In former times, people lived frugally in order to save money for their old age. Even as a young child, you had your bank account. Today, it is not so easy to open your bank account.
However, this is not bad news, because in times of zero interest, it makes no sense to save money. You save and save and eventually nothing is left. Because the money you saved lost all its value. Because we have a high inflation rate and zero interest – both thanks to the EZB money politics.
Today, more and more people have to save money.
Not for their old age – but in order to make ends meet. And because, as the end of the month comes, nothing is left on the bank account. Because life has become expensive. Or, to be more precise: the rents have become really expensive, at least in some cities.
Food has become cheap – I think it has never been quite as cheap as now.
I know people who pay 1,200 € each month for their cold flat in Munich – and they often find this quite cheap. Regardless, it is more than half of what they earn after taxes. If you have a flat to live in, all you need is some clothes and food.
Most of us have far too many clothes.
We pile them on top of each other in our wardrobes. But visible signs of having worn them (after all, you want to look presentable) and the fashion (you want to be chic) make us buy more and more all the time. Regardless of the fact that there are many things we really no longer need. That is purest consumerism. And the wardrobes keep getting fuller and fuller.
Let us look at food.
In Germany, it is cheaper than in most other countries. I took a close look at the prices of basic food in discount shops:
Flour, milk and eggs
If you buy milk, you pay 1.05 € if you choose fresh full milk with 3.8 % fat, if you take the H-milk with 3.5% fat, it is even less: 0.70 €. That comes as a surprise to me. Compared to a litre of Diesel fuel (1.30 €) or petrol (1.45 €), it is really cheap, isn’t it? Especially since there is always also a tetra package that comes with it. And if you drive a car, one litre of fuel is quickly gone.
Looking at flour really gives me pause. At Aldi Süd, you get one kilogram of Mühlengold Weizenmehl for 0.39. Now I understand why some people heat their ovens with grain.
If I want to bake a cake, I will also need eggs. There are three different 10-egg-packages: from hens that were kept on the ground, they cost 1.19 €, from hens that were running free, they cost 1.59 €, and from ecological hens, they cost 2.69 €. If I want the eggs boiled or coloured, I get 10 of them for 1.89 €. That sounds really nice, doesn’t it?
I will also need oil.
Here is what I see: the pure vegetable oil made of rapeseed costs 0.99, the same is true for the pure sun flower oil. As you see, oil, too, is less expensive than petrol or Diesel fuel. I wonder if I can pour it into my car. Well, maybe not, because, as we all know, I no longer drive a car, let alone a Diesel engine car.
Coffee must not be missing from my list.
I find “Bio Caffè Crema, ganze Bohne“ for 9.49 € and, even better, “Tizio Caffe, ganze Bohne, sortiert“, an entire kilogram for 7.49 €. Since these prices do not only contain the added value tax, but also the roasting tax, this is really remarkable. According to Wikipedia, in Germany the coffee tax per kilogram for bean coffee is 2.19 Euro. For instant coffee, it is even 4,78 Euro per kilogram.
Those who love alcohol also need not worry.
The least expensive schnapps is the Doppelweizenkorn Kornmeister. You get a 0.7 for 5.29 and for three litres of Gold Beer KARLSKRONE (as a six-pack, 6x 0,5), you pay 1.79 €. A total of 7.08 € should easily settle you for a soccer evening at home in front of your TV set.
If you do not like beer, I recommend red wine.
The discounter offers a bottle of “Mazedonischer Rotwein“ for 1.49 €. So what more do you need?
If you need snacks to go with the liquor, this is also quite cheap. You get Chips SUN SNACKS, 200 g for 0.79 €. Two packages in your trolley and the entire TV evening with six half-litres of beer, one bottle of schnapps and two packages of chips is still only 8,68 €. If you drink some wine after the match, you have a total of not much more than 10.00 €.
As I see it, the absolute hit when it comes to cheap is: apple-sauce.
You get SWEET VALLEY, 710 g for 0.59 € in the Tetra pack. Who can produce this at such a price?
As you see: if you are prepared to eat cheap, you can really live quite well in Germany. To be sure, I have no idea how these prices are possible. I am afraid there must be some exploitation of labourers, producers or suppliers.
So why do I write about this?
Because I think the proportionality got lost.
Something is wrong and something is rotten in this state. In Munich, I pay a sort of rent for one room that would buy me huge mountains of food and t-shirts and leave me enough to drink myself to death.
What will happen if, as a consequence of the climate crisis and the destruction of the soil, we can no longer produce enough grain?
I mean the wheat that currently is so cheap that we only pay 0.39 Euros for an entire kilogram (neatly packed). If I paid the money that is paid for rent (1.200 €), I would actually get three tons of wheat for it. That is more than 700 kilograms each week, i.e. 100 kilograms each day. What will happen when wheat becomes rare?
What will happen if suddenly things turn around totally? Somehow or other, this seems threatening to me and I worry about a future crisis.
And I think of what I consume. What do I need for living except a place to stay and food?
Well – I want to travel.
A short time ago, when I was sitting in the regional train going home to Neubiberg from Winterhausen, two young ladies sat with us at the table. Naturally, they talked about a few other young ladies who had booked a week in Mallorca for 250 Euro. After all, you could get three days on Malle for 146 €: ”How can anybody be such a big spender?“ – was their opinion. Welcome to Ballermann.
Mobility is very important for people, that is also true for me.
It helps if you understand that you can also be quite mobile without a car. If you combine your bike with public transportation, you are doing even better. However, many people believe they absolutely need a car for their mobile freedom. Consequently, they have to spend whatever remains of the income after they have paid their rent on their cars. And then there is not much left except buying food at the discount shop.
But I now understand: if I have a flat, it is quite easy to live with very little money. I am not sure who gets to pay the price for it.
Most of us have more than enough clothes.
You can spend an extremely long time without buying anything new. I practice this – and it works. I am quite happy with it. No more suits, white shirts and ties. And in summer, always the old shorts. Along with all those many free t-shirts. Great.
I try to buy regional products, for instance at the weekly market or the good Supremo coffee. The prices differ fundamentally from those at the discount shop. For coffee, I pay 2.5 times what I would pay there. I am well off and I can afford to do this. I do it because I want to make sure that others, too, can survive and that ruthless exploitation is reduced. But I am probably not succeeding?
Here is a mental experiment:
What happens if I know someone who does not have enough money and I give him, for instance, 10,000 €? I fear he will immediately buy a car or perhaps fly to “paradise”. So his carbon dioxide footprint will immediately increase drastically. That is not what I want.
Perhaps the best solution would be for me to burn my money. I do not mean at the stock market, because that would again mean that someone else gets it. I mean it in the true sense of the word.
Except that this will also not do any good. Because a one-sided DZB will quickly create new money (we used to say “print”). Because they need to trigger the economy and stop the collapse of nations who suffer under the Euro.
(Translated by EG)
I took the prices from the website Discounter-Preisvergleich of April, 24th. Barbara told me that several products (for instance one litre of fresh milk) are considerably less expensive than I wrote.