We have put together a list of costs of good in Zimbabwe from 1982, going up every four years (1986, 1990…) for comparisons. While this has not been done by professional economics scholars (see Poverty Datum Line (PDL) and more), we hope this will be representative, and real, and allow people to make some simple comparisons between “then” and “now” in an anecdotal manner. Selected August because it was “Show Week” in Harare.

They are taken from newspapers (The Herald, Financial Gazette, etc.), both from paid advertisements and classifieds (e.g. second hand cars). In the case of advertisements, “sales” were avoided as these would not be usual prices.

The wealth of Zimbabweans has, on average, declined since independence. GDP per capita touched $1,540 in 1980, despite being suppressed by 15 years of war. This crept up to $1,690 by 2001, a poor performance given the inflow of aid and the end of sanctions. Then began a precipitous fall to $824 by 2008. By 2013, it had increased to $1,422, after which it fell again to $1,290 by 2021. Now (2023) Zimbabwe is in per capita income terms where it was in 1972. [1]

For a contextual glimpse of what has happening then, see History of Zimbabwe Timeline. For related profiles see:

August 1982

The Herald, 10c


potatoes, 59c, 65c/2kg, $1.59/5kg, $3.50 to $4.30/15kg.
onions, 39c/500g.
tomatoes, 35c/500g, 60c/kg.
lettuce, 9c.
cabbage, 22c , 29c/head.

Beef, $1.99 per kg.
rump, $2.70 per kg, , rump, $14.90/kg.
steak mince, $1.29/kg.

Boerewors, $1.64/1kg, $1.99/kg.

Pork Chops, $1.99/kg.
boneless pork chops.
Colcom pork sausages, 79c/500g.

whole Chicken (minimum 1.25 kg), $2.59
mixed chicken portions, $10.29/5kg.
legs, $11.39/5kg.

Cold drinks, family size, crown top, 23c.
Mazoe 2l, $1.01.
Tanganda tea, 65c/250g, $1.52/500g.

Condensed milk, tin, 67c, 68c.
Corned Beef, 21c, 99c.

roller meal (mealie meal), 45c/5kg, 47c/5kg, Stork Maragarine, $1.72/2kg, sunsweet sugar, 25c/kg


Jade Soap, 44c.
Green bar soap, 55c / bar, to 52c / bar.

Three piece large sofa suite, $235, $399, $550.
Four piece, $495, $609.

60W light bulbs (2 pack), 39c.

LPS (vinyl music!), $3.99, singles, 15c.

Electricity, $2.25 / KWh


Men’s shirts $7.95 to $18.95, $7.95 to $21.15.
Short Sleeved shirts, $7.95, $8.99

Vehicles (second hand)

1969 Alfa 1300, $1550.
Alfa Sud, $4500, $4600.
Renault R4, $1200.


Forex telegraphic buy rates per Z$
US$, 1.30
Rand 1.52
GBP 76.54

US$ 1.31
R 1.51
GBP 76.74

Other costs

Cllrs Allowances, $2250 maximum, per year (for the highest ratings). So could be $1000 to $1250 for an average Cllr.
State Lottery First prize, $50 000, Second $15 000, Third $7 500.
Bus fare, South Street to Harare Show, 10c. Runs hourly.

July 1997

Other costs

War veterans payouts:

  • Lump payment - Z$50 000, (about US$3 500)
  • Monthly Pension - Z$2 000, (about US$142)

Total Cost - Z$4.2 billion, (over US$300 million) - 1:14 Z$:US$ [2]

  1. Zimbabwe needs a second liberation – from the liberators themselves, Daily Maverick, Published: 26 March 2023, Retrieved: 26 March 2023
  2. [David Coltart The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe], Jacana, Published: 2016, p 246