Saving money and being frugal is a set of combined skills and knowledge.
“Careful choices” are two words that come to mind as a way to sum all of these up. I don’t want to say “sacrifices”, because that word sounds yucky when applied to what might be an entire year or more of one’s life.
The fact is, many people who live in luxuries often forget that they choose to live that way- I grew up in a modest sized house with a five by three metre bedroom where I kept a desk with my computer because there was, otherwise, not much room for it anywhere else while my parents brought home the equivalent of more than six figures today.
I am constantly asked how I manage to do the things that I do every day and why I do them. These things include but are not limited to:
-living a forty five minute bus ride away from my work
-walking to and from work or other destinations despite the already long bus commute
-eating very simple foods
-not owning a car
-not going out to drink very often
-eating out alone only if it costs less than $10 for a meal
“How does she answer these questions?”, you may be asking yourself. Here goes: I do it because I can. The attraction of being able to have money later for other opportunities as well as the fact that I have mobility and the ability to pick what I eat are both motivating factors. If I can walk, then why not walk? It’s not like I had some huge agenda after work as a tour guide. Plus, this gave me distraction-free time to listen to podcasts I had been meaning to hear on a beautiful promenade through places like South street and the neighborhoods off of Quinpool road. While walking, I also got time to practice my posture which, for some reason, had taken a turn for the slumpy once I got to Halifax. As it pertains to transit, the buses in Halifax (as in mot other cities and towns) make me feel quite sick to my stomach. This is thanks to the fact I had to ride them for so long to get home and the routes were quite all over the place in the afternoon in conjunction with my schedule. Shout out to my main man, the Go bus; I feel like puking already. Finally, I was able to inhale beautiful ocean air on my walks which I would not have done in transit.
So as you can see, you can find an argument for pretty much any behavior you wish to execute. It’s all about what you are capable of and what your mind tells you is best for you. You know what you need and can survive without better than anyone else, so it’s up to you to make the choice of where to cut spending and how long you need to spend saving.
Getting a little more specific
Food is one of the only things you should be spending any money on if you are really making a steadfast and intense effort not to spend.
My expenditures slowly tapered off to just food by the end of my time in Halifax as I analyzed my savings more specifically and made a plan for returning to Australia. Though I could spend hours talking about the budget traveling I did in the first half of my month and a bit in Halifax, I think I’ll save that for another post. What I do want to talk about here, though, is one recipe that I found which all budget conscious people should be jumping to make. It did not require a stove or an oven (I did not have an oven accessible to me at my place) and it is quite nutritious in accordance with today’s health standards.
Say hello to my little friend: FRESH ROLLS.
The great thing about fresh rolls (besides the benefits I already mentioned) is that they are easy to make, delicious (if you like fresh produce), and super filling! Plus, they can be made over and over again with the ingredients mentioned below; I spent $15 on these ingredients (buying the cheapest options) and it lasted me 2 full weeks of dinners.
This was my recipe:
-rice paper rolls
-head of lettuce
-red pepper/ “capsicum” for those confused Aussies in the crowd
-fresh mint in a plastic sealed container (super cheap and long lasting)
-cilantro (mine went bad really quickly so I emitted it)
-soy sauce (I never used this because I didn’t have any)
Have two plates ready.
Use one plate to put the dry rice paper on and run lukewarm water over it so that it is covered in water and is being soaked from underneath aswell. Leave this for 12 seconds and then let the water fall into the sink as you hold the other end of the paper to keep it from falling off the plate. It may get crinkled, no worries. If it’s too wet still, place it on the second plate and dab it with a paper towel.
Spread out your paper as much as you can without tearing it.
Put as much produce and protein as you want into the centre of your roll and roll it like a burrito.
Mix the ingredients for the (optional) sauce together and BAM. You’re rolling.
In conclusion, (wow, essay world much) saving money is not as challenging as it’s made out to be. Its all about choices and the rewards you can reap afterward.