Whenever I`m visiting my parents in the Canary Islands, I always make sure that I`ve got an extra suitcase to bring back home. Living in Norway is very, very expensive, especially when you`re living on student loans and grants. Which is why I usually stock up on things when I`m in the Canary Islands, as there are practically no taxes there, with the price level being generally very low. Take the cans of sweet condensed milk for instance. In Norway, these would cost me 9$ per can. When I bought them on the Spanish Island it cost me 1$/can. That`s a 8 dollar difference! The amount of money I save each year just by buying some products with me is rediculously huge!
This time I stocked up on sweet condensed milk, honey, my favourite chocolate, a jar of peach jam, two boxes of sprinkles, some luxurious goat cheese, Serrano ham (Spanish version of the Italian Parma ham), and some bio-degradable garbage bags.
I love being able to stock up on things that I use, but only to a fraction of what it`d cost in Norway. This is one of the ways I save a lot of money each year, as everytime I visit I always make sure to buy certain food items with me.
What do you like to stock up on when you got the chance?
I`ve had some birthday money that`s been waiting to be spent on something pretty since October, and today was the day to make that a reality. I bought a blue sequin top that I can use on Christmas Eve, but also on other occasions; a knitted cable stitch cardigan for everyday use; and a pair of black jeans. to top it all of, my mom gave me the most perfect jacket for cold winter days. I also found a very pretty hair clip that I intend on wearing a lot! The total cost was 115$ which I think is a very acceptable cost especially when I know it would`ve cost me about the double to buy the exact same things in Norway. I rarely go shopping, mostly because I don`t have any money to spend, so the last time I went shopping was in May. In other words, it`s been a while.
Though it was fun to go looking around in all the shops, I did behave very calm and thought thoroughly about how and when I would use every item. I think this is a tactic I`ll be using a lot more in the future! I`ve also started to shop only certain colours so that I can use most of my clothes together in many different ways. I`m really fond of navy blue, dark green, brown and beige as primary colours, and then I like to use a lot of pastel colours, creating a soft and sofisticated look.
How do you limit yourself when going shopping?
One of the biggest things that I save money on is buying groceries once a week. In order to do this thoroughly, without having to go back the next day, is to make a meal plan. There isn’t much space in our fridge, but we do have a big freezer, so we generally keep to one-week meal plans; which often include making big batches of food that can be frozen down.
When I make meal plans, we first discuss what we would like to have for dinner the following week, with a focus on balancing between chicken, fish and red meat. I also like to have a meat-free meal every week. I usually look into the cupboard, fridge and freezer first, making sure to use whatever we already have. Then I write down the things we would need to buy to cover 7 dinners, breakfasts and lunch for two. If my BF is working evening shift(s) that week, I usually don’t make any dinner that day, as it`s only me, and I don’t mind having some scrambled eggs and homemade bread for dinner. This way we save even more.
An example of a regular dinner meal-plan for us would be:
Monday: Tomato soup with Macaroni, boiled eggs and Fresh bread.
Tuesday: Shepherd’s Pie
Wednesday: Chicken & Pasta Salad
Thursday: Fish au Gratin (a Norwegian casserole made with white fish, macaroni, and white sauce with a breadcrumb crust) with grated Carrot.
Friday: Pasta Bolognese & Salad
Saturday: Burritos with homemade Tortillas and Guacamole.
Sunday: pork Tenderloin with Creamy Potatoes au Gratin, Gravy and Broccoli
All of these dinners are homemade, so there are no scary additives or unneccessary sugar or salt.