per month, which is on the low end of rents for this area, which I would say could easily run you $5,000 per month or more depending on what you're looking for. Living in a gated community was very important to us because we were concerned about crime. You might feel safe living in a nice area that is not gated or even living further inland where the rents are cheaper.

Electricity is very expensive here. Our bill runs about $500 per month in the summer, and that is with using a Nest programmable thermostat to keep the temperature set to 75 or 76 during the day and using propane for cooking.

You should definitely look for a place that has a generator. The electric plant does not generate enough power to support the entire island, particularly in the summer, so they use a system of "load sharing" where they cut off power to different parts of the island at different times during the day. This summer has been worst than last and we have had our power shut off for 5 hours or more at a time several times per week. The other night it was out for seven hours. Gas for the generator so far has cost us $670 this summer.

I'm not sure what country you will be coming from, but as a rule of thumb, you should expect to pay 1.5 to 2 times what you would in the U.S. or Europe for all goods, including food.
There is a 12% VAT (sales tax) on everything with the exception of a few staple food items. Gas for your car is about $5.00 a gallon.

Most of what you will find by way of housewares, clothing, etc. is lower-quality, unless you shop in a few of the very upscale stores which are geared towards wealthy tourists. Amazon does not ship here directly and there is no home delivery of mail. We rent a P.O. box at one of the local postal service stores for about $200 per year. It has a Florida address associated with it. If we order something from the U.S., we have it shipped to our FL address and the service forwards it to us here. Before we receive the package, customs opens it and assesses a duty and VAT for us to pay on the imported items, which we then pay at the store. Some items have as much as 50% duty or more, so we don't order nearly as much stuff as we did in the U.S.
We tend to make several trips per year back to the States to stock up on things that are pricey here and buy things that we can't find on the island. Every Bahamian resident gets a duty-free allowance of $500 twice per year.

Eating out is quite expensive as well. A shared appetizer, 2 entrees, and soft drinks in a non-fancy restaurant can easily run you $80. There are a lot of fast food chains like Wendy's, Domino's, etc, whose prices are similar to those in the U.S. We don't eat out anywhere near as often as we did in the U.S. because of the price and also because the restaurants here tend to be just OK.

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to answer them.

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debib
1/31/2020 12:16 EST

By now you are likely here but I agree with everything Mrs. Q said. If you are single and getting $8K per year or even a couple with no kids, you will be just find. You can find furnished rentals in the West for $2.5K to $3K with dishes, linens, etc. If you have children, it's a whole different story. Certainly if you can negotiate a housing allowance, do it. If not, try and find a two bedroom rental and take a roommate or airbnb it or something? Just to cover utilities. The generator is a great idea as the summer temps can be brutal when the electricity goes off. Debib

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