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225. Tight budget, priorities and lucky strikes

Some say that money does not make you happy. From my experience the lack of money does not make you happy either!

I have lived on a tight budget all my life. Who doesn't?! But when I say 'tight budget' I mean not enough to eat AND do other things as well. It was eat OR do other things. Now that I am an old lady on a minimum old age pension my budget is 680€ gross per month. So I have to put my priorities in a strange order sometimes. Here in Ireland I can only use 550€ gross per month as I have kept my usual electricity and car insurance going at my place in France. Here I pay a rent of 300€ monthy. My monthly electricity bill is not regular but it comes to 40 or 50€ per month. Therefore I am left with 200€ for a whole month with food expenses, petrol for my car and entertainment... It is EITHER food OR petrol for my car OR entertainment. I am not even mentioning clothing. I have lived with one pair of pants for the whole winter. I might invest 10€ in a pair of jeans when the weather warms up.

Why do I publish this information all of a sudden?... because I am tired of hearing trendy French slogans such as "money makes you an idiot" or "the rich are filthy" or the like. In France it is politically correct to show a lack of interest in earning money. "Money is dirty" is another slogan. You are not supposed to wish to acquire any. You are not supposed to have any ambitions actually. Everyone should be on a minimum wage fixed by the State and paid by an 'employer' who is seen as evil anyway.

Here in Ireland it is different in many ways. You can have the ambition to earn a lot of money and enjoy it. But you can also live poorly and enjoy it... I mean, you can live with very little money and still enjoy your life because people are friendly with one another and everyone tries to make it easier for everyone else. Some food stuff is a lot cheaper, some other food stuff is a lot more expensive than in France. The range is wider. It is hard to give details. I'd have to keep my bills and make serious comparisons. What I am saying here is that I have found it easier to survive with very little money.

Entertainment is food for the soul in a way. Although there is plenty of it here in Wexford that I can't afford, I still find a way to enjoy some extra time outside sleeping and eating for survival. It was a matter of putting my priorities back to front but I did buy a ticket to attend a play at the opera house in March. This month I ventured to a pub to hear some music. It cost me less that 5€ for a beer sitting there for a couple of hours listening to a rock band and enjoying being with other people. In May I hope to go sailing one afternoon in a sailing club in Dublin. That would cost me 40€ plus the diesel at €5.55 for a litre to drive from Wexford to Dublin and back.

But something I had not counted on at all here in Ireland was becoming lucky!

I have an iPad kindly given by my son last Xmas and a friendly neighbour here is letting me share his internet connection by wifi. So I surf the net and connect with 'friends' on FaceBook and I read 'pages' and the like. I came across an offer for a fancy black chocolate Easter egg if you clicked 'like' and 'shared' a post on your timeline. I won the egg! A week later a similar offer was on for a hamper of milk products. I won the hamper!... I just can't believe it. It looks like I'll now have to include 'lucky strikes' in my budget.
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