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Cost Of Living For Small Family

Hi - Where to begin!?

I'm 48 and currently on disability living near Toronto, Canada.

My income is payable anywhere in the world - $2200/month [CDN]

My wife is my age and my children are 12 and 13

Considering moving to Belize - Corozal area - has come about by investigating several countries [Ecuador, Cost Rica, Panama]

The fact that English is the official language is a key factor

I may be able to work in the future; but the fact is that I haven't been able-to for 5 years!

I would like to know what it would cost to rent [initially] a 3 bedroom home or condo or apartment in the Corozal area. 

I also need to know how the education system works.  Is it covered by "the system" or would I have to pay for a private school?

I can understand costs like books, bussing, etc; but I've seen costs like $5000 per child for a school year which would be beyond our means at this time

Health care and dental care must be factored-in

My needs are simple - a prescription - I am suffering "major depression" so I have no physical ailments

There are several other things to consider but I think it is essential to understand what it may cost for housing, utilities, food, education, health and dental insurance.

Are there a decent number of rental options at this time?

Perhaps I can get a few replies and deal with specifics afterwards

Thanks

Scott

Hi Scott, I don't have an answer for you about your questions, however I do wish you well and hope you find you and your family relocating in this beautiful country.  We live in Hamilton Ontario and are anxiously researching living there too...our dollars will go so much further in our retirement we are 48 and 52.  So best wishes I hope you get there. G

Hi,
I know where you are coming from! We are in the same decision process. I'm by no means the best to answer your questions but I will try.
I have spent almost equal time in the Corozal district and the Cayo district. About 3 months in Cayo and almost 4 in Corozal.
We have considered all the countries you have mentioned plus a few others.

As far as I know there are only private schools in Belize. Anglican, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, etc. I don't know the costs though.
The reputation of health care in Belize is not to good. I don't know about dentist. I have heard that medical is good in Mexico but don't know personally. Some people fly to Miami for medical. It's about a 2hr. flight. One good thing though is that I have experienced the best health in Belize with all the fresh fruits they have.

Your depression could be better or worse in Belize depending on how you respond to life there. There are ups and downs about living there. The warm weather and outdoor lifestyle might help though. (I'm from NW Montana where it is very cloudy all winter)

Cost of food is low if you buy fresh at the markets. Boxed and packaged stuff that is imported is high. The great thing is that everything grows so well you can grow a lot of your own fruit and veggies to cut costs more. I had a wonderful organic garden in the Corozal district plus many tropical fruits. I miss that a lot.

Internet is high. As I understand you can get DSL from BTL that blocks VOIP like Skype or you can get satellite internet.
Phone is high too. Phone calls just across the border in Mexico are cheap.

I don't know much about any rentals other than a few websites have some listed. Here are a couple sites that I know of in the Cayo. It might help just getting an idea of rental costs.
redroofpropertymanagement.com/
bethroberson1.point2agent.com/About_Belize/page_2092936.html



Well, I hope someone with more info can help you out better and good luck with your decision. Belize is a beautiful country.

Hello Scott,
Your cost of living will depend upon your lifestyle here, what area you live in, housing and internet needs etc. I will say that electricity is fairly expensive here and running the air conditioning can kill you on your monthly bills! I live in San Pedro with my 2 children and our costs are extremely low (in my opinion) all things considered. We are unschoolers so that is not an issue for us but tuition here in SP ranges up to $700 BZ/mo per child. It is more difficult to grow here on the island but we do have a nice herb garden and order all of our fresh organic produce from Sol Farms on the mainland which saves us a lot. Medical expenses here have been minimal for us but we practice preventative/alternative health care so honestly don't become ill very often and when we do, we simply find an inexpensive natural alternative to prescription drugs. One of my children was suspected of contracting Dengue fever & required blood testing and the other was bitten by a wild animal known for carrying infectious bacteria so we chose to use the recommended prescription antibiotics for that since we aren't familiar with all the local health risks yet. Our total cost for these services and meds was around the same as a dinner out back in Canada. For dental, eyeglasses or planned medical needs, surgeries etc Merida Mexico is where everyone goes. The care is top notch and inexpensive. My daughter visited a local dentist here in San Pedro for a check up and cleaning, the total bill was $25 US. The choice is yours but for us the cost of carrying medical/dental insurance ends up being higher than paying out of pocket for incidental care. If you have specific questions on what things cost here please don't hesitate to post! I'll help if I can :)

