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Old 10-20-2019, 09:57 PM
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I keep a stash of local currency in all denominations.....500 dollars worth. Just for emergencies
Best place to exchange US dollars to Dominican pesos is a bank....or ATM ...or at Western Union. Always gonna get the correct exchange
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Old 10-20-2019, 09:58 PM
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You know about the "etiquette" of tipping healthcare professionals and medical staff in Hungary, I hope?



Interestingly, the current exchange rate is 1 USD = 296 HUF
With Wells Fargo 1 USD = 280 HUF.
With Bank of America 1 USD = 316 HUF

The exchange rate varies so much from day to day and usually my credit unions rate is somewhere in the middle of what is being advertised. I don't worry about it much because if I did it would drive me nuts and I think my credit union uses another bank to handle it. Not sure who does it. Still cheaper to do it this way that to have a Hungarian Bank account most banks here are outrageous in the fees they charge for handling incoming foreign denominated currency. My US Visa card works at cash machines and most stores no problem for in store purchases. Online orders are an issue because of fraud problems most US issued cards do not work except at eBay and Amazon and places that accept Paypal. But has only been an issue once. I just bought a prepaid card and all was okay.

Kimmy yes I know about the tipping but have only been to a dentist since being here. so I only have done it once.
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Old 10-20-2019, 10:10 PM
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I keep a stash of local currency in all denominations.....500 dollars worth. Just for emergencies
Best place to exchange US dollars to Dominican pesos is a bank....or ATM ...or at Western Union. Always gonna get the correct exchange
That is a good idea to keep a stash for emergencies. I am going to start doing that now that I have paid off my house and bought a car.
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Old 10-21-2019, 05:08 AM
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@three_dogs,

A few more questions for you.

- Did you finish the dog fence?
- How much does a liter of gasoline/petrol cost?
- What is your relationship like with the locals and villagers after almost two years living there?
- What do you like about life where you are besides the low cost of living?
- What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced?
- What do you think of Hungarian food and drink (non-alcohol)? What do you like and dislike the most?

Thank you for sharing. Congratulations on paying off your home and your new car. I wish you all the best.
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Old 10-21-2019, 06:40 AM
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The exchange rate varies so much from day to day and usually my credit unions rate is somewhere in the middle of what is being advertised. I don't worry about it much because if I did it would drive me nuts and I think my credit union uses another bank to handle it. Not sure who does it. Still cheaper to do it this way that to have a Hungarian Bank account most banks here are outrageous in the fees they charge for handling incoming foreign denominated currency. My US Visa card works at cash machines and most stores no problem for in store purchases. Online orders are an issue because of fraud problems most US issued cards do not work except at eBay and Amazon and places that accept Paypal. But has only been an issue once. I just bought a prepaid card and all was okay.

Kimmy yes I know about the tipping but have only been to a dentist since being here. so I only have done it once.
Have you asked around local banks? you should be able to find one to open an account for foreigners with reasonable fees for wire trasnfers.
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Old 10-21-2019, 07:39 AM
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@three_dogs,

A few more questions for you.

- Did you finish the dog fence?
- How much does a liter of gasoline/petrol cost?
- What is your relationship like with the locals and villagers after almost two years living there?
- What do you like about life where you are besides the low cost of living?
- What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced?
- What do you think of Hungarian food and drink (non-alcohol)? What do you like and dislike the most?

Thank you for sharing. Congratulations on paying off your home and your new car. I wish you all the best.

Kimmy, yes, I completed the expanded dog fence and next year I am going to be making them a 2nd pen behind the barn after I get some dirt back there removed to get a level surface for what will be their 2nd pen.

Diesel runs about 390 Hungarian Forints per liter and gasoline runs about 370 for the cheaper grade.

My relationship with my neighbors is great, I have been invited over to peoples houses to eat more than once, People usually greet me if they see me on the street or at the village bar, I get invited to the annual village St Istvans Day festival and the Fall Harvest Festival also. I have had a couple of neighbors give me home made Hungarian Palinka and wine this year. I think a few were curious why an American would want to come and live in Hungary but all in all has been great so far.

