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Local Prices & Expenses
Old 02-16-2007, 03:48 AM   #1
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Local Prices & Expenses

I've had some people PM me about local prices here in Estonia. Sorry I didn't get to this sooner but I've been travelling a bit.

Anyway, thought I'd share this weeks food bill (converted into USD.) I always have stuff left over from the previous week so I don't have to fully stock the fridge each week.

Milk (1 liter) = .50
1 loaf white bread = .32
1 head of cauliflower = .90
Bottle of ketchup = .91
13 mandarin oranges = $1.40
Big bag of whole fresh Estonian shrimp = $3.00
Fruit juice (1 liters) = .75
bag of onions = .24
bag of tomatoes = $1.74
dozen eggs = $1.20
Bottle of wine (Romanian Merlot) = $4.15

Total = $15.11

There are more expensive things if you get big brand name items. For example I saw a jar of Hellmans Mayonnaise that was about $1.20, probably similar to or more expensive to U.S. price. But I can get local mayo in a huge bottle for .50. Nestle Fruit & Fiber cereal is expensive as are Sun-Maid California raisins as examples, but you can get regular raisins and cereal cheaply. You can spend as little or as much as you want really. They have everything (except Miracle Whip and Ziploc bags, can't find those).

Some other actual prices I pay:

My electric bill = $7.
Water bill = $12.
Natural Gas (stove/oven) = $2.
Heating = $49 (only this high in January/February, coldest months here).
Cable TV (70 Channels) with High Speed Cable Internet & Telephone package = $46

Price to ride the electric tram or bus anywhere in the city it goes = .80

Basic liability car insurance on a vehicle 5 years or older = $9 per month

Auto Fuel (95 octane) = $1.00 per liter

Some electronics are quite expensive. I paid $1300 for a Samsung 32" Widescreen LCD TV. Philips Coffee maker was $55 and my Linksys Wireless Router was $75 as some examples.

Service call to repair my Samsung clothes washing machine last week was $65.

Annual property tax on my apartment (which I own free and clear) is $400.

So basic living expenses (food staples, utilities, taxes) are quite inexpensive, but you can obviously splurge to your hearts content here if you so choose. I have yet to exceed my allotted $625 per month on living expenses.
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses
Old 02-16-2007, 10:48 AM   #2
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Weather like Denmark?
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses
Old 02-16-2007, 12:09 PM   #3
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

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Originally Posted by Brat
Weather like Denmark?
Yeah, just a bit colder.
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses
Old 02-16-2007, 12:15 PM   #4
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy reading this type of information. I had to go to Wikipedia to read additional info on Estonia (my geography should be better). I thought it interesting that Estonia was one of the first countries with a flat tax. How is that working out, so far? Also, how did you end up in Estonia or have you always lived there. I apologize, if you have already posted this before and if so, please point me to that thread, if possible.
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses
Old 02-16-2007, 12:16 PM   #5
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Interesting.. Just went shopping yesterday, so let's see how we compare:

Milk (1 liter) = $1.60
1 loaf white bread = $1.48
1 head of cauliflower = $1.40
Fruit juice (1 liter) = $2.04 fancy; 0.92 stuff on sale
bag of onions = $1.50
dozen eggs (medium) = $1.34
Bottle of wine (.75L Sangiovese) = $1.12

random other stuff:
.5 kilo spaghetti (just over a pound) = $1.02
17oz. bottle soy sauce = $3.53
Pringles SC&Onion = $2.48
eggplant = $1.13/lb.
whole chicken = $2.47/lb.
pork loin roast = $2.89/lb.
pork ribs = $1.47/lb.

I'm especially amazed at your low fuel prices!!
Our electric is $120/month on average.
Water about $7/month.
Last year's gas bill for the month of January = $1172 (for 1285 cubic meters). Most recent bill is Nov. .. "only" $647.. Heat and HW; does not include cooking. Last July, no heat, just HW and fixed charges = $47
SKY satellite with 1 extra movie channel = $55/month
Car insurance on 1993 Saab = $129/month; on 2001 Honda CR-V = $107/month.. this is ONLY 3rd party liability, one million euros, no collision/theft/fire/driver injury. The Saab costs more because of its superior damage-causing potential.. a 2.1L engine vs. the Honda's 2.0.
Rome Metro/bus ticket = $1.31
Gas = $1.60/L ($6.06/gallon)
Braun coffemaker, no auto-shut-off = $80
Just priced a Xerox color laser printer: in the US about $250; here $550.. You can take just about any electrical device made anywhere in the world and at least double the US price to arrive at the Italian one..

Our electrician charged $26/hr last year.

