Deutsche Bank is known for producing annual reports on the global economies and on the 14th of April they released one in particular titled ‘Mapping the World’s Prices 2015’. It wasn’t surprising to see its statistics highlighting that famous old gripe amongst Australians about the fact that we’re being substantially over-charged compared to the rest of the world on many things.
Although Aussies generally end up paying higher fees on products, commonly referred to as the “Australia Tax”, its not all bad though. The opening statistics within the report actually state that Australia has had the highest ‘Purchasing Power Parity’ globally for the past four years. While this helps to some degree with offsetting the sting of inflated prices, it's always intriguing to see how much exactly we pay for common goods compared to other countries.
My aim in this post was to highlight a few of these examples and then offer suggestions of where to get them currently at the most competitive prices locally (sticking with the main objective of the Buckscoop blog).
To begin putting things into perspective, the ‘Cost of living index for major cities' back in 2001 showed Tokyo as being the most expensive with Sydney coming in much further down in 17th place. Fast forward to 2015 and Sydney has risen from 17th to now sitting in 5th place.
The most staggering price comparison between Australia and the rest of the world for me was on the ‘Five Star Hotel Room’ prices stats. Just to explain, the way these global hotel prices were measured was to benchmark them against what either a queen or king sized bed for one night in November in New York (at the Hyatt Regency or similar) would cost.
Melbourne was shown to cost 72% of what you'd need to pay for a room in New York, with prices over the past four years ranging from US$273 (in 2015) to US$405 (in 2013). Sydney, on the other hand, was the most expensive internationally by a long shot. By comparison, it would cost you 232% more at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney than New York with prices ranging between US$858 (in 2012) to US$933 (in 2013) over the past four years. The next closest city after Sydney was London with a comparative cost of 160%, putting Sydney in a league of its own.
If you are looking to get away this year and that happens to be in Sydney, then your first step in finding the top market rates for hotel rooms should be to use Trivago.com.au's meta search engine. What it does is scan all the hotel booking websites (e.g. Expedia, Bookings.com, Hotels.com, Wotif etc) and displays which of them currently have the best rates for a particular hotel. This makes it easy to cherry pick the most competitive offers.
Another good piece of advice is to also check Buckscoop Vouchers page to see which vouchers/coupons are available for the various hotel booking websites offering additional discounts. Right now, for instance, we have four Hotels.com discount coupons for Hotes.com. With that knowledge, you can then focus in on the search results on Trivago to see where Hotels.com is already offering the best rate for a hotel. That way, when you then apply a voucher discount on top of this, you're assured of getting a bargain.
If you're still unable to find a good deal that suits your budget using this method, then there's definitely visit AirBnB for affordable alternatives.
Not everyone stays at five star hotels though, so lets scale things back to something most people will be aware of, such as the average price of Coca-Cola. Two litres of Coca-Cola, you would think, should cost the same the world over, or very close but in Melbourne the prices of US$3.19 (2014) and US$2.63 (2015) equated to the third most expensive price globally or 118% compared to the price in New York. The most expensive prices in the world for two litres of Coca-Cola was Sydney during 2014 (costing US$3.09) and 2015 (costing US$3.36), or on average 151% more expensive, relative to New York pricing. London was the second at 124%.
To help you find Coca-Cola at more affordable prices, Woolworths are currently running a special on Coca-Cola, Zero or Diet for $3, helping you save $1.05 or 26% off the normal price. Coles also currently have a voucher that gives $10 off a $100 shop, plus our superstar deal hunter ‘Earth’ has just handpicked the best Coles deals that the supermarket will have within its ½ price sale this week. On a side, you will probably find this recent post interesting and insightful about how Coca-Cola is charging you more for less product right under your nose.
It’s not all bad news though as many of the Aussie blokes out there will be happy to hear that according to the report's stats on a ‘Beer in a neighbourhood pub (500ml or 1 pint) in an expat area’ in Australia isn’t as expensive as other cities around the world. Looking at the most recent data for 2015, the most costly is Paris where a pint of beer will cost you 109% (or US$7.60) of New York's benchmark. Next in line is Singapore at US$7.28 a pint, followed by New York at US$7.00. Interestingly, the data also shows that Melbourne was actually more expensive than Sydney (i.e. US$6.15 versus US$5.38 a pint).
So it would appear that if Sydneysiders or Melbournites travelled to either Boston USA, Auckland New Zealand, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and Toronto Canada they'd find the prices of a pint not too different to back home.
Just to end off, a suggestion to help bring the prices down to similar levels with Sao Paulo Brazil, Bangalore India or Tokyo Japan, is to sign up to services like Clipp which allows you to create a bar tab at supporting bars and settle that tab simply by using their app. The company runs numerous vouchers which get emailed to customers from time to time, sometimes offering as much as $25 off on a minimum bar tab of $50. So if Clipp's available in your city, definitely take advantage of these offers.
Alternatively save yourself a substantial amount by drinking at home instead and making use of online vouchers to get your beer delivered to you at a discount. For example, most months Dan Murphy’s have a free delivery voucher to metro areas that saves you $7 off the price of your order.