Cost of living – Groceries and Gas

I’ve done an amazing job of not going out to eat constantly since moving here.  The last shift I was on also had an awesome idea for “Salad Night” when we worked our two night shifts.  Now, granted I pretty much have at least one salad per day, it was kind of awesome having salad with the whole gang.  I bought the items, prepped everything, and brought it in.  We split the cost between the 5 of us and it generally ended up being $10 CI per person for two nights worth of salad.  The salads I would make normally consisted of:

Romaine Lettuce

Tomato Slices

Cucumber

Onion

Cheese

Bell Pepper (multiple colors)

Blueberries or Strawberries

Cashews

Cheese

Ham/Turkey slices

Boiled Eggs

and then anything else I found on sale that looked good.  And split between 5 people, it made for an excellent meal.

Now, tonight I just did a SMALL shopping trip.  I didn’t get a lot because I’m going on vacation very, very soon and I have salad stuff at the house.

So, just a look at what things cost from this small trip. And this was going with the least expensive options of each thing I selected…  A fair amount of store brand items…

1 dozen eggs – CI $3.79 – $4.58 US

AJAX dishwashing soap – medium size bottle – CI $2.93 – $3.54 US

Kitchen Trash Bags – 25 count – CI $4.09 – $4.95 US

Peanut Butter – standard size – CI $6.29 – $7.61 US

Natures Own loaf of wheat bread – CI $2.69 – $3.25

Pam cooking spray- standard size – CI $4.19 – $5.07

Hillshire Sliced Roast Beef  – 7 OZ – CI $6.49 – $7.85 USD

Cajun Turkey 8 OZ sliced (store markdown because it expires in two days) CI $6.59 – $7.97 US

Toilet Paper – Scott Brand (12 pack) – CI $10.29 – $12.45 US

Oh, and I forgot to bring my reusable bags, so it was $0.05 per bag

That was just tonights purchases.

Normally I get:

Lettuce (romaine) @ CI $2.99/bundle of two

Tomato @ CI $3.41/pound

Cucumber @ CI $1.98 each

Onion @ CI $0.78 each

Almond Milk @ CI $5.99

Rotisserie Chicken @ CI $7.99

I eat a lot of salad with chicken… And drink a lot of almond milk protein shakes.  I have to go shopping every few days.

Just a bit of a break down of some of the common costs.  OH!  One more thing…

Gasoline…

The least expensive I’ve seen it recently (today) was CI $4.17/imperial gallon.

Thats US $5.04 per 1.2 gallons.

It’s a good thing the island isn’t that big…

A bit more settled in…

Greetings all!

I’ve gotten a bit more settled in since my last post.  In this post, I think I’ll give more of an idea of the cost of living and such.  Oh, and share pictures of my gorgeous new home.

First, things first.  I’ve found a new place to live.  And I’m currently sitting at the kitchen table and writing this.  And sweating.  Why am I sweating?  Because I haven’t turned on the AC as of yet.  We’ll see how long that lasts…  With the heat index of 93 at 9pm, I may be turning it on before I leave on vacation.  But I’m going to try not to.  With the number of fans we have in this house, it’s not too awful inside.  Until the breeze stops.  But I’ve only been in this place for 24 hours.  I’m hoping that I adjust soon.  Or the “winter months” will prove to have cooler temps.  However!  Those that are planning on visiting me have no fear!  I’ll turn on the AC for your stay.

A bit of a back story on how I found this place…

I was sitting in my old room at Roberta’s when there was a knock on the door.  One of my co-worker’s, Chelsea, showed up at the house and wanted to take Candi and I house hunting.  I had tried earlier that day to get in touch with some rental agents to no avail and so she figured we could ride about and see what there was to see.  We loaded up into her Tahoe and headed east on the East-West Arterial Bypass towards the Savannah area.  *Did I find it amusing that I could possibly live near Savannah?  Yes, yes I did.

As Chelsea escorted us through the better residential areas, she pointed out areas where some of our co-workers live as well as police officers.  We drove through one area that so reminded me of my old neighborhood (due to the number of public safety personnel living there) and found a duplex that was owned by an officer and being renovated.  It was nice but was a bit out of my price range, even with a roommate.  So we continued to drive around and look for ‘For Rent’ signs.  We found a few but nothing really piqued my interest.

We decided to head towards the area where Chelsea lives, Savannah, close to Lower Valley, right outside of Bodden Town.  We drove through her neighborhood and stopped at her house for a bit of a break.  She has a truly lovely home.  Tray ceilings, granite counter tops, and huge bedrooms.  Oh, and a closet that would make Carrie from Sex and the City jealous.  After we departed, we got back on Shamrock Drive and headed east.  A mere moment later, Chelsea remembered that she didn’t lock her back door, so she pulled down Woodland Drive to find a place to turn around so we could head back to her house.  While driving down the road, she got a phone call and just kept driving towards the end of the road.  I spotted a ‘For Rent’ sign in front of a house and called the number.  I didn’t think it would be in my price range, however, I thought I should check just in case….  The call was answered on the first ring.  I asked how much the rent for the house was and he said $1200CI a month. I told the man who answered that I had just passed the residence and saw the sign and asked if it would be possible to see the house.  He told me that it would be fine, he would walk over from next door.  The only issue was that there was no electricity in the house. Not a problem.

