England is expensive. I have evolved from saying the U.K. because as I have learned the narrow distinctions between the four states that comprise the nation I have learned that the global generalization of the name of this region is less accurate then reality. England is just England and since it is where I am living it is all I will learn about the U.K. So I can say England is expensive. As it stands right now the Pound is 1.63 to the dollar. So ten pounds is sixteen dollars and 500 dollars is 310 pounds. In short, money is just not lasting the way I thought it would. I feel a refreshing lightness to my step because my wallet isn’t weighing me down I have used my new lighter load to step into the great unknown and walk places. Until I figured up the student discount program, on way on the subway was four pounds or six dollars and fifty cents. Since I could not afford to take any trips for twelve dollars there and back I just decided to walk. I have seen a good deal of happy Brits, black cabs, and ethnicities on the streets. I also think the walks are combating my new diet, born from laziness, of brie cheese and hamburgers. Actually my diet is now tofu salads and tea.
Now that I figured out how not to pay the tourist price for every ride I can pay six dollars round trip. Still much more expensive than SEPTA or the NYC METRO. However, as I observed before in Japan, the prices here are going toward a greater benefit to myself. The higher prices are equaled out in my mind by these factors.
1.) There is no added sales tax to equate like in America.
2.) The service is expedient (unlike PATCO which would abandon me at random stations at random times and bus me between Ferry Ave. and Haddonfield when the trains broke-down).
3.) Minimum wage here is 5.73 pounds or 9.40$, higher than America, so prices will be higher.
4.) Unlike America England has National Health Care and although I am not covered by it because of my short stay. I am covered in the Ambulance service which is the most vital. So I view my higher prices as paying for my health benefits. Lord knows the ambulance in America is expensive.
5.) Also the amount of gold that the Pound was based off of is slightly more than the dollar and so the prices will appear higher regardless.
6.) The U.K. is an island and I just have to accept that importing everything has its costs. I am far from broke, but I am just observing the differences in exchange. In Japan it was 1.14 so I rarely noticed. I mentioned the prices and my teacher told me, “ Not to worry at one time the pound was worth two dollars and I was lucky to be here during the credit crunch.”
I looked at the exchange board for the Euro and found that the Euro was around 1.22. This is much better for me. I have already been filled with stories of wonder from Spain by tweedildee and tweedilldumb, but knowing that prices in Spain are less expensive will be good. Because the Spanish minimum wage is 4.5 Euro or 6.5$ an hour I can image that general food prices will be better. I am hoping that my eleven days in Spain will leave me with some reserves. So the British exchange is forcing me to see the whole of price. Japan gave me a similar sense of price awareness, but because I didn’t buy my own food I never dealt with the cost of living. However, when I agree to pay the higher prices for things here I am more inclined to accept it because of the six factors I mentioned before. However, the Euro is looking nice.