My favorite things about Hungary are the slower pace of life here and living in a small farming village. It reminds me of life growing up in the 1960s as a kid when I would visit my grandparents farm in Missouri every summer for 2 weeks. Especially the farm fresh vegetables and cooking here.

Biggest cultural difference I would say is the Gypsy's...they are a strange lot. In my village they are pretty harmless. In some areas the local people don't like the gypsys and there have been troubles between them but around here they are treated good by the locals. We have several families of them living down the street from me and most of them are friendly. For the most part they are very poor. I have given them used household items from the house I did not want when I moved into this house was left here and some furniture and scrap metal which they can sell. The Hungarian government is trying to help them become more productive members of society and trying to get them job training. They have been historically been hated by most Europeans through out Eastern Europe especially because there has been a lot of criminal activity blamed on them. I feel sorry for them. I do see some of them working around the village farms and the timber industry so they are earning money.

Hungarian foods I like are the Gulashes and a bread product called Langos (google it) Beverages here I am not big on they have expresso style coffees and I prefer American coffee, they also have hot tea which is okay, they have Coke and Pepsi, Sprite, Fanta and some homegrown soft drinks similar to the generic store brand soft drinks from the US. I usually make ice tea or drink a Coke or if I want an alcoholic beverage usually drink a Hungarian beer called Borsodi or another one called Soproni, they are lagers and remind me of Miller genuine draft beer or regular Coors. They have a Hungarian liquor kind of like Jagermeister called Unicum, very popular in the bars. They have a alsoholic beverage that is home made called Palinka (google it) It is made from just about any kind of fruit. I am not a fan of it because it doesn't have much flavor to it...kind of reminds me of a flavored Vodka.
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Old 10-21-2019, 07:43 AM
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Have you asked around local banks? you should be able to find one to open an account for foreigners with reasonable fees for wire trasnfers.
I checked out the local banks, 2 don't take American clients because of the US IRS FATCA reporting requirements, the rest accept Americans but honestly I save money and a lot of trouble keeping my US based Credit Union account open. My Credit Union charges no monthly account fees . Hungarian banks charge high monthly account maintenance fees and fees for everything...even checking your balances online. NO THANKS not unless I am forced to will I open a local account.
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:32 AM
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I checked out the local banks, 2 don't take American clients because of the US IRS FATCA reporting requirements, the rest accept Americans but honestly I save money and a lot of trouble keeping my US based Credit Union account open. My Credit Union charges no monthly account fees . Hungarian banks charge high monthly account maintenance fees and fees for everything...even checking your balances online. NO THANKS not unless I am forced to will I open a local account.
wow, thats crazy. I would have thought there was some EU banking regulation of some kind that would keep them from overcharging people like that. A simple debit account should be dirt cheap. Do you know if these high fees are for everyone or is it for non EU citizens? My account in Spain and Ireland, I dont pay a sinlge cent on any of them. (unless I overdraft, that sort of thing of course, which I never do)
The phone banking app is excellent and I can send money arond, make payments, check balance, etc. Sending money to another EU country is done withn 24hs.
I was looking into Czech Republic just right now, seems that they are currently considering making a constitutional change making slef defense with firearms a right. That would be awesome, also, in Poland you gun permit doubles as your carry permit. Pretty cool, wish I had that over here.
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Old 10-21-2019, 09:57 AM
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wow, thats crazy. I would have thought there was some EU banking regulation of some kind that would keep them from overcharging people like that. A simple debit account should be dirt cheap. Do you know if these high fees are for everyone or is it for non EU citizens? My account in Spain and Ireland, I dont pay a sinlge cent on any of them. (unless I overdraft, that sort of thing of course, which I never do)
The phone banking app is excellent and I can send money arond, make payments, check balance, etc. Sending money to another EU country is done withn 24hs.
I was looking into Czech Republic just right now, seems that they are currently considering making a constitutional change making slef defense with firearms a right. That would be awesome, also, in Poland you gun permit doubles as your carry permit. Pretty cool, wish I had that over here.
I think they soak everyone from what I have been told on fees. Most of them act like they are the only game in town and have a take it or leave it attitude. I think it is a remnant of the communist era. I have an account with a service called Transferwise that has really cheap rates for wire transfers internationally. When I was making my house payment from my US Credit Union account to the sellers bank account my service fee was 7.95 USD and the recipient had the money in most cases the next day. My credit union wanted 42.00 USD to do the same thing each month.

