Wow - have you been watching the dollar climb slowly back up? What a relief! I was crunching some numbers today, curious to see how much of an impact it was making on our day-to-day living. Check it out.
(disclaimer: I was NOT a math-major...)
Our average monthly budget, including personal and ministry expenses is $5000 U.S. Of that amount, around $3500 gets converted into the local currency, which is the Euro.
When the euro was introduced in 2002, one Euro was worth 0.89 U.S. cents. E 1.00 = $ 0.89 U.S. This means that on a month-to-month basis, we had a spending power, in the local currency here, of around 3,933 euros. $3500 U.S. = 3,933 euros. That was 2002.
In July of this year, the euro reached an all-time high of just over 1.60. This means that the same $3500 U.S. was worth approximately 2,188 euros. That, my friends, is a difference of 1,745 euros. Yes, you read that correctly. That means that in July of this year, we were living on 1,745 euros less than we had 6 1/2 years before.
Since then, the dollar has slowly regained ground and today is hovering near the 1.44 mark which means we're back at E 1.00 = $1.44 U.S. This means we have approximately 2,431 euros this month to spend which is an increase since July of about 243 euros - which is really nice.
If the euro dropped one more point, we would have an extra 17 euros to spend next month and with a 12-gallon tank of gas costing 75 euros these days, it can go a long way!
So, one might ask the ethical question - "In the dreamy situation where the euro fell back down to the $1 U.S. = 1 Euro level - what would you do with the extra 1,313 euros?" :)
God has taught us so much about learning to live on less, learning to trust Him, learning that needs and wants are two very different things. We would welcome the break, the cushion, the breathing room. We would lower our budget and probably save some in case it ever reversed again, which it probably will. Hopefully though, the lessons we've learned would stick with us and we'd be generous as our Father is generous.
And that, I believe, is a good point.