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Resourceful is a newsletter about spending less, reducing stress and living within your means.
Delivered to your inbox every other Sunday
I was born in 1996, meaning I’m a young millennial or an old Gen Z-er, depending on how you look at it. In other words, my childhood was free from smartphones but the internet entirely shaped my teenage years. While my peers will remember a brief time before technology completely took over our lives, MSN Messenger’s centre-stage presence in my teen years meant I never called my friends on the phone. That was 10 years ago, but it still stands now: according to a 2018 survey, one third of Britons only pick up the phone when they have to call their parents.

Six months ago, I moved 450 miles away from London to embark on a new life in the Netherlands. Luckily for me, keeping in touch with friends and family is both ‘free’ and relatively easy, provided the Wi-Fi is doing its job. We could be jetting off to the other side of the world and still see the latest pics posted on the group chat when we’re 35,000 feet above sea level. Keeping in touch these days is so easy I barely gave it a second thought when I decided to move to a new country.

But a few weeks after the move, I began to feel the uncomfortable pangs of homesickness. One evening, sprawled out on the sofa, I messaged one of my best friends for a couple of hours, just like we used to do as teenagers. While it was lovely to chat to them, the homesickness pervaded. I realised lying in bed later that night what had been missing: online messages weren’t enough, I needed to hear a familiar voice.  

The next morning, I rang around my friends for a much-needed chinwag. The thing was: nobody answered. I called nine people, including my brother, and nobody picked up! Ironically, the only friend I could always rely on for a phone call was halfway through a 10-day silent retreat in Belgium.

Scrolling through my contacts, I wondered if there was anyone left I wanted to speak to or could try next. I tapped the phone number of a friend of a friend, who I’d never spoken to on the phone before. She really wouldn’t be expecting a call from me, but having already called nine (!) people, I thought I’d give it a shot.

‘Oh my god! What an unexpected but truly lovely surprise!’ she said, after a moment’s silence, post-dialling tone. We’d never spoken on the phone before, but, well, we just started… chatting. During a 15-minute phone call, she told me she’d just got back from the dentist where she had to get her tooth removed, and briefed me on a date she’d had earlier in the week, which concluded with a motorcycle ride through central London (how badass is that).

It was all stuff that she was unlikely to share on social media, or wouldn’t have deemed interesting enough to tell me about over text message. But as we fumbled our way through our first ever phone conversation, I felt instantly closer to her. While a phone call might not seem that revolutionary, it can add something small to your day that a Facebook message doesn't quite do. 

In the weeks since, I try to phone a friend every Saturday afternoon, without sending them a message first to check if it’s a good time (it’s never a good time). Pick up the phone today! Call someone you miss! And thank you for reading this. 

Read this.

Think offline.

A list of things that I'm grateful for this week. What are some of yours?
  • Light rain (when you're inside, ofc)
  • Seal rehabilitation centres
  • Salted peanuts
  • Reading a book that seems to know the inside of your brain
  • Strangers becoming friends
Save cash.
Ask yourself and answer, preferably in writing, these six questions when you are thinking of making an online purchase that you have any doubt about:

Why am I here? How do I feel? Do I need this? What if I wait? How will I pay? Where will I put it? 

Get heart-fluttery for online shopping on rainy Sunday afternoon? If you want to turn down the impulse buys, read this for more advice on how you can do it. 

Eat this. 

Spare-the-pennies spanish omelette, a recipe by Sam Dando
Serves 3-6

This easy recipe is a real winner whether you need brunch on a budget or served with salad for a scrimper’s supper. It is a perfect example of a few basic ingredients going a long way to create a delicious crowd-pleaser.
  • 6 medium potatoes - peeled and sliced ~ ½ cm
  • 1 large onion - roughly chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • ~400ml vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • Ketchup (or sauce of choice) to serve
  1. Add the oil to a large pan and heat over medium high. Add the potato and onion with a pinch of salt and let cook for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potato is lightly golden.
  2. Crack your eggs into a bowl and beat well.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potato and onion to a frying pan on medium-high heat, draining as much excess oil as possible. Add the paprika and a good pinch of salt and pepper and toss well to combine.
  4. Add your eggs to the frying pan and, using a spatula, stir to form an even layer of potato around the pan.
  5. Let cook for 6-8 minutes (or until the bottom of the omelette is golden brown and the top is almost set).
  6. Place a plate over the pan and turn the omelette out, then use the spatula to slide it back into the pan to cook the other side. Use the spatula around the edge of the pan to maintain a disk shape.
  7. Let cook for 5-6 minutes until the eggs are set and both sides of the omelette are golden brown. Turn the omelette out onto a plate then cut into slices and serve with a dollop of sauce.
Now, take me somewhere fun
That's all folks! Thanks for reading this newsletter. Want to share money-saving tips or compare frugal lifestyle notes? Reply to this email - I'd love to chat. Or, if you enjoyed it, forward on to a friend. 
Resourceful is curated twice a month by Tara Lepore.
Recipes are thoughtfully rustled up by Sam Dando.

Visit her website

Copyright © 2019 Tara Lepore, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Praediniussingel (try saying that after a few beers), Groningen, The Netherlands

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Resourceful · An extremely messy desk · Groningen, 9711AB · Netherlands

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