Categories
Sustainability

Let’s shame myself a little again: Food Waste Friday, week 28 of 2024

CW for relationship with food, but in passing.

(tl;dr below, but if you have an itch to comment, then please at least skim the words diagonally.)

I think this is going to be even more excruciatingly painful to do than my roundup of thrift posts. Partly because I don’t really mind spending money – would if I could, especially considering that I did it when I couldn’t. But I abhor food waste. So much so that when I would open a garbage bin at my old job and see perfectly fine salads or soups simply not to the taste of my colleagues thrown into the bin, I wanted to either scream or pick it out of the trash and enjoy the next day, with anyone being none the wiser. But alas, a bin is a bin, and my stomach is not what it used to be. I’m not against dumpster diving, truly, but I imagine I could only partake for non-edibles, or vacuum sealed/ tinned/ you-get-it edibles.

This post is not about dumpster diving, however. It’s about my entire disconnect from my values when it comes to food waste. Part of it, and the bigger part of it too, I can write off to my mental health. Again not delving into it too much in this post, but let’s just say that it is. Part of it is my weird relationship with food – which, if you think about it, can also be attributed to my mental health. But then there’s another part which is just… dumb. I used to plan for every bite and scrap – I no longer do. I keep forgetting that certain foods can be triggering, and that I would stop eating them mid-bite and simply would not be able to return to them – not normal behaviour, but can’t be fully attributed to mental health, because it happened before, and I’m aware of it, I just forget it, because I’m a scatter brain.

Which, on the other hand, can also be explained by the ruckus.

Hm.

Regardless.

I think food waste bears little to no excuse. If I can’t eat it, surely I can easily find someone who can – human or animal. So many people in my city live below poverty line or in the streets or both – I can just put out what I know I would not consume close to the communal bins, and it will be picked up. Sometimes I do, most of the times I don’t, I just let it rot to the point of no return in bizarre hopes of doing something with it.

Out of all my beliefs and values, food waste is probably that rare thing (together with animal rights and sexism) that I could endlessly lecture people about. Because it’s a problem, you know. I’ll use American stats as an example because American stats are easiest to come by – but did you know that 30% of all the food produced does not reach the metaphorical table and is basically produced to go to the landfill? 30%. Thirty percent. That’s one third. Imagine every time you buy three apples, you just immediately throw one perfectly good apple into the garbage. You buy three coffees – you just dump one directly down the drain for shits and giggles. Three packs of ramen noodles – you just throw one into the bin. I must emphasise – you throw it away. You dispose of it. You don’t give it to a neighbour, or a food pantry, or a stray cat – you throw it away.

So yes, I could endlessly lecture people on this – but I don’t, because I’m guilty of it myself, and I either walk the walk and talk the talk, or I don’t walk, but I don’t talk either. Lead by example, as they say.

So every Friday for the foreseeable future I am going to take a picture, or at least write a list, of all the edibles that have gone bad in my fridge and pantry, and post them for all the world to see. I know Kristen from The Frugal Girl did something like that back in the day when she was combating food waste in her house. She later stopped, because there was no food waste to write about, and this is something that I aspire to achieve. I will only stop once there is no food waste to write about.

This post is a bit of a cheat, because I did a massive fridge clear-out on a Sunday, and my weeks begin on a Monday. Which means it’s not as shameful to look at the exposé below. Still is, but not as shameful as four kg of fruit, one kg soft cheese, a pack of corn tortillas, and about a loaf worth of various breads, etc. etc. could have been, coupled with today’s clear-out.

tl;dr: Food waste Friday is exactly what it says on the tin – I write a list, sometimes accompanied by pictures, of all the food that I wasted during that particular week.

So. Food waste, week 28 of 2024.

Photographs mine, but unrelated to food waste.

List:

  • 1/3 cup of sour cream;
  • 3 cucumbers;
  • a significant amount of cherry tomatoes;
  • several eggs;
  • 1L of soya/almond milk. A remark, then, that it is not my fault. I ordered groceries, and they sent me a full pack of rotten milk, damaged seal and everything. ♥ Thank you ♥ I don’t complain often, but this time I did, and got my money back;
  • a loaf or so worth of various breads. I have a Very Bad Habit of keeping heels of bread for ‘another day’, and then they just go bad in my fridge.

And I think that’s it for this week. Anything else I will unearth when I do my fridge clean will be added to next post.

Categories
Dear Diary

My Patreon is live

I finally figured out what I want to share on Patreon, so it’s officially open to the public. So far there’s only one tier, but I plan on having five. It’s just that most of the things I want to offer in the coming four make little sense with my current level of engagement. Admittedly all of it feels like screaming into the void these days. We be tryin though.

