Category: Food

What is the most efficient way to shop?

I’m a big believer in having goals, and having plans to reach those goals. But there are also times when sticking to a plan too rigidly, including when you shop, can actually cost you money, time, or other opportunities.

Menu planning can be a bit like this. Having a plan is great. If I shop when I’m hungry, and I don’t have a plan, I tend to buy whatever looks quick, easy and appealing – regardless of its cost or nutritional content!

But if you want next-level savings, it’s crucial to adapt your plans on the fly – and even to go shopping without a plan at all! Here’s how:

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How can I grow food without a garden?

Although the logo for Enrichmentality is a sprouting seed, symbolising the growth of new ideas and a better outlook on life, I am a terrible gardener.

I began this blog over five months ago with an anecdote about my failure to grow a money tree from planting my pocket money as a child. It should come as no surprise, then, to know that I’m also a failed gardener when it comes to growing actual plants from seed too!

I never managed to grow vegetables when we had a yard, but living in a small apartment with no balcony or external window sills posed a particular challenge.

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How can I make cheap = tasty?

If we play a little word association game, and I say ‘cheap’, what springs to mind?

How would you fill the gap: ‘cheap and ……’?

Collocations are two or more words that often ‘go together’. The term is used in corpus linguistics to indicate ‘a sequence of words or terms that co-occur more often than would be expected by chance’.

According to the Ozdic Collocation Dictionary, the most common collocation phrase for ‘cheap and’ is ‘cheap and nasty’.

Google’s predictive search has a slightly nicer suggestion, ‘cheap and easy’, as in the top recommendation, ‘cheap and easy meals’, but even ‘cheap and easy’ can be a nasty jibe depending on what – or who! – it is directed at.

So how can we turn ‘cheap and nasty’ into ‘cheap and tasty’?

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How can I save with menu planning?

Having just returned from the shops with boxes full of melomakarona (μελομακάρονα, a dessert made of flour, olive oil and honey) and kourabiedes (κουραμπιέδες, a butter shortbread dipped in rosewater and powdered sugar) in preparation for Christmas in Greece, food is on my mind!

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What’s the price of bread? Or a Big Mac?

When a politician is criticised for being ‘out of touch’, it is often said that they don’t know the cost of a loaf of bread or a carton of milk. The BBC describes this as ‘a classical political ambush that has been popular on both sides of the Atlantic for decades’, with cynical voters suspicious that political leaders live in a world divorced from the ordinary lives of the majority. But why are these two items such important yardsticks? And how would they stack up in a global comparison? What about something a little more fun… like the Big Mac?

It’s 30 years since The Economist invented the Big Mac Index, a ‘lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries’.

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Are you cheap or frugal?

‘I love your shoes!’ How should you respond to such a compliment? With gracious acceptance? With modesty?

It’s probably the influence of my time spent in Japan, but my usual tendency is to downplay any compliment.

‘Oh, these? They’re only cheap! They were reduced to $20’

For me, responding to compliments with a simple ‘Thank you’, as is common in many European cultures (including Hungary, where I am now located) goes against the grain.

Complimenting ‘is a complex sociolingustic skill’, says Holmes (cited by Grossi), and in Japanese society, a desire for modesty generally outweighs a desire for agreement (Leech, cited by Pohl). Using Japanese norms in Australian society has sometimes surprised – or even annoyed – those I’m speaking to. ‘Don’t say that!’ they respond with utter horror, ‘I don’t need to know how much they cost!’ highlighting the taboo of talking about money.

There’s a stigma attached to the word ‘cheap‘, especially when applied to a person. Something that is cheap is meaningless, to feel cheap is to be embarrassed. No one wants to be a cheapskate – someone who is labelled as ‘stingy’ and ‘miserly’. But just like the word ‘budget’, should ‘cheap’ be viewed so negatively? Surely saving money – or at least, not wasting it – is a good thing?

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Who’s pushing your trolley?

After some rather intense travel over the last few weeks, it has been a relief to settle down for a while and cook for ourselves again.

Combining what we’ve learned from two fantastic books, Feed Yourself for $35 a Week and The $21 Challenge, back at home in Australia, I think we’ve got grocery shopping down to a fine art – our weekly shop regularly coming in at around this mark. But I was nervous as to how we would fare here in the UK.

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