The true cost of living

WE’VE been away, back to the UK for Christmas. The trip was okay, we made my parents in law happy because we were with them for the big day.

But the weather sucked: floods, storms, more floods.  The trains were packed and delayed. And boy was it expensive. We met up with some old friends who also have kids; they work in the City doing the 9 to 5 (or more like the 8 to 7). In order to afford their lifestyle (okay house in a suburb, childcare for their two kids, a beach holiday every year) they have to take their children to something called a ‘Breakfast club’ at 7am, which means they have to get out of bed at 5am. Then they go to work and do 12 hour days. Their kids are fed breakfast, lunch and dinner by other people, and then they go home and see their parents for an hour before bed. The only time they are together is at the weekend. 

Well, we argued to ourselves, it’s not so cheap to live in Mallorca either these days. Did you hear this one? The autonomos charges are going up between 2 per cent and 20 per cent depending on the size of your business. Or what about this one? That the price of bottle gas is rising again, and rumoured to be going to €23 a bottle!

The Government is clueless, it has not done enough to address the economic crisis that we teeter on the brink of. We earn less here than we would if were in the UK. My husband gave up a promising career in banking to move with me to Mallorca, we’d both probably be at a senior level somewhere in some organisation or other toeing the lines, wearing suits rather than jeans, never seeing our child, or each other. But, we counter argued, the lifestyle we have here we couldn’t afford in the UK.

This morning I woke my little girl up at 7.30am, we all had breakfast together in the kitchen then at 8.45am my husband made the 10 minute journey to school and dropped her at the gates. Then I had a coffee with my husband before sitting down to work in our home office. I don’t earn the same sort of cash that our friends can scoop up in the UK, even though I probably do a similar amount of hours in albeit a different order (I do more work later into the night than they do, but then I don’t have to get up at 5am every morning), but I have things that money can’t ever buy. I have time with my daughter and my husband, and I do what I love.

So in the end, you have to weigh up what is going to cost you more. Time is money, that’s a quote from a Dickens’ book. But lost time can never be found again, and as my husband is very fond of reminding me, there’s always the lottery.

by Vicki McLeod 

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Euro Weekly News Media

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