Island Living - Food and Expenses

Living Expenses
Most students will need a minimum of US $2,500-3,000 for food and miscellaneous expenses per term. You will need more if you plan to live off-campus or rent or purchase a car. There are several ways to bring money to Grenada, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages. You will need more than that if you plan to live off campus, or rent or purchase a car. There are several ways to bring money to Grenada, each with distinct advantages and disadvantages. Following is some information to help you discern your best option:

  • ATM Card - Your ATM card from home can be used at local banks to withdraw money. Maximum daily withdrawal amounts range from $1,000 to $3,000 EC depending on the bank. The bank will automatically convert funds from your account into Grenadian dollars. (In other words, you cannot get foreign currency out of a Grenadian ATM). Local banks do not assess a fee for out-of-network ATM withdrawals. The only fee this transaction will incur is the fee your financial institution charges for out-of-network withdrawals.
  • Debit Card - Debit cards are accepted at all banks in Grenada. They are also accepted at most large retailers including grocery stores, utility companies, restaurants and pharmacies. A bank can provide a cash advance on your debit card, and the cash is deducted directly from your checking account balance. There is a $2 US fee per transaction for cash advances. There is also a maximum cash advance of $2,000 - $3,000 EC depending on the local bank you use.
  • Traveler’s Checks - These have a good rate of exchange; however, you will be charged $5.10 EC per check to cash them at a local bank. Traveler’s checks are accepted at some retail locations in Grenada (i.e., the grocery store). However, they cannot be used within the airport to pay duties.
  • Credit Cards (Visa/MasterCard) - Credit cards are accepted at most restaurants and a limited number of retail locations in Grenada. Most local grocery stores will accept Credit Cards, but for campus dining, gas, going to the movies, etc., only cash is accepted. Using a credit card for a cash advance usually incurs a steep fee (2% or $20 US, whichever is greater).
  • Cash - It is suggested to bring at least $100 US (in units of ones and fives) for your trip over to Grenada. You will be able to use this money to buy snacks at the airport, to pay any custom duties, to pay for transportation from the airport, etc. Most establishments in Grenada will accept payment in US dollars.
  • Personal Checks - Do not count on writing yourself a check for funds in Grenada! Local banks will only cash out-of-country checks after first holding them for six - eight weeks. Leave your personal checkbook at home. Local banks will accept Bank Checks/Certified Checks/Cashier Checks that have been certified at the Chancellery on campus. This may be a convenient way for students to transfer money from their home bank to a local account in Grenada. Once this has occurred the money is immediately available.

Your best bet is to bring several forms of money with you to Grenada. For example, cash for your trip over, a Bank or Cashier check to open your local account, credit cards for emergencies, etc.

Banking In Grenada

It may be helpful to open a local bank account when you are on the island. Since sending Financial Aid checks securely back to a home bank can be expensive, opening a local account may simplify transferring money and loan checks.

If you open a local bank account it will be a ‘savings account’ with an ATM card. Checking accounts are only available after a savings account has been open for 6 months.

Island Banks:

  • RBTT (this is the only bank on campus)
  • First Caribbean International
  • Grenada Co-operative Bank
  • Republic Bank
  • Scotia Bank

There is an RBTT branch with an ATM on campus.  Hours vary from bank to bank, but the RBTT branch on campus is open from 8am to 2pm Monday through Thursday, and 8am to 4pm on Friday. All local banks are closed on weekends. 

Setting up an account

A bank account can be set up with cash or Traveler’s Checks and a debit card from home can be used to transfer money into your Grenadian bank. Traveler’s Checks remain the safest, easiest and quickest ways to start a savings account. A debit card can be issued at the bank on campus.

Currency Exchange Rates

When purchasing items in Grenada, prices are generally quoted in Grenadian Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollars, but ask if you are unsure. The EC is tied to the US dollar at 1 USD = 2.67 EC. A convenient rule of thumb approximation is to multiply the cost of an item by.4 to arrive at US dollars. (i.e. $5.00 EC X.4 = approximately $2 USD.)

The approximate rate of exchange for the British pound has been 1 BSP = 4 EC. A convenient rule of thumb approximation is to multiply the cost of the item by.25 to arrive at British pounds sterling.

Do not convert any more US dollars to EC dollars than necessary, since re- conversion to US dollars can be complex and costly.

Meals

Expect to pay between $15 EC to $30 EC for a typical meal in Grenada (approximately $6 to $12 US dollars).

Pearl’s Cafeteria

Food is very readily available on the True Blue campus since several restaurants and food vendors do business on campus and two of these, Subway and New York’s Finest Bagels, operate 24/7. Also, there are a variety of establishments which sell food in the Grand Anse area. There are also some upscale restaurants ($75-150 EC per person) for students who want a nice night out.