Mistakes expats make in Puerto Rico

We THRIVE living like we are in PR instead of the mainland US. If we want watermelon but can find mangoes for free, guess what we're eating.

Change your perceptions of what's necessary to live...embrace the environment and don't try to fight it...

You need make a budget, maybe we can help you with that and you need to start eating at home. 55 per adult for dinner with drinks once in a while, I can understand. Many nice sit down restaurants in PR have specials of dinner for 2 where each get your own dish for under 28 dollars for 2 people, maybe you can try those and save and only go out to dinner 1 or 2 times a month. Do notice that in the budget below I set entertainment (Dinner/Lunch/Drinks) is 200 a month for this example. If your expenses are anything close to this you should be fine.

Here is a sample budget, add and remove items to fit your situation:
Rent / Mortgage    $500.00
House maintenance    $25.00
Car Maintenace    $20.00
Entertainment    $200.00
Groceries    $500.00
Property Tax    $25.00
Home/Car Insurance    $70.00
Medical insurance    $480.00
Pharmacy    $30.00
Electricity    $95.00
Water    $45.00
Propane    $20.00
Gasoline    $120.00
CableTV/Internet    $60.00
Cellular Phone    $100.00
Other    $50.00
Total Expenses    $2,340.00

In the above, items that are once a year like insurance and property taxes for example, were divided by 12 to fit the monthly budget model. This is just a sample adjust to your situation then decide if you can lower or cut some of it down.

As to replacing lost items:
a) Check with neighbors they will know where to get used items and used clothing.
b) Also look at Clasificados: https://www.clasificadosonline.com

Check these sites for specials:
a) Gustazos: https://www.gustazos.com/deal/subscription
b) Ofertones: https://www.ofertones.com/pr
c) Oferta Del Dia: https://www.ofertadeldia.com/puerto-rico-ofertas/oferta
d) Goza Goza: https://gozagoza.com/deal/all

How is your home maintenance bill only 25 a month when we need a new roof every three years for 2500 dollars. And car maintenance when average car repair is 500 bucks. Any way to cut roofing costs down? Unlike new York pay like 5000 dollars for a roof but don't have to do again in like 25 years. One big expense here. O those taxes are so low. Here it's about 450 a year. But did file for exemption. Don't know when it starts and how long it lasts. Value 75k house

Meant 55 without drinks is my average dinner bill out

How do people save money when need a new car when average price is 27000  dollars. I refuse any financing. How do we all do that here. Guessing we all pay with a check and drove off in your car with 5 miles on speedometer. That's how think it's done here

Tseweam :

How do people save money when need a new car when average price is 27000  dollars. I refuse any financing. How do we all do that here. Guessing we all pay with a check and drove off in your car with 5 miles on speedometer. That's how think it's done here

A lot of people drive 20 year old cars and most that buy new, buy a Toyota Yaris.

Tseweam :

How is your home maintenance bill only 25 a month when we need a new roof every three years for 2500 dollars. And car maintenance when average car repair is 500 bucks. Any way to cut roofing costs down? Unlike new York pay like 5000 dollars for a roof but don't have to do again in like 25 years. One big expense here. O those taxes are so low. Here it's about 450 a year. But did file for exemption. Don't know when it starts and how long it lasts. Value 75k house

People use handy man or they do it themselves. Concrete roof should last a life time, and a reseal every 5 years or so. Resealing it your self cost around 500.

For Cars you use a local friendly mechanic, cars don't break every year, specially new ones. You save what you don't need and apply it to years you need it. I have a 2014 car that all it has needed so far are breaks every 3-4 years and wipers every 6-10 months. You can do the brakes yourself or have a friend come over for a 6 pack.

Tseweam :

Meant 55 without drinks is my average dinner bill out

You. must be buying 3 pound lobster dinner or going to a high price place. Depending on my fancy, I can have dinner for 8 to 16 bucks. I don't go to fancy places normally. The less you eat out the more you save. There is nothing wrong with going to Subway and taking a 6 dollar sub home, no tips, drink at the house a beer that cost less than 1 dollar.

