Let me first level with you by saying that I have never, ever bought a coffee in my entire life. This is because I hate coffee – seriously, I’ve tried it about three times and the last time I had a sip it made me feel violently ill for DAYS. No exaggeration. It’s yukky. BUT I do buy tea, wine, cakes, all sorts of sh*t, so the coffee is a symbol for our mindless consumerism, okay?
Now, a lot of people like to tell you that by skipping your weekly Starbucks you can save X amount in a year… blah, blah, blah. But we are the generation of instant gratification, we can’t sacrifice the little things for some unknown future reward.We need them! So with that in mind I’ve taken the liberty of showing you EXACTLY what the price of a Cappuccino (let’s average it out at £3) will you get you around the world.
£3 = 160 Thai Baht
Your Frappuccino will get you a night in a hostel dorm in Thailand – that’s right, one whole night with a roof over your head. This is crazy when you think of hotels you’ve probably stayed in in the western world, which okay are much nicer, but essentially doing the same job.
£3 = 103080 Vietnamese Dong
Swap one liquid for a far more delicious one, you can buy yourself (depending on the vendor) 6 bia hoi beers. That’s a big night out, for me anyway. When you consider in the UK beer can cost around £5 for just one it seems crazy!
£3 = 300 Indian Rupees
By saving that three quid you can buy yourself three meals from street food sellers in India, whether that’s a delicious spicy curry. Samosas, bahjis, pakoras or something you haven’t even heard of, you can feed yourself some of the world’s tastiest cuisine for the price of one capitalist beverage.
£3 = 6 Australian Dollars
Okay so Australia is pretty expensive for a backpacker with prices on a level with the UK and USA. Sooooo you can buy yourself (drum roll please) a coffee from Starbucks. You’ll probably enjoy it way more than you would at home because on the road you don’t have your own kitchen or office to keep you caffinated. Go on, treat yourself!
Anyway, the purpose of this exercise is to help you to save for your trip, wherever you’re going, because it’s hard to let go of the little things. I kept wondering why I wasn’t reaching my savings target and when I looked at my bank statement it wasn’t any big things just a hell of a lot of tiny indulgences. They add up and you don’t need them. So now when I think about getting a chocolate bar, even if it’s 75p (a pittance) I think this 75p would be better spent on a beer on a beautiful beach in Cambodia and that helps me keep my purse shut.
Also, take pride in yourself for saving even the littlest amount of cash – your money is more valuable in poorer countries so don’t beat yourself up if you only save £500 this month – you can live off that for a month in South-east Asia.
*Please note that the currency conversions are approximations, these things change and I’m actually a terrible mathematician.