Cost of Living

What will it cost me to live on Saipan, Tinian or Rota?
Customized Expense Report for living on Saipan
NEW! Order a Customized Monthly Expense Report
...and answer the question: "Given my unique situation, how much will I REALLY spend to relocate and for living expenses each month on Saipan?"

Get a Customized Report and Relocation Consultation Skype® Call Package!--$99.00
Curious about life and expenses on Saipan? Well, you're not the only one! Others have asked, requested and received:
(a) A CUSTOMIZED REPORT: a detailed, current monthly expense report of how much they would/WILL actually spend each month to live on Saipan! We do the research around the island to get the forms and documents not available online, as well as answers to specific questions for your unique situation! (Phone, utilities, cable, trash collection and a few expenses unique to Saipan Living! Completion time: about 2 days.


(b) A SKYPE RELOCATION CONSULTATION: Sometimes you ask better questions and get better answers when you speak directly to another human! Use this Skype call to customize your report, ask personal "off the record" questions about life, relocation costs, daily expenses, and just about anything, so you get the specific answers you really want! It's basically a "relocation consultation" session You'll speak with me--the founder of since I already do regular business consultations via Skype, I'm already set up to record our conversation and email you an MP3 recording of the session for you to refer to again and again!
Request & Reserve now, and we'll schedule your call! | Ask questions about this package

Feedback from one of our first clients:

"Thank you for your prompt reply in a very detailed form! We will be sending you payment shortly. We might need more help soon, will let you know."--I.B.
Gas Prices
Gas prices tend to be a bit higher than the national average. As of June 8, 2016, for example, the price of a gallon of regular gasoline at either set of Shell or Mobil stations here on island is
Food Prices
Food prices in the supermarkets tend to be about the same as in most major cities in the United States. If your diet is comprised of supermarket fare (packaged, boxed, canned, bottled goods), then in some instances, your costs may be a bit higher given that the shipping costs to our remote location can add a premium to some items, when we have them.
If, on the other hand, you choose to live on locally-grown and harvested fruits and vegetables, you can save quite a bit as these prices are very low.
[More entries coming soon from people with kids who live on the Standard American Diet]
Here's a link to my blog post entitled "How Much does it cost to live on Saipan?
Electricity from the local utility company (CUC, the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation) currently costs . People with air conditioners, televisions, stereos, etc. are typically seeing bills of $200 and more per month.
[From the official CNMI Public School System website:] The CNMI Public School System consists of 20 campuses of learning for school-age children from the age of 6 to 18. Of these twenty campuses, twelve are elementary schools, three are junior high schools, four are senior high schools, and one secondary school in Tinian for grades 7-12. Kindergarten is being offered at all the elementary schools.
Private Schools
• Brilliant Star Montessori School
• Grace Christian Tinian
• Mount Carmel
• Saipan Community
• Seventh Day Adventist
Saipan International School
• Bank of Guam
• Bank of Hawaii
• First Hawaiian Bank
• Bank of Saipan
• Bankpacific Limited
• City Trust Bank

• Joeten Supermarket(4 locations)
• San Jose Mart
• 99-Cents Store
• Afetna

• Ace Hardware,
• Joe-ten,
• Dolphin Wholesale

Office/School Supplies:
• National Office Supplies,
• Modern Stationery
• Joe-ten Superstore (formerly Price Costco)
Mail Delivery (to and from mainland US)
This is one of my favorite topics, as it continues to be the most amusing to deal with. One of the things about living on an island that's the best kept secret of the US family of territories is that few people in the US have even heard of Saipan. TOUWALAWOS who've been here for years have ordered items from all over the US and other countries from various vendors and still have to make the mandatory call or send the email making sure they know where we are and how to send mail to us. It's happened so often, that I keep a standard text file on my computer that I simply cut and paste to any new vendor I deal with.
Dear sir or madam,
I am interested in placing an order with your company. However, I need to verify the following:
I'd like to place an order to be shipped to me here on Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. (official name Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; aka CNMI, which includes Saipan, Tinian and Rota)
Please note the following:
1. FOR THOSE ON THE US MAINLAND OR ITS TERRITORIES, SAIPAN IS NOT A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR AN INTERNATIONAL DESTINATION Saipan is a US territory since 1940 in the same postal zone as Hawaii and Guam (Postal zone 8). Items are shipped here via US Postal Service Priority Mail just like any state in America, but require a customs form*. The state designation for Saipan is MP and the zip code is 96950 (i.e. Saipan, MP 96950) *without the customs form, any shipment, even Priority Mail, will take 2 months to get here. From my experience with other vendors, it is important that I stress the above. We, on the island, experience shipping delays all the time through vendors who don't believe us and send via parcel post, media mail or without the customs form. Are you familiar with shipping to Saipan?
Will you be able to assure that the order gets shipped out via US Postal Service Priority Mail?
I'll call to place an order, and hope that I'll be able to communicate the above and have it listened to and acted on successfully. :-)
Please advise.
If I'm not able to have the vendor ship to me directly, I sometimes have to have it sent to my friends in the states, and have them send it to me here. That also requires a separate email with instructions to them on how to do that.
Hi Mary,
Thanks for agreeing to send the package to me. Here are some instructions. Please follow them carefully to make sure I actually do get the package.
USPS Priority Mail box
1. First, get a FLAT RATE PRIORITY BOX you get free at the post office (the cube ones 11 x 8.5 x 5.5) (There are now 3 sizes of flat rate box. The post office just created a smaller size. So make sure you find what is now the "medium" size which has a shipping rate of $10.35 regardless of weight.)
Customs form 2976A
2. attach a white customs form
(2976A completed)
3. Send to
PO BOX 000000

2. If you send this or anything to me or anyone else in Saipan, send ONLY via USPS Priority Mail (any other way will never get here)

3. For anything over 2 pounds, or if it's large, use the Flat Rate Priority BOX (as opposed to the envelope)

4. Half the clerks at the post office in the US
A. aren't aware Saipan exists, and/or
B. don't know that Priority Mail applies to Saipan, and will tell you all sorts of other things that aren't true and don't apply. If you run into any clerk who gives you a hard time, ask to speak to a supervisor, or just move to another window.