Thought sealer is about 180 dollars for 5 gallons times 10 to cover 900 square feet two coats. Plus renting a power washer plus 400 for labor. As me think buy the most expensive sealer .with tax. Isn't that what I use. Urethanizer  .thinking we should buy top of line thinking it will last. Is that what you use and keep adding coats on and more coats on roof over years. Or is that too many. Or you use solicone sealer. Am I right buy the best or does not matter

Ok you avoid going to shops to fix cars. Things I need to learn here to stretch money. Guess need to make a car friend then you won't be paying a shop 100 bucks an hour then add sales tax and add another 100 dollars to get the part. My car needed a new radiator outlet part and I had to 100 bucks for delivery of the part. Now I know there is a delivery fee from shop to have they get the part. Yes was charged for shop get the part. Said part not in stock at shop you must pay extra 100 bucks for it to come to our shop. Never heard of such a thing. Guess you have friends can help fix your car. As you see most of a repair is labor sales tax and delivery. Is usually not the part costs the most. At 113 dollars an hour add up very fast. Me guessing you go to a friend

What to do about my landscaping damage as stuff turning brown all because of flooding. looking for free plants trees and bushes.  Do you mean go dig them out of the woods. Simply don't have the money to buy again. Not that amount of money. Starting off with Browning tips. Ok wait to see if recover from it first. We're growing fine before flooding. By mid rainny season problems with burning tips yellow leaves stunted half burned some of bushes.looks like need new bushes soon. Just way too much damages.

Not sure what did your plants in, but if it was salt water, you may have issues growing plans for a year or more if the ground is salty.

I buy that I absolutely need today and always postpone buying nice to have for later, this extends my money and savings until a purchase is a must.

Your lifestyle and what is important to you are different from mine, not sure I can help more other than the advice I have already given.

Bought the house before the hurricane and inspector found no flooding issues. Then the following  may my prized landscaping being killed off when rainny season started.  Then I went back to new York and came back in Sept and more damaged. In March April no flooding. My yard can't handle wet season and never told that. How could home inspection not find that. Flooding more now than in past.trying to find a lawyer as I want my landscaping replaced. Not my fault. Nobody told me the problems with house. Should have been told before buying it. It always floods every time it rains more than a short passed shower and water just sits there. Won't drain. It's all the time. Without storms just quarter inch of rain causes 8 inches of sitting water around entire house then inside.not easy getting a lawyer. Guess I must stop at one not just email and calling

What about the houses to the front, back and sides of you? Do they also flood?
If they don't flood there must be a reason. Where there water stains on the walls showing that the house had flooded in the past?

If the other houses are raised and yours isn't then you may have a problem getting any legal action as it was visibly clear they were raised for a reason.

You may have a case with the house inspector, but I don't think the realtor or prior owner have anything to worry about. Houses in PR are basically sold "AS IS" and it is up to you and the house inspector to find any faults. This is assuming you can find a lawyer to take the case.

My both neighbors too also flood all the time but across. The street doesn't or third house away does not. Neighbor told me reason their is not fixed is lack of money to have it raised. So town suggestions is build a  wall on sides and raise the property. Me makes no sense. Going to ask instead of a wall raise all three property. Why fix only one house. Me going to ask if can just fix all three homes. Telling me those houses are lower than the street telling me the water is coming down to us from the raised homes. How inspector not realize it. I didn't either. Didn't realize that after rain. Told me we need to add 205 meter of soil to raise it. O grade way off. I ask about doing neighbors too. That's a lot of soil. Me wondered where all that water was coming from. Don't they survey the land before selling it. Said raise it like 18 inches so it level with street or higher. Be a lot of work dig up all trees to raise it. It hard to tell looking at a home something like that until it  rains. Such is a home sitting in a hole. Yeah every time it rains .but said must wait it dry out to bring equipment in .can't do by wheelbarrow. Estimate spread out 205 metters of good draining soil. Can't imagine what 205 meters of soil looks like in a pile.

We rented a place that must have had taht issue because they had cement gutters built around the property that went into a pipe and the water went out else where.   
If someone build that could have caused the water to flow differently and causing your issue. The question would be to find out if the neighbor with the same issue, had it before you bought the house

Not entitled to a job. Not entitled to social security or unemployment. What are my other options. Can't pay my bills . I am living on a savings account and lawsuit money of 3370 . I deperately need another source of paycheck from somewhere .limited income life. Plus reason I refuse to listen to many pushing air conditioning to us. Very bad advice go run ac all day all month. Being pushed into it. I know better don't listen to them. What am I entitled to. Tell me where to go next .two years no work paycheck. Help with money. Where to go appears there is absolutely nothing can be done for income. I am right don't listen to the pushing air conditioner s . Signs everywhere.now I am serious depressed. Everything is taken from me. AC appears is big business here making you think it's a need vs a want. Appears a lie. Don't open all windows work and fans. What's up with this AC pushing . Guess for someone with no brains. It's not like it dangerous outside. Silly. I say if this was death valley or Las Vegas . If was 135 degrees outside. Yes push it. But it's only in the 80s. To me sounds silly .told AC place what happened to just Open the windows  unless you have none to open

3370 should be plenty to live in PR, I don't know what your bills are, but I live on less than that. You have a sample budget, change it by adding your numbers and see what you can cut out or reduce.

