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Cost of Living

Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16065
    
  21

It's all very well and good to talk about inexpensive food and housing and how they make it possible to do well on wages a fraction of what they would be in the U.S. But I'm curious about how well those wages work once you get beyond the basics.
Specifically, I'm wondering how common and how easy it is for those of you who live in the less expensive parts of the world to own your own system at home. I'm going to use as a benchmark a modest but useful system I recently heard announced for sale in India in the 33-38KRupee range, which, by my rough estimate would feature-for-feature be equivalent to what I could assemble locally for about $800-$1K - meaning, last time I checked exchange rates, roughly the same price.
So what I'm curious to know is, for your metropolitan area, how does such a system rate for personal purchase?
1. Impulse buy!
2. Save up for a couple of weeks.
3. Save up for a couple of months (or get a loan).
4. After I get my next raise.
5. Can't afford it.
6. We have Real Lives over here. A computer at work is sufficient.
If none of the above fits, feel free to supply your own answer. I'm not pushing an agenda, I'm genuinely curious.
You don't have to live in India, BTW, I'm interested in anywhere that has a low cost of living relative to the U.S. and similarly expensive countries. I'd prefer not to hear from those who aren't presently actually living IN those countries, in order to avoid distortions based on what you're being paid now relative to what things cost back home when you forget about all those other expenses.


Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Bill william
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 14, 2002
Posts: 42
isnt the cost of buying a house more suitable here? As an example, in the bay area, a decent house (~2000sf, 15 yrs old) is about 800k(?), while it is only $200K in Austin, how much is it in India? $100K?
So what I'm curious to know is, for your metropolitan area, how does such a system rate for personal purchase?
1. Impulse buy!
2. Save up for a couple of weeks.
3. Save up for a couple of months (or get a loan).
4. After I get my next raise.
5. Can't afford it.
6. We have Real Lives over here. A bed at the shelter center is sufficient.

[ November 04, 2002: Message edited by: bill william1 ]
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16065
    
  21

No, actually I'm interested in disposable income. We already know the relative difference in cost of housing. However, while we all need shelter and food, what we choose to spend our income on after that is pretty much discretionary based on who we are and where we live and what we've been brought up to feel we do/don't need (like massive SUVs), so I figured that something discretionary but likely to be of interest to JavaRanchers world-wide would be a good metric.
Clothing wouldn't be a good choice. Presumably no one here is a naked holy man, so everyone's spending something on clothes, but when you consider that shoes alone can go from bare feet to Imelda Marcos, it's hard to draw conclusions.
raimondas zemaitis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 23, 2001
Posts: 104
Not quite confident I understand what exactly you mean, I take for example my area (Lithuania, Vilnius).
First, your statement "low cost of living" is relative, I mean that for you (I assume you are located in US) cost of living in my place would be very low but for locals it is very expensive if to compare average people income with major expenses (food, housing etc). And one could actually afford much more when living in a "expensive" country (eg. US) compared with my place (what % of your income you would spend to get a new pair of shoes ?)
Anyway, to get your own system like below:
SK-AK03.Celeron 1GHz/128 MB RAM/815 video/ /AC 97 audio/UDMA-100/ATX/ Windows XP PE/Office XP
Monitor AOC 5Glr+ 15" 69kHz 0.28mm TCO99 1280x1024@60 Hz
one would need to pay around 2840,- Lt which is about $810,- according to current rate. This is twice as much as an average salary here, so depending on your needs, household size etc. is an expensive purchase or not affordable at all. Things like that are bought usually by taking a loan for one year and has quite big impact on a budget of an average family.
Did I get somewhat close to what you wanted to hear ?
Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936
Okay, as it is in India.

1. Impulse buy!

Never. 99.99% of the population cannot afford to spend INR 38000/- on an impulse. Well, let us not ignore the fact that there is a .01% out there who will buy even a brand new Merc in an impulse.

2. Save up for a couple of weeks.

Impossible, Highly unlikely. 99.90% cannot save INR 38000/- from a couple of weeks income.

3. Save up for a couple of months (or get a loan).

Possible, but still very unlikely. 98.00% won't/cannot do it this way.

4. After I get my next raise.

Possible, and still unlikely. 97% wont take this option either.

5. Can't afford it.

Thats it. Most would love to work away with Intel P4 3gig machines in the New Years Eve, but 'cant afford it'

6. We have Real Lives over here. A computer at work is sufficient.

Yeah, that is one of the many excuses we buy normally. Another one is about not-so-good options of Internet connection. Over loaded telephone exchanges never stands up to the promised speed of 26Kbps in rural areas and DSL and cable service providers are still confined to city limits.


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Ashok Mash
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 13, 2000
Posts: 1936

7. What is a computer?

Jim Curry
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 05, 2002
Posts: 1
Well Tim

A programmers salary in the third world is meager. Moreover the take home pay gets even smaller, since many workers need to support their immediate families (i.e. parents, brothers/sister). Its a cultural thing i guess, less individualistic. Not me though.
Regarding your question, buying your own personal system. I think a $1k dollar pc system is within reach of most. The problem is not buying a pc but buying the $10k dollar car. A seasoned programmer makes about $5k dollars a year. It will take about a decade to save.
I have two cars. I own a small house, securities, etc. I live a very simple life. I have no debt. I have enough to travel to any part of the world every four years - not on my salary. I made money in the stock market. Money from Programming? Shish, thats a hobby. I just hope i can be a good father, and try and make the life of my daughter as secure as possible. So she too can do what she wants, not out of need but of desire.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 16065
    
  21

Thanks, all! I'll try and refine my query a little here.
I'm fully aware that there are far too many places on Earth where the annual income is $200 or less, and it really pains me to have to admit that I have neither the resources nor the wisdom to do anything about that.
I'm just concentrating on how comfortable one can be doing software development and design profesionally around the world. My metric is something that is sufficiently expensive to be considered a luxury, but less so than an "essential" luxury such as an automobile or refrigerator. In the interests of accuracy, I'd much prefer first- or second- person reports, since sometimes our perceptions of how other people see life are distorted by how we would regard that soft of lifestyle.
I suppose I should also have asked in addition to the ability to purchase a brand-new computer, how easy it is to own ANY sort of computer. I mean, I just unloaded about 3 '486s (depending on how you put the parts together) and even though they may fall below the minimum standards for the government of Pakistan as donated machines (Pakistan wants Pentium 90's or above), I made a pretty decent living and had quite a bit of fun using them as production machines when they were still considered state-of-the-art.
 
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