Cost of Living

I was with a friend from another country recently and listening to her speak made me realize the number of ways in which I currently waste money. A lot of my waste has to do with the fact that the cost of living is so inexpensive where I am. If she were to go to a fast food restaurant for a 1pc chicken and fries she’ll be paying $15. $15 sounds like too much money to me when I pay $3 for it. Then I took a look at the exchange rate and it turns out we’re paying the same amount.

Though we compared prices of items we didn’t compare what we earn so I have no way of knowing if her income is comparable to mine. I do know that she considers fast food a treat and wouldn’t dream of making it a weekly or nightly indulgence. Even if I was making double what I’m making now, I think I’d balk at a $15 price tag on that type of dish!

In my world with dollar stores, coupons and sales it’s easy to get suckered into a ‘deal.’ I can easily spend $20 in the dollar store and feel great about myself because those items would have been considerably more elsewhere. Now if I use the exchange rate would I have spent $100 on the same things even if I know the value is easily double that? Sometimes the answer is definitely and others probably not.

Back to my friend.She’s a frugal lady but she had come to shop so that’s what we did. But a funny thing happened while shopping. Deals that once seemed wonderful didn’t when I multiplied them by 5 so we’d keep looking and almost every time we ended up finding something comparative for less. Prior to this trip I considered $50 jeans too expensive but $25 a great deal. However, we found brand new jeans for $10 because the $25 was deemed too much by both of us when we did our exchange math.

Have you had these sorts of experiences too? What would you give up if you had to multiply it by $5?

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