You could also declare bankruptcy to get the bills of your back.

** Here is an idea, go find a church they have experience getting help for the church members. At a minimum, they can help you with information and calls to the right agencies. It cant hurt.

Am I right don't buy an air conditioner. Don't listen to the push of AC

Tseweam :

Am I right don't buy an air conditioner. Don't listen to the push of AC

It all depends on how well you can take the heat. I use air conditioner for sleeping and take the heat the rest of the day. Many locals sleep with a fan instead of air conditioner. Not only are air conditioners an expensive gadget, but they use up giants amounts of electricity and electricity is very expensive in PR. Somewhere between 2 to 3 times what you would pay in the US for the same usage. So minimizing use of electricity can save you money.

The most efficient units are called inverters or split units, they are expensive to buy and require installation, but they use a lot less electricity than a window unit or a rolling movable unit.

The average native in the island makes around 1700 a month to support a family of 3. There are people living hire making 850 or so, those have a very hard time making ends meet.

You need to decide which things are important to you and either cut the ones that are not important or cut down on them. Do you need 200-400 tv channels versus a subscription to Netflix? Can you make a sandwich at home instead of eating out, maybe make a soup. When I was working I would go out to lunch every day in the states, it was costing me about 14 dollar for lunch every single working day or 280 dollars a month (20 days) or 3,360 a year. So I decided to save money, and started making a sandwich at home and take it to my work which gave me 3,360 dollars a year to pay other bills or invest.

You have identified Dinner as being around 55 dollars a day on average, that is 1,650 dollars a month for dinner, or 19,800 a year. You can go to the supermarket and buy about 400 dollars worth of groceries for a single person for a whole month or 500-600 for a family of 3 for a whole month.

You could save a lot of money by hiring somebody to cook for you a lunch and dinner and reheat it later in the day. 8-10 bucks an hour plus your supermarket bill will still save you a lot of money instead of 55 for dinner.

Using LED light bulbs instead of incandescent, using a propane stove instead of electric, using a fan instead of an air conditioner, organizing your trips to the store so you go out 1 to 2 times a week instead of daily can save you gas, tear and wear on your car and maybe also save on tolls and traffic tickets. There are lots of ways to save money and live well and make your 3k stretch not only to cover expenses, but also to save for emergencies like car repairs.

If your land cannot be planted, maybe you can talk to somebody with good land and plant your own vegetables for free or for a percent of the crop and save money on your grocery bill and eat fresher food.

You can also fish or snorkel for your fresh seafood, have fun and save at the same time. Raise chicken for meat, lots of things.

Think about it

Found need to cut down on craft beers when out. That ends up very quickly at like 7 to 10 dollars for one. I decided pick the specials instead . As I see would save a lot if I learned to stick to like medeella or basic beers. Part of my big expense is wanting to a craft beer type of bar. That easier eat up 50 bucks in one night. Trying to cut back on it.now I see why most just ask for medella or Coors light vs picking up draft beers . In new York used to easily spend 500 a month to go out to night life ordering them.  Me learning now must cut back on them. Like mostly get the basic beers only. No longer can be ordering a ten dollar beers often. Vs get a medella for two dollars . But I know drink less of them as they are stronger reason why more flavor. Some of them can be equal to two beers. So evens out to 5 dollars. Average beer is 5 percent alcohol. I always read the level to know how many it equals to. Last thing I need is a dwi

Tseweam :

Found need to cut down on craft beers when out. That ends up very quickly at like 7 to 10 dollars for one. I decided pick the specials instead . As I see would save a lot if I learned to stick to like medeella or basic beers. Part of my big expense is wanting to a craft beer type of bar. That easier eat up 50 bucks in one night. Trying to cut back on it.now I see why most just ask for medella or Coors light vs picking up draft beers . In new York used to easily spend 500 a month to go out to night life ordering them.  Me learning now must cut back on them. Like mostly get the basic beers only. No longer can be ordering a ten dollar beers often. Vs get a medella for two dollars . But I know drink less of them as they are stronger reason why more flavor. Some of them can be equal to two beers. So evens out to 5 dollars. Average beer is 5 percent alcohol. I always read the level to know how many it equals to. Last thing I need is a dwi

At the house I have some beers in the fridge and on average, I have 2 of them a month. I like them, but they don't call to me, almost freezing water is what I crave all day, but it has to be to the point that is starting to turn into ice. Once in a while I go out to dinner and will have one beer then switch to a coke.

Tried all options .appears there is absolutely nothing I can do about income. Must live without that money .back at employment place again know I be fired quickly

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