On the subject of money

After traveling for three months from a city to a city, I am beginning to lose any idea what money is worth. Money is becoming something abstract of unknown value. When you go on a two week holiday, it is easy to have a point of reference of what money is worth, as you just compare the local price level to of your own country. Furthermore, touristy vacation is all about spending money anyway. For a limited time you get a nicely packaged experience, which you most certainly cannot afford back at home. But when doing a longer tour hopping from one country to another, the baseline price level becomes very vague and having no constant positive money flow makes matters even more complicated. What is cheap and what is not? Can I afford it now? Will I be able to afford in a couple months? Is that fruit shake worth buying? Should I buy clothes here or wait until I get to another place? Is one euro extra for a room really worth spending? I honestly do not know answers to any of these questions. Yes, experience is invaluable, but one extra fruit-shake does not change anything apart from giving you a momentary sugar spike. As for accommodation, you usually get better service and better quality for a higher price, but in the end does it really matter? As long as there are no bedbugs, I get a good night sleep and there are some people to chat with, I am ok with anything. Staying in a nice room does not matter in the long term, but as John Keynes put it “In the longterm we are all dead”.
The price dissonance is especially bad when you go from a cheap place to a more expensive one and keep lamenting all the lost cheap prices you had just last week, even if the actual difference is negligible.
Different currencies make the issue even more complicated. Is 100 baht a lot for a meal? What about 10 ringgit or 25 yuan? In all three cases it is the same amount of 2.5€, but interestingly enough 100 baht felt like a lot of money in Thailand, while 10 ringgit is a small pocket change. China was somewhere in between. My current strategy is to have a daily budget, which is actually somewhat higher that I spend on average. However, having an inflated budget gives a green light to indulging, which does not go well with my original low-budget strategy. Oh well, I guess I shall see if this strategy works out. Another possible strategy would be to spend money and worry later, which I guess would work very well at least in a short term. Then again the longterm effects are another matter…
Any comments on how to handle this mental dissonance are welcome 🙂

2 thoughts on “On the subject of money

  1. Your current life strategy seems to be “go with the flow”, so why not implement same strategy on your money spending? Dissonance will vanish by itself :).

  2. Fair enough. Letting go the illusion of security net created by money is not simple, though 🙂

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