One reason why you should never go shopping when you're feeling down: you might end up with fourteen-dollar cake.
Not that I've eaten it, mind you. It's sitting in my fridge. But not for long!
I've been well and truly affected by the "city mentality", as I like to call it. My mother would be horrified at the thought of paying seven dollars for a single slice of cake, the same way she's horrified at the thought of paying ten dollars for cup of coffee. When I first came here as a student, I thought the same thing. Who needs Starbucks?
Of course a non-coffee drinker would find it easy to turn up her nose at the mad coffee worshippers who fall down at the feet of the corporate giant with the green-and-white logo. But my sweet tooth sits up and takes notice at the mere mention of the four-letter word starting with C. CAKE? Where??!? Gimme!
Expensive is relative. The first time you hear of it, yes, you shudder at the expense. The second time, you go, "Hmmm." The third time, you agree to give it a try "just to see". After you taste it, you think, "Perhaps it's worth it." The next time, you think, "Oh well, once in a while, it's a treat." And there begins the slippery slope downwards...
When we come down to it, RM7 isn't that expensive in the scheme of things -- or so we tell ourselves. It's about the price of a hawker meal + soft drink. It's less than a movie ticket. It's... "almost nothing".
I've never forgot what a financially-savvy friend told me once: these kinds of expenses are called the "latte factor". They're the seemingly small but recurring expenses that leech you of money unnecessarily. If you buy one Starbucks latte a day, she said, just imagine if you had saved that money -- at the end of the month you'd have RM220 (assuming you only buy it on weekdays, because that's when you most need the morning pick-me-up). By the end of the year you'd have RM11,440. In five years you'd have saved RM57,200. Do the figures make you feel a little ill? Because they do me.
Ever since that illuminating conversation, I've been slightly more mindful about my purchases. But somehow I can't cut out the little treats... right now there's a bottle of Lay's barbecue-flavoured potato chips sitting in front of me, at the table. It had served as munchies while typing my thesis the other day. There's still about half a bottle left, I believe.
Anyway, back to the cake... pecan butterscotch and Oreo cheese. I believe either would qualify for the perfect Saturday morning breakfast. Mmm-hmmmm. *slurp*