ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Saipan Cost of Living

Updated on August 15, 2010

Saipan Living Costs

I am asked often by expats friends in Asia, particularly in the Philippines, about Saipan. They want to know about the Saipan cost of living, mostly. They already can see from pictures on the net just how beautiful Saipan is so I don't get very many questions about that. I wrote this originally as a message to one friend, but I decided that everyone can benefit from it. Excuse me for the style of writing, it is typical email style.

Saipan Housing Costs

The Saipan cost of living is literally as cheap as you want it to be. I am serious about that. I pay $275 for a 1 bedroom. I got into it quickly since there wasn't much information and I was staying in a hotel. It was just remodeled so it's nice enough, just a tad on the small side. It's about the size of the place that we were living on AS Fortuna in Mandaue for 5000 pesos a month. But it's two blocks from the beach. It's furnished with everything and it is American standard everything, meaning full size ref, ceiling fan, window air con for the bedroom, standard toilet and shower, big kitchen sink, couch, queen size bed, you get the idea. I am just a five minute walk from the Taco Bell and a 24 hour grocery store. When we were looking for a place in Talamban last May, we looked at a new place that would compare to this place and they wanted 20k pesos a month.

I have since found cheaper. I found out that there are two and three bedrooms not far away from here from $200 and up. When I say that the cost of living is as cheap as you want it to be, I got a friend who is renting a room for $100 a month. It's not the most fancy, but it is certainly better than anything he could get in Cebu for the price. There is another place that is renting out rooms for $80 a month with cable tv.

Saipan Internet

Internet is expensive here to say the least. I am pay $50 a month for an USB cellphone modem that I wish was faster. In some places, it really does fast. My speedtest says it is between 200 and 300 kbps, but sometimes it crawls down to less than 100 and other times speeds up to 600 to 700 kbps. There is DSL for $40 a month if you have a phone line. The first 6 months are 1/2 price, but I didn’t go with it since it takes about a week and a half to install it and I didn’t know the availability of internet here at the time.

Now I know that there are many places with free wifi. McD’s has a nice wifi connection and a few plugins. There are internet cafes that have internet for $1 an hour so you don’t have to rush and get internet unless you want it. I am happy enough with the usb evdo modem since I can connect from anywhere, even on the beach, if I want to. There is cable modem access, but it’s really not worth it.

Saipan Utilities

Electricity is expensive here at 25 cents a kw/hr. Cabletv runs $32 a month for basic cable which is just ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS from Guam, Fox News, CNN, ESPN, USA and a couple of other channels. Their Plus package is $13 more a month for 25 or 30 more cable channels. It’s a typical US small town cable tv system so you get the idea.

Saipan Drinking Water

Tap water is salty so you have to get bottled water. You can get it delivered to the house for 2.00 or 2.50 per 5 gallon bottle.

Saipan Food Prices

Food is cheap and expensive at the same time. First off, restaurants are expensive, period. The cheapest meal at McDonalds is the 4.75 for their McChicken Value Meal, but it comes with unlimited refills and wifi. Taco Bell tacos are 1.59 each, soft or hard shell.

Grocery stores are more expensive than the US. Here's a sampling:

Australian Milk 1.69/liter

Frozen Tyson Chicken Quarters 17.95/22lb box

US Ground Beef 1.79/lb

Us Chicken Quarters 1.22/lb

Potatoes 79 cents/lb

Washington Apples 1.10/lb

Calrose Rice 55 cents/lb

Sugar 79 cents/kilo

Totino’s Frozen Pizzas 2.49

Canned Corned Beef 1.99/340 grams

Saipan Transportation

Transportation can be a bear here. This is America so as expected there is no bus service here. There are illegal taxis though that charge $3 per ride per person to all of the places around here. There is a car rental place that rents cars for $25 a day or $140 a week. I rented a car for my first week here and it came in real handy.

Asia Scooters in Garapan rents out scooters for $150 a month and they seem to be an ok way to get around the island during the day, when it's not raining.

Cars can be bought here. Some are cheap and some are more expensive than the mainland. Gas is expensive at 3.87 a gallon as of 8/15/2010.

Depending on where you live, bikes can be a good way to get around the villages. All you need is pedal power. Combined with cheap Chinese taxis, you might find a happy medium between relying on others and having your own transportation.

Saipan Mail

USPS is here. It takes about 5 to 6 days to receive Priority Mail boxes from the US. Prices are the same as you would pay on the mainland so the postal service is a cheap way to send things and that means you can sell ebay or etsy online here at the same shipping cost structure as you would in the mainland US.

One note about the postal service, there are not enough post office boxes to go around. They are free here so that is a good thing, but they just need more of them. By the sheer luck, I got one within a week after I arrived. Another option are the $6 private mail boxes. There are many of them and they offer a good alternative to the post office.

Got Questions About Saipan?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Mitch Morrell 2 years ago

      All this is 5 years old and I am sure no longer applicable. Can you update?

    • Pelagic Traveler profile image

      Pelagic Traveler 3 years ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      hey , still living in Saipan? I was wanting to find a place to rent a scooter for a week/month. The asian scooters doesn't do it monthly anymore. Thanks for any info!!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)