Week 40: Shopping

May 18, 2015

I've been in the US for 9 months now and people often ask me if it's cheaper or more expensive to live here in the US or back home in Croatia. Of course, there is no yes/no answer to this question, so here's a brief comparison of some of the bare necessities or so.

Clothes, shoes, accessories - you can find some great bargains every where every day, not only at sales. Actually, there are sales  almost all the time - next week for example, all the shops will have a three-day Memorial Day sale. If there are no holidays on the calendar then shop owners would just introduce a three-day kick off sale, whatever that may mean. Then there are outlets where you can buy some ridiculously cheap things, with discounts of 70%, like my new green bag below.

Fruit is much more expensive than at home, for example, 1 orange was 1 $ at one of the grocery stores this winter, whereas at home I can buy two pounds of oranges for 1 $. Milk is almost the same and so are the other groceries. Bread is more expensive, except at Walmart where they sell one loaf a $. Cosmetics are much cheaper here: decorative products, skin care, perfumes, everything.

Cars are much cheaper and gas is ridiculously cheap. Right now gas is sold at 2,59 $ a gallon. Car rental is easy and affordable - we recently rented a Mazda 6 for three days, paid 160 $ with all the waivers included, drove 400 miles and filled it up only once for which we paid 30 $.
Americans do love their cars.

My Croatian salary is three times lower than the salary of my American peer. So yes, she can afford much more than I can. Her purchasing power is higher when it comes to eating out, too - restaurants are more affordable for her than for me.

However, things get tough for her when it comes to  health care and higher ed. A doctor's bill can easily come up to several thousand dollars! How can a family afford to send their child to college, I have no idea at all, when a year in college costs 40,000 $ and more (and this is for tuition only). Higher ed and  health coverage are unfortunately out of reach for many.


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