My Zeidy is actually flying to Florida today - I know this is totally off topic but he and my grandmother taught me a A LOT about budgeting and saving. One of his tips: share meals with your spouse. You probably think I'm insane for sharing this tip but he had a point when he said it. When my grandparents moved to America in the late-1940's, it was after the WWII and they had spent a lot of their time in concentration camps and later displaced persons camps. Food was a luxury and coming to America meant food a-plenty. As the years progressed, my grandparents watched food portions at restaurants grow. Ever since I can remember, my grandparents shared meals. My Grandma and Papa would eat separate dishes but my Bubba and Zeidy usually agreed on some dish and split it between the two of them. When everyone was done eating, my grandfather would eat the leftovers which earned him the title of "human garbage disposal".
|Bubba and Zeidy in Israel - 1960s - How CUTE are they??|
My Bubba once told me that sharing a dish with my grandfather kept her weight down but my Zeidy revealed that it helped keep their pocketbook in tact. If you think about it, his aversion to leftovers makes sense! Portions are huge in the US - no one needs to eat that giant bowl of pasta or large steak, so why not split it with your spouse/partner?
I take my grandfather's advice to heart. He's a wise man and came from very little. He raised a family by working hard and he passed his work ethic down the family line. His 17 year old great-grandson works his tail off while still being a high school student. He once told me that he doesn't worry about me in Israel because if anyone can make it, it's me... but I think he's the most excited member of our family to have us move home.
In Israel, portions are usually smaller but the food is more expensive (remember yesterday's expenditure of 2 individual pizzas with cola for $16??) - the option isn't always there to split a meal. Yet, we find a way to do it. Especially at McDonalds. A super-sized meal of 10 chicken nuggets with fries and a very large soda comes to almost 50NIS ($13) - it's enough to make one person want to throw up after gaining 400lbs. Split between two people, it comes out to 25NIS a person ($6.67) and it's more than enough food for both of us. We reduce calories and our bill considering what we normally get costs around 90NIS ($24). Who the hell spends $24 at McDonalds for two people???
Converting shekel to dollar has really helped me see how much money we're actually spending - it was another brilliant tip from Zeidy. It also makes me think "would I spend this kind of cash in Michigan??" The answer is usually "no" considering I earn less here and things are more expensive.
So, I'm amending my shopping list for today. Here's what's on it now:
- Bread (I can get it for 7NIS/$1.87 a loaf)
- Chicken (I'll use the boiled meat for chicken salad sandwiches)
- 2 carrots
- Parsley root (cost me half a shekel at the local produce guy named Moshe)
- Celery root (cheaper than celery)
- 1 red pepper
- Garlic bulbs
- All the free things that were on the list yesterday
Keep your tips coming! I LOVE reading your comments!