Frugal living has reminded me of the wonder of the world
Suitably dramatic headline. Check.
I recently undertook a money challenge. I had to last 10 days, spending only €10. You can read all about the challenge here, but the conclusion is that it wasn’t really that difficult. And, more importantly, it taught me that the frugal option is often the better option.
The best things in life are free
Janet Jackson, Luther Vandross – you really were spot on!!
My aforementioned challenged showed me many, many examples where frugal living is better living. This was so powerful for me that I have decided to run a series of articles on each thing I noticed. We’ll start with our eating habits.
My only spending in the 10 day challenge came from eating out. Was this worth it? Although the evening was a nice experience, the joy for me didn’t really come from the eating in the restaurant. When I really thought about it, it came from two things:
Firstly, it came from the social interaction of dining with others. Every meal; you should aim to make dining an experience. This is the norm in France and I have enjoyed this tradition very much. Meal time is precious time to be spent with your friends and family. Eat your meals slowly. Make every breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea and supper a social event.
I thought I’d make an informative, yet slightly complex, diagram to explain:
Secondly, the positive experience came from the environment. We went to a restaurant, where we were seated outside on the beach at sunset. But, what was it that was special? It wasn’t the knives and forks in the restaurant, or the tables and chairs, or the waiters/waitresses. No, it was the natural beauty. It was the sound of the sea, the colour of the sky and the fresh air in the lungs. If we had taken a picnic, all those things would have been the same.
So, we can replicate the true advantages of eating out through frugal alternatives. But are there any advantages of eating in? Yes, plenty.
Independent of cost, I actually think that I now prefer eating in to eating out. Here are some reasons why:
- Learn a trade – by eating in and making varied and wholesome cuisine, you can learn a new skill – how to cook. This is a very useful trade to learn. Cooking makes you self-sufficient, it saves you money, it keeps you healthy, it enhances your creativity and its social. Who knows, one day you might be the next Jamie Oliver!
- Be proud of what you achieve – I often find when cooking, that I can be proud of what I’ve made. This is especially the case when a friend or family member compliments the meal. Its almost nice to be appreciated and you can often be proud of creating a culinary masterpiece.
- Know the quality of your food – This is especially relevant recently with the horse meat scandal etc. By buying fresh ingredients and making your food from scratch, rather than buying ready meals or eating out, you know the quality of your final output.
- Enjoy the finer things – Eating in allows you to enjoy the finer things without the increased cost. For example, we recently visited a restaurant where we saw a magnum of wine on the menu for €80. The preceding day, we had visiting the vineyard where this wine was produced, and where the same wine was sold to the public for €12.95. This is true for almost all ingredients. If you go out and buy a steak at a restaurant for £15, you know for certain that the same price of steak bought and cooked at home yourself will be of a MUCH higher quality.
- Eat healthier – Eating in also allows you to determine what goes into your meals and determine the exact nutritional content compared to what you which to achieve. Not only is it healthier, but its almost always tastier! Your meals at home can be cooked in less fat, contain less sugar, contain less salt. You are in charge. Another VERY complex example (I hope you can follow these). Awesome looking salad provided by @alifunkadelic.
- Grow your own produce – you can even start to grow your own produce. This is a huge topic which I won’t cover here, but there are clear benefits in the quality of your food, the price, personal exercise, sense of achievement, etc etc.
Eating out is an expensive habit. Everyone will have their own opinions on the ‘value’ of eating out but, for me, I can see no major benefits compared to eating in and we can save hundreds, and even thousands, of pounds each year by reducing our dining expenses.
For other way to increase your long term wealth my e-book “Becoming Rich: One step at a time” is available in the amazon kindle store now.