Disclaimer: I am fully aware that this is a First World problem, to complain about prices and money in general, but as I am living in a First World and not a Third World, this is my reality for now especially as a PF blogger.
This comment on my Everyday Minimalist post — Paris, France Part 1 — amused me more than it annoyed me:
In case it’s hard to read, ryan wrote:
$250,000 in the bank while travelling europe, and all you can do is complain about the prices? liberated indeed.
My answer is:
I don’t have $250k in the bank.
Wherever did you get that idea?
Also, just because I have money it doesn’t mean I can’t be careful with my money. Perhaps you shouldn’t read PF blogs if you’re going to get mad with people saving money & wanting to save more of it in their lives.
1. I have $155,000 not $250,000
My goal is to reach $200,000 this year but it looks a bit bleak because I am also trying to move to the U.S. and it’s getting complicated.
Still, setting a high goal is a nice thing to do for 2012.
I’m going to need to think of another strategy to make some money in the meantime.
2. The prices ARE shockingly high in Europe
They are shockingly high almost anywhere in Europe, which makes me quite glad to be across the pond, to tell you the truth.
Cost of living must be a bitch there — no wonder people can’t go out to cafes to chill out any more. They’d be poor in no time, especially without access to easy credit like here.
I was mad about having to pay good euros for crap (Laduree’s day old croissants), or a lot of money for what I consider to be cheap drinks (hot chocolate, pop), especially if you knew how much the old franc was really worth in comparison to the EUR.
To put it into perspective of why I was shocked at the prices:
6.55 French francs = ~ 1 EUR
A coffee in Paris used to cost about 5 francs, or less than a EUR.
Now, a coffee is about 2 EUR, or 13 francs, a 100% increase.
Guesstimating: 5 francs for a coffee in the past, and a hot chocolate at the most would have been 7-10 francs.
I was charged 4 EUR for that simple hot chocolate I took, which would have been 26.2 francs.
26.2 francs is murderous!
We are talking about more than a 150% increase in prices just because of a little currency exchange that was supposed to facilitate buying and selling among European countries, nothing more.
So if 1 EUR = $1.30 CAD, then I paid $5.20 for a cup of hot chocolate.
Even for $2 here in Canada, I wouldn’t pay for a cup of hot chocolate.
With chai teas and green tea lattes? Yes. A tall for $3.62, but not that same price for a simple, powdered mix hot chocolate.
(Even so, I am starting to drink more tea at home and foregoing the Starbucks route to save $$.)
I find any kind of drink overpriced considering that I know what goes into it — cocoa powder, sugar, some milk if you’re lucky, but it’s mostly water.
What is that really in cost? $0.50 in total?
You can see where I was a bit shocked at the prices, commenting on its huge price tag. I wouldn’t even really buy it for myself here, in Canada.
In Europe, I had the same reaction EVERYWHERE. It was the same not just for the hot chocolate or the drinks, but for everything except wine and cheese (fabulous prices at an amazing quality, even converted into CAD).
3. Where do they think I got the money anyway?
From a money tree? From a leprechaun? Maybe a magic money fairy who comes and visits every night?
Heck no. I SAVED EVERY PENNY OF IT, damn it.
I didn’t spend the money, and that’s how I have the money in the bank.
How didn’t I spend the money? By not buying $5.20 hot chocolates, and seeing that purchase as a one-off, overpriced, expensive TREAT.
That’s how ALL people who have savings have money.
They saved it by not spending it.
What I’m slightly melancholy about is that I could have saved MORE last year by not spending it so willy-nilly, but I had a great time so 2012 is another year.
So how am I NOT going to spend the money this year? I am going to avoid restaurants.
I am hearing too many gross stories I’d rather not share on this blog in fear of making you ruin your lovely computers by retching all over it, and I am going to stick to just eating food I or BF make at home.
With all that money, I’m going to keep my savings and watch it grow with the magic of compounding interest.
Getting Rich = Saving Your Money and Not Spending It Wastefully
Anyway, just thought I’d share this amusing comment with the rest of you.