The banknote for a hundred RMB is pink. There are coins, but there is also a piece of paper that represents half an RMB (think fifty cents). It’s still like Monopoly money to me and I have been spending like I own Broadway.
Today, I went to the ATM and pulled out 1,000RMB. 100RMB is about $15US, so I have about a hundred and fifty bucks in my wallet. That’s a lot of cash to me. And it is soooo easy to spend here. What surprised me about Shekou is that the cost of living is actually higher here than I first thought. A friend just told me that it’s cheaper to live in Beijing.
Even with the pay cut, without a car payment, insurance, rent, cable bill… I have a great financial opportunity here to put some money away for a rainy day. However, the past few months, money has been flying out of my pocket, especially because it’s pink. It’s seems like it shouldn’t count if it’s the color of bubble gum, right?
I was told when I got here that I could live like a king or save a lot of money. The big money traps are food and traveling. It is so easy to go out for dinner and drinks with friends – all of the time. And travel? Forgetaboutit. That’s just too tempting not to take advantage of. And speaking of traveling, that’s really like play money. Sometimes, I can’t even pronounce the local currency.
Lately, I have begun to ask myself, would I pay that price in the US? If not, well then maybe I need to rethink it or bargain harder. Even if I would pay it, do I need it? Living like a king would be nice and in many ways, I do. I have an Aye (maid) that comes twice a week, a private tutor for learning Chinese, a tailor when I need something made, a fantastic apartment overlooking at the South China Sea, a dream job teaching internationally, and wonderful family and friends. Would I still like to win the lottery? Of course, and there are a lot of hardships being away from the people I love. For now though, I just want to be smart with this opportunity and my money – even if it is pink.