There’s no doubt I live in the ‘lucky’ country. We have beautiful beaches, gorgeous landscapes, well maintained cities, supportive public transport systems and we are a relatively safe place to live. But our ‘luck’ comes at a price. Our cost of living is highway robbery.
I recently read that Australia’s cost of business is the second highest in the world, second only to Japan. Our electricity costs are the highest in the western world and only about to be raised once our carbon tax is introduced in July 2012. Our food prices are atrocious. Bananas have been as high as $18 a kilo when our banana plantations were terrorised by cyclones and floods (now they are done to a respectable $3 a kilo), but a loaf of bread is around $4 a loaf, eggs are around $5 a dozen, toilet paper is $11 for a pack of 8 rolls, and tampons… don’t get me started on feminine products. Today I took my boys ice-skating… something that they decided that they love and want to do regularly. For one adult and two children plus skate hire, it was $58 (and $3 for locker hire). When I came home, I decided to do a price comparison around the world.
Ice-skating: one adult, two children, skate hire.
Santa Fe, USA: $5.00 per adult, $1.75 per child, $3 each for skate hire. $US17.50
Melbourne, Australia: $AUD58 for package. ($US60.36)
Manchester, UK: 24 pounds, 1 pound for locker hire ($US38.45, $US1.60 for locker hire)
Auckland, New Zealand: $NZ43.00 ($US35.35)
Ontario, Canada: $CA30.00 ($US30.12)
Bananas per pound
Portland OR, USA: 59c
Paris, France: $US2.68
Rio De Janerio, Brazil: $US0.25
Melbourne, Australia: $AU0.73 ($US0.76)
Eggs per dozen
Little Rock, AK, USA: $1.00
London, UK: $US5.28
Melbourne, Australia $US4.80
Rio De Janerio, Brazil: $US0.84
Hong Kong, China: $US1.80
Loaf of bread:
Los Angeles, USA: $2.29
Melbourne, Australia: $US4.22
Berlin, Germany: $US2.50
London, UK: $US0.74
As you can see, our basics are well above, in most cases, that of the rest of the civilised world. It makes it hard to get your head above water, and definitely separates the rich from the poor. I had a conversation recently with a friend in the US about giving my boys a dinner of cold meats, nice breads and fresh salad vegetables and cheese that we could graze on. My boys loved it, but it’s an expensive meal – $25 for the three of us in basic form, $50 for the three of us if we had more meat, soft cheese and more of a variety of salad vegetables from the basic lettuce, tomato, carrot and cucumber.
So wherever you live, think about what it costs where you live for the basics versus other cities in the world. It might give you a new appreciation for what you have readily accessible to you, and what you don’t.