We pulled up in front of the house and exited the vehicle.  There were several people across the street having a small get together, so I thought one of those people would be whom I spoke with.  Then this man walked over from the house next door and introduced himself as Herbert.  Candi and I introduced ourselves as Chelsea was still on a phone call in the car, and followed him into the residence.  Even without electricity, the sheer number of windows let in an abundance of light, even close to dusk which was a huge change from where we were residing at the time.  As we walked through the house, we were admiring the furniture and overall upkeep.  Chelsea joined us after a brief amount of time and was constantly mouthing to me “YOU NEED TO GET THIS PLACE!”.  I then asked if dogs were allowed and Mr. Herbert just looked at me.

At that point, my heart dropped and I didn’t believe I would get the place…

He informed me that he would check with the owners and get back with me as soon as he could.

We finished checking out the residence and with each step, I fell for it a bit more.  I imagined how convenient it would be for visitors to stay with me.  The rooms are also spread far enough apart that I would not mind having a roommate.  That was when Candi said she wouldn’t mind staying with me.  Perfect.  The place was in my price range and I could have a roommate to help with expenses.  AND she wouldn’t have to worry about finding a place on her own.  Now, all  that had to happen was acceptance of my furry compadres.

About 2 hours after returning home, Mr. Herbert called me to let me know he had spoken to one of the home owners and she sounded a bit leery of having dogs in the house, but she would call her sister and check with her.  Mr. Herbert and his wife, Marissa, have four dogs so they understand the love a dog owner can have for their pets.

48 hours later, I got the phone call that I could bring both of my dogs and we confirmed the cost of the rent at 1200 CI per month.  I asked if I could come look at the place one more time before deciding and he said that would be fine.  I could come out as soon as it was convenient and check it out again.  I was able to come out two days later.  Mr. Herbert and I checked out the place, and he let me know his experience as a landlord/property manager as well as information about the area.  We went through all of the cabinets seeing what kinds of cook-wear there was in the house.  We went through all of the closets checking out the linen and such.  The place was just as wonderful as I remembered.  Then we sat at the kitchen table and just chatted some.  He told me he’s been in property management for 38 years and has lived on this street for 30 years.  He house next door has several trees including mango and citrus.  He also has AT LEAST 30 orchid plants hanging from various trees and the walkway up to his house.  I told him that I loved plants and orchids and he told me I was more than welcome to come over and help out with things.  He then looked at me and said:

“Miss Victoria,  I think you will really like it here.  It is a community.  We look out for each other.  You have several mango trees on your property, other people have breadfruit trees and citrus trees.  We share.  We trade.  We are a community.”

Yeah, that kind of sealed the deal for me.

Move in date was slated for November 6th.  I came out on the October 31st to sign the contract and just wander through the house again.  I also paid my first month rent and the first portion of my deposit.  That kind of hit hard since I’m also going on vacation soon.  But, that’s part of being a grown up and making your own way in the world.

I came over on November 5th to start moving things in since it was my first day off.  The power was on, the fans were on, it was magnificent.  I left the house at 230pm to go collect a few more things and since Candi was awake, I brought her out again to check out the house.  We arrived and the power was off.  Nothing worked.  We checked each appliance and light switch.  Then we looked in the breaker box and nothing appeared to be tripped. I was devastated and irked because I JUST paid the deposit.  So I called my landlord to see if he had any insight.  He rushed over and did the same thing we had just did.  He was getting ready to go back to his house to call CUC (Cayman Utility Company) and I said I had the service number already in my phone and could call them.  I left two messages back to back and then received a return call.

As I was speaking with the customer service person, I was informed that the power had been shut off.  I was inquiring as to why when Mr. Herbert asked to take the phone.  He was so tactful speaking with the company and stressing that he had followed instructions and requested the power to be turned on before my move in date.  He is one of those people that has a gift in making other people feel inadequate without showing any anger or frustration.  Apparently, the power had been shut off – yes, after it was cut on – because someone noticed my move in date wasn’t until the next day.  Mr. Herbert had them check their information and they found his permission to turn on the power early.  Then we heard the power click on as they admitted they were sorry.  We heard it click on, yet there was nothing on inside of the house.  So Mr. Herbert called his electrician who arrived in about 10 minutes.  Apparently, there was a problem with one of the physical breaker switches, but it fixed right away.  It’s nice to have someone that immediately fixes problems.  I’m very grateful for my landlord.  And the beautiful place I call home.

I apologize for the wonky order these pictures uploaded.  But here is the place I now call home.

My Bathroom
My Bathroom
Guest Bathroom
Guest Bathroom
Candi's Room
Candi’s Room
Kitchen
Kitchen
Utility Room
Utility Room
My bedroom
My bedroom
Front of the house at 134
Front of the house at 134
Informal living room
Informal living room
Eating Area
Eating Area
Porch
Porch
From the porch to the livingroom
From the porch to the livingroom
Formal Livingroom
Formal Livingroom
Guest Bedroom
Guest Bedroom