When I travel, one of my favorite activities is to go shopping for food, and compare the cost of different items. I love a bargain, so usually I have my own pricelist in my head, and I know what is really cheap compared to home, and what is not. For example, tomatoes are around $0.25 a pound in Guatemala, so it really hurts to buy them for $1.99, but we pay a lot of money for bad quality cheese (even more for half decent imported cheese!) and good cold cuts are hard to find as well. So when I am abroad, I always look for cheese, hams, oh, and chocolate. Guatemalans produce chocolate but I guess how they process it is an acquired taste, I have never tasted better chocolate than in Europe.
Anyway, today I wanted to introduce a cool infographic that Anne from Money Propeller has put together, comparing the price of a same basket of goods around North America. The basket, including eggs, bread, cheese, butter, and primary items like toothpaste or toilet paper etc. cost between $27.70 and $41.60, and $40.76 in Guatemala. You may be surprised that I am so close to the maximum, and the reason is as I just said, that cheese, butter and milk are pretty expensive. We never eat butter, or drink milk. I use powder milk for a few recipes and that’s it. Eating cheese is a rare splurge. So those items that make up 44% of the total price, while the rest is pretty cheap. 1lb of bananas is $0.12! You can get a whole watermelon for $0.60,
I wrote a post about it on Canadian Budget Binder, talking about how I adapt my eating and grocery shopping to the country I live in, reducing food costs while sampling local delicacies. Here, that means a lot of guacamole, fresh fish and fruits, and almost no dairy. That is perfectly fine, I stock up on other occasions.
In the infographic below, you will be able to compare the cost of a basket all over North America, and be sure to scroll down until the end, as Anne is also giving away $250 cash! There is a widget at the end with tasks you can perform to win entries. Good luck!
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says
Canada is pricey, I remember trying to buy a box of granola there and getting sticker shock. Still surprised NYC isn’t on here.
Anne @ Money Propeller says
I didn’t have anyone from NYC to do the legwork – would you be interested? I just reached out to a bunch of bloggers. I’d love to have you on the next one!
All of the prices are listed in the local currency (except Guatemala is in USD), so there’s not quite as big a gap between Canada and the US as it looks like. If I get enough data points for the next one, I’ll separate the countries.
A French person who rarely eats cheese?! Whhhaaat?
Is it bad that I’m surprised about how small the difference is over the entire basket cost? Of course, the price difference in the individual items is quite shocking, but really, overall, prices tend to balance pretty well. Some things that are more expensive in one area are dirt cheap in another, and as a general rule everything is more expensive in bigger cities.
Anne @ Money Propeller says
I was guessing that the dairy was throwing you off, or at least the cheese, but boy does it ever!
Thank you so much for posting and participating, the guatemalan prices are fascinating!
I live surrounded by cattle, cows everywhere, but nobody makes cheese, safe for one fresh cheese like cottage, which is only $1.50 a pound. I guess they haven’t figured out safe ways to refrigerate and process the dairy with the heat and bad roads, so the little milk they do produce is expensive.
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
I was surprised that California was a lot less then some other places. I thought it would be really high. Not surprised about Michigan. Everything is cheaper there!
I would be conflicted in Guatemala, on the one hand I love bananas! $0.12 / pd is awesome. Banana sandwiches, banana splits, banana bread, banana muffins, smoothies….hmmmm! On the other hand I also love milk and cheese! I could probably get used to less cheese, but milk :eek:, I’d give up booze before I’d give up my milk. ha ha