6 Things Ordinary Jamaicans Can No Longer Afford
The slide of the Jamaican dollar and the resulting inflation has put many creature comforts out of reach for many. Add to that the public sector wage freeze and stagnant salaries in the private sector, and it’s no wonder spending power has drastically reduced. Take a look at some of the items that have quietly moved into the luxury category.
Saltfish – As the price of saltfish continues to climb, we might have to rethink this key ingredient of Jamaica’s national dish. The price of saltfish has more than doubled in just three years putting it out of the reach of many consumers. Good thing we are a resourceful people. Red herring and pickled mackerel will have to step up to their new duties.
Chicken – Chicken is now a luxury item in supermarket freezers. Prices range from a low of $900 to a high of $1500 for a whole chicken. In fact, many supermarkets now sell more ‘parts’ and ‘back’ to meet the demands and meager pockets of shoppers. This hasn’t affected people’s tastes for KFC though, judging by the weekend crowds.
Movie tickets – While the cost of movie tickets is comparable and in some cases more affordable than many other countries, it is still a high price for low to middle income Jamaicans. The costs add up as one usually doesn’t go to see a movie alone; plus how can you enjoy a movie if you’re not munching on expensive popcorn. Sorry Palace Amusement. I still have to pay for cable so I might as well enjoy it.
Fruits and vegetables – We all know that we need to eat healthy but the high cost of fruits and vegetables has forced many Jamaicans to seek cheaper but less healthy alternatives. Fruits in general have been a novelty item for some time unless you are blessed with a big fruit tree in your backyard. Sadly some Jamaicans have no choice but to do without. For those with land space, it may be time to start up a backyard garden, or plant a tree to ensure a regular supply of the vitamins and minerals that we need from fruits and vegetables.
Electricity – It’s a sad fact that we’re paying a lot more for electricity than many of our trade partners. But what’s even worse is when energy conservation measures result in little or no change to the high light bills.
Bank fees – In the past five years, changes in the banking sector have put the customer on the losing side. You now pay more for transactions done inside the bank than at the ATM. And while nearly all of Jamaica’s commercial banks have increased the fees for regular transactions, they’ve also made changes to their policies requiring a minimum balance of $50K-100K to qualify for interest payments. That means that ordinary Jamaicans who can barely afford to save are even less likely to qualify for interest on their bank balance.