The Check is in the Mail

by Kelly · 8 comments

in Money & Spending

I got an interesting assortment of mail today, and I thought it represented my financial life so accurately that I had to share with you.

The first envelope I opened was a tax bill for €116 for our yearly television charge. Each household that owns a TV pays this tax and in return there are very very few commercials on French TV. While paying a tax is never a joy, the relative scarcity of commercials is wonderful! Not that we watch TV all that often, but still… I was expecting this bill to show up soon, as it is in my yearly bill obligation spreadsheet.

Next was a monthly statement for my new student loan. My payments don’t start until next year; until then I pay €15 a month in interest. I noted that my tuition check was cashed. I also got a letter from one of my American student loans. Shall we just say that the repayment amount is considerably higher than €15? I make a note to send my father an email about paying the amount due.

ING, where we have our emergency fund, sent me a letter offering to extend the 6% interest rate on our savings account if we do two things: make a deposit before October 31st and not withdraw any money between October 11th and October 16th. Can we do that? You bet we can! I write a check for €25 and stick it in my purse to mail tomorrow- I don’t even need a stamp.

I got a rebate check from one of the grocery stores I go to, for €16.65. I’ll be stopping by on Wednesday afternoon, to pick up a few things and the check should cover them all. Plus, as I only plan to buy store brands, I’ll receive an additional 5% off in rebates for next month.

Finally, I received a letter from the CAF, the government agency that deals with all things child and family related. They informed me that I will be receiving a monthly refund of €540.77 for our childcare expenses. We pay the nanny €930 a month (I knew I should have been a nanny), bringing our share down to a much more reasonable €389.23 per month. Phew!

What about you? Has the facteur brought you happiness or gloom in the mail recently?


1 Lucie @ Unconventional Origins October 15, 2008

My mail mostly brings MISERY. Let’s just say this post has me contemplating how I can convince SLB we need to move to France.

Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post..Reflections: Looking Back at Nine Months of Nursing

2 Kelly October 15, 2008

Oh French mail has its fair share of unhappy news too… and I wouldn’t exactly say that the student loan stuff was joyful, as you’ll discover when you graduate!

3 Nicole October 15, 2008

930 Euros a month for a nounou! how many children have you got?As I live on just over 400 a month, it seems very expensive. Sorry for being down to earth. I am glad you live in France : I dont know many frugal french blogs in France.

4 Kelly October 15, 2008

Hi Nicole,

I have three kids: two boys who are in school and a daughter who will be one tomorrow (!). She is at the nanny’s four days a week, nine hours a day. Then the nanny picks up the boys at lunch time (for our non French readers, kids go home from 11.30 to 1.30) and then again for an hour after school, four days a week. Then add €4 per child per day for food, plus €5 a day for electricity and water charges (mandated by the state) and then 10% vacation pay… and you come to the tidy little sum of €930. It was actually supposed to be a little more but she generously rounded down! No wonder so many families with three kids have one parent at home.

Thanks for commenting!

5 Dana @ Letters to Elijah October 16, 2008

903 Euro?! that seems like a lot! How much is that in US $?
Overall it sounds like France is a wonderful place to live.

Dana @ Letters to Elijah´s last blog post.."I’ll do ANYTHING" – just read more!

6 Kelly October 16, 2008

@Dana, 930.00 EUR = 1,257.30 USD at today’s exchange rate of 1.35 dollars to Euros. But, remember that the government reimburses me so that I just pay €389.23 or $525.92. Much better.

7 Zhu October 17, 2008

116 euros for the redevance? Holy shit!

Back when I lived in France, it was about 50 francs… and nobody paid it anyway 😆

Zhu´s last blog post..Please No Smiling

8 Kelly October 17, 2008

@Zhu, now it’s attached to the income tax, so you either have to admit that you have a TV or lie on your income tax papers!

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