How long does it take to understand the value of currency?

In my old blog I had a number of posts that are useful to people relocating in general and US specifically. The other day something happened that made me think it was time to bring that topic back to life

When I first moved to the US in early 2009 I found everything cheap. Not because things cost less but because my brain is so used to thinking in terms of SEK (the currency used in Sweden which has been anything from 6 SEK to 9 SEK for a dollar). That means that when I saw a price tag of $50 my initial reaction was that it was very cheap for such a product (since 50 SEK is what a meal at McDonalds cost(ed)). It extended even further since depending on what you're buying even $500 would feel cheap. It's even worse for small things since anything under $10 essentially feels like change.

What happened the other day was that I was listening to a Swedish podcast and they told a story that ended up with a car needing some repairs. the repairs costed "ten thousand". For the first time in over five years my brain initially assumed dollars and I said to my self that it sounded expensive for the repairs needed. Then I realized that it was SEK and not USD and for the damages even $1,500 did sound that bad.

I still have a long way to go because in grocery stores where you buy things per pound, ounce etc I still have a hard time relating to if it is a lot or not. So maybe that will take another five years to grasp automatically. In the mean time I will just be amazed by how long it takes (for me) to relearn the value of money so to speak. Things we learn growing up takes a long time unlearn...

Let me know if you had a similar experience or things you would like me to tell you about when it comes to moving to the US from another country.

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