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UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Old Jan 11th 2023, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

If you have kids to go university, state univ tuition fees are not too bad compared to UK. However, private college fees could be eye watering.
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Old Jan 11th 2023, 8:50 pm
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by wcoastwalk22
If you have kids to go university, state univ tuition fees are not too bad compared to UK. However, private college fees could be eye watering.
There are also a lot of scholarships available. Many are small amounts and little known. I saw a newspaper article last year where some girl made it an obsession researching and applying for scholarships and ended up well over 100K in scholarships.
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 1:12 am
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by robin1234
Trader Joe’s is an interesting case, it’s probably the only truly national wine “brick and mortar” retailer in America. (Of course, some states like NY they don’t sell wine because of restrictive liquor laws.) I’ve stopped buying wine there, it’s just too chancy. My experience is, at least 25% of their wine is undrinkable bilge. For instance, a nice looking 2018 claret for $8, that really should have been drunk in 2020 and is now barely fit to cook with. Yeah, two-buck chuck is consistent & good value, I’m talking more about the “finds” they have in stock, and I’d concede that sometimes they have a staff person who can steer you towards the better quality wines.
...
I happened to be waiting for my g/f to finish her shopping at Trader Joe's this week, and spent a few minutes perusing the wine area. I was amazed at how much they had for under $10, especially considering how much was from Europe ... just packing and shipping alone would seem to preclude such prices! First row - 3 Portuguese, 2 Hungarian:



Next, a bunch from Chile:

Next, a bunch of French reds:



Another nine French, all under $10:


And another 7 French under $10 ...

Next, 12 Italians, with just one breaching $10:

I gave up taking pictures at this point; I think there was a whole section of German wines, and then of course a massive selection of California wines, some of which were cheap (but I don't think they had anything to beat the $3.99 Chilean Malbec above!).

I gave up drinking many years ago but my g/f still enjoys it, and she's quite happy with several of these choices.
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 5:20 am
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by Steerpike
I happened to be waiting for my g/f to finish her shopping at Trader Joe's this week, and spent a few minutes perusing the wine area. I was amazed at how much they had for under $10, especially considering how much was from Europe ... just packing and shipping alone would seem to preclude such prices!...
Not all wine is bottled where it is made. Much easier and cheaper to ship bulk wine to destination, then bottle locally.
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 5:30 am
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by Steerpike
I happened to be waiting for my g/f to finish her shopping at Trader Joe's this week, and spent a few minutes perusing the wine area. I was amazed at how much they had for under $10, especially considering how much was from Europe ... just packing and shipping alone would seem to preclude such prices! .....
The cost of shipping a bottle of wine from Europe is negligible. If a 750ml bottle weighs 1kg, you can get 1,000 bottles on a pallet and therefore 24,000 in a 40ft container.

Suppose it costs $1,000 to load the container, and get it to the port, another $1,000 to ship the container across the Atlantic, and another $1,000 to get the container from the US port to the warehouse, (I believe all those numbers are generous), then you've paid $3,000 to ship 24,000 bottles, or about 12½c/bottle. Now suppose my estimates were wildly off, and the cost was twice as much .... 25c/bottle!
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 6:26 am
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by Pulaski
The cost of shipping a bottle of wine from Europe is negligible. If a 750ml bottle weighs 1kg, you can get 1,000 bottles on a pallet and therefore 24,000 in a 40ft container.

Suppose it costs $1,000 to load the container, and get it to the port, another $1,000 to ship the container across the Atlantic, and another $1,000 to get the container from the US port to the warehouse, (I believe all those numbers are generous), then you've paid $3,000 to ship 24,000 bottles, or about 12½c/bottle. Now suppose my estimates were wildly off, and the cost was twice as much .... 25c/bottle!
Been a while since I worked at the winery, and struggling to remember the loading patterns.

Export bottles are boxed and palletised with a slipsheet, and we had a forklift that would pull the slipsheet across to a plate to load the container on site (and a ram to push off if IRC). We used to then double stack 'pallets' to maximise space.

