Have you ever asked yourself what is actually expensive? So have I.

When facing a situation in which we don’t really know whether something is worth the money or not, we tend to compare. A phone is as expensive as a laptop, a book as expensive as a magazine or a banana as expensive as an apple.

Comparing items of one same category is usually more useful than, for instance, comparing the price of a table with a TV. But there’s one thing I’ve founded more than useful when making comparisons: a pint of beer.

“What??”. Yes, a pint of beer. And that’s helped me a lot when indecision decided to attack me. “Shall I buy this?”, “is it worth the money?”. That’s when the beer-parameter appeared.

Why a pint of beer?

Beer is the most alcoholic drunk drink in the world, so I assume most of us like beer.

And I also assume most of us like going out with some mates to some nice pub and have a couple of pints while chatting about life.

Even if you don’t like beer, you understand the social role it has. The pub is an excellent reunion place. To have a chat, to watch a football match, to go after the theatre, or also to have a meeting. Be honest, you go for a beer at least once a month (if not a week) or know someone who does.

There are two key points here. On one hand, I believe beer is expensive when compared to other things. And on the other hand, people tend to drink not only one, but two, three or even more pints when going out.

Stopping hanging out is not the point here: drinking less is.

Before going through some examples, I want to make clear that I’m not trying to convince you to stop going to pubs or to give up drinking, nor am I saying that drinking is bad (I do it myself). I’m just sharing a comparison exercise that has helped me a lot to figure out whether things are expensive or not. Even if it doesn’t help you, it’s an interesting thing to debate about.

selective focus photography of rolled 5 banknote
Image by @veato, Medium.

A pint of beer vs. everything else

I live in London, where a pint of beer costs £5. We would use pounds for these exercise, but you can forget about the currency and just look at the figures.

Let’s begin with books. A new one can cost £10. That’s two pints of beer. A book takes hours to be read, a pint a couple of minutes to be drunk. What about e-books? Just one pint of beer. The author may have spent years in the making of the book, isn’t it fair drinking a little bit less and paying for their work?

Now Netflix. Also £10 a month, two beers less. One litter of liquid compared to thousands of films. That’s not expensive at all! (Also, you can drink while you watch a movie!).

You need clothes. A cheap t-shirt can cost £5 in Primark, while Tommy Hilfiger’s start from £30. If you’re not a wild beast, a T-shirt will last years. That’s cheap, isn’t it? All for the same price for one (or six) pints.

What about going to the cinema? £15 for a ticket. A movie takes years to be made. Actors, directors, stylist and engineers working on the making of it and millions of dollars invested in a hundred minutes of video. All for the price of three pints.

Now let’s dive into what I think is the most important thing: health. When I needed to buy, let’s say, a desk chair, I used to choose the cheapest one, the state of my back didn’t mind. The same with food, or trainers. The quality of the things I bought was not that bad, but I could have given more benefit to my life by making a little effort, spending a little bit more and drinking a little bit less.

And what about investing in your business? If you make videos for YouTube, go for a camera that is £50 more expensive but much better than the cheaper one. It’s only 10 pints less in your whole life. A camera will (fingers crossed) last forever, improve the quality of your videos and make your business grow. How knows, maybe you become rich and can afford thousands of pints a day (?

Examples are never enough. Let’s see some more:

  • Monthly DAZN subscription = 2 pints a month
  • A notepad = 1 pint
  • Theatre ticket = from 8 pints
  • Tennis racket = from 10 pints
  • 5GB Internet mobile plan = 3 pints
  • Moisturizing cream = 1 pint

Everything makes sense when analysed from a different perspective. It’s hard to say what is expensive and what is not. But there are some parameters that can help us make up our minds.

Yes, I know this technique may be totally useless. But I hope it helps some people realise the real value of the things we usually don’t buy because we think they are expensive.

And if you still want to drink, just remember: you can always have half pints!

Published by Ignacio Zambello

I’m a journalist and I like writing. You'll find a little bit of everything in my blog. Dive into my web and discover texts and videos about lifestyle, sports, books, reading, blogging and much more.

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