I like the Czech Republic it is a good country for human rights and liberty maybe one day Hungary will also loosen up gun laws. But for the time being I am not in need of a firearm so it is not a major concern.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:18 AM
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Three_dogs, I have watched with great interest your thread about life in Hungary.

If you have a chance to travel to Romania you might find also interesting opportunities for a good life on the cheap with a lot of cultural treats in that beautiful area. Did you travel there yet? What are your impressions?

I lived in Romania in my childhood and teens and was great but I left when I was young. Now I am thinking of going back (after I fully finish with my kids).

I like that you put some numbers on your lifestyle in Hungary. Any other numbers or impressions will help and be appreciated.

It is very cool the house you bought was only 20000 USD. The numbers I get in Romania for an OK apartment in a medium city are much higher (aprox 40-80k USD. Is it the same in Hungary cities, with the rural houses cheap but the apartments in the city expensive? Is Hungary way cheaper than Romania?
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:08 AM
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Three_dogs, I have watched with great interest your thread about life in Hungary.

If you have a chance to travel to Romania you might find also interesting opportunities for a good life on the cheap with a lot of cultural treats in that beautiful area. Did you travel there yet? What are your impressions?

I lived in Romania in my childhood and teens and was great but I left when I was young. Now I am thinking of going back (after I fully finish with my kids).

I like that you put some numbers on your lifestyle in Hungary. Any other numbers or impressions will help and be appreciated.

It is very cool the house you bought was only 20000 USD. The numbers I get in Romania for an OK apartment in a medium city are much higher (aprox 40-80k USD. Is it the same in Hungary cities, with the rural houses cheap but the apartments in the city expensive? Is Hungary way cheaper than Romania?
Cat, I have not yet been to Romania, I would like to go there to see the Transylvania region. I did look at Romania as an expat place but could never get much information about rentals and purchasing property there at that time. Seems like prices for rent and buying is much higher than Hungary or at least it was 3 years ago. Here in Hungary apartments in the larger cities are expensive even small ones can fetch 10 million forints. They would never work for me since I have dogs. Rural village farm houses like mine can be had for as little as 2 million forints but seldom will the be livable at that price point. You can get a really nice house in this village for about 12 million that is in excellent shape and move in ready with about 3000m2 of land. It will be sold in less than 6 months. Only drawback to it its on the main street in the village. Thanks for your questions.
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:24 AM
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Three_dogs, I have watched with great interest your thread about life in Hungary.

If you have a chance to travel to Romania you might find also interesting opportunities for a good life on the cheap with a lot of cultural treats in that beautiful area. Did you travel there yet? What are your impressions?

I lived in Romania in my childhood and teens and was great but I left when I was young. Now I am thinking of going back (after I fully finish with my kids).

I like that you put some numbers on your lifestyle in Hungary. Any other numbers or impressions will help and be appreciated.

It is very cool the house you bought was only 20000 USD. The numbers I get in Romania for an OK apartment in a medium city are much higher (aprox 40-80k USD. Is it the same in Hungary cities, with the rural houses cheap but the apartments in the city expensive? Is Hungary way cheaper than Romania?
I was cheching CZ prices just now, same thing, you have 20k-50K nice houses and 50k apartments in the town that are complete dumps. Hell, theres nice little cabins down to 5k-10k if you dont mind being far from Pague.
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Old 10-21-2019, 11:02 PM
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Which state and town is your friend's house in, may I ask?
All the examples I have used are from rural areas in Missouri and Arkansas South of St Louis to just south of Hot Springs.

