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Comparing the Cost of Milk and Jeans


The daily pressures faced by families separated by thousands of miles of ocean and differing cultures may at first glance be impossible to compare. Yet why should they be? Mothers and fathers bringing up their kids in the United States have much the same worries, surely, as their counterparts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for example. After all, parents want the best for their kids, no matter which side of the pond they bring them up.

Having a place to call home, paying the bills and putting food on the table have to be the major priorities facing any family anywhere. Access to good education and adequate health care, too, is a must. Building up savings for a rainy day is also a necessity, especially nowadays given the fragility of the world-wide economy. And being able to boost spending power through a personal loan in the UAE or the US in order to cover say wedding costs, a new car, a family holiday or other major expenditure is also rather handy.

Of course, this is not about comparing personal banking from the likes of HSBC, Barclays and all the other multinational banks found in both countries. While it may be interesting to compare the availability of personal loans in the UAE or the US, not to mention the interest rates charged, the cost of a pint of milk or a pair of jeans is a rather more apt comparison. Thanks to the power of the Internet, this is very easily accomplished.

Heard of Numbeo? Probably not, but it’s a fantastic website which compares the price of just about anything in different parts of the world, even that pint of milk or the pair of jeans. It’s one of the best resources to use to get an everyday ‘feel’ of the pressures likely facing families across the globe. Fair enough, critics may say it’s hardly scientific in its approach. Hey, who cares. It’s still fascinating.

As the website itself explains, Numbeo is the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide, especially living conditions: cost of living, housing indicators, health care systems, traffic, crime and pollution.

One of the best ways to see Numbeo in action is to compare two cities, side-by-side, like New York and Dubai in the UAE. And because it employs user-contributed data, in other words the wisdom of the crowd, you can be sure the information is pretty-much up-to-date and highly reliable.

That pint – make it a litre – of milk and pair of jeans, two everyday items commonly purchased by families in both cities? According to Numbeo, there’s a 20% difference in the cost of milk. The price in New York is $1.10 and in Dubai $1.38. The jeans – Levis 501 or similar – are almost 45% more expensive in Dubai. That’s 2-0 to New York. Surprised?

Now, when comparing city centre apartments, Dubai wins out handsomely whether it’s a one or a three-bedroom abode. The price differential is a staggering 67% and 58% respectively. Amazingly, there’s little difference when it comes to basic utilities like electricity, gas, water and garbage collection.
You’ll likely pay more for membership of a fitness or a tennis club in Dubai but pay less for local transport, including buses, taxis and the like. Check out the Numbeo website here for more fascinating comparisons.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

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