Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The price of gas and other commodities. . .

I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the cost of living here in South Africa. One thing we always have to deal with is the fluctuating strength of the dollar verses the South African rand.

When we first arrived here, the rand was about 7 to one dollar. A year later, it had dropped below six. How does this affect our financial state? Say, for example, that I spend 1000 rand a month on groceries. (I wish) When the rand is seven to the dollar, it would cost me $142 dollars. When the rand drops, say to 5.8 to the dollar, I’m then paying $172 for the same amount of groceries. As you can see, this can add up quite quickly when the dollar is weak.

The price of fuel has almost doubled since our arrival and right now we are paying over $4.30 a gallon. Cheep compared to Zambia where the cost can rise above $7 a gallon! Another big raise has been beef. Up 33% in the past year. Even when prices seem comparable to the state, the quantity is sometimes only about half the size.

Here’s a sampling of prices:

12 oz box of Rice Krispies $2.50
2 liter coke $1.60
Canned tomatoes 75 cents
Canned kidney beans 88 cents
Canned fruit $1.50-$2.50
Package of Hot dogs $2.45
6 pack of yogurt, 3.5 ounces each $1.50
1 liter of milk $1.00
Olive oil 26 ounces $9.00
Canola oil 26 ounces $1.00
9 ounces Doritos $1.60
1 pound ground beef $2.40
10 avocados in season $1.00

Overall, we’ve learned to adjust our eating to fit the market. Canned goods are very high, but fresh fruit and vegetables are very reasonable.

Another interesting difference is the cost of cars and houses. Cars are very expensive. We have an old used car that cost as much as a new car in the States. On the other hand, land isn’t worth much here, so we were blessed with a nice plot of land and a four bedroom house for much less that we could have ever found an equivalent in Dallas.


On another note, please pray for Scott and Allen as they left for Mozambique yesterday to register with the government so we can start our work there. So far, things seem to be going well. They will finish in the capital then leave for Edwardo’s village, a new believer who has gone home to share Christ with his family. They will spend time teaching him and his family for several days.

Please pray also that our house in Dallas will sell quickly!



1 comment:

  1. Wow! Remind me not to complain about the price of gas here. :-D It's surprising to find that canned goods are more expensive there and fresh produce more reasonable. Who'da thunk it? :-D