Saturday, May 3, 2008

Yes. It's confirmed. London is expensive.

A few weeks ago, I had a friend give me a good tip for London... "London is the only place in the world where you can buy nothing and you're money will still disappear". That seems to be a true statement.

As I've shopped around at various stores around town, I've come to conclude that a handy rule of thumb is that the numbers on all the price tags are basically the same as NYC, only the units are in pounds instead of dollars. So imagine your favorite pair of Tommy jeans... instead of $80, they would be £80 (or $160). That turkey sandwich in NYC for $12 would be $24 here in London.

Try this one of for size: Gas (or petro as it's called here) is approx £1.8 per liter (or $3.6/liter = $14.61/gallon. Think about that next time you're complaining at the gas pump.... or when chosing between a hybrid or an SUV.

As of today, the exchange rate was 1.97 USD to GBP. That said, that's the bank rate you would get only if you used your debit/credit card (assuming no exchange rate fee from your bank). If you wanted to convert your cash, you would have to do it at an exchange booth. At the last booth I noticed, the "buy and sell" rates for USD and GBP was approx 1.91 and 2.04, respectively. We're meeting with a currency trader tomorrow and will hopefully get some additional insight into the forex markets and what makes those spreads widen or narrow.

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