Starkers, are things really that much more expensive "down under"
Yup, they can be, especially when it comes to PC's and components... software too. Some of it is caused by our 10% GST (Goods and Services Tax... VAT elsewhere). Some of it is the result of shipping and import duties, etc.... and part of it is the Oz dollar being weaker against the greenback in recent times. Howver, a greater part of the problem is wholesale profiteeering... the failure/refusal of local suppliers to pass on savings (due to manufacturer price cuts/the Oz dollar improving, etc) to the consumer.
Many people here blame the stores, and while some of the larger ones certainly are guilty of excess profiteering, many smaller stores are up against it because their pricing is governed more by their suppliers pricing than their own. I have a friend who owns his own PC store, and he tells me that his markup (just to stay in business) is often below 10%.... sometimes 5%, while his fatcat suppliers are getting rich on markups anywhere between 50% and 80% +.... as is evidenced by a nearby dealer/supplier who lives in a 9 bedroom mansion with tennis court, huge inground pool and a lockup garage bigger than 3 of my houses put together, not to mention his Bentley, Aston Martin and Bugatti, reportedly worth 1.2 mill. Stinks, don't it!!!
my pension check is my mad money
Mine is everything money, cos we get nothing else... covers food, rent, utilities, clothing, etc, etc. Fortunately, we don't have the expense of running a car nor expensive social lives, and cos I never go out dining, clubbing or pubbing, etc, I don't need the apparel to go with it, just a few garments for around the house, if/when I go down the street to the shops. In fact, I haven't bought new clothes in about 5 years... and we live cheap but still eat well on no-name food brands so once in a while we can spend a bit on on our PC's.... which to me is better value than pissing it up down the pub.
Like my son said years ago when he was getting 5 bucks pocket money and his mates were getting $20 or more, I'm tighter than a fishes arse, so yeah, being buggered up with arthritis/limited mobility has its advantages... provides for a more a frugal lifestyle that allows us to indulge in the one passion we do enjoy, our puters. OK, so my upgrade didn't... couldn't go as far as the i7 I'd have liked, but I'm extremely happy with what I've got, it rocks my world.
i have never believed in credit cards,
Me either! Had my former bank sending me regular letters trying to tempt me into one, so I gave 'em the flick. These days we operate on cash or a debit card or go without... a simple formula that works. To me, credit is like an anchor to a drowning man, so if we have to save and go without for a few months to get a PC upgrade/major purchase, then so be it.