Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Cost of Living

So the Aussie dollar is extremely strong right now. Up about 7 cents against the Canadian dollar in six months. This 7 cents makes a big different when it feels like lately all I have been doing is whipping out my credit card. I am loving the new apartment but all the new apartment expenses have certainly become a drain on my bank account lately. Furniture (even if it is the most basic ikea offers), security deposits for gas and electricity, phone, internet. Plus it doesn't help that everything in Australia is mad expensive. When I was home in December I kept having happy surprises when I looked at price tags. Nearly everything was cheaper than I expected. Of course coming back here has meant the reverse reaction. Today for example I was on the search for my handcream. If I recall it retails for $6.99 in Canada and today the price was $13.99 AUD. Needless to say I left the store without. You don't need to be studying economics or have an understanding of PPP (purchasing power parity) to know that dollars of any type just don't go quite as far on this side of the world.

Produce is shockingly high for a country with a tropical climate. I know most of you heard my banana rant over the holidays. Luckily the price of bananas has fallen from its high cost of $12/kg to $3/kg. For those unaccustumed to the metric system that is about $1.50/lb which is still about twice as much as they are sold for in Canada. And mangos which are grown literally up the street from the grocery store are about 3 times as expensive as Canada. I would seriously love to understand the reasoning beyond these prices. But for now I select my produce very carefully and count the days til I am back in Canada with its truckloads of cheap produce imported from Central America.

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