Dutch people love saving money. If they find out eggs are €0.05 cheaper on the other side of town, they will bike in the rain for an hour to buy 100 of them, thus saving €5. Then they will forget they bought them and throw away 89 rotten ones two months later. But hey! They saved €5 for which they theoretically could buy something exciting! Like, a few more eggs. (That’s what they generally do.)
It transpires I’ve always been Dutch at heart. I would go to a “record” “store” (for the young whippersnappers here, it’s like Amazon but in a building and without all the fancy electronics, books and basically everything at Amazon except the “CDs” and vinyls) thinking: I have no money left this month. Then I would spot a new album at ONLY 8 EURO. I would, of course, immediately buy it, my reasoning being “last time I saw it, it cost €11, therefore I am saving €3. Am practically a financial genius.” Then I’d discover I don’t have enough money on my account to buy bread, but hey, payday is in 10 days so it will be okay. I can always eat dust and spiders. Or steal from the fridge at work. No! I can’t do that. It would be unethical. But I might replace the food at some point in the future with eggs past expiry date so that’s fine, right?
Also I couldn’t work if I died of hunger, so I was saving the company money, so they could pay everyone more. Trickling theory and all that. You could say I was like Mother Theresa, except for the financial scandals (I WAS SAVING MO– oh wait, she did too – nevermind) and better moisturised.
I remember bringing those CDs home and thinking, proudly, I am investing my money. Because CD prices were going up, one day I could sell my collection and buy a huge house in the country. With a Mercedes and room for a pony. Then recently when I was selling my old apartment I decided to sell some of my collection and discovered that on Discogs most of the albums I bought for €8 thus neatly saving money AND investing in my future now go for €0.01 plus €12.90 postage costs.
Basically if you want financial advice I recommend the following:
- Ask me what my opinion is
- Do the opposite
I have famously decided that Amiga is not something that will ever take off and bought a Sam Coupe computer. The company went bust shortly after, having sold 5000 of those machines. Then I threw it away. It’s a collectible now. Then when I saw the first iPhone I said “this is never going to sell, a phone without keyboard? How am I supposed to use it when it’s raining?” (Not that I could use my Nokia in the rain either, but hey, it was a hypothetical example.) I can only take solace from the fact that Steve Ballmer also said iPhones would never sell and he was the Microsoft CEO. Which means I am as smart as a Microsoft CEO, except for the bit where I don’t have millions on my account. But I will soon because I am saving! Today I bought a Pet Shop Boys magazine with free CD. That free CD will go for €10 on Discogs very soon which means I will have saved 10 euros out of 29 I spent!
Recently I decided to save money by booking a trip to Prague using one of those cheapticketsandtrips.com sites. Found a great getaway with a small hotel for €560. After having purchased the tickets and making the reservation a thought popped into my head to check how much I’d pay if I bought those separately – just so I could boast about my money saving skills. Buying tickets and making the reservation all by myself without support from cheapticketsandtrips.com would cost €206 less.
But hey. Prague is cheaper than Amsterdam. All we need is to spend €400 on food, drinks
and hookers and remind ourselves that the same menu in Amsterdam would set us back €800 in four days. Saving money: I am great at it.