Things That Are Cheaper in the UK Than in the Third World


We looked not so long ago at the way prices in the UK have gone up over the years. It is a bit worrying to see how much inflation has added onto a lot of products and services over the years.

However, might you be surprised to find that you can find a lot of things there which are cheaper than they are in the third world? I moved from the UK to a developing country in South America and here are some of the items which I discovered I would have been better buying back home.


The price of cars here is enough to make me weep. I bought an ancient, rusting 1988 4×4 for about £6,500. I just had a look on eBay and the same model year would cost me £1,600 in Blighty. This isn’t even the worst example. I went out the other day to help a new American arrival here look for a car. Some of the junk we looked at was so bad you would need to pay to get someone to take it off your hands in the UK. Here, they look for a good few thousand dollars for that sort of stuff. Even Del Boy Trotter or Arthur Daley would be embarrassed to quote the prices they charge here.  I read a while ago that cars lose half of their value in the first three years. Not here they don’t. In fact, they almost seem to gain value instead of depreciate.

Electronic Equipment

Another clear example I can give is of the radios I have bought. I bought a simple little CD radio in London before leaving the UK.  It cost something like £30 and was a pretty decent buy. When I left the country a few months later I left it with a friend and decided to buy a new one once I arrived. I ended up buying one which looked pretty similar but from an inferior brand for almost twice the price. Worst of all, the CD player on my new one packed in after a few months while my friend in the UK said that the older one keeps on rocking away perfectly well.


I have to confess that I was a bargain clothes shopper in the UK. I simply never saw the point in buying designer jeans for £100 when I could go to a supermarket and get them for a tenner. This meant that I never spent a lot of money on clothes. In fact, the biggest shopping trip I ever made in this respect probably amounted to about £100. Thinking back, if I leave out work suits, the most expensive item of clothing I ever bought was probably a warm jacket at around £40. The problem across here in the third world is that cheap supermarkets don’t exist. All of the clothes are imported by small traders who want to make a tidy profit on it. This means that the cheapest pair of new jeans I can get here is going to set me back the thick end of £30 and is going to look a lot worse than those supermarket ones I used to buy. They started selling second hand clothes from the US now. Some of them have the original price tickets from bargain stores there and they cost less to buy new than they do to buy second hand here.


My little girl loves her toys but my bank balance doesn’t. As with the other products, the problem is that everything is imported in from abroad. When I check the price in the UK or the US for something I am planning to buy here my heart sinks.  If she really wants that doll that poos and vomits she will need to wait until Amazon start delivering here.

What things have you realised are surprisingly expensive on your travels?

8 Responses to Things That Are Cheaper in the UK Than in the Third World

  1. Pauline says:

    In Guatemala they don’t have coupons so often the toothpaste, or cereals, anything imported by a big multi national company is pretty expensive.
    If you eat like locals do, you can do it on the cheap.

  2. I never realized vehicles would be so expensive in different countries! I guess that is affected by importing, too. Amazing how much we take for granted in countries like the US and UK.

  3. AverageJoe says:

    Funny. I got a radio from my brother in exchange for some work back in the early 1990s. That things still going today while I’ve probably been through about 10 other portable radios (or more) in the meantime.

    It’s important to know that not everything is cheaper in a 3rd world country….

  4. It’s interesting to see this comparison, Robert. Another interesting comparison is how products differ in different countries. For example, soda in Mexico is made with REAL sugar…not the corn syrup crap. It tastes so much better than the ‘same’ brand does in the US. Sprite has the biggest difference I’ve noticed – I love Sprite in Mexico…it’s just ‘meh’ in the US.

    • Robert Bell says:

      That’s a great point Brock. I have noticed a difference in drinks between some countries as well and I wonder if it is down to this factor or maybe the water quality in some cases.

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