Monday, February 20, 2012

Prices over here...

In the next few blog posts I am going to be writing about some of the comparisons with life here vs. life in the US (and to my friends that live in other countries feel free to comment and update me with how life is comparable to your homeland or where you are living. This is always an interesting topic and insightful.).  It's a topic I am asked about often and with our upcoming furlough I've been thinking more about some of the differences (and similarities) between our life here and life in the States as Danny & I prepare our kids for some "culture shock" that we're sure they will experience.

But first let's talk about some of the costs we have here in our city.  Some of the more common questions asked are about the prices of things such as groceries, gas, rent, insurance, etc. These are of course specific to our family, our city, and can vary with the ever changing exchange rate of Dollars to Euros, not to mention the bank fees for bringing our income over here. Keep in mind we use the metric system here. Also, some brands are more than others.... for the most part we buy the off brands and or whatever is cheaper. So yes, some stuff is going to be more and some less. It seems that a lot of stuff can be comparable in price to the States, but when you factor in the exchange rate and how much we lose when we wire our money over here... everything gets expensive really fast.

1 kg = 2.2 lbs.
4 liter = approx. 1 gallon

Milk is approximately .95 per liter (.95 x 4 liters (approx. 1 gallon) = € 3.80.) We then have to factor in the exchange rate because we do not make euros, but dollars as our income. So depending on that days exchange rate (I'll use today's current rate which is: $1 is worth .75 euro cents or it costs $1.32 to get €1.00) that gallon of milk now costs approximately $5 and that's not even factoring the transfer fees from the bank (and those are not horrible, but still... costs us money). The exchange rate has gone up to $1.63 (that one I remember for sure... possibly higher, but we stopped looking!) and has also been one to one.

Bananas - €1.29 per kilo ($ .77 a lb.)

Diapers (off brand pack of 42) - €8.99 ($11.87).

Baby Formula (thankful we're out of this stage!) -  €12.99 = $17.15 (that would last us about 2 1/2 wks. and was especially difficult when I couldn't nurse anymore).

Toilet Paper (pack of 9 rolls for a decent brand that doesn't disintegrate before the jobs done! haha) - €2.99 on sale this week from regularly €4.99 ($6.59)

Detergent - €23.00 but I got it on sale for €17.99 ($23.75)

Carrots - .99 for 500g ($1.19 a lb)

Cereal - €3.19 per box of 350g. ($4.21)

Eggs (sell by 10 per carton) - €2.39 for small/medium sized eggs ($3.15)

Average bag of chips (which would be a small bag of chips in the US) - €1.99 ($2.63)

Loaf of bread -  €1.89 ($2.49)

Box of Kleenex (not brand) - €1.89 ($2.49)

Gas for our car is approximately (again, depends on exchange rate because we've paid over $10 before) - $8.00 a gallon. We drive 40 min.(one way) to one of our church plants 3 out of 4 Sundays a month.  The 4th one, thankfully is 2 min. from our house! Then of course, the every day living stuff too.

Car insurance - approx. $2,538.00 a year.

Rent for houses in our area average €900-1,500 a month ($1,188-$1,980). We have a pretty good deal on ours right now, though our landlord has mentioned raising our rent. A friend is renting a 3rd floor, no garage, 2 bedroom apartment in the city with no bells or whistles for €850 (this month that is $1,122) a month.

Now some of these prices aren't going to seem too high for some of you, especially if you're living in a big city... like my brother & his family and my parents in NY.  This comparison was just to give insight on how things are in our corner of Europe. We know people that live in Germany, but are living here in Graz for a year and they've commented on how much more expensive it is here than in their city.

After I did the math on the items above I realized how nice it's been lately... it's really hard when that exchange rate rises and rises... it's been in the 1.30's lately and that is (sadly) quite nice for us. Oh to be back in the 1.00 to 1.00 ages again.

How are prices in your neck of the woods/city?


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