Cheer Up: Cheese Is Cheap in New York


New York! It can be a prohibitively expensive place to live. You know it, I know it. The rent is too damn high and all your favorite bars keep closing and soon ruthless bank bros will move into your neighborhood and demand $17 lattes. But there is a silver lining, and that’s not just the name of a new un-Google-able bar in Bushwick. No, my friends, remember this: Europe is really, really expensive. Seven families from different cities in Western Europe (and one in Canada) compared the price of a weekly shopping trip in a study for the Guardian, and New York City, for once, came out looking fairly affordable.

The things that are really cheap to buy in New York as opposed to Dublin or Berlin or Toronto? Cheese, rice, and Coca-cola. Toilet paper and beer are relatively pricey here, though. So I guess if you lived on a disgusting risotto made of Kraft singles and soda you would be L-I-V-I-N. Interestingly, the most expensive place for weekly groceries and household necessities was in our neighbor to the North, fair Toronto.

Of course, there are a couple things that you should take with a grain of salt in this survey. The first is that where every other city had a major chain supermarket that families purchased from, the Brooklyn participants got their groceries from smaller shops.

Our shopper used a mix of local stores – reflecting the fact that while Londoners might see a Tesco on every major shopping street, New Yorkers do not have a Walmart on their doorsteps. Interestingly, our New York and Toronto shoppers specified that they had bought “free from hormones” meat; in the EU, beef with injected hormones is banned.

What can you do. New York City was also the only American location that the Guardian survey used. It would be interesting to see the survey including another big American city like LA or San Francisco to see how it compares. Or we could just move to Berlin where “nothing is pricey” and beer is piped through the water fountains or something. Either way.


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