5. For mail and most other things, doing business in or with Saipan it's treated just like it would be in Hawaii and Guam. In fact, just so you're well informed, Saipan is in the same "postal zone" as Hawaii and Guam: USPS Postal Zone Number 8).
Question: Hey, I know I'm crazy, but we are moving to Saipan and plan on bringing our 3 cats. They're like our kids, so how can we not. I've heard that to avoid quarentine it is possible to fly through Hawaii. Any ideas on how to move 3 pets? Thanks
Answer: Dear Crazy, Here is the relevant info, pulled from 2015-2019 update: PAWS and Saipan Cares for Animals have joined forces. Visit the new online home at
PAWS logo PAWS - Importation and Quarantine Information
CNMI Dog Importation and Quarantine Regulations
(Courtesy of Dr. Ignacio Dela Cruz, DLNR)

Vaccination requirements:

Must be current for Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Rabies, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Bordetella Bronchiseptica (Kennel Cough) and Coronavirus.

Parasite Treatment:

Must be free of or treated within 14 days of arrival on Saipan for internal and external parasites.

Quarantine Requirement:

Upon arrival on Saipan, the dog will be quarantined at the CNMI Government Animal Quarantine Facility in As Perdido for a minimum of sixty (60) days. If the owner qualifies for "Home Quarantine," the remaining 60 days can be completed at owner's residence, otherwise the entire 120 days will be completed in the government facility. (So far, we have not refused any applicant for the home quarantine, but for some, they had to perform certain requirements or to provide a ladder in a couple of instances. For most, though, there were no additional requirements.)

Health Examination/Certification:

The dog must be examined and certified by a licensed veterinarian as healthy and free of contagious or communicable diseases and internal/external parasites within fourteen (14) days of arrival on Saipan.

Other Requirements:

Must be accompanied by valid CNMI Animal Quarantine Entry Permit which cost $10.00 per animal, plus $50.00 security deposit (to reserve a kennel space which is limited - only 10 are available) which is non-refundable and must be paid by certified check or money order made out to "CNMI Treasurer." The security deposit will be applied towards payment of the total amount for the quarantine fee which varies depending upon the dog's weight. It is $3.00 per day for less than 30 lbs.; $3.50 between 30 to 50 lbs.; $4.50 between 50 to 80 lbs.; and $5.00 per day for dogs weighing over 80 lbs. We do not use any special diet. We buy all of our pet food from the local stores, usually the "cheapest" but of good quality (not the best, though!).

If you need additional information or clarification, please let us know. Payment (by certified check or money order made out to "CNMI Treasurer") may be sent to:
Dr. Ignacio
Dela Cruz
POB 500677
Saipan, MP 96950
Ph 670-234-6169
Fax 670-235-9001

This way, we can receive the payment faster (if you are not pressed for time). Official address:
Office of Animal Health & Industry
Division of Agriculture
CNMI Government
POB 10007
Saipan, MP 96950.

Your pet can also be quarantined in Hawaii or Guam. Upon completion of their quarantine requirements, your pet can be entered into the CNMI without further quarantine. You would still need to obtain an entry permit, though, and meet any other requirements not applicable to them.
• Download both the Cat and Dog Quarantine Entry Permits here
Cat Entry Permit Click here
Dog Entry Permit Click here
Question:Re: condition of entry #3 n the entry permit. I personally treat our pets monthly for internal and external parasites. The dogs get Frontline (on the skin) for fleas and ticks, and pills for gastrointestinal worms and heartworm. The cat gets Revolution (on the skin) for just about everything internal and external except ticks. Cats don't get ticks in Okinawa, but I also keep a flea/tick collar on her, just in case. And, although Revolution is good for most gastrointestinal worms, I back that up with a pill every two months, too. So I wonder what certification I would need for this. Would I need to have a vet medicate them once and issue a certificate?
Answer: The answer provided by one of our residents was:
As per your question on no. 3 entry permit for your cat and dog, the only answer I can say is, if you can print out the forms and show it to your veterinarian because I only know that conditions and requirements as be to follow on what was stated on the form. Or? Your veterinary can make a note on the Health Certificate saying that your pet animals has been treated every month on vaccinations, internal and external parasites. I hope this information helps .
Military Support & Guns
Question: "Hi i'm retired military an would like to ask if there are any organizations as VFW on the island? Will we have problems bringing hand guns to the island?
• Yes. It USED TO BE illegal to bring hand guns into the CNMI. However, a recent court challenge to that law ( Radich v. Guerrero) was successful, and now hand guns are allowed. H.B. 20-34 (Public Law 20-27), which was offered by Rep. Vinson Sablan (Ind-Saipan), seeks to revive the prohibition of firearms in the CNMI.
• There is a VFW on island. I don't have a contact number (today's Friday, and all gov't offices are closed), but one could e-mail < > (the CNMI gov't office for veteran affairs) for information about it.

Breaking News from Walt:

A few weeks ago, a former workshop attendee and coaching client revealed that she nominated me to be considered for this year’s Governor’s Humanities Award here on Saipan. I thanked her, but I didn’t really believe I qualified because...(read why at
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