Frugality does not come easily to me. I am Dutch enough to cheerily say no to expensive items most of the time, even if they are Very Pretty. I am helpless, however, when it comes to passing up a bargain. If it has a sticker on it with “half price” or “reduced” or (best of all) “special offer”, more often than not I am halfway down the register before I realize I don’t actually know what something costs. Or what its full price would be. It’s sticker-frenzy, and I am a sucker for it.
Also, I don’t like to think about money when I am buying food or cook books. These are life’s essentials, not to be skimped on. I suppose paying 2 Euro for a cucumber, or 10 for a piece of cheese, or multiples of that for grass-fed, organic meat from formerly happy animals isn’t exactly economical, but it’s food. You have to eat, no?
All of which would be fine and dandy if I were swimming in it. But I’m not. So perhaps, in these expensive times, it is time for a spot of re-programming. Therefore, I hereby declare February “Food for Five” month. This whole month, I will try to stay within a five Euro a day food budget, while still eating healthily and, hopefully, deliciously. To keep myself on track, I will report back to you on my food expenditure regularly. Feel free to help me along by sharing your best cheap recipes. I look forward to trying them.
A few rules for this month:
- I will have a five Euro food budget per day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
- If I have guests over, I can spend an additional five Euro per person per event.
- I will not spend extra when my man comes over for dinner. Nor will I deduct anything from my budget when he shops and cooks. Hopefully, those two will cancel each other out.
- I can use whatever I already have in the house without assigning a monetary value to it. (I thought of doing a list of everything edible already in my possession, but decided that would be boring. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.)
- If I buy something, I will declare the whole amount, even if I only use a pinch and have enough left over to last me a life time. It’s not as if I can spend the rest of my life paying for that sachet of saffron, after all.
- I will buy free range eggs and meat, and sustainable fish. Because I can choose and the animal can’t. No whining about the costs.
- Some of my fruit and vegetables will be organic, some won’t. Because that’s how I roll. Any citrus I use for zesting will be organic, though. The thought of feeding people pesticides and wax residues does not appeal.
- I will eat normally. No surviving on peanut butter sandwiches for a month for the sake of a challenge.
And just in case you’re wondering: it is a complete coincidence that I am taking on this challenge during the shortest month of the year. Really.