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A newsletter about saving money, living with less stuff and feeling all the more happier for it.
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Within 24 hours of returning from a long weekend in Hamburg earlier this year, I’d already booked a week-long trip to Zadar in Croatia. Not exactly a sentence I ever thought I’d write in a newsletter about saving money - and on a freelance writer’s bare-bones income - but one that it is 100% true (I’m typing this from the departures lounge).

I love going away. There’s nothing I look forward to more than a couple of days here, half a week there; a change of scenery away from routine and obligation. If I can’t get anyone to come with me, I go on my own - just like I’m doing this week.

My insatiable thirst for regular trips away means I can’t be jetting off long-haul to Bali three times a year (no shade on people who do this, btw, that’s the kind of soul-searching adventure that’s right down my street). It’s just that my bank balance isn’t quite as enlightened as I’d hope to be by the end of that 14-day yoga retreat, so I have to make do with something that isn’t going to cost me a month’s wages.  

In my current financial situation, short travel trips if and when I can afford them are ultimately my main motivation for saving money altogether. Everyone’s budget and idea of what is a ‘cheap’ holiday will be different, of course, but here are some ways you can travel and take some time out for yourself without having to take out a small loan first.

Before you start your search, figure out your budget and the kind of trip you’re after

I booked this relatively cheap solo trip to Croatia after realising I couldn’t afford to go to a European music festival with my friends this summer (Primavera, if you’re wondering). With peak-season flights to Barcelona, peak-season accommodation, the price of the festival ticket, booze, food and the transport inbetween, the whole weekend would’ve set me back £1,000+. That would’ve maybe been possible if I was on a decent salary, but the money anxiety shimmied its way in and I couldn’t justify it in my head. I told my friend I really wanted to go, but I just wouldn’t be able to afford it.

But despite how miserly I might come across in this newsletter from time to time, I didn’t want to fully go Scrooge on my summer. Instead, I thought about how much I could realistically spend and what exactly I wanted from a trip away. My budget was in the realm of £300-400, and, truthfully, what I really craved was some time away on my own. Before you start searching for different options, first think about what you really want from your break. Cheap deals and bargain flights can so easily lure you in, but make sure you’re booking the trip that’s right for you (that’s also within budget).

Where to go?

Your choice of destination is ultimately what can keep your costs low in terms of accomodation while you’re away. Western European countries will set you back a little more all round, but the further east in Europe you go, the more bang you can get for your buck (especially the places that have an alternative currency to the Euro).

I can personally recommend Bulgaria to be one the most underrated gems going - I wrote this piece for loveEXPLORING about how utterly brilliant a city Plovdiv is, and especially this year as it’s the European Capital of Culture 2019. Croatia, of course, for its eight wondrous national parks, including Plitvice and Paklenica, where I’m staying this week. Romania is next on my list, and I hope to go there next summer. Do your research and don’t be afraid to try somewhere new.

Getting a good deal

Flights. I had to double check this because I wasn’t sure if I remembered correctly - the cost of my return Ryanair flight from Eindhoven to Zadar was £35. Thirty-five pounds. Skyscanner and Google Flights are great places to scope out deals, and if you’re flexible with dates, you can see when’s the cheapest time to fly across the month. For more long-haul destinations, sign up to the Jack’s Flight Club newsletter. I regularly see flights to Bali, Australia and Canada on there for an absolute steal of a price.

But of course, we all know that flying is absolutely terrible for the planet, so if you want to make sure your grandchildren can go on as many minibreaks as you do, see where Flixbus can take you (you can even pay a little bit extra to offset the CO₂ emitted from your coach journey).

Accommodation. Shun Airbnb for if you want to get just as nice of a place for a much cheaper price. Seriously, Airbnb rentals may be bougie-as-hell and great for your Instagram feed, but I’ve stayed in some just-as-nice places found on If you book with them semi-frequently, you also get 10% off all properties. Hostels are some of the greatest places on earth (and if you need convincing that they’re not crammed with deodorant-shunning hippies playing guitars, read this). Pro tip: if you’re booking a hostel, book directly with them via the website - Hostelworld, Hostelbookers and others can secretly charge a little bit extra.

