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Currency and Cost of Living

Antigua and Barbuda - Currency and Cost of Living

The currency used in Antigua and Barbuda is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (EC$) but most shops will accept the US dollar and other currencies can be easily changed at banks and Bureaux de Change. The EC dollar is tied to the US dollar, but you will find that exchange rates will vary depending on where you wish to change your money. The British pound is the equivalent of around 4 EC dollars.

The local banks are open between 8 am and 3 pm Monday to Thursday, 8 am to 1 pm Friday with a couple of hours opening on a Friday afternoon. Depending upon the location of the bank it may also be open on a Saturday morning.

Antigua is not a cheap place to live, but there are ways to avoid some of the higher cost items that will increase your monthly spending. Eating out is quite reasonably priced depending upon the type of food you want and the location of the restaurant. The cost of groceries varies, depending on whether or not the item has been imported into the country. By buying locally produced items you can reduce your grocery bill by quite a bit.

Transportation can be an expensive monthly expenditure, depending on whether or not you use taxis or buses. Taxis are obviously more expensive, though they are more reliable than buses, and generally much safer. Many people choose to get around on bikes, helping to cut down on travel expenses.

Renting and buying property can prove to be fairly expensive and this is due to the desirable location. Most property rentals are geared up for tourists on short term lets and landlords are reluctant to reduce costs too much for those who wish to stay long term. Finding reasonably priced furniture and household appliances can be tricky as these are all imported into the country, so the consumer is paying for importation costs.

Utilities can be expensive, though if you are renting a property some are included with the rent. Most landlords will pay water costs up to a certain amount. If a property has gas appliances then most properties will have gas tanks that need to be filled so the cost of this should be factored into expenditure. Electricity costs are much higher than they are in the US or the UK, though the cost of running a telephone or having internet access at home can be much more reasonable.

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