Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Breaking the cycle
"Money was made to be spent", said a friend of mine a few days ago trying to comfort me over my lack of funds. Perhaps that philosophy is why neither of us are particularly rich.
Finland is such an amazing place that not only do I get to see polar bears on a daily basis and be naked all the time, but they also pay me to go to university. I get a monthly student grant called opintotuki. Apart from this, and some housing benefit, I don't get any other money. Both grants just about cover my housing and basic expenses.
The problem is that after 5 years of living financially independently from my mum, as soon as about 400 euros drops into my bank account on the 4th of every month I still feel like this:
My life is not that exciting though, and I actually look more like this:
Hi. So, on the 4th of the month I feel great. I start thinking about how many penny sweets I could buy with 400 euros. I browse online shops just thinking of the possibilities. I look at hoodies in hues I don't already own. I consider BUYING SALMON.
But the worst offender in my budget is IKEA. I bet you've been to IKEA. If you haven't been to IKEA you should definitely go because you can get breakfast for 2 euros and you get porridge and a sandwich and everything. And DAIM (when I was younger it was dime, what did they change it for, it looks weird) bar cake.
Anyway. I always go to IKEA for a purpose. I intend either to buy a cheap breakfast or some sort of furniture. I drag a friend and we pretend we're going on holiday to Sweden. Finland is bilingual so you can speak swedish in IKEA if you want and it's all good. So I finish my great breakfast and start to browse for my furniture, but they have planned IKEA in such a way so as to tempt you from every angle before you get to what you want. The names just make it even better. My bed is a Sultan and my chair goes by Moses. (Shame I don't own any of the stuff with a proper Swedish name, comment if you do and tell me what it is :D)
But this time I was in the kitchenware section when I noticed this.
Do you know what this is? It is a MILK FOAMER. Don't ask me why I wanted to foam milk. I had never foamed milk before, but I suppose I thought it would be fun to try and it cost something like 1 euro 50 cents and of course that is nothing because everything here is cheap and I HAD TO HAVE such a cool thing. I bought that foamer about 3 years ago and only about a month ago learnt to make lattes at home with it.
So, I've been getting the same 400e pretty much every month for about 4 years. By now I know that this amount of money should be spent wisely. First I get rid of my rent and my travel card expenses so I'm not homeless or immobile. Then I leave some for bills and some for food. But then I decide on the spur of the moment that it is imperative that I buy something from a cafe that costs 8 euros while I could make the same thing (only better) at home for about 2 euros and to accompany my posh lunch I must have an equally posh beverage with syrup and foam. I do this fairly regularly, finding some excuse to justify such wasteful squandering until I realise that it's the 15th and I have to wait until the 4th of next month until I get more money. Shit. I clamp down on my actions and make a battle plan (porridge and noodles). Unfortunately poverty, porridge and noodles do this to me:
Why yes, I am that pretty when I sulk.
I also have chronic "well I'm getting some money from here (note future tense) so I can spend this now (note present tense)" syndrome. Which is probably why it's the 20th of April and I have just about enough money for food and other basic stuff, but not enough to buy milk foamers or salmon.
Update: The proxy voting is fine, I can vote!