Barbados Retirement Budget

Old May 16th 2015, 12:02 am
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Smile Barbados Retirement Budget

Hello everyone – this is my first post even though I have spent many months following your posts and learning from the valuable information this forum. I have used your search function to find as much as I could on cost of living and have applied that below.


My wife and I are retired and want to visit your beautiful island to see what it would be like to live there, as things have changed a lot since I was there last. Many years ago I lived in Barbados for a 3 year period under a work permit as the manager of a construction project. I left in 1985 to return to Canada, so it has been a while.



We will be visiting Barbados later this year for a 6 month stay, and, if things work out for us regarding budget and immigration details, we would like to stay longer than planned. We have no interest in working (yaaay!) and just want to slow down and enjoy living in paradise for while.


We have coddled together a proposed budget for our stay. A few things about our requirements: We are not interested in spending a lot of money on “tourist” activities / eating out, and rather would try to spend, live and shop similar to long term residents. We also don't want to be recluse either. We will rent a typical 2 bedroom apartment (say about 90m2) so we have an extra spot for family visitors when they arrive. I realize that the budget amount below can range extensively and that suitable places are likely available for as little as BDS$1000. Our a/c use would be very limited. We hope to find an apartment where we can walk to shopping, the beach and to a bit of night life. We are still active and are in our very early retirement age, in good health and don't need regular medical attention / prescriptions - we realize that can change as we age.


We would very much appreciate your comments on this list and hopefully from locals who live or have short term or long term experience in Barbados or surrounding locations. I need to know if we are in basic “ballpark” for cost estimating. I am also hoping this post / list be of assistance to others – all monthly costs in Barbados dollars for two retired folks:


  1. $1800 Rent
  2. $200 Renters Insurance
  3. $400 Electricity
  4. $300 Cable / TV / Phone
  5. $1400 Groceries / Pharmacy / Liquor Store
  6. $1400 Eating out and entertainment
  7. $200 Private Health Care Plan (2 people) $2400 per year
  8. $50 Doctor visits (Annual GP / Eye / Dentist) $600 per year
  9. $400 Taxi fares (no car ownership to start)
  10. $400 Clothing / Gifts / Misc minor
  11. $300 Deposit to savings (unforeseen expenses)


Bds$ 6,850.00 Total monthly costs


I look forward to hearing from you.
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Old May 16th 2015, 9:42 am
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Default Re: Barbados Retirement Budget

Hi Beachseeker and welcome to the forum its great when someone has used the resources already available on this forum to help them and we can then help with specifics

As a single person living in Barbados I could budget at around £1000 ($3000 bds) a month. I spent more on getting a car and insurance etc and this included renting a 3 bed house although because I got it long term so it was a steal.

Therefore on initial glance I would say you have a fair assessment below considering that two can live as cheaply as one with some things but im sure others will advise further

Clothes - I wouldnt plan to buy any in barbados as the selection is limited and very expensive so bring what you want for the period.

Food shopping is the most surprising outlay for me finding myself spending 3 times that which I would in the UK...However this is levelled out by the low rental cost. The fact that you have provided the same amount for eating out makes sense as to be honest getting a takeaway often proved cheaper than cooking and when you cook in that heat its not fun for us who are not accustomed!

Re $200 Private Health Care Plan (2 people) $2400 per year
$50 Doctor visits (Annual GP / Eye / Dentist) $600 per year this would be presuming you are living in Barbados (Doctors appointments are double that by the way).

You haven't mentioned how you hope to get the status to live there..that can be a timely and expensive process in itself unless you have citizenship status already.

Last edited by Serendipidy; May 16th 2015 at 9:45 am.
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Old May 16th 2015, 4:05 pm
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Default Re: Barbados Retirement Budget

Serendipidy – thank you for your reply – much appreciated.

Could you please elaborate on the costs for operating a car - having a car in Barbados is very expensive if people spend Bds$3000 per month to insure and operate. I am glad we are physically in good shape so we can walk for our every day needs. With regard to clothing, I thought I should include a budget allowance in the event that we were successful in getting residency rather than a short term stay. Thank you for clarifying the cost of doctor visits – I will make adjustments in my budget to allow a total of Bds$1200 per year for two people to visit a GP / Eye Doctor / Dentist.

Based on what I have researched for residency status, I agree that it will be long process and somewhat convoluted as there are no clear thresholds / targets that I have been able to find regarding income and solvency for remaining in Barbados long term. This is one of the reasons that I thought we should get clarification from this forum on our estimated budget to help rationalize our income/expenses sheet that I will include with our applications. We are fully prepared to pay for the ongoing fees for extension of stay and have savings for that if we are approved to remain longer. I have located the forms and instructions for extension of stay and for residency online - they are lengthy and the related medical tests appear to be very thorough. Should we be successful, we also have a fund ready to cover our move costs and we will need to consult information in this forum if we are fortunate enough to cross that bridge.
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Old May 16th 2015, 10:39 pm
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Default Re: Barbados Retirement Budget

Your welcome ...I am not sure what you mean about operating a car?

I was able to use my UK no claims bonus and was paying around $1000 a year insurance when I had the car.

Although cars are extremely expensive (its due to the limit on how many cars are allowed over x years i think) they do tend to hold their price so if you brought a car its likely you could resell it again easily enough.

