Saturday, May 09, 2009

the costs of living "extremely well"

Ever wonder how much money you need to have in order to "live extremely well"? To measure this, economists use several indicators, such as Gucci loafers, Pratesi linen, a lavish dinner for two, and beluga caviar, among others. The changes in the price tags of these items illustrate the ever-rising costs of living the rich life. Forbes' eye-opening index is here. It's rather dated, but still interesting. There's a more recent index here - and it's very visual, too.

Financial maturity, or just plain maturity

If there's anything I have learned in the last two years, it's frugality. Some people think I spend a lot, but I really don't. My things are expensive, true, but they last. And more importantly, I use them to death. Nothing is redundant, so all the designer things I own get aired out (too often).

My realization is this: "Having the money for it" and "affording it" are two very different things.

For example, having enough money to buy an Hermes bag is not the same as being able to afford an Hermes bag. If you have only P700,000 in your bank account, then technically, you HAVE THE MONEY for the Hermes. However, you CAN'T AFFORD the Hermes, because you would go bankrupt if you bought it.

Five years ago, I spent all of my money on things I thought I could afford, but didn't. I had virtually no savings, but I had a fully paid for second hand car, a designer handbag, and a big mortgage. I was 23 then, and that's normal I guess.

I don't regret it; in fact, I am thankful I learned all those financial lessons early. The demons are still there (buy that Goyard!) but I have kept a lid on most of them. For now, at least.

"You don't lose anything when you travel"

Over dinner the other night, I talked to my friends about the very real, very scary costs of leisure travel. To prepare them for the Euro tour later in the year, I told them exactly how much my upcoming trip would cost: almost P500,000 for two people, including some pocket money. Here is the breakdown:

Hotels - P131,000

Airfare (including fuel surcharges, Euro taxes, Philippine taxes, etc) - P113,000

Eurail tickets (for five destinations) - P45,000

Visa application fee and travel insurance - P15,000

Pocket money based on
average needed in Paris - P150,000 (around EUR 2,400+)

Extra "emergency" money (on top of emergency credit card) - P50,000


I told my friends about how sad I was about the costs of this vacation, as it's been the most expensive MSP and I will take so far.
Half a million is no joke. It takes us months to save that amount. Thinking about it made me a bit nauseous. I was losing money.

But Barry said something very interesting.

"You don't lose anything when you travel."

Makes sense (though our bank accounts don't think so). I'm still reeling about the travel expenses (all of which have been paid now, so there's no turning back), but the excitement of seeing Europe is much bigger than my "buyer's remorse."

So when it was drizzling this morning, I decided to pack.

I travel light, so I will only take a handcarry and a handbag. Unbelievable? Well, believe it. I'm taking on Paris, the south of France, Monaco, Barcelona, and Madrid with just one bag for clothes, and another handbag for the laptop, chargers, and travel books/maps. NO CHECK IN LUGGAGE. I hate waiting for bags.

I made all of these wool tops, a coat, a raincoat, several tank tops and shorts, a swimsuit, scarves, wool socks, flat shoes, swine flu masks, etc etc etc....

Fit into this

The secret is THERMAL WEAR. No need to bring lotsa bulky coats and sweaters :)

*Sorry for the dark pictures. It was really dark outside, and I don't use the lights in the morning. FRUGAL! :)



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm excited for you both! Enjoy your Eurotrip! -supercow

1:31 AM  

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