I'm tired, and hurting. I appreciate the info and will come back to this thread tomorrow.(It's a rest day) when I can communicate semi-intelligently.
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:25 PM
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A neighborhood a few blocks away....Never has the electric or water off.

how do you explain the linked info about how often power fails?
Lucky or ...?




Houses cost the same there...I have several friends in that neighborhood
I hate to move...so I just stay where I am.

Like most Americans....we donít drink tap water. I do everything else with my tap water ..cook...wash...shower....everything except pour a glass..lol
5 gallon jugs of drinking water...delivered to your door... 75 cents. The delivery guy will even swap out jugs on your water dispenser for you.
Disante drinking water bottle from Colmado store...cold....30 cents
Cheaper brand...less than 20 cents ...cold from the cooler in the Colmado

Bags of ice from Colmado store....75 cents

Cell phone...unlimited data...text....calls anywhere in the world....3 dollars every 5 days
Data is great....I use it for Netflix if I need to

I think I answered everything

Let me know

Kevin

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when we refer to American lifestyle...it normally means ..buying imported American products...living in a gated Expat community...going out to eat in American franchise restaurants every night...etc....then yes it does get expensive. But I live more like a local..

Yea, that matches (more or less) what my research suggests.
I like steak, bacon, etc. If I wanted to not have a car and eat sandwiches and beans and rice (etc) I could live cheaper still here.

$2/lb steak isn't something I'm going to complain about. (What I paid per lb for my 1/4 cow last spring.)
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:38 PM
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Its fun but like everything else, you get used to it.
Some women you see you wish they would put something on, but yeah, there's some super hot women too going around topless. Its the most common thing in the world around here and its nothing feminist/liberal/metoo about it, its been like this since I have memory. If anything it may have been more popular +30 years ago when I first visited Spain.
Anyway, yes, Spanish, English, German, very big nordic community too. The best lookign ones would be Spanish and Nordic ones IMO.
not bad, but it doesn't really make that big an impact on life.


Well it really depends on location/lifestlye but he does have a ponit. Property wise yes, average house in Marbella (or some fancy place near Paris ) will be 600.000 USD average... but then again you have real actuall soild houses in Spain selling for 20k in some of those small towns no one wants to live in (because there's few people and theres nothign there to do... which you probably would fancy) hell, there's towns in Italy (and it spain and other low population villages across Europe) where they will PAY you to fo live there, because of the low population.
same here..... Like I said.



Some have certain requirements, bring young kids with you, or they give you free money to move there and open a business of some kind, but my point is location, location, location, some places are very cheap, sure as hell wont be in the middle of Paris, Madrid, Brussels etc. But is property overal expensive across Europe, more so than US, sure, dont have the actual numbers but it probably is. Doesnt mean you cant find real barbains here too.

I know that's why I said just that, but if you have kids one day you may change your mind.
you misunderstand: due to my lack of first hand knowledge and general apathy on the subject I'll leave that to others to discuss.


Yes, but college over there is still damn expensive,
it's really not. A good state school is a couple thousand dollars per semister, and plenty of ways to get free tuition.

and I see a growing number of people in America sending kids to private schools, some expensive ones, that arent all that great. Unfortunately, it seems to be going down the route of 3rd world countries, where parents have to pay for private because the public ones just such. Sure there's plenty of towns where thats not the case but I keep hearing more and more of people finding themselves in that position. lots ago stupid people out there.

Healthcare is a big one. Not boring people with a wall of text but its just good and afordable. I know its a knee jerk reaction topic for some people but it just is. And if you can have commie public healtcare (which is good and most people, even upper middle class people use)or you can pay private if you care all that much about it, and thanks to the good public one the private one is very affordable.

hear all kinds of +/-.....


