Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kasee and I have been looking for apartments in California recently. With the much higher rental prices in that area I couldn't help but think about all the other things that could be purchased with that money. One tangent after another brought me to bartering. In my international economics class we recently reviewed the practice of bartering. Wikipedia defines bartering as a medium in which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods and/or services without a common unit of exchange (without the use of money). This idea of bartering led to thoughts of my mission. On my mission in Belgium/France Elder Reschke and I would always think of costs not in Euros but in number of Mitraillettes. La mitraillette is a sandwich that consisted of a split baguette stuffed with deep fat fried processed meat topped with delicious belgian fries. We were addicted to them. Our favorite came at the cost of 3 euros. When we would go shopping we would always ask each other if a purchase made since or not. For example a a tie at a cost of 15 euros would mean we are giving up 5 mitraillettes. Putting things in the mitraillette perspective made us much more responsible with our money (and put a few extra pounds at our waistline).

It is interesting when you put bartering prices on things you habitually pay for. For example:

Rent 1 bdr in Provo: $600 (avg). At this price you could get a new HP pavilion laptop. Two PS3's. 4 Ipod nanos. 5 GPS systems. 120 big mac meals. Or 600 delicous double stacks at Wendy's.

Rent in California: $1200 (avg). At this price you could get a brand new 47 inch HDTV. a Macbook. a five day trip for two to an all inclusive resort in Mexico (flights included). 60 new release movies. 6 blu-ray players. 24 pairs of jeans. 12 pairs of air Jordans. a scooter. 3600 candy bars (on sales 3/$1).

Just think if you thought about this everytime you made a purchase. "Honey are you sure you want that shampoo? that is going to cost us 9 subway cookies. I don't think we can afford that." Or with utilities: "Babe, we should turn the heat off while we're gone. Our bill went up by two snowcones this month."

It's an interesting thing to think about when you translate your costs into the unit of your choice. I encourage you to try it.


  1. very clever, yet irritating to think of all the cool stuff we'd have if we didn't have to pay rent;-)

  2. A 2010 Corvette Z06 is 429 trips to Provo or 72 trips to Knoxville. JT

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  4. and just think how many ice cream sundays that is...