Reef-Rats :

Hello Scott,
Your cost of living will depend upon your lifestyle here, what area you live in, housing and internet needs etc. I will say that electricity is fairly expensive here and running the air conditioning can kill you on your monthly bills! I live in San Pedro with my 2 children and our costs are extremely low (in my opinion) all things considered. We are unschoolers so that is not an issue for us but tuition here in SP ranges up to $700 BZ/mo per child. It is more difficult to grow here on the island but we do have a nice herb garden and order all of our fresh organic produce from Sol Farms on the mainland which saves us a lot. Medical expenses here have been minimal for us but we practice preventative/alternative health care so honestly don't become ill very often and when we do, we simply find an inexpensive natural alternative to prescription drugs. One of my children was suspected of contracting Dengue fever & required blood testing and the other was bitten by a wild animal known for carrying infectious bacteria so we chose to use the recommended prescription antibiotics for that since we aren't familiar with all the local health risks yet. Our total cost for these services and meds was around the same as a dinner out back in Canada. For dental, eyeglasses or planned medical needs, surgeries etc Merida Mexico is where everyone goes. The care is top notch and inexpensive. My daughter visited a local dentist here in San Pedro for a check up and cleaning, the total bill was $25 US. The choice is yours but for us the cost of carrying medical/dental insurance ends up being higher than paying out of pocket for incidental care. If you have specific questions on what things cost here please don't hesitate to post! I'll help if I can :)

Hi Reef-rats,  are you still there, living in the same area?  How long does it take to get to the nearest airport?  Do you know of any rentals for houses 3-4 bedrooms?  I'm having a hard time finding any on line.  I'm not sure If we need to just come down there to check it out first.  We are a family of 5, 2 adults and 3 kids, ages 5, 8 and 10 with our dog.
thanks Krystal

If you've never been here, you need to visit Belize before you commit to moving and living here. Bring the family to see if they like it, or not. It's not for everyone.
Living costs depend on how you live. Imported goods are generally quite expensive, fuel for a vehicle is dearer than in the US, but cheaper than UK.
A fairly limited range of fresh produce is not expensive, and some things are more seasonal than in the first world. Basics (flour, sugar, rice, etc.) have reasonable prices fixed by the government.
Come and take a look, and see if it's for you.

This is wonderful information thanks for sharing!

If you want specifics about costs & conditions, check out the postings by Taco Girl and Dr. Al.   The 5 of you could live on $2000 Canadian if you lived a subsistence lifestyle, like the Belizeans.   No automobile, no air conditioning,  small primitive housing,  used clothing, rice and beans,  no school past the 3rd grade -------    I would not ever bring children to Belize.   Period.   Inferior education regardless of which brand of religion you choose as the source.   Culture accepts thieving at all societal levels.   Mysogeny.  racism.    In a country of 350,000 population we are experiencing a murder a week.   Belize can be a good place to retire for the affluent.  It is a myth promulgated by the land speculators and developers that it is inexpensive to live here.   Property taxes and unskilled labor are inexpensive.   everything else is more expensive than in No America.  come visit and leave the rose colored glasses behind and check it out for yourself.

