Friday, February 05, 2010

a simplify update

sometimes you have to buy something in order to not buy something.  buy it to not buy it, as it were. i recently wrote over on domestic sensualist about the dinner box that we order from the company that delivers our weekly friday box of organic veg. we've been subscribers to this veggie box for more years now than i can count and in the interest of being a locovore, i've been quite faithful to the "dogme" kasse - which features only danish-produced veg. i'll admit it's a bit hard to stay faithful to all that root veg here through the winter, so when årstiderne introduced these mealtime boxes, i switched.

the idea with the box is that you get three full meals (two of the meals stretch to leftovers and a second day, so it's not a 3-meal box, but more like a 5-meal box) - meat, veg, condiments, even bread, pasta, quinoa and the like. today is the fourth week we've had it. and it may sound rather expensive at 445 kroner per week ($82), but what i've figured out is that i'm spending FAR less on groceries overall. all i've bought this week at the store is milk, bread and cucumbers (the child goes through cucumbers like you wouldn't believe), nutella (ditto that on the child), some tea and a big tub of greek yogurt. in a normal week, i'd probably spend 100-150 ($20-35) kroner per day at the grocery store, just buying whatever struck me for dinner. now, the dinner ideas are already here at home and the daily grocery store total is under 50 ($10) kroner. and bear in mind everything in the box is organic, so i don't have to worry about chasing that down at the store (it can be hard to find certain items).

this week's box has a whole organic chicken, a package of cubed bacon and a package of ground beef. additionally, there is fresh full grain pasta, grated topping cheese, a jar of capers and a container of vegetable juice (bloody marys for friday evening anyone?). the veg includes carrots, potatoes (they are always there), one of those celery roots of which i'm not that fond, tho' they add good flavor to a soup, some greens, a head of very fresh lettuce, tomatoes, a lemon, 3 medium onions, a big handful of fresh lovely ginger, a zucchini, a cauliflower, and a red pepper. that's actually quite a lot of food for the money. as an extra i ordered danish-milled flour in durum and spelt so we can make bread this weekend. the box comes with three suggested recipes and they've totally gotten me out of what had been a cooking slump, inspiring me to spend and enjoy my time in the kitchen again. and if you factor in the value of your time and not spending as much of it standing in line at the grocery store, because they bring the box right to your door, the box is very good value for money.

other than that on the simplify front, i've been very good about not buying things. i've kept my fabric purchases to a minimum (i haven't given them up completely, after all, i am making birds for sale now, and i have a baby quilt order, so it's arguably a business expense). i've bought no electronics (so the iPad isn't out yet) and no clothes or shoes, despite everything being on sale. there was a panic last-minute lego buy for sabin's birthday, but the child needs birthday presents and lego is a good investment.

they made fun of me at blog camp, saying i'd decided not to buy stuff i already had and didn't really need and that i'm not imposing any really hard restrictions on myself. and to an extent that's true, but the exercise has made me more conscious of what we spend our money on and more concerned about buying quality and not crap. i think twice before grabbing those big fluffy towels that are on special because really, we don't need any more towels. and i've restrained from buying any new model iPods (tho' i'm certain my restraint will not extend to the iPad once it's released here), because one for every room of the house is enough.

it's also true that i've just not really been tempted at all to buy things, since it's been so snowy and i've mostly been at home. there is a whole world of shopping out there on the internet, but aside from the odd fabric purchase (hello fabricworm), i've exercised remarkable restraint - nothing at all from amazon (for me, i did order some of sabin's birthday prezzies there) and not a single sheet of pretty paper.  i do have my eye on a gorgeous crocheted blanket, but have thus far restrained (tho' i could easily talk myself into it in the interest of it having been made by a cooperative that's helping women in a cape town shantytown) because of the not buying it project.

i've also been doing a better job of looking around at what i already have when i'm going to make something...from the embellishments on my birds to fabric that could be made into a dress i keep dreaming about, to the japanese pattern books i have lying around, waiting for me to learn japanese. i think i'll have to make that dress today, to get it out of my system, making it in my dreams twice should actually make it sew up rather quickly. i'm off to do that and some more birds. i didn't get any up on etsy yesterday because i ran out of stuffing. but i should get some up this weekend. i'll put a note here when they're up.


rayfamily said...

I agree that the no spending thing is easier to do than I thought too, that was until you introduced me to fabric sites, ahem :) I just received my first of two orders, beautiful!

It's kind of like falling off of the wagon, you have to re-adjust your mindset once you've splurged so that it doesn't continue haphazardly. I'm also justifying some that if the purchase is so that we can make something for sale or trade it shouldn't count too much against you.

paris parfait said...

Love the idea of that box of food and cooking ingredients delivered every week. Living in France, I have to go out almost every single day to several shops for ingredients. While it's nice to have such choice, it's time-consuming.

I've dramatically cut down on spending - haven't bought a thing from the Paris sales - to save money to buy another camera. And I've been selling furniture and antiques in preparation for the move to Amsterdam (more space; less clutter is my hope).

As for your fabric obsession, it sounds like money well-invested. (But an iPod for every room?) :) xo

Miss Footloose said...

I love your food boxes! Good variety, and organic, too. It does not seem expensive to me. Love the celery root -- being Dutch. We put it in soups, especially split pea soup. You can eat it raw, too.

Getting new culinary inspiration isn't half bad either!

Char said...

i wish there were food boxes .... well maybe not because being a horribly picky person i would probably not like one and then get all irritated. *sigh* but it sounds about what i spend on food except i buy in two weeks increments instead of a week.

i admit, i've spend more lately because i really couldn't spend in a year except to live. i need to scale back.

Elizabeth said...

The butterfly was meant for you.

Eliza Claire said...

Great post, I love the food box idea, but I know I'd waste too much of whatever was in there, with 2 fussy kids to feed.
I have started meal-planning on a weekly basis though, and only buying what I need. I think I've cut down on my monthly food bill by about 40% already, and aim for another 20% cut this month. Plus my eldest ate shepherds pie (well, the meat at least) which is a first!

Meri said...

I was doing well on the spending diet until I went into a used bookstore. Talk about a binge!

kristina - no penny for them said...

those mealtime boxes sound genius.