I saved $2,500 by buying 2 items abroad. Is that un-American?
August 03rd, 2008 - 87 Comments
My post on why we’re all hypocrites about our weddings was one of my most popular.
So since one of my friends just got engaged, I thought you’d find this interesting. When I had dinner with him last night, I asked him how the wedding planning was going. He told me that to save money, he’s flying in a wedding photographer from the Philippines. Even with the flight and accommodations, he’ll save $4,000.
This mirrors my own experiences:
- In New Delhi, I had a custom suit made for $200. Money saved: About $2,000
- In Mumbai a few months ago, I bought lenses/frames for $45. Amount saved: $500
- A friend had crowns and other dental work done in India for $400. Amount saved: About $3,500. (More about medical tourism.)
And that’s just India. There’s Vietnam, China, countries in Africa, and many other countries where I’ve heard friends get amazing prices. It’s getting to the point where, if you want anything expensive, it can be cheaper to fly to another country and buy it there.
This is particularly true for health care. There are serious questions about risk and liability, but the difference in price is impossible to ignore. From this Washington Post article:
…heart bypass in the United States costs $130,000, but just $10,000 in India and $11,000 in Thailand. A hip replacement in the United States would cost $43,000 but just $12,000 in Thailand or Singapore. Hysterectomy costs are about $20,000 here but $3,000 in India.
For less-risky items, like buying a custom suit, rugs, or pieces of furniture, the savings can be significant enough to make the trip without worrying about quality. After all, if it breaks, just get it repaired — or, a la Wal Mart, it may be so cheap that it’s simply disposable.
This is a political firestorm. What about labor practices and environmental impact? In fact, in last week’s Friday Entrepreneur post about Shannon from Payloadz, there’s a raging discussion in a post last week about using offshore workers: One commenter accuses others of using “CFL (Cheap Foreign Labor),” and others jump on him for ignoring globalization.
What do you think? Have you traveled abroad specifically to buy something cheaper? Have you ever had surgery abroad? Is that un-American?
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