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I got an email from my friend, Audrey, who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. Aberdeen is a lovely city that sits on the eastern coast of Scotland, on the North Sea. Most people imagine it to be a cold and dreary place, which it can be, but you’ve never seen roses like they grow ‘em in Aberdeen. Its one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever been to. Most of the buildings are made out of granite, (hence the nickname “the Granite City”) so the stark grayness contrasting the lush green hills and abundance of flowers make for quite a sight.

I had asked about the cost of living there now, as I had last been over there in 1997. I thought it was expensive then, but not wildly so.

Currently, the price of gas here in the U.S. hovers between $3 and $3.50 per gallon, depending on where you live.
In Aberdeen, she pays $10 a gallon. Ten dollars!

Income tax, she said, on a salary of $10K to $70K is 22 percent. Naturally, that is taken out of your pay before the check ever hits your hand.

If you earn more than $70K, better start looking for that second or third job because the tax rate is 40 percent.
We’ve heard all about “national health plans” from some of our illustrious presidential candidates, here is what Auds says about theirs:

“You HAVE to pay National Insurance. This covers health care, state pension, etc, but it is compulsory and is deducted from your pay each month. Naturally, it varies according to the amount you earn. Of course, you can still pay for private health care, but the National Health care is a must-do, you have no choice in that. If you paid for private health care, you’d just be paying double. The cost is about $100 a month, depending on your age.”

I could probably live with that, as our monthly health insurance came in at over $900 a month for the three of us. We switched insurance companies, and are now down to $680 a month.

She is a single woman, so the figures for a family of five were not readily available.

Everything they buy has a tax rate of 17.5 percent built right in. That is why you don’t often see a Dollar Tree or a 99-cent store — that would be woefully sad for me!

She recently had a nice dinner out with her boyfriend and her sister, three courses and a bottle of wine came to about $260. And that was at a “reasonably” priced restaurant.

If you have a television in every room, as my parents did, you’d been forced into bankruptcy in no time. Over there, you have to pay the government $280 per year. No exceptions. For your telly.

We take for granted the ability to hop in and out of our cars and drive all over hill and dale to get where we want to go. We do have to pay taxes to pay for the roads we have, and so do they. The average tax on their vehicle, depending on size, is about $300 a year. That’s what they call their road tax.

You have to have your car tested each year and if its deemed unsafe or in need of repair, you’d better hop to it. If you don’t pay to have it fixed, you have to junk it. They also have great big stickers on their cars to show that they are insured. If you don’t have a great big sticker, you’re gonna be in a world of hurt. I think that sounds like a good idea myself. Everyone in this country ought to be forced to wear that big badge of insurance, or your scary little butt is off the road!

The average Motel 6 type hotel room is roughly $200 a night. And that’s for “nothing special.”

To rent a car, it’s about $60 a day. For a compact.

She gets a lot of guff from her American counterparts about how much more money she makes working for the same firm, and she has to constantly argue how much more it takes to live there than here.

“You don’t know how lucky you are. You have a much higher standard of living than we do, although we don’t shoot each other as much as you lot do! But can I come and live there anyway?”

Like the couple I ran into that were visiting the U.S. from England. Said they came with the clothes on their backs.

Their plan was to buy suitcases and clothes here, as they could buy all they wanted with it being so much cheaper.

The gal said, “I bought 10 pairs of jeans, piled them up, and dove into them like it was a pile of cash. I think I paid about $15 for each pair, which would have easily cost $75 or $100 a pair back home!”

The next time I’m at the pump, I’ll probably feel the same way.