When I am in the U.S., I’m pretty frugal. I hate spending money on things that I think should be free, and I spend a lot of time finding free or low-cost things to do. My husband and I are always stopping by free festivals, or borrowing movies from the library, or going for walks in Piedmont Park (because hey, it’s free!).
But for some reason, since moving to Kenya, this frugal mindset has deserted me.
I don’t know if it’s the new currency- when the money feels like Monopoly money, it’s easier to spend? I don’t know if it’s a need to try everything- we won’t be in Kenya very long, and I don’t want to miss out on anything? I don’t know if it goes along with stepping outside of my comfort zone- I’m trying new things, so why not try spending lots of money?
Whatever the reason, I’ve made some uncharacteristic financial choices since we arrived in Kenya. Nothing major, just uncharacteristic.
For example, I decided that we should go to Blankets and Wine, an outdoor concert held monthly in Nairobi.
At Blankets and Wine, you bring your own blanket, picnic, and wine and hang out while listening to live music. Sounds fun, right? But $35 worth of fun? Doubtful.
Almost as soon as we got to Blankets and Wine, I realized my mistake. We used to have picnics and/or listen to live music for FREE all the time in Atlanta. We even heard Roberta Flack, of Killing Me Softly fame, sing once. Granted, she was terrible, but it was FREE so I didn’t feel so bad.
But somehow, in Kenya, I found it acceptable to pay a sizable sum of money to bring my own picnic to a grassy knoll and listen to terrible live music.
To make matters worse, the headliner for the afternoon had cancelled at the last minute, and some random woman was brought in to replace him.
In the U.S., if a headliner cancels a concert, you get a refund, right? Or at least a free ticket to the next performance? As this was Kenya, and customer service is not always a priority, the organizer merely said “Our headliner cancelled, luckily we found this lady at the last second to replace him.” No refunds, no apology, no free replacement ticket. Just a crappy singer no one had ever heard of.
After our experience with the kite-less kite festival, I should have known that Blankets and Wine would not live up to my high standards. But alas, I must have forgotten to pack my frugal sensibilities when we left for Kenya. I just hope my frugality returns soon, otherwise I’ll be grumpy and broke.