Gas (petrol) is much cheaper than in the UK..as is road safety cert and vehicle licensing (when i say cheaper obviously $ for $ dollar it probably isnt)

Honestly in that heat and if your there to unwind and enjoy your retirement I myself wouldnt hestitate as it gives you freedom safety convenience and pleasure
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Old May 17th 2015, 4:40 am
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Default Re: Barbados Retirement Budget

As a single person living in Barbados I could budget at around £1000 ($3000 bds) a month. I spent more on getting a car and insurance etc and this included renting a 3 bed house although because I got it long term so it was a steal.
Hi Serendipity - I am not sure what you meant with regard to spending money on your car in this part of your previous post. I would agree a car would be great to have. It appears I may have misinterpreted your note that it cost more than Bds$3000 per month to have a car at my disposal (not including purchase).
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Old May 18th 2015, 12:26 am
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Default Re: Barbados Retirement Budget

Originally Posted by beachseeker View Post
Hi Serendipity - I am not sure what you meant with regard to spending money on your car in this part of your previous post. I would agree a car would be great to have. It appears I may have misinterpreted your note that it cost more than Bds$3000 per month to have a car at my disposal (not including purchase).
I could budget on $3000bds a month standard and additional money for buying a car/ insurance hope this clarifies

Last edited by Serendipidy; May 18th 2015 at 12:28 am.
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Old May 19th 2015, 1:34 pm
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Default Re: Barbados Retirement Budget

Originally Posted by beachseeker View Post
We will rent a typical 2 bedroom apartment (say about 90m2) so we have an extra spot for family visitors when they arrive. I realize that the budget amount below can range extensively and that suitable places are likely available for as little as BDS$1000. Our a/c use would be very limited. We hope to find an apartment where we can walk to shopping, the beach and to a bit of night life.
  1. $1800 Rent
  2. $200 Renters Insurance
  3. $400 Electricity
  4. $300 Cable / TV / Phone
  5. $1400 Groceries / Pharmacy / Liquor Store
  6. $1400 Eating out and entertainment
  7. $200 Private Health Care Plan (2 people) $2400 per year
  8. $50 Doctor visits (Annual GP / Eye / Dentist) $600 per year
  9. $400 Taxi fares (no car ownership to start)
  10. $400 Clothing / Gifts / Misc minor
  11. $300 Deposit to savings (unforeseen expenses)


Bds$ 6,850.00 Total monthly costs


I look forward to hearing from you.
I think for the requirements your put for your apartment, $1800 is unrealistic, at least on the West coast. After long searches I could only find a townhouse that matches your description for $2300 and it is not 90 sq. meters, may be 70. I saw only one 3bdr for 1800, but I was suspicious about such a low price (infested? problem neighbours?), I definitely spotted two loudly barking dogs on someone's balcony in the development and refused. Recently two of my colleagues were hunting for flats similar to what you want on the West Coast and ended with prices higher than mine.

I would say 3) and 4) would be slightly less, if the use of AC is limited, especially in winter months.

Taxi fares estimation depends on how many rides you plane to make per month. On the West Coast they routinely ask for $30 for a ten-minute ride.

Doctor's visits are twice as more - I agree with Serendipidy.

5) If you lump together groceries, pharmacy and alcohol (I guess household items are also here) - then it's too little. I spend somewhere between 1500 - 2000 per month on groceries and household items without any alcohol and pharmacy on myself and my ten-year old son.

6) Overestimated to me. Two of us eat out weekly at average restaurants and visit all Barbados's attraction sites for less (and you won't need kids' entertainment). May be 500-800 per month (for us).


You should also budget yourself for regular air flights from and to the island. Most likely you will end up with regular renewal of tourist visas which means you will have to leave the country regularly. Thus, 10) could be spent on cheap flights to US or Canada to buy your cloths on sales substantially cheaper than here (even with a duty free concession).
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Old May 20th 2015, 3:22 am
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Default Re: Barbados Retirement Budget

Thank you Serendipity for the additional clarification. If I have interpreted this correctly, it seems you are able to live on a much lower budget that what I have suggested if your monthly costs are $3000 without the cost of a vehicle. That is excellent.

Thank you Bentham for your comments. Barbados Property Search and Barbados Carib List has many apartments listed at varying cost, and personal preference is going to dictate selection and budget. I will continue to seek units from there and from local Barbados real estate firms in the hope that one would be available in my target budget. Thank you for your insight on a/c costs – I will adjust down slightly. For items 5 and 6 I suppose the total of the two in my budget would cover those costs based on your input – thank you for that. I have made allowances for “vacation” costs in my budget but I thought I wouldn't include those in my list so as not to confuse the cost of daily living in Barbados.

Bottom line so far – it appears a round number budget figure of Bds$7000.00 would be in order for my wife and I to enjoy extended living in Barbados as expats. Perhaps there are more comments from you or from other forum members?

Last edited by beachseeker; May 20th 2015 at 4:10 am.
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Old May 20th 2015, 11:32 am
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Default Re: Barbados Retirement Budget

Yes, $7,000 is more than enough for a couple. However, the grocery line is correct when you are well-established, know your supermarkets, cheaper brands, hunt for discounts etc. During the first months everyone is paying his ignorance tax - just buying more expensive stuff. Cherish and Pricemart significantly reduced my grocery expenses. Also think about you relocation expenses: linen, utensils, small appliances, etc.
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