I've moved from a poor, working-class state to a better-developed, middle-class state in the US.
Here's my problem: I'm having an extremely hard time adjusting to the price differences between the two states. Here in the new state, prices on items (more specifically, the housing market) can easily be three times as much what I've been used to seeing.
People here also tend to shop for leisure, and money never seems to be a problem. Grocery shopping is a "grab whatever looks good" activity. Back where I used to live, nobody had such luxuries. I know my mom would always have a hard time justifying spending even $20 if she didn't truly need it, and grocery shopping was always planned and it was only store-brands, never name-brand things.
As you can see, this is quite the major culture shock I'm experiencing. I've never seen such willy-nilly monetary exchange before.
I'm thinking of this in terms of pure dollar value, however.
In the interest of making this non-subjective, my question is this: how can I look at this situation more objectively? What factors go into driving prices up, and what causes people to spend more, and others to save?
And specifically regarding prices of housing, what factors drive prices in that regard? I mean, the houses are roughly the same... but almost 3 times as expensive. As an example, I know that a 2 bedroom apartment would rent for roughly $450/mo back home (and people would find that a bit expensive!). Here, for a similar apartment, $1000/mo might be on the low end.
(Have you ever seen a cartoon where a character gets a huge bill at a restaurant, and their eyes shoot out of their eye sockets and they faint? Yeah... that's how I felt looking at some of the places around here...)