(Article by Cat Alford)
High up on a hill on a little Caribbean island called Grenada sits the cutest, tiniest 270 sq. ft. apartment you ever did see. It has no couch, no TV, no central AC, and no dishwasher, but despite its shortcomings, I’m proud to call it home.
While one person could definitely live here comfortably, I share it with my 6’3” husband, my furry dog, and the occasional ant that scurries across the counter. There’s absolutely no space, and we’re constantly bumping into each other, knocking knees and elbows against the wall. One time, my husband and I passed each other in the hallway, and our toes accidentally interlocked. It was disgusting and kind of awesome all at the same time. (I’ve worn shoes inside ever since.)
I know that we are completely squished here, but it’s a happy squished, the kind of delirious, hysterical day-to-day madness that comes with moving away from everything we know and immersing in a new culture that’s so different from our own.
How We Got Here
We originally came to Grenada so my husband could attend medical school. We knew that medical school came with a big price tag and that it was really impractical to bring all of our Earthly possessions to Grenada. After making over $2,000 from hosting a huge garage sale and being Craigslist champions, we were finally able to board a plane with our pup and say goodbye to the United States.
Making A New Home
We came to Grenada with only 4 pieces of luggage, one of which held our printer. It wasn’t much, but the truth is, we’ve learned that we can absolutely live with less. The plus side of renting such a small apartment is that it saves us quite a bit of money. We pay $800US a month in rent, which seems like a lot for a small place, but we’re living in the safest neighborhood in Grenada where apartments can cost up to $3,000/month.
Additionally, some things here are just more expensive than they are in the States, like my $200US electric bill that I pay every month. Yet, because we live in a hotel room sized apartment, we’re avoiding the $500-$600US bills that our friends often get stuck with. This alone has made a huge difference in our budget and has allowed us to save thousands of dollars over the past two years.
Finding What’s Important
Perhaps even more important than saving money, living in such a small place has shown me what I can live without, and it’s also made me appreciate what I have. I’ve learned that none of the electronics, new cars, or extra bedrooms that everyone craves in the States are really necessary, and they definitely don’t make you happy.
Coming from a nice, three-bedroom townhome in the States, I never really dreamed I would end up living in such a small apartment in such a small country. Yet, I’ve learned so much about myself and what I’m capable of. I guess the biggest lesson of all is that that the most important things in life aren’t what you have. It’s the people you’re squished with, interlocking toes and all!
About Cat: I am a personal finance freelance writer who currently lives in the Caribbean. When I’m not writing for other websites on all topics frugal and fabulous, I enjoy sharing all my adventures on my own blog, CatherineAlford.com
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!