While you’re there

Personally, I like to stay somewhere with a kitchen so I can stay in the apartment and cook myself to save money if need be. But - and this is quite important, I think - it’s totally OK to part with some cash while you’re away. It can be hard for the frugally-minded to enjoy spending money, and especially on holiday, when it can seem like you’re always taking your wallet out. Figuring out a holiday budget before you go is a wise move, but allow yourself to be a little flexible with it and obviously, always, get two scoops of ice cream.

Also, get a Monzo card for free international cash withdrawals within 30 days up to £200, or better still, get yourself a Transferwise borderless account - the holy grail of all things cross-currency. If you take one thing from reading this email into your summer 2019, let it be that.

Read this.

  • The mystery of the plastic Garfield phones that have been appearing on French shores for the past 30 years.
  • Fifty years ago, the science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick coined a phrase for the “useless objects” that accumulate in a house: kipple. Now, thanks to how it easy it is to buy cheap stuff online, we're accumulating (and hoarding) mountains of things in our homes - total kipplisation. 
  • Sikhs around the world are taking part in a scheme to plant a million trees as a “gift to the entire planet”. 

Think offline.

A list of things that I'm grateful for this week. What are some of yours?
  • Solo walks/hikes/anythings
  • This most perfect song by Neil Young
  • Cheese toasties for breakfast
  • Somehow managing to have an entire conversation with someone who doesn't speak your language, and somehow still making each other laugh
  • The clocks going forward! 
Make this. 

Second-life Kindle case

I got a Kindle after years of being part of the 'I buy PAPER BOOKS!' crusade (but I still do check out four or five books from the library each month because I love freebies so much haha). But whatever your political views on the Kindle may be, it's certainly saved me money since I got it six months ago. And it's perfect when you travel a lot. 

At the end of last summer, I had a pair of Levis that unfortunately had shrunk in the wash (there is surely no other explanation as to why they no longer fit, right?) I couldn't flog them on Depop - Depop being a tidal wave of unwanted Levis - so I had made them into a Kindle case! Denim is a wonderfully versatile material and there are a million ways you can repurpose old jeans. 

Do you have any DIYs to save money and reuse stuff? Reply to this email to let me know if you do (and how you do it) and I'll feature it on the next Resourceful.

Eat this. 

All the Resourceful recipes we've published on the newsletter so far now have their own archive page (thanks to a reader for pointing out this would be a nice idea!)

Head to
for a whole range of cheap eats from Sam Dando

Bubble 'n' squeak
Serves 4-6

This Boxing Day staple doesn’t just have to be for the festive season, it’s a great way of using your leftovers from a roast on any given Sunday. There is also a lot of room for trying different serving options, you can make little bubble patties and top with a poached egg or go family style with a big wheel cut into slices. Either way you be enjoying the delicious taste of zero waste.
Basically any leftover roast veggies, here’s what I used...
  • ~250g roast potatoes
  • ~200g broccoli
  • ~200g carrots
  • ~150g brussel sprouts
  • 3 roasted garlic cloves (from the potatoes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt & pepper to season
To serve:
  • 3 stalks celery - thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion - thinly sliced
  • Sauce of choice
Method (family style)
  1. Roughly chop all your vegetables and add to a large mixing bowl. Use a potato masher to break down and combine everything to form a rough veggie mash. Add your spices and salt & pepper to taste, mix well to combine.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of oil to a flat bottomed frying pan on medium heat, then spoon all of your mixture into the pan and use a spatula to form a large even disc and let cook for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown on one side.
  3. Meanwhile add the rest of your oil to another pan on medium-high heat and add your onion and celery with a good pinch of salt. Let these cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelised and reserve to top your B&S.
  4. If you’re feeling brave, try flipping the bubble in the pan, if not, turn it out onto a large plate and slide it back into the pan on the other side and cook for a further 10-15 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Once golden, turn out onto a large plate and cut into slices. Top with a little pile of caramelised goodies 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.

Copyright © 2019 Tara Lepore, All rights reserved.

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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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