“Money is a poor man’s credit card.” Marshall McLuhan
“All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy.” Spike Milligan
“It’s a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.” Albert Camus
“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.” Oscar Wilde
Here is a bit of information about Australia that you may or may not know. Their money is plastic, actually polypropylene polymer . Yep, that’s right. Just like your sushi container, the film covering your rib eye steaks, or the bubble wrap that you like to pop so as to annoy everyone within ear shot (actual chemical content may vary). According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, it is the 5th most traded currency in the world and is referred to in the world of traders as the “Aussie”. As I type, the US dollar is worth $1.04 Australian dollars which makes for pretty expensive living around here.
Much like our green backs, the Aussie money is printed with significant historical characters from life down under. Stealing from Wiki:
The $50 note features Aboriginal writer and inventor David Unaipon (1872–1967), and Australia’s first female parliamentarian, Edith Cowan (1861–1932).
The $20 note features the founder of the world’s first aerial medical service (the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia), the Reverend John Flynn (1880–1951), and Mary Reibey (1777–1855), who arrived in Australia as a convict in 1792 and went on to become a successful shipping magnate and philanthropist.
The $10 note features the poets AB “Banjo” Paterson (1864–1941) and Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962). This note incorporates micro-printed excerpts of Paterson’s and Gilmore’s work.
The only person in this list that most Americans might know would be Banjo Paterson, an Aussie poet who wrote Waltzing Matilda. That song is fodder for another blog…
Back to the Aussie…and the cost of living. I have found, thus far, that some things are more costly, like food, electronics, dry cleaning, and BOOZE. A case of Aussie beer (Carlton’s or Toohey’s) costs between $40 to $50; to get a suit pressed is $23; boneless chicken breasts are $15/kg (1 kg = 2.2lbs) and ice cream is around $7 for little less than 1/2 gallon. But sometimes there is little difference. Take for instance my new espresso machine seen below.
She’s a beauty, isn’t she? Anyway, at William Sonoma, which I know is not exactly bargain city, in their inventory, this machine costs $499. At Myer, an Aussie department store like Macy’s, this machine costs $549 Aus or $519 US. Not a huge difference. (In case you are interested I did not pay that much–it was on sale :-))
Dining out can be quite pricey BUT…the best thing in the world is there is no tipping (unless the service was superior and then it is truly a tip). No tipping the hairdresser, the hotel maids, no one! The prices you see on tags and labels include the tax–what a novel idea. And…and…they do not use pennies, God bless them.
“…godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10