Friday, June 06, 2014

A few words about €

I have decided that you can't worry yourself with what things cost in dollars or you will make yourself crazy. You just have to get into the Euro mindset. It's strange because sometimes it feels like play money, even though you know it's not.

An example:

A 6-pack of soda at the store costs about 3,20€. (See how they use commas where we use periods? Kind of confusing.) In dollars, this 6-pack would cost $4.48. Ridiculous! I don't even pay that much for a 12-pack in the States! But if I were to buy one can of soda while I'm out somewhere, it would cost between 1,50€ and 2€ ($2.10 - $2.80). Now the 6-pack price doesn't seem so bad. It's all relative. (Please don't tell me that I should not drink soda. I already know that, but Coke Zero brings me a lot of relatively guilt-free pleasure.)

Another example:

I was doing a little shopping at the BHV, a wonderful department store. I picked up a few trinkets as gifts, and when I was at the cash register, they gave me the option of paying in dollars or euros (the big dept. stores do this when you are paying by card.) I had no problem at all paying 32€, but when I saw that that equaled $45, it gave me pause. Were these small items really worth $45? I didn't know, but I was sure they were worth 32€.

When I withdraw 200€ from the cash machine, I have to force myself not to think about how that is really $280.

And finally, there are other factors involved, namely that we are here for a relatively short time and that there are delights here that can't be had at home. So when we go to a fine pastry shop, we don't bat an eye at paying 5,50€ apiece, but we would be much less likely to spend $7.70 on a treat at home (let alone $38.50 for a treat for the whole family!).

See what I mean? Play money. But not. It's surprisingly easy to do.


Jill said...

Plus it looks like play money too!

Anne said...

I totally know about play money. When we lived in Guinea, the conversion rate was roughly 7,000 Guinea Francs to the dollar. I mean, every time I went grocery shopping, I felt like a baller because I was spending like a million GNF at a time. There was just no getting used to that!!

I've been enjoying reading about your adventures!!

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