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budgets budgets budgets!

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StarDrifter:
Hi! Something I stumbled across was in another folder, about $60USD being not that high for a pair of kids shoes, I believe the poster who said this was in Norway.

Anyway- it got me thinking. The Big Mac index aside, what is cost-of-living like in your part of the world?

The USD is probably the easiest to put things into perspective with, so I will start.

I live in Australia, about two hours drive from my nearest capital city, being Melbourne. I work part-time and my husband works full-time. We have a 3 bedroom house that is approximately 2100sqft. We both drive, and have two cars (well, one car and one ute... a small pickup truck). We also have two cats.

At the moment the Australian dollar is about at parity/a little higher than the US dollar, so the amounts are rounded a little.

Our monthly mortgage repayment is about $1100, and out current interest rate on our mortgage is 6.6%p.a, which is tied to the rates set by the Reserve Bank of Australia. It went down by .25% last month and is expected to go down again at the end of January
Monthly repayments on my car (will end in May) are about $440 and the interest rate on that is about 12%p.a - the loan initially was for $15,000 and will have taken me 4 years and eight months to pay back when it ends
We spend about $70-$80 a week, up to about $350 a month on groceries
We pay about $25/month for natural gas into the house in summer (connection fees) and about $90/month in winter (gas ducted heating)
It costs us about $110/month for our electricity all year round, because thankfully our A/C is rarely needed, and very efficient.
We pay about $5.63/gallon ($1.49/litre) for unleaded petrol (gasoline), and about 10% more for diesel fuel

I work in a ladies' clothing boutique and get an hourly rate, no commission (thank goodness) and get paid around $15 an hour (after tax)

The average interest rate on a credit card is between 15% and 24%, depending on the credit limit and the issuing bank

A new release Blu-Ray (i.e., Cowboys and Aliens) is about $28-$32 depending on the retailer - add about $4-$8 if it's in 3D
A movie ticket for an adult is $14 at my local cinema - $18 if the movie is 3D but you get $2 of that back if you return the glasses at the end
Good quality shoes, that I would wear to work for a 7 or 8 hour shift on my feet are about $80-$120 depending on the brand and if they're on sale
I paid $689 for my iPad2 32gb wi-fi only, and $149 for my current generation iPod Nano 8gb

ETA- Books! Australia is notorious for books being hugely expensive and it's true!

A brand new top-50 hardback can go for as high as $45 depending on where you get it (at say Dymocks, a specialty book-shop) but at somewhere like BigW (Australian equivalent to Wal-Mart, basically) it will be under $30, but not by much. I actually did some research - the reason books are so expensive here is that Australia has weird import laws about books and most publishers have to manufacture books here to sell them here, which jacks up the prices.
And also explains why a *lot* of people are going to Amazon and Book Depository rather than Dymocks!


These are things most of us buy, or can buy, and I think it would be really interesting to find out how expensive/cheap things are in other parts of the world.

baritone108:
This is difficult for the USA, the cost of living varies widely.  I am in the midwest.  I live in a medium size city with high unemployment and we were hit hard by the housing bust of a few years ago.  In the nicer parts of the city you can rent a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house (approx. 1800 sq. ft.) for $600 - $700.  It would be MUCH cheaper to buy a similar sized house in the same parts of the city ($55K purchase price) but it's a lot harder to get a mortgage now.  In the suburbs of this city the cost would be higher, e.g. rent $1100, purchase $125K.

My daughter lives near the nations capital.  Rent on a 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse is $1400 - $1700 a month.  A 2100 sq. foot house would go for around $345K.  Food is slightly more expensive there and the quality of meat is often not as good as what I can get so we send "CARE " packages of meat to them.

Back to costs where I live.  Right now gasoline bounces between $3.15 and $3.49/gallon ($.87/litre) for standard unleaded.
My DH and I spend about $60/week on groceries (food and other things like soaps and paper products).
Gas to heat the house and electricity average about $49/mo. and $90/mo. respectively with air in the summer balancing out heat in the winter.

The interest rate on a credit card can range from 7% to 22% depending on the issuing bank.  The interest rate on a mortgage is about 4%.
A movie ticket for an adult is $8 during matinee hours and $12 during prime hours, 
Good quality shoes are about $60.  You can pay much more, if you choose, and you can get good deals on sale if you watch.  During Christmas week my other daughter (who lives near me) got a pair of $99 winter boots for $2.14 by combining a sale and store credits. [During certain times of year some stores give you credits which can be used like cash for future purchases at their store.]
An iPad 2 32gb wi-fi-only is about $499, and an 8gb iPod Nano is about $124.

College tuition is terrible in my area and much less money in other parts of the country.  A 4 yr. (Bachelor's) degree at a state college will cost
$9331/yr. tuition, $11,031 room and board, and $1000 for books.

SiotehCat:
I live in Northern Va(5 minutes from DC). Rent for a 2 bedroom- 1 1/2 bath is close to $1600.

lesserspotted:
I'm in the UK, about an hour's drive from London. Housing costs vary quite a bit depending on the part of the country but I'm not sure that everything else is that different (I'm sure people from elsewhere in the UK will chime in!)

Google tells me that there are currently 1.5654 US dollars to the GBP.

Housing costs where I live are about $1,260 per month for a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment (mortgage or rent), or around $260,000 to buy outright. Petrol / gasoline was $2.05 per litre ($7.75 per US gallon) last time I filled up my car, a medium-sized hatchback which cost me $17,000.

I spend around $200 per month on food / other grocery items and around $50 per month on gas and electricity.

Interest rates on mortgages / credit cards vary - my mortgage rate is currently 5.69%. There are quite a few 0% credit card offers around at the moment but I think the average is around 15.9%.

It's difficult to get good quality shoes for much under $80 unless you're lucky in the sales (or can wear children's sizes). An iPad 2 32Gb wi-fi is $750 and 8Gb iPod Nano is $170 (source for both: Amazon.co.uk).

I was lucky enough not to have to pay university tuition, but it's going up to a maximum of $14,000 per year (courses are generally 3 years but 4 is becoming more common and medicine etc is longer). Room & board depends on the university, but probably budget at least $6,000 per year.

Outdoor Girl:
StarDrifter, the things you list are almost dead on for my area of Ontario.  Our interest rates on mortgages and car loans are a little less - sometimes, the manufacturer's offer 0% interest on vehicles for a 2 year loan, 0.9% on 3 years, 1.9% on 4 years and so on.  Our dollar is pretty close to being on par with USD, too.  We were a bit above but I think we are a bit below now.

I pay a bit more for gas than you do because I also have a gas hot water heater.  My bill is the same every month, averaged for the year.  July is catch-up month.  I pay more if I owe them, they credit me if they owe me.  It isn't usually more than about $30 either way.

I think the biggest difference between Canada and Australia is the cost of books.  Most paperback novels are $10ish here, less for romance, more for more high brow stuff.  I buy mine at Costco (a warehouse store) for more in the $6-7 range or I wait for a buy 3 get one free sale at my regular bookstore.

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