Then there's a pile of other things.
I dont buy into all that idea of living cheap in the 3rd world.
I am from the third world, and the minimum standards I want (having a car would be one) are more expensive in the third world that in developed countries because having a nice car, education , health and security are considered luxuries, here not so much.
thanks


Food is good. There's no food lobby buying politicians, if the EU says your sht is bad for people you're just not allowed to sell it. Try to buy a politician to say otherwsise like in America and that's a big no no here, its corruption. Same of companies making "campaign donations". All of that ensures that the cheap food you buy anywhere in the EU is top quality. Many (most?) American food products arent for sale here unless you go to specialised stores becuase they just dont meet EU standards.
we have a choice here..... I don 't shop at normal places or things much.



Guns laws such overall as you know, but they dont suck as much as most Americans think. Spain is pretty crappy and I have a nice little eclectic collection. Hell, guns are downright cheaper here than in USA because few people bother anymore getting a gun license.
Deal breaker.


Some of it is harder to explain, at least here in Spain, people are more chilled/relaxed. Weather is about the best you can have bar none, so Costa del Sol is like the Boca Raton of Europe for old people but you have some neat places in Italy, Greece (yes, Greece has some very nice little towns in spite of the crisis, which they are recoving from).

Maybe one of the things I like the most is that's theres less consumerism and obsession with buying crap while at the same time even a minimum wage guy lives pretty darn well.

I have a neighbor here that is a nurse, handyman, and fireman. There's also a TV news presenter. In America maybe the TV news presenter would be a rich, here she's a normal person (with a half a million buck house but still)so not normal.... and drives a nice new SUV of some kind, and sends the kids to a public school just like I do. At the same time the fireman drives a newish Audi.. because he wants to and with a bit of effort can afford to do so. Yet if he gets sick he wont have to sell the Audi to cover his medical bills becuase thats not how it works here.

In my shooting club there's old retired people, cops, military guys, they all live well, if I had to guess thier quality of life is at least a notch or two above how they would be living in America.

Food is of course fantastic in these parts and affordable if you know where to go. 20 Euros (22 dollars) in a nice but popular place, 30 euros for a fancy place with a view. so about the same.There's of course more expensive, MUCH more expensive but thats reasonable prices in my opinion. I dont need to go to a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Clothes, shoes, all that stuff is very cheap if you shop around and take advantage of the sales,same but at the same time you'll never see hordes of dubmasses stepping on one antoher on black Friday sales. People (and by that I mean the lower, unwashed masses) they just dont think that way. Come to think of it you dont see all that much dumb unwashes masses at all. IS it maybe becuase education/food/lifestyle in general are all, in average good? Maybe. MAybe another way to put it would be that the lowest common denominator isnt as low as in America, and even if that ISNT you, it still afects the society you live in.
Other people's consumerism doesn't impact me.
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Old 10-26-2019, 04:40 PM
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oh, one more thing, two large margarita pizzas, inlcuding delivery. 16 euros, a bit under 20 bucks including tip. Tips here are 10% or less, as in a lot less, locals will round the bill and maybe leave one or two euros on a 20 to 30 restaurant bill, no tip at all for beer or cafee, maybe just a few lose cents from the change.
But 10% is certainly considered a genrous tip. I tip my pizza guy an burger guy 1 euro, they are pretty grateful about it.
A large 3 topping pizza is $7 here. doesn't include delivery.... My delivery fee would probably be $100+
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Old 10-26-2019, 06:03 PM
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Pictures of Hungarian life in the nearest major city of Kaposvar about 14 kilometers from me.









and pictures of Lake Balaton, one of the largest fresh water lakes in central Europe.







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Old 10-26-2019, 06:12 PM
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Pictures of my property









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Old 10-26-2019, 10:20 PM
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Yea, that matches (more or less) what my research suggests.
I like steak, bacon, etc. If I wanted to not have a car and eat sandwiches and beans and rice (etc) I could live cheaper still here.