Anyway here’s the link. I’d love it if you check it out and maybe even subscribe? First, and currently only, tier is $3. It may become lower, but it won’t become higher.

Categories
Gratitude Sustainability

I have enough: Soap

If you’d like to know what these posts are about overall, please head to the first one in the series.

Some of these things will inevitably be silly. Or little and seemingly inconsequential. Pens, soap, notebooks – who cares? But if I truly end up being steadfast in my decision of not getting any more soap until I use up the soaps I have, I might end up not buying soap for years. I haven’t counted the bars when I took out the box to pick out a new bar for the bathroom sink, but there’s easily at least fifty. And bar soap is much more economical than liquid hand soap or shower gel – and I have those too. So 50 something bars of soap and all the shower gels and liquid soap will easily last me 5 years.

I think it’s a good backwards exercise is sustainability and finances. Having these hoards of things that would last ages shows me how much money we tend to spend in excess on small inconsequential stuff – that would have enjoyed the effects of compound interest otherwise, were I not mad or stupid or both.

I used to collect soap, and up to this day I really enjoy receiving it as a souvenir. It was surprising to me that not everyone shares this sentiment, and view soap as cheap or useless. Not everyone likes bar soap. Some people are averse to the idea of sharing a bar of soap with another person. It’s not the case for me, especially when it comes to hand soap. I also like making frankensoaps. It’s when you melt the last bits and pieces of several bar soaps into a new one.

My collection used to be much bigger, too. Apart from using it up myself, I also gifted it occasionally. Some I even sold. Plus back when my brother could visit me, he’d raid the box and pick a couple bars to last him until his next stay. I think he also took some to give as small souvenirs to his lady colleagues.

Anyway, yeah. Soap. It doesn’t go bad as much as it dries out. I have several novelty-shaped ones that are around 12 years old that began drying out a little. They are difficult to use as they’re in the shape of fruits and cartoonish bugs, and I had thought about just keeping them as figurines, but as they dry out, they begin to crumble. So I will either melt them into square shapes and use as hand soap, or maybe I will grind them and add a spoon or two to my laundry together with soda bicarbonate or washing soda. A teaspoon would do no damage as it wouldn’t be sudsy enough.

Categories
Money

A round-up of thrift, June 2024

If you would like to figure out what these posts are about and why they have the most basic things mentioned, like skipping a latte, please read the first post. If you don’t want to do that, in a couple of words: spending money is not a lack of knowledge problem around here, it’s a mood disorder problem. Now that I’m sufficiently medicated, I’m almost a tightwad.

Moving on.

This is a long post, go make yourself a cuppa.

In May I was laid off from my job of 2 years. I still have not secured gainful employment, which means I don’t really go anywhere, so all my thrift revolves around shopping for the necessary consumables. There are some deviations from this category, but there aren’t many.

My job interview process started strong, but so far there hasn’t been any favourable (as in ‘job’) result. Two interviewers told me I was a perfect match, but since I have surgery coming up, they suggested I take care of that first, and then contact them again to start onboarding. The issue here is that I don’t know the date of the surgery, and to be able to get surgery I need to be employed, because I need to be insured.

So it’s a fucked up circle. I need surgery out of the way to get a job. I need a job to have insurance. I need insurance to have surgery. I need surgery out of the way to get a job, etc. etc. I almost want to start keeping silent about it, honestly. Maybe then I’d be able to get it all done. Whoever said that honesty is the best policy never tried to navigate a modern capitalist society.

Anyway, back to thrift.

1. I bought butt-scratching cheap toilet paper. I am not pleased. My imperial arsehole deserves better.

2. I resisted soft drinks with all my might, and only caved in three times.

3. I bought a big tube of ice-cream instead of small portioned ones. There’s nothing wrong with the big tube (tube, not tub, yes, the cheapest ice-cream is sold in big plastic tubes/ bags here, they are soft and long, that’s what she said, whatever), it’s just a sensory issue. I have to portion it out by cutting with a knife, and it is simultaneously sticky and freezing, and just ugh.

4. I’m still not buying laundry detergent, because I still have things to wash my laundry with. I wonder if I’ll still be mentioning this in 2026.

