Wednesday, November 21, 2007

price-tag numbers in US vs SG

Hi Guo Qiao,

You asked an interesting question "Look at the numbers on price tags in US. Higher or lower than Singapore, ignoring currency?"

Transport -- is a simple comparison. i don't drive. New York Public transport "price figures" are lower -- $76/month covering subway and buses. If I drive, fuel is cheaper, after currency conversion.

Telecom -- friends use low-cost VOIP phones at home but I'm not sure. Mobile airtime is higher.

Broadband -- can be lower -- as low as $15/month for DSL.

Rental -- is the biggest component (perhaps 10-30%) of total monthly expenses. My wife and I choose low-end, but safe, convenient locations. The "price number" is very routhly the same to SG, $700 -> $875 -> $700 -> $550 for a couple.

Medical -- comparison is complicated by medical insurance and the huge variety of treatment options. I feel overall "price numbers" are higher. However, pregnancy/maternity can be cheaper -- one-time cost of $10 from conception to delivery, everything else covered by insurance.

gadgets -- Electronics and computer gadgets have lower price-tag numbers.
 
Brands -- Famous fashion brands are cheaper, even after converting to SGD.
 
For clothing, food, stationeries, household items, I buy low-end but usable, clean stuff, often in $1 shops.
 
- Fruits and vegetables can, in special places, be cheaper, even after converting to SGD.
- pizzas, burgers, bread, juices, dairy, frozen food are cheaper, even converting to SGD.
- eating out -- higher, because Singapore has such a hyper-competitve market of hawker centers, coffee shops and food courts.
- fast food -- lower
- chinese food -- higher
 
Computer books -- lower
 
Haircut -- higher, but can be $8 in New York Chinatown.

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