Over the years there have been plethora of articles about retiring abroad on shoe string budget. Articles with the title come to Panamá, come to Costa Rica, Live in Thailand, and of course retire in the Dominican Republic. But is it true one can really live well on less in the Dominican Republic (and perhaps some other destinations also?) The honest answer is yes! but it all depends. It depends upon your lifestyle, it depends upon what is important to you and it also depends what you want to use as a basis for living costs. In other words, just like many other things in life, the devil is in the details.
Let us start off with one monthly budget item that certainly has gone up in cost the world over: food. Interestingly enough, the recent devaluation of the US Dollar (read inflation, and I know, I Know – the US Government says inflation is low and not to worry) has pushed up food prices globally, and it has been worse in any country that uses the US Dollar as it’s own national currency (aside from the United States, this means Panama, Ecuador and El Salvador). On average, inflation in countries outside the US that use the US Dollar has been roughly 10 percent, whereas in neighboring nations that have their own currency inflation has been around 5 percent.
With regards to inflation inside the US, the popular financial commentator, Mr. Jim Willie, noted food prices for specific list of various food brands and items back in January of 2013 and checked the prices for those very same items in January 2014. What did he find? Prices had gone up anywhere from 10% to 30% in some cases, for some products. And despite the rhetoric to the contrary, the United States via it’s own fiscal policies (or fiscal mismanagement, if you prefer) has in fact been exporting inflation to the rest of the world.
So, with that said, you will find various supermarket prices in the Dominican Republic higher in September 2014 than they were say in September 2012. And of course, as has always been the case, imported items will cost more than the prices in the native country of manufacture (regardless if from the US or Europe). Stated more plainly and more directly, Heinz Ketchup, French's Mustard and Green Giant canned peas will cost more in a Dominican Republic supermarket than it will at a supermarket inside the US. So, if those items are must have on your monthly shopping list, then be prepared. However, there is some good news and this is where the Dominican Republic offers a dramatic benefit over other Caribbean destinations such as The Bahamas, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Barbados and any other island nation that has very limited home based agriculture or food industries.