5. I unsubscribed from pretty much everything paid by this point, except Netflix (it’s shared with a person I am not quite ready to explain my situation to), Yandex (suddenly I started listening to a lot of audiobooks, and it gives me access to thousands for $2), Google (I have no other place for my 1TB of photos), and Adobe Lightroom (because to cancel the subscription entirely would be a ‘breach of contract’ and would cost me $180). First one to go in this list would be Lightroom. Once my yearly contract ends – October, I think – I will let it go and use other programmes to edit. I’m actually so pissed at Adobe for their recent changes to privacy policy (google, it’s all over the internet), I haven’t even opened Lightroom since. But I can’t afford the $180 cancellation fee. There are some yearly subscriptions that cost about $2-3 per year. I am not letting these go, because they are worth it for me.

6. I did not go out and buy 1-2 ‘smart casual’ outfits. They would have been second-hand and I would have looked for as inexpensive as possible, but no expenditure at all is still cheaper than the least expensive purchase. The surefire way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your wallet, or whatever.

But yes, let’s extrapolate as to why I wanted ‘smart casual’ outfits in the first place, when the thought alone in the direction of anything ‘smart casual’ makes me shudder. One of the companies I interviewed for has a dress code. I made it do for the interview, but if I were to go there 5 days a week, I would need at least one change of clothes – thankfully I’m not particularly sweaty. They told me that I would start training shortly, but it fell through.

7. Since then I took stock of all the clothes that I have that currently fit me, and realised that I might get away with purchasing two polo t-shirts, and that would be enough for a ‘smart casual’ wardrobe for the work week. Take stock, people. It’s an incredible money and space saver.

8. I walked pretty much everywhere. My car broke down again (more on that below), and I don’t have a mass transit card. I think I will get a 6 months one soon, though. When you’re unemployed these seemingly painless charges of 30 euro cents here and there add up really quickly. So the only time I used public transportation was to one interview that was a little further away (it was hottt, and I didn’t want to look disheveled upon arrival) and to and from my old job to pick up my stuff.

9. I restarted my savings jar. It saved me many times before, because when you have 0.5 in your bank account, even a fiver in the savings jar feels luxurious. It doesn’t have much in it currently, but even 1 is better than 0.

10. I decided to sell my car. It might take a while, and I might do it all wrong, because I’ve never sold a car before. But I’m done. When she broke down on me on my last day at my job, I felt betrayed. Considering everything else that went down, I’m not surprised I felt that way. Dramatic, but true.

Why is selling car a frugal move, you ask? Well, petrol is more expensive than mass transit. I also keep needing to repair Ruby (car) all the time, because she’s an older model. And most of the jobs with night shifts here pay for your transportation to or from work, depending on the schedule. It’s just that my old company was one of the few that did not. So provided that I don’t ride taxis every time I need to go somewhere – and I won’t, I’m really only inclined to do that when I’m dead tired or really late or in pain, I actually dislike cabs – the ‘transportation’ line in my budget sheet will see a significant decrease.

But it will be a while, I’m sure. I’ll keep you posted. I’m also not sure what I will do with that money once I have it. To say more is to reveal too much, so I will keep silent on this matter.

11. I am looking into refinancing my existing debt. This, if achieved, will nearly halve my monthly payments. I’m not really looking into interest right now, but seeing as some of that debt is NBFIs, the interest will probably stay about the same overall. Considering how much of that debt I have, banks are actually really interested. So cross your fingers for me. Succeeding here will allow me to expand my job search as well, because I would be able to look at positions with smaller salaries.

12. I lost weight, and plan to continue in that direction. Keeping your weight in check is a frugal move, because obesity comes with tonnes of (deadly and expensive) complications. You also eat less. And your clothes cost less.

13. Unrelated to my weight loss – as in, I’m not doing it with that goal in mind, but I’m sure it contributed a bit – I’ve been eating 2 meals a day and a snack most days. Summer is here and I’m just not hungry. Pretty sure the effects of this meal cut would have been much more dramatic, but that snack? Is a huge bowl of ice-cream eaten under the AC. Lord I hate the heat. And it’s not even the dog days yet. Anyway, all that ramble is to say that this affects my food bill. I don’t spend much on food these days.

14. I only keep the AC on for a couple hours a day, when the sun hits my windows directly and drives me (and cats) up the walls – or rather, into the deepest darkest parts of the flat. Cursed be the people who gave orders to cut down the trees that protected my windows from the sun.

15. I am creative with my cooking. So creative, I’m actually considering making another post for this point exclusively. It pays to not being a picky eater and have an overall preference for bland foods, let me tell ye. But even if you don’t like bland, spices and condiments are cheap and will take you far.

Categories
Inspiration

Sunday inspiration 001

All the images from today’s post come from this Telegram channel, dedicated to Japan. I liked their liminality – it’s hard to tell whether it’s a photograph, an illustration, or a bit of both combined. There’s a lot of images, so I hid some under the cut.