When I first started, we bulk shipped wine to UK and had it bottled there. We later bought all bottling back to Australia and bottled here, which I think was due to currency changes.
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 1:28 pm
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by Steerpike
I happened to be waiting for my g/f to finish her shopping at Trader Joe's this week, and spent a few minutes perusing the wine area. I was amazed at how much they had for under $10, especially considering how much was from Europe ... just packing and shipping alone would seem to preclude such prices! First row - 3 Portuguese, 2 Hungarian:



Next, a bunch from Chile:
Next, 12 Italians, with just one breaching $10:

I gave up taking pictures at this point; I think there was a whole section of German wines, and then of course a massive selection of California wines, some of which were cheap (but I don't think they had anything to beat the $3.99 Chilean Malbec above!).

I gave up drinking many years ago but my g/f still enjoys it, and she's quite happy with several of these choices.
Yes, it is an interesting phenomenon. We were just at Trader Joe’s a few days ago, and I set out to buy a mixed bag of 6 bottles under $10. In the end, I bought six different Chilean Malbecs, between $4.99 and $9.99. Opened one last night - really really good. In general I find Chile a really good source for drinkable wine now, I mean I’ve tried California, South Africa, Australia and - nothing drinkable at the under twelve dollar price point. As for Italy and France - I’ve given up on TJ bargains from there.

We have a big wedding in Los Angeles soon - our son is getting married !! I bought a very nice suit in Marks & Spencer for £150. I looked in Next, M&S, and John Lewis, pretty much all suits were £130 - £160. US? Can you buy a suit for less than $600 here??
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 2:16 pm
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by old.sparkles
Been a while since I worked at the winery, and struggling to remember the loading patterns.

Export bottles are boxed and palletised with a slipsheet, and we had a forklift that would pull the slipsheet across to a plate to load the container on site (and a ram to push off if IRC). We used to then double stack 'pallets' to maximise space. ....
Yes. Double-stacking pallets is common, but whether one pallet or several, the conventional weight limit for one 3ft x 4ft (900mm x 1000m) metric pallet space in a container or on a truck, is 1000kg. Hence my estimate of 1000 bottles per pallet (space).

To your point about bulk-shipping wine, whether in a tank container, or palletised in bladders or other bulk vessels, you could probably increase the volume of wine shipped by around 30% per 40ft container by not shipping bottles. I think container-tanks are conventionally usually 20ft, though I don't know if they're ever used to ship wine, and I suspect that palletised, single-use one way vessels would be used, saving having to ship a tank containing back to be used again.

Last edited by Pulaski; Mar 25th 2023 at 2:18 pm.
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 3:33 pm
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by Pulaski
The cost of shipping a bottle of wine from Europe is negligible. If a 750ml bottle weighs 1kg, you can get 1,000 bottles on a pallet and therefore 24,000 in a 40ft container.

Suppose it costs $1,000 to load the container, and get it to the port, another $1,000 to ship the container across the Atlantic, and another $1,000 to get the container from the US port to the warehouse, (I believe all those numbers are generous), then you've paid $3,000 to ship 24,000 bottles, or about 12½c/bottle. Now suppose my estimates were wildly off, and the cost was twice as much .... 25c/bottle!
I was curious, tested this out. I weighed five random bottles, French, Italian, Chilean, Argentinian, Californian, all bottled in the home country. They all weighed between 1.1 and 1.2kg, so your estimate was close.
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by Pulaski
Yes. Double-stacking pallets is common, but whether one pallet or several, the conventional weight limit for one 3ft x 4ft (900mm x 1000m) metric pallet space in a container or on a truck, is 1000kg. Hence my estimate of 1000 bottles per pallet (space).

To your point about bulk-shipping wine, whether in a tank container, or palletised in bladders or other bulk vessels, you could probably increase the volume of wine shipped by around 30% per 40ft container by not shipping bottles. I think container-tanks are conventionally usually 20ft, though I don't know if they're ever used to ship wine, and I suspect that palletised, single-use one way vessels would be used, saving having to ship a tank containing back to be used again.
The Balaton Boglári (top right) retails over here for the equivalent of about $2.35 / bottle, so even with the (minimal as you suggest) shipping cost, at the price quoted in the photo still gives a good margin to the US retailer.

(Alright, if you like sweetish reds, which I don't!).
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 6:21 pm
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by robin1234
I was curious, tested this out. I weighed five random bottles, French, Italian, Chilean, Argentinian, Californian, all bottled in the home country. They all weighed between 1.1 and 1.2kg, so your estimate was close.