Trek.. your entire budget wouldn't even pay our heating bills!
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses
Old 02-16-2007, 12:58 PM   #6
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trek
So basic living expenses (food staples, utilities, taxes) are quite inexpensive, but you can obviously splurge to your hearts content here if you so choose. I have yet to exceed my allotted $625 per month on living expenses.
What is your projected monthly expenses with your new wife?
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses
Old 02-16-2007, 01:56 PM   #7
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamer
I thought it interesting that Estonia was one of the first countries with a flat tax. How is that working out, so far?
I'm working through a PBS documentary on Friedman, where they claim that Estonia's 24% flat tax is the reason their economy is outperforming the rest of the EU.

Their leader said that the only economic book he'd ever read was Friedman's. It made sense so they decided they had nothing to lose...
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses
Old 02-17-2007, 03:58 AM   #8
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamer
Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy reading this type of information. I had to go to Wikipedia to read additional info on Estonia (my geography should be better). I thought it interesting that Estonia was one of the first countries with a flat tax. How is that working out, so far? Also, how did you end up in Estonia or have you always lived there. I apologize, if you have already posted this before and if so, please point me to that thread, if possible.
I was born in the US but my family is from Estonia. I wanted to retire early (35) and I could afford to do so here.

The flat tax is great and has really helped the economy here. Several other European countries have already adopted it with even more looking into introducing the system as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
What is your projected monthly expenses with your new wife?
Haven't sat down and done any exact numbers yet, but she works full time and pulls in about $580 USD per month. She went back to college and is wrapping up her BA so her salary will improve after that. Food expenses will go up a bit and water will a little also but electric won't change. She doesn't drive, just rides the tram to work. It really just gives us the opportunity to save more money. We plan to have kids soon too, but schools and medical are free and the government gives every household with children a small payment each month to be used for food, clothing and other necessities for the child. My wife can take a year off work paid if she wants or since I'm retired she can continue to work after some time off and I'll look after the little one. So we're in good shape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
Interesting.. Just went shopping yesterday, so let's see how we compare:

Milk (1 liter) = $1.60
1 loaf white bread = $1.48
1 head of cauliflower = $1.40
Fruit juice (1 liter) = $2.04 fancy; 0.92 stuff on sale
bag of onions = $1.50
dozen eggs (medium) = $1.34
Bottle of wine (.75L Sangiovese) = $1.12

random other stuff:
.5 kilo spaghetti (just over a pound) = $1.02
17oz. bottle soy sauce = $3.53
Pringles SC&Onion = $2.48
eggplant = $1.13/lb.
whole chicken = $2.47/lb.
pork loin roast = $2.89/lb.
pork ribs = $1.47/lb.

I'm especially amazed at your low fuel prices!!
Our electric is $120/month on average.
Water about $7/month.
Last year's gas bill for the month of January = $1172 (for 1285 cubic meters). Most recent bill is Nov. .. "only" $647.. Heat and HW; does not include cooking. Last July, no heat, just HW and fixed charges = $47
SKY satellite with 1 extra movie channel = $55/month
Car insurance on 1993 Saab = $129/month; on 2001 Honda CR-V = $107/month.. this is ONLY 3rd party liability, one million euros, no collision/theft/fire/driver injury. The Saab costs more because of its superior damage-causing potential.. a 2.1L engine vs. the Honda's 2.0.
Rome Metro/bus ticket = $1.31
Gas = $1.60/L ($6.06/gallon)
Braun coffemaker, no auto-shut-off = $80
Just priced a Xerox color laser printer: in the US about $250; here $550.. You can take just about any electrical device made anywhere in the world and at least double the US price to arrive at the Italian one..

Our electrician charged $26/hr last year.

Trek.. your entire budget wouldn't even pay our heating bills!
Thanks for the comparisons Ladelfina! It's interesting to see the price differences. No way the average Estonian could pay heating bills like that!! Ouch!