$2/lb steak isn't something I'm going to complain about. (What I paid per lb for my 1/4 cow last spring.)
The power outages during the day ...depends on the neighborhood
Like I said earlier..I have friends a couple blocks away....never have the planned outages. Same power company...ED NORTE. Just different neighborhoods

We always ask when looking for a house....ask the neighbors how good is the electric and water.
The countryside....campo ... that is more spotty on water and electric
Most houses I see out there....have rain catchment and batteries and inverters

Since 2014.... I only had 2 outages that happened that lasted over a few hours...once was when a truck hit a main power pole a couple blocks away from my house...off for about 6 hours at night... back on about midnight

Another was during a hurricane a couple yrs ago...off for almost 20 hours.

I canít speak for everyone...only can speak to my experience

Bacon...is easy to get. Pork is a common meat
I love bacon as well. Steaks are easy... plenty of meats
Trust me ... I donít survive on beans and rice. Lol. There is always plenty of meat on my lunch menu. Chicken...pork....beef. When I visit the coast.... fish
From your postings in the past...I know you are a guy who appreciate good fresh foods...Veggies...fruits..etc. we have an abundance of those
I am gonna learn to can and dehydrate... fresh foods are abundant

When I fully retire and go full time.... I will probably pick up a vehicle... but right now it is not something I need.
Later on I will.
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by three_dogs View Post
Since the fall of communism Hungarians can speak freely and the only Hungarians I am aware of being asked to leave were employees of George Soro's NGO's which were trying to foment trouble because Hungary does NOT want to become an open borders country and to be over ran by freeloaders that bring nothing to the table except the need for welfare and healthcare and have no interest in ever integrating themselves into society. So Soro's open society NGO and his University were asked to leave. Frankly, I do not have a problem with that at all because Soro's is a globalist and wants open borders and the destruction of Christian European Culture.

As far as moving to a rural area is concerned I lived in rural TN before moving back to Texas in 2014 and TN is not much cheaper than TX now so I do not see how moving to rural Arizona or rural South Dakota or another ruralpart of any state is going to help much. I lived in Phoenix 2 years as a kid and in the late 60's if I remember right it often times was in the 100 to 115 degree temp range in the summer. In the mountains it gets cold in the winter so I do not see much in cost saving for utility's in AZ.

Let us just agree to disagree about our choices of where to live I am sure you think you made the right choice for your needs and situation. I know I made the right choice for my needs and situation.
You do know there are areas between Phoenix (100+ degrees) and Flagstaff (below zero) right?

I am at 6400 feet (the town of St Johns is at 5700) and summer is ok with just fans and winter with wood heat. House is a log cabin and has no central AC/heat. I am on a well and septic so have no bill for water/sewer and my electric runs about $80 a month. Trash costs me $3 every couple of weeks when I throw whatever I can't burn in with my neighbor's load for a dump run. I do use propane for cooking but have barely made a dent in the 800gals I bought over a year ago when I upgraded the tank and absent a need to run my generator might possibly never buy propane again.

I use roughly 2 cords of wood a year for heat and just had a cord delivered and stacked for $205. I could get the wood almost for free if I wanted to go out and cut it myself in the National Forest.

I am not saying the choice you made wasn't right for you. You want to live in another country then that should be a good enough reason. I myself contemplated retiring in the Philippines and owning a bar (complete with bar girls) on the beach at one point, then I got married which ended that.

I and Nomad,2nd have just been pointing out that the reasons and benefits you claim for your leaving the country could have been met simply by choosing an appropriate location in the USA. Which despite proof being posted that it is possible you simply refuse to acknowledge. Here's yet another example, my neighbor's parents are living on just Social Security and they have a nice 5th wheel on 20 acres a couple miles away from us. They are off-grid and have no utility bills. They aren't living high on the hog but aren't starving either.

As I said, you want to live in another country that's your choice but don't try to imply it is the only way to have a low cost retirement lifestyle or that such isn't possible in the US.
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