Sticker Shock!

31 Jan

Upon arriving in Australia, one of the first things I encountered was severe sticker shock. When H was with me in America, he couldn’t stop commenting on how cheap everything was. In Australia, everything is taxed like crazy. In America, taxes are much more reasonable and many things aren’t even subject to sales tax (such as food or medicine). Over Christmas, H ended up blowing half a paycheck at the mall because he wanted to “stock up” on clothes for cheap. (Why he needed so many winter sweaters when it is summer in Australia was a question to which I did not get a coherent answer.)

Well, just as his eyes bugged out at the prices in America, so did mine when I saw the prices in Australia, but for totally different reasons.

One of our first stops was the grocery store, obviously. Here’s a quick price comparison:

24-pack of pop: America $5, Australia $25

Box of Froot Loops: America $3, Australia $8

Tresemme shampoo: America $5, Australia $10

A dozen eggs: America: $1, Australia $5

On average, everything is two to three times more expensive here. At one point, we spent $40 at the pharmacy for a pack of sore throat lozenges, some painkillers, and a candy bar. $40!!!! I about passed out right there. A couple weeks later we went back to get a three day supply of antibiotics and they were $20. I’m pretty sure Walmart has generic antibiotics for $4 for a week’s supply.

At the gas station, things aren’t cheap either. Regular petrol is about the equivalent of $5.15 a gallon. A half-liter bottle of water is $4.95.

Dinner for two at a moderately priced restaurant starts at $50. An evening movie ticket is $22.

It amazes me that people are willing to pay such high prices for basic every day items. As someone who has never had a lot of money, I cringe at the prices at every store I walk into. Needless to say, I’ll be keeping unnecessary expenses to a minimum!

2 Responses to “Sticker Shock!”

  1. The Modern Home Economist February 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    Yes it is true. Here in Aus we pay such hi prices for everything! It is very frustrating. It is meant to be compensated by the fact we generally get paid higher wages – but I still think we are overcharged and taxed!

    • housewifedownunder February 16, 2012 at 2:08 am #

      I just read in The Age the other day that Melbourne and Sydney are both in the top ten most expensive cities in the world. I forget what ranking each had.

      Yes, people do get paid more here, but only for certain jobs. Australian minimum wage is much higher than in America, more than double… but the overall cost of living here is about four times higher and you get taxed about twice as much. It’s much easier to get by in America with lower wages. And also, a lot of jobs that pay extremely well in America- engineering, for example- are very low pay jobs here.

      I guess it’s kind of a trade off. Australia is, in my opinion, a much nicer place to live than most of America. It’s sort of a “get what you pay for” kind of thing and the high cost of living is the price you pay to live in a nice country with good infrastructure and accessible services.

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