Like most Americans, I have a bit of debt. Mine is probably a bit more than average. Fortunately, I have sufficient investment assets (not counting my 401k) that I could pay it all off if I wanted to, so it doesn’t worry me. I recently made the last payment on my car, so the money that was going to a car payment each month now goes towards paying off the pile of debt.
I thought that this month would be the first month in a while where I would pay more on my credit card than I charged (plus interest), thereby moving my total balance down. Despite my trip to the UK, I did pretty well. Unfortunately, I also got hit with my annual membership fee ($50) which put me about $15 north of being even for the month. Grrr! But hey, I went to London so I only have myself to blame.
I was just going over some of the charges from London which some of you might be interested in:
Starbucks Gatwick – 4.35 pounds = $8.48
(1 grande carmel macchiato & 1 blueberry muffin)
Watergate’s Chester – 13.20 pounds = $25.75
(3 gin & tonics, 1 coffee, 1 tea)
London Underground – 18.00 pounds = $35.11
(3 Tube day passes)
Retro Bar London – 15.55 pounds = $30.33
(adult drinks for 5)
Garfunkels Gatwick – 16.75 pounds = $32.88
(breakfast for 2, including fresh OJ)
London is a more expensive city in general, but this is usually in terms of hotels, clothing, parking, cars, fuel, etc. I guess the Starbucks wasn’t that bad – I probably would have paid $6.50 at home – $2 more doesn’t seem like a lot, but percentage-wise that is a 30% load. $25.75 is about $7 per G&T and $2.50 for each coffee and tea. The Tube is a pretty cheap way to get around, and considering the amount we used it, it was probably very cheap per trip or per mile ridden. Again, $30 for 6 drinks is about $5 each, not too bad. $32.88 for breakfast is a rip!
You math genuises might notice that the exchange rate got worse as our trip progressed (the entries are in chronological order). Here’s the exchange rate for each of the above transactions (cost for 1 pound)
The last time I was in London, the cost for one pound was about $1.60. That was 2 1/2 years ago. The first trip I made about 6 years ago, it was about $1.50.
I paid cash for some fuel for Neil’s car; it was 10 pounds even, but I think that was only 15 liters’ worth.
In Australia 6 years ago, AUD$1 cost about US 80 cents. So that was quite the bargain, especially since things (except clothes) were pretty cheap to begin with. I remember paying about AUD$35 for dinner for 4, including 1 adult drink each. That was at a pretty decent restaurant, too.