I briefly discussed in my essay Three Hours in Rome, that the price of things relative to their value is often skewed.
I started to think how this applies to so many things in life. I find that the $3 worth of petrol that I put into my little Honda Julia – a cheap 50cc motorbike – is full of value. I can get around town for up to a week without needing to top up the tank again.
Compare that to something like ordering a cocktail at a bar ($5 to $7, here in Phnom Penh) and we can see how things quickly start not to make sense. I get far more utility and value from my $3 of petrol than I do from my $7 of alcohol.
Another example, my rent works out at just under $17 per day, and I am fortunate to live in a beautiful and spacious apartment, where I can sleep, shower, relax, and also work. This provides amazing value to my life, and yet for $17 I would be lucky to be able to cover a dinner out with a drink or two.
Cooking at home, on the other hand, is often fantastic value. I eat quite simply, most vegetables and legumes, and I can whip up a meal for $1 to $3, which gives me a feeling of having a double or triple bonus. I get to eat exactly what I want, prepared how I like it, I am fully aware of everything that has gone into my meal, and it is also several times cheaper than eating out.
So the point in this, just make sure that you are aware of the relative value and price of the different components of your life, because a little money can go a long way if spent properly.