Value of $100

value of hundred bucks

Do you know that the same $100 bill has absolutely different value in different countries?

Hey, Russian, you are so smart! It’s time to promote you from Captain Obvious to General Obvious.

No, I am being serious right now. Recently I had a conversation with my young brother, he
 lives in Moscow, Russia, and he told me about some purchases he had made. He’d bought a blue jeans for $100 and a pair of shoes for $150. I almost screamed at him, “Are you kidding me?! $250 just for two things?!” But I kept myself quiet.

For the whole day I was thinking about his purchases and couldn’t understand why would someone spend $250 just on two regular things. But at some point it hit me, I used to be exactly the same when we lived in Russia. I could easily spend $100 on jeans or $75-100 on a pair os nice shoes. And it wasn’t because I was a big spender. It was because of the different value of $100. Let me explain what I mean.

$100 In Russia

In Mother Russia I was working as a product manager for a big carrier and was making good money. My monthly income was $3,333 before or $2,900 after taxes (I miss this flat 13% income tax). But there was a problem, it was really hard to buy a quality made product for a reasonable amount on money.

If you want to buy a decent pair of shoes, lets say ECCO, you have to spend from $100 and more just for one pair of these “beauties

A pair of ECCO FRASER in Russia will cost you about $150

Absolutely the same situation with almost everything; you will have to pay about $140 for a regular blue jeans, like a pair of Levi’s 501 Original in Russia would cost you about $140

Living in Russia you have only three options:

  1. Pay more than $100 for every cloth you want to buy
  2. Pay less and get shitty quality *
  3. Buy online from the States or Europe

$100 In The States

But if you are in the States and lazy enough you will pay $45 for the same blue jeans or $50-60 for the same pair of shoes.**

It is really interesting for me, living in Russia and making less than we make now, I could spend $100-200 without thinking or feeling any form of hesitation. Of course, we could say “Hey, this price is not cheap”, but that was it. Because we didn’t have any options to compare with we used to think it’s kind off OK. It was our “level zero”, our normal reality.

Now, when Mrs FR and I make much-much more than we used to make, the picture is completely changed. We can’t afford spending $100 on a blue jeans or pair of shoes. And it’s not because we don’t have this extra $100 but because our “level zero” has changed, our normal reality has changed as well.

In addition to that we’ve got new options to compare with, we’ve learned what we can do with this extra $100 and what it could become in 10, 20 and 30 years.

Another reason being we have other options: we have an option to buy better for less money, we have an option to save and invest. At the worst we can buy 20 tasty avocado toasts for the same $100

Now I can’t spend more than $20 without thinking twice or three times about the purchase. And sometimes it drives my lovely wife BANANAS.

What’s your comfort limit? Will you think twice about $10 purchase or $20? Where’s your limit?

* Frankly speaking, even paying $100+ there is no guaranty that you will get a good quietly thing. You can get a shitty product for $200+

** But still, $45 just for blue jeans? You can call me cheap, my wife actually does, but I pay no more than $25 for it.

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10 Responses to Value of $100

  1. My threshold is a bit higher at around 100 dollars, assuming it’s something I value in the first place. Non value items are 0. At 100 and required deal shopping kicks in. Below that it isn’t usually worth the time to find the deal.

    • For me it does take time to think and persuade myself to buy a thing, even if it’s valuable. For example, I am planning a moto trip this summer and I am looking for a used tent. The price for a good used one starts from $70 and goes up to $300. I have to talked myself to set $100 budget for a tent because it’s gonna be cheaper than staying at hotels, and so on.
      And even I know it’s better to spend $100 now than later $300 for accommodation, it’s not that easy for me.
      My wife calls me cheap 🙂

      • wendy says:

        Check out REI, there are several in the Bay area. They have good quality gear. You should be able to get a good 2 person tent small enough to carry on the bike for under $200 new. REI also sells closeouts online and used items during their ‘garage sales. And if you join ($20 membership for life), you get a dividend at the end of the year on any non-sale/closeout purchases.

  2. Mrs. Groovy says:

    I pay no more than $30 for Levi’s. I try to find them on sale at Kohls and use a 30% off coupon.

    I like your level zero. It’s a good term. I try to think twice about every purchase. I’ll spend $15 on some hair product I really want even though I usuallly spend under $10. But I won’t buy bananas at .79 a pound because that’s too high a price for bananas.

    I find it hardest to spend on technology. I wanted a tablet for almost a year and we planned to spend on it, but it took me a long time to click on “order” for my iPad.
    Mrs. Groovy recently posted…Let the Trash Talking BeginMy Profile

  3. Woah, great perspective on the differences between what $100 gets you in two countries. For jeans, I shop for $30 or less. I don’t value quality of jeans like some and have no problem bargain hunting for a pair. Shoes are a different story though, but again, it depends. Knowing what you want to spend money on for quality and vice versa is the key. It is worth spending on quality when you care about the item and want to have a product that will last for a while. If not, then your goal should be to pay as little as possible for that product.

    Thanks for the read! Looking forward to stopping by more frequently.

    Bert, One of the Dividend Diplomats

    • Hello Bert, thanks for stopping by.
      I’d agree with you about shoes. I buy really good and quality one, but I am so cheap that I’ve never bought for the full price. 🙂

  4. Joe says:

    That’s a different perspective for sure. Of course, a lot of people here in the US spend more than $100 on jeans. I guess the difference is that we have more choices. I don’t mind spending $40 on a pair of jeans because I get a ton of use out of them.
    Joe recently posted…How Will You Invest with Low Stock Market Return?My Profile

  5. My wife and I have a $100 threshold as well. Anything over that we both discuss before purchasing something. Although now that FIRE is getting closer and closer I find that we are dissecting our purchases more and more. Every dollar we spend else where means that we can’t reach FIRE faster. Some we have some motivation to continue on the path 🙂
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Are Housemates Worth the Financial Benefits?My Profile

    • Exactly, I remember when I didn’t know about FIRE and thought that I have to work for the rest of my life, I’d spend $100-150 without thinking twice. Wy bother? We only live once, but now… Now it’s different. You hit the nail saying “every dollar we spend delays our FIRE”

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