I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the cost of living in the Dominican Republic recently, and beings as I recently remodeled and furnished an apartment, I’ve decided to blog it all out for those of you who may find it useful.

Setting Up Shop
Since there are few already furnished houses and apartments, most people have to buy everything to set-up their place as they want it. For a one bedroom, one bath, dwelling it will cost around $61,050 pesos ($1,695.83 US) to equip it with the basics.
Here’s an expense breakdown based on what I spent:

  • Fridge $15,000
  • Oven/Stove $10,000
  • Cutlery $2,000
  • Dishes $850 (four place set)
  • Glass Set $250
  • Bathroom Items $1,000
  • Double Bed $3,500
  • Desk $1,500
  • Bookshelf $1,000
  • Sheets $1,500
  • Blankets $700 each
  • Pillows $250 each
  • Living Room Set $10,000
  • Dining Table Set $8,000
  • Washing Machine $7,000

Since it is an island, everything that is imported is more expensive, so anything that you can bring as far as electro-domestics would be recommended. Radios, computers, and other such items are much more expensive here than they would be anywhere else, and are generally of lesser quality since developing nations generally get sent irregular or imperfect items.

This may sound a bit odd, but buy your bed sheets before you come. The bed sheets here are super expensive, compared to what you can get them for at home, and have very low thread counts, making them expensive and uncomfortable.

Also, if you have any special hair care items or instruments (flat iron, curling iron, electric razor, special hair product, etc) bring them with you too. Otherwise, you will have to make a special trip to the capital and do a grueling search for trusted brands, or have them sent to you from home.

Monthly Expenses
I find that I generally spend around $450.00 US a month including all my bills (rent, internet, power, and groceries) and other miscellaneous expenses.

General Shortcuts and Other Useful Tips
One way to avoid set-up expenses is to find someone who is looking for a roommate, since they will have already purchased most of the above items. Usually, this sort of arraignment comes word-of-mouth, so be sure to network with others you know who are here to see if something can be arranged. Don’t be surprised if the person wants to charge you a little more than half the month’s total rent, since many do this to cover ware and tear on the items you will be using.

Try to buy local produce and other grocery items where possible, since it can cut down considerably on your monthly bill.

Along these same lines, if you are planning to live alone, you will notice that it is less expensive to eat out at a local Dominican style diner than it is to buy and cook your own meal.