Small Money,Big Happiness

A headline in a French weekly news magazine caught my attention this week

“Third World France” screaming from the front cover in huge red letters.

Do you really need to buy it?  5 Euros for several pages of déjà vu and déjà lu (seen that, read that)

Oh please give us something new and entertaining. If I carry on reading doom and gloom in the press, I’m actually going to believe it’s all for real.

A challenge therefore – for the 5 Euros I could have spent reading a magazine telling me that times are hard and we are all depressed – what could I have done with my 5 Euros to bring a little happiness?

First off, what will 5 Euros actually buy you?

A couple of beers in a bar

A couple of bottles of cheap wine or three bottles of very cheap and appallingly bad wine  (Down my local supermarket, all the best alcoholics buy “la Cuvée du Patron”, a “blend” of different red wines of European origin, retailing at 1.69 Euros.)

Not sure if the first two options will make you all that happy. If you go home and sink three bottle of wine on your own, I should think you’d feel sick and depressed.

Other 5 Euro option

A couple of bars of chocolate

A small steak from your local butcher’s

Five or six loaves of that long French bread – the baguette –

A small cake

A cheap CD or five music downloads

500 sheets of 80gramme white printer paper

None of these options sound as if they would procure any personal happiness. I suppose it’s not a question of what you buy but who you buy it for.

5 Euros would be just enough to buy two red roses down the local florist and offer them up to someone I love. Equally, I could give my 5 Euros to charity, though I would never see the benefits of my action. If I want a “feel good factor” I’d be quicker giving my money to one of the local homeless people begging down my local high street, they could buy a sandwich, or three bottles of that appalling wine I mentioned.

Best value for five Euros would perhaps be a couple Parisian bus tickets. At 1.70 Euros each, I could ride across Paris and back, taking in the city’s monuments, and for with 1.60 Euros left, I would just have enough for a small cup of coffee. I can’t think of anything that would lake me happier than bussing round Paris on an autumn day.

True happiness on 5 Euros therefore it not a question of material happiness, but rather extracting the greatest feel good factor you can out of this paltry sum. This week therefore why not set yourself a target – getting happy for 5 Euros (equivalent 6.65 US Dollars.) Make yourself happy or bring as much happiness as you can to others, but above all, avoid doom and gloom news magazines, that you will only end up throwing out afterwards.