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Re: Local Prices & Expenses
Old 02-17-2007, 10:37 AM   #9
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Holy cow Ladelfina, nasty fuel prices.
Is your soil any good for a geothermal heating system? If so, you may find that would save you lots of money.
With prices like that, I could see a payback period of 3-4 years (it is about 7 where I am in the USA)
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses
Old 02-17-2007, 04:04 PM   #10
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Quote:
local prices here in Estonia.
Just cureous Trek, what is the going rate for a lap dance in Estonia? :
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Old 02-18-2007, 01:08 AM   #11
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd
Just cureous Trek, what is the going rate for a lap dance in Estonia? :
I wouldn't have any idea but would guess they are expensive. It's mostly tourists and embassy staff that frequent those places.
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Old 04-19-2007, 02:36 PM   #12
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Just bought a bottle of 100 enterocoated Ibuprofen 200mg tablets for $2.87 at the local pharmacy here. Wondering what the same thing costs in the States just as a comparison? Generic or otherwise.
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Old 04-19-2007, 03:45 PM   #13
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trek
Just bought a bottle of 100 enterocoated Ibuprofen 200mg tablets for $2.87 at the local pharmacy here. Wondering what the same thing costs in the States just as a comparison? Generic or otherwise.
Probably pretty similar at Walmart for the generic. I remember the 24 count small bottles of generic Advil knock-offs of 200 mg Ibuprofen were $0.96, and IIRC, the 100 ct bottles were 2-3x that price. Not sure what enterocoated is though...
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Old 04-19-2007, 04:21 PM   #14
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trek
My electric bill = $7.
Water bill = $12.
Natural Gas (stove/oven) = $2.
Heating = $49 (only this high in January/February, coldest months here).
...
Annual property tax on my apartment (which I own free and clear) is $400.
Trek, how big (square footage) is the apartment?
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Old 04-19-2007, 05:12 PM   #15
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Can you help me with an additional data point to test my theory? My theory is that you can find any US Embassy in any world capital by finding the most popular Mexican restaurant. The Embassy will be a few blocks away.
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Old 04-20-2007, 12:16 AM   #16
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

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Trek, how big (square footage) is the apartment?
It's a 500 sq foot one bedroom in the city. Won't find one much bigger in these older buildings downtown.
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Old 04-20-2007, 12:50 AM   #17
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

hmm, where is the equiv to estonia but w/ an average temp of at least 65 F? wiki says estonia's avg temp is 40 and that is too chilly for me!!!

trek- i am fascinated with small countries. growing up in the states, it is something that always astounds me when i travel. do you think it affects/benefits the ability of the government to affectively govern? i think the scale in the US is prohibitive...and adds to the confusion of who does what, what is of importance for civic concern etc.

estonia's whole population is 13% of the population of LA county (1.3 mill versus 9.7 mill).


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Old 04-20-2007, 02:40 AM   #18
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by bright eyed
hmm, where is the equiv to estonia but w/ an average temp of at least 65 F? wiki says estonia's avg temp is 40 and that is too chilly for me!!!

trek- i am fascinated with small countries. growing up in the states, it is something that always astounds me when i travel. do you think it affects/benefits the ability of the government to affectively govern? i think the scale in the US is prohibitive...and adds to the confusion of who does what, what is of importance for civic concern etc.

estonia's whole population is 13% of the population of LA county (1.3 mill versus 9.7 mill).
It is a cold country for sure, but I like it (used to live in FL and hated it). I prefer cold to hot, but that's just me.

In so far as government goes, I think it is easier to govern a smaller population. Easier to implement laws or new programs. Easier to hold people accountable. Things can be done more efficiently. Also in a small country you tend to have more of a feeling of community. People taking care of their own through more generous social programs, etc.

Based upon my experiences so far, things have run very smoothly and efficiently. Some examples: When I purchased my apartment here I decided I wanted this one on a Monday and I legally held title to it on Thursday. When I applied for my Estonian passport I was in and out of immigration in 30 minutes (no appointment). When I first opened my bank account here the teller just asked for my ID and I had new bank account opened in under 10 minutes.

Everything (and I mean everything) can be paid for online or from your mobile phone. Estonia is very high tech so very little paperwork for anything. Seems to be a lot less "red tape" and bureaucracy and a lot more common sense. So, yeah, coming from the States I was astounded how simple these things really could be.
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Old 04-20-2007, 09:44 AM   #19
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

My wife made a 2 day trip to Estonia when she was in Norway in '00 or '01.

She said they spent around $20 for 4 adults on a steak/soup/salad type of dinner.

She got a wonderful, hand-made scarf and gloves for $6 or something. What I think of as a Scandanavian style, knitted set. She said virtually everything in Estonia was relatively cheap.

-CC
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Old 04-20-2007, 10:53 AM   #20
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Re: Local Prices & Expenses

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trek
Based upon my experiences so far, things have run very smoothly and efficiently. Some examples: When I purchased my apartment here I decided I wanted this one on a Monday and I legally held title to it on Thursday. When I applied for my Estonian passport I was in and out of immigration in 30 minutes (no appointment). When I first opened my bank account here the teller just asked for my ID and I had new bank account opened in under 10 minutes.

Everything (and I mean everything) can be paid for online or from your mobile phone. Estonia is very high tech so very little paperwork for anything. Seems to be a lot less "red tape" and bureaucracy and a lot more common sense. So, yeah, coming from the States I was astounded how simple these things really could be.
Trek,

I did a little research on Estonia and was really impressed with it. But I have a little problem with your modest expenses/budget. The GDP per capita is 20K (PPP), or 10K (OER). As an expat, I would expect that your budget to be at least in line with those numbers. If I recalled correctly, yours is well below them. What's the catch? What's the secret? Thanks in advance.
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