I really don’t want this blog to become a collection of frugality life hacks, there are just too many collections out there. But from time to time I will share some things that I have tried myself and found both effective and fun. So here it is: Frugal living tips Episode 1: Cooking cheap food and mending broken clothes.
Meal for one dollar
Mrs. Gotland recently discovered a Swedish blog on inexpensive home cooked food: Portionen under tian, meaning the meal below ten Swedish crowns. Ten SEK correspond to roughly one US Dollar, so it is quite ambitious.
After trying this out for a few months now, I have to say it works. All dishes are vegetarian, which saves costs of course. However, there is a focus on healthy food; almost all dishes contain fresh vegetables. The price is below ten crowns as promised, at least on average. Also, there is a focus on using the same ingredients for multiple dishes. That way they can arrange a whole week around a limited number of ingredients: The 300 crowns week. That is seven times four meals for 300 SEK, which comes in at just above ten crowns per meal.
A pleasent result from the meal below ten crowns is that the family is eating much more vegetarian. I have tried to decrease meat in my diet before. But then I focussed on vegetarian meals in lunch restaurants, which I consider a rip-off: Fewer calories from cheaper ingredients for the same price? Now we often cook twice the amount at home and I mostly take a lunch box to work. Quite in line with Reduce your consumption!
Mending your clothes
This is more of a fun thing that will probably not save you much money. I stubled upon this video on YouTube, where the guy repairs jeans using a darning machine. Darning is a repair technique without using patches. Instead, new threads are woven into the fabric to close the holes and reinforce the fabric. I thought the result looked really cool. It is a bit funny that we want our jeans look used but not broken. Worst case that means we can only wear them a few dozen times before we throw them away, which really is a waste.
I then discovered that darning can be done with a normal sewing machine as well. I completely removed the foot of the machine and disengaged the transport mechanism. That way, I can freely move the fabric in all directions. My first victim was an old jeans that I put on when I fix things in the house or garden. That pair of jeans had gotten quite large holes at embarracing spots, so I could not really use it anymore in public…
The result is not something I would wear in the office, but I can keep my work jeans for another few years. Next time I try this, I will try to match the thread color a bit better. Other than that, I am pretty happy. This was fun and did not take more than an hour. Recommended!