Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Price of Milk

I am inclined to tell you that I wish I had done better research into the cost of living here before leaving Alaska. I looked at all the obvious indicators before I agreed to pursue the remainder of my education here. A flat would cost me quite a lot more, but said flat would have running water and a nearby bus stop. So if I subtracted the cost of petrol (car gas), insurance, and wear and tear on the Mitsubishi, the cost seemed to even out. The cost of heating would go down, but the cost of water would go up. Even with the two-to-one exchange rate in 2005, it looked to me like my life was about to become significantly cheaper.

I had not counted on the cost of food. Nor had I counted on finding that I could no longer subsist on the cheap canned food that had gotten me through my first year in Alaska. The exchange rate is now 1.6 to 1. The cost of a milk in England is also much easier to come by.

Type in 'milk' into any of these sites to see what the major grocery stores are charging. There are 3.7 liters in an US gallon or 6.6 pints in an US gallon.
Asda (Walmart)

If you want to see what your average weekly shop might be in your city you can use the tools at

Today the average price of milk seems to be about 84 pence per litre, 3 pound a gallon, 5 dollars a gallon.

I'm glad I hadn't been able to do the maths (math) when I began my journey to England. I think I would have been to terrified to come here.


  1. It's something I've noticed about the size of American houses. They're huuuuuuge! All of them seem to have gorgeous basements and enormous kitchens.

    I guess you could think that the extra on the milk goes towards the rolling green hills. :-)


  2. I left Australia just over two years at the height of the recession and 1 Aussie Dollar would get you about 41 pence (its now about 61p) - I think if I had been better at maths I might have stayed in Australia! :))
    On the plus side, I find food here to be much cheaper than in Oz.
    Melissa x

  3. Organic milk in the US goes for about that much....I think the quality of milk (and other foods) you get in the UK is far better than what we get here at our average grocery store so you get what you pay for.

  4. I recently told a friend that my whole experience would seriously be more enjoyable here if everything was more affordable. I have to admit it keeps me on edge and irritated. Now I try to not do the conversion and just pretend it is $5 instead of £5.... I'm with ya sistah

  5. One of the very first things we do in a new country is take a trip to the grocery store. We price things like milk and eggs and bread. The price of food in England did nothing to prepared me for the price of food in Denmark. Eggs - as much as $3.50 for six! Milk - $10 a gallon! Bread - $4.44 for a good loaf! I was spending about $161 a week the the grocery store for 3 in London. Here it's closer to $230. It certainly had changed the way I shop. Maybe for the better, but it certainly is frustrating.

  6. Sarah: They are huge. I did live in Much smaller places in Alaska, but I also lived in bigger ones. I do, weirdly, prefer the coziness of my flat here. I think it's because I hate vacuuming so much.

    Melissa: I certainly get better food for my pound here than in the states. I eat far less meat, but I enjoy what I do eat more. And I just don't spend time worrying about what terrifying things are hiding in my steak.

    Sonu: Organic Milk is even higher here, but the price is quickly coming down. It helps that organic actually means organic here, and that high intensity dairy farming doesn't happen here. So even my non-organic milk is better for me. I do get better cheese and eggs, neither of which seem particularly expensive to me.

    Laura: It too me ages to stop thinking in dollars and begin thinking in pounds. I think it is even harder when some of your money is still in a relatively cheaper currency.

    Belle: I have occasions when I think about trying to land a job in Denmark. The price of food does have a tendency to put me off. The need for a visa makes me think I should stay put at least until it is time for a new UK visa. I think I shop better here than in the US. I certainly waste less!

  7. I think there comes a certain point when you've been living here for a while that you just stop converting it and indeed think of $1 = £1. Otherwise, you'll make yourself crazy with all the comparisons. Swings & Roundabouts as they say ;)


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