Interesting. I was planning to weight a few of the bottles we have, but hadn't got around to it yet. ..... Estimating weights and costs is something I have got quite good at, often starting with some quite limited, but objective, factual information and some approximations, in my experience it is often faily easy to get quite close to an accurate picture. So knowing that a ml of water weighs one gram, that anything on a pallet is restricted to 1,000kg, that 1000kg of water is 1m^3, that a standard 40ft shipping container/ European truck trailer contains 24 pallets (and a US-standard container/ truck trailer contains 32 pallets). And perhaps most importantly that the farmer/ manufacturer only typically receives about 1/3 of the retail purchase price.

Some years ago I was looking at a number of shipments of macademia nuts from Central America (Nicaragua? ), which had cost various amounts from just over $100k to around $350k. Using the above information and that Kroger was selling macademia nuts for around $6/lb, I was able to prove that there was a reason for the payments being clustered in the ranges of $110k-$140k, $200k-$250k, and the one around $350k, was because they were for shipments of one, two, or three shipping containers.

For anyone interested, if you look at the numbers on the back doors of shipping containers (being hauled by truck on the road) you will see, among other numbers, such as the tare (weight of the empty container), there is a number for the maximum payload, which if you divide by 1,000kg (or 2,000lb) will tell you how many pallets can fit in the container - 12 in a 20ft container, 24 in a 40ft container, and 32 in a 53ft container. ..... And 53ft containers are distinctive because there are two vertical posts visible on each side, 6½ft from each end, which is where the standard cranes designed for the global standard 40ft container pick up a 53ft container. There are also 45 ft containers. which also have the vertical bars. 30ft and 10ft containers are rare but do exist.
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 7:39 pm
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by old.sparkles
Not all wine is bottled where it is made. Much easier and cheaper to ship bulk wine to destination, then bottle locally.
That would seem very logical, but - I did a quick sample of the bottles we have here at home (which are generally from the 'cheap section' at TJ's) and they are all bottled in the country of origin. This is just one sample label:

So clearly, bottled in Italy. The label is, however, obviously printed specifically FOR the US; it has the US Surgeon General's warning, and the address of the US importer.

Next time I'm at TJ with time on my hands, I'll eyeball the bottles and see if any are bottled in the US.
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by robin1234
Yes, it is an interesting phenomenon. We were just at Trader Joe’s a few days ago, and I set out to buy a mixed bag of 6 bottles under $10. In the end, I bought six different Chilean Malbecs, between $4.99 and $9.99. Opened one last night - really really good. In general I find Chile a really good source for drinkable wine now, I mean I’ve tried California, South Africa, Australia and - nothing drinkable at the under twelve dollar price point. As for Italy and France - I’ve given up on TJ bargains from there.

We have a big wedding in Los Angeles soon - our son is getting married !! I bought a very nice suit in Marks & Spencer for £150. I looked in Next, M&S, and John Lewis, pretty much all suits were £130 - £160. US? Can you buy a suit for less than $600 here??
Can you tell me which Chilean Malbec you found to be 'really, really good'? I'm curious to know if it was at the $4.99 or the $9.99 end of the spectrum! My g/f is a big fan of Malbec. I'll go hunt it down.

The problem with buying a suit on the west coast is that no one ever wears them, so they are rather specialized and therefore pricy. When I go to London, I see that suits are quite common work-wear for even mid- or low-level office workers (so they have to be 'affordable'), while in California, everyone wears 'business casual' (or less). I just checked online at a few places I might think to buy a suit from, and I could probably get something 'passable' for $300. These days, I wear sweat-pants around the house, and feel like I'm making an extra effort by putting on a pair of jeans to go out! We went out for a 'fancy' dinner on New Years Eve, and I reluctantly wore a pair of dockers and a 'blazer' for the occasion. I felt positively regal!

Congratulations on the wedding!
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Old Mar 25th 2023, 11:15 pm
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Has anyone tried this wine. About $10. I like it but don’t know much about wine.
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Old Mar 26th 2023, 2:00 am
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Default Re: UK vs US cost of living - has it balanced out for you?

Originally Posted by ddsrph
Has anyone tried this wine. About $10. I like it but don’t know much about wine.
It's OK to like it, but anyone who "knows about wine" is unlikely to touch it because it's a blend, which takes all the wine-makers craft out of the product. ... In short, it's likely to be bland and inoffensive.
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