Hi Jackeyb
We have this discussion of pros and cons of moving to Belize and the living expenses going for a while. It is a healthy discussion, some opinions seem extreme,but understandable.
You can see how much rent, and utility cost etc just by reviewing postings on this forum.
A lot depends on your life style.
When we are in Belize we hardly buy any vegetables or fruits. Almost everything can be picked fresh from our on garden. You can raise Chicken ,even though buying is easier. Plenty of fresh Fish is available at low cost. We  are frugal with our electricity use even though we are off grid. May be that is the way it should be anywhere.
So with careful planning you can contain your expenses. There is nothing wrong with saving on fossil fuel .(In Belize  Generators using Diesel make power)
Many consumer items are imported . Shipping and duty make price higher than In US.
Murder rate and other violent crime are not acceptable anywhere. But I do not think Belize has a monopoly on crimes.
People are poor and they do steal.  Again I have to talk from my experiences. I have equipments and other items in my yard and my workers handle cash. My loss may be less than the loss by theft in Walmart on a percentage basis.
Having said all these  Belize is not for everybody. There may be more than  50/50 chance that one could be disillusioned

I keep hearing about how expensive Belize is to live. Gasoline - less than in Europe, and slightly higher than in Canada, and even higher than in the USA. We find we drive far less because things are just so much closer.

Certainly, if we lived a life where we bought brand name imported foods, cloths, etc then the cost to live here would be higher than in the USA. Of course though, if that is what we are doing why did we move here.

Several times I have compared fruit, vegetable, and meat prices with the sale flyers in Canada. In every case the food was less expensive here. We have built our house here. It is smaller than our house in Canada, but it is nice and comfortable. The cost to build it was far less than our house in Canada (or say a duplex in Canada). We have decided to not have TV, but cable TV here is $44 BZ/month, one cannot even get a basic plan in Canada for that price, let alone the premium channels they get here.

If things were so expensive here then the locals could not afford to live here! You can control your costs. It does mean life style changes, but is that not why most of us decided to move here?

I know families that have moved here with 5 kids. They home schooled. There are some reasonable schools here. Certainly they will teach differently here. Is the school system so good in Canada and the USA anymore?

We have got to know local people across the board. This includes all races, and various religions. From these people we have learned a lot, got great new friends. I think that this is important to make the transition to Belize. Of course, this exact same attitude is true for anyone moving to to Canada or USA from another country.

As I have posted elsewhere on this forum the murder rate / population is very misleading, and is a text book example of the poor use of stats. Certainly there is crime here. In Belize you need to look after a lot more things yourself rather than letting the government provide it for you. This includes security. We do not look to be able to call the police and have them respond to protect us of course those days are gone in most places in Canada & the USA. I speak from direct knowledge having been a policeman and responding to urgent calls an hour after they were phoned in.

Belize is not for everyone, in fact it is likely not for the majority of western Europeans, Canadians, or USA people. You need to be more self reliant. Need to have more of a pioneering spirit.

I think the hardest thing here is that there is far less choice of products and services. I was only gone for 4 months when I went back to the USA. I felt the shock of see all the choices for stores, products in the stores and restaurants. From talking with other expats this very reason is why many expats move back to where they came from. There is also a big difference in how businesses treat their customers here. This is much more the old 50s style companies. As a customer I get the feeling that I should be happy that they are here to serve me. Quality control is very weak here as well. The supply chain is very fragile here. Therefore ordering something and being told it should be in stock within the year is not so shocking anymore.

So is Belize for you, only you can determine that. I hope this helps to shed a different viewpoint on some of the issues. A attitude / point of view that is different and you are in control of can change your satisfaction with most things.

Hi Reef-Rats. My husband and I are planning to move our family to Belize soon. I found your response to a question from 2012. It has been a long time, so I am wondering if you are still in Belize? Still unschooling? We plan to homeschool when we move to Belize. We also try to live as naturally and organically as possible. We utilize preventative, holistic, natural health care. I was hoping that if you are still in Belize, I could pick your brain a little bit. It seems as though we have a lot of the same lifestyle philosophies. Thanks in advance!

Courtney

Thanks Karen Joe

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