Posts Tagged ‘tightwaddery’

That about wraps up the market experiment

September 6th, 2008 by Reinder

I spent €60 at the market this afternoon, plus €17 at my local organic butcher's, and €6 at the market yesterday during my lunch break (when there were different stalls including an organic bread stall that I didn't discover until after I'd bought bread. I'd have spent much more if my lunch break had been longer) . It's safe to say that my food budget has exploded this week.

I'm not going through an itemized list this time, but I do want to mention that some of these expenses were one-offs. The biggest extra expense was tortilla chips plus four kinds of dip to go with them; the plan is for me to reverse-engineer and then improve on the dip I like the best (which is probably going to be the chilli), so that's €8-10 that I'll only spend once. I also bought enough cheese to last for three weeks, plus fresh cilantro, which I usually do without.
I've located milk! But I didn't buy any as it was €1.30 for half a liter. Locally produced and organic, so probably very good, but the price was one I'd expect in a cafetaria, not in retail. I can technically afford to pay € 2.60 a liter for milk, but only if I still save money overall, which I'm not doing.

Going back to the original purposes of the experiment, I ended up buying a lot of things that weren't whole food staples but prepared foods: melba toast, the dips, chocolate nuts, the tortilla chips which by Michael Pollan's definition are edible, foodlike substances. So the experiment's purpose was defeated entirely and I might as well get those things from the supermarket again. On the plus side, shopping at the market is a lot more fun - you're outdoors, there are bargains to be had and new products to try, and the smells from some of those stalls is just divine. Goat cheese in particular taunts and tempts me whenever I pass it, as do Moritz's olives, sun-dried tomatos and feta.

Experiment over! It would have been fun and interesting to do this for a couple of months; describing your shopping in great detail is the sort of thing that's dull if you do it once, but becomes more interesting if you keep it up until patterns become visible. But the pattern that's showing up already is that I spend more and don't stick to the experiment's purpose, so to protect my wallet, I'm cutting it off here. I'll be splitting my purchases between the outdoors market and the supermarket like a sane person.

What not to skimp on

August 23rd, 2008 by Reinder

Garbage bags/bin liners.

Now that we've got the underground garbage containers in Groningen, my garbage no longer gets put out on the street on a fixed day - I just toss a bag in the container when it's full. However, rugged garbage bags are still a necessity if I want to avoid, say, a brown, ammonium-smelling stain on my carpet after parking the bag in my hallway for five minutes before leaving the house to dump the bag update: and another one in the big chair where I don't even remember parking the bag, but must have done. And while shopping for a birthday present today, I couldn't help thinking that the outside smelled of garbage, or worse, that maybe I did. I'm double-bagging the next batch of garbage now, and if that doesn't work, I'll just go back to the stronger KOMO bags.

Other quick frugality tips: when you go to the farmer's market, strawberries should not be the first thing you buy. Wait until you've got everything else, so that your strawberries won't get crushed and leak strawberry juice over your italian herbs, Feta cheese, potatoes and mixed nuts.

August 29 Update: See also Aggie's version of what not to skimp on - it's much longer and more thorough than this off-the-cuff post.

Financial decluttering got results quickly

August 9th, 2008 by Reinder

Yesterday's financial decluttering sure delivered results fast: my tax forms are filled in and ready to send (after scanning them so I have a copy), and let's just say that if my calculations are accurate, which they should be because it's, you know, my tax form, I'm a happy pauper indeed.

I don't keep paper copies of my forms and haven't done so for a while... but I do still use paper forms. They're multi-platform, portable and I find them easier to use than the Tax Administration's various PDF's, web apps and standalone apps. As long as they keep sending me paper to fill in, I'll keep using it.