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Reader feedback: What is cheaper in Slovakia?

Re: Study: Slovak PM earns the least, May 15 - May 21, 2006, Volume 12, Number 19

Let's make a list of what exactly is cheaper in Slovakia than in the average EU. One has to bear in mind, of course, that there is also a difference in spending behaviour, a phenomenon that carries quite a bit of weight when comparing.

Property (as in price per m2) with or without improvement(s) is considerably cheaper. Building and/or fixing it up is at around 85 % (due to the low cost of labour only; the materials cost the same). Beer, liquor, wine, bottled water and cigarettes are cheaper, as is dining out outside Bratislava. There is (as of yet) no road tax for privately-owned cars. Doctors and medicine are fairly cheap, although no Slovak will not agree with this and there are hardly any generic brands to be found. Bread and a fair number of sweets are cheap, while flour and sugar is only slightly cheaper. The plumber is cheap (strangely enough, the electrician is not). Property tax, as well as rubbish removal, are low and there (again, as of yet) no fancy taxes, i.e. an eco-tax.

Sure, the income tax is low, but if you start calculating from your net income, which you should actually do, you find that VAT is virtually on a par with the EU. Does the cheap booze and cigarettes only benefit you if you are a drinker and/or a smoker, and does a piece of Slovak cheese not cost you less than a piece of imported Gouda? All this is not to mention that for a good number of products, one actually pays more in Slovakia than in the EU 15.

One does happen to buy a carton of milk, a jar of jam, or a tube of toothpaste exponentially more often than a piece of property. And what is the advantage of property being cheap if it is virtually impossible to arrange a mortgage due to the income/cost ratio of property?

I am not trying to suggest that you are wrong and Eva is right, but I agree that she is not equal where financial freedom is concerned.


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