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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 so close to not sending a newsletter this weekend, which I actually think is a good thing. If you're anything like me, after the hangover of Christmas and New Year subsides, the part of your brain that's always trying to push you to be a better, more productive person goes into overdrive. Here are some things I've tried to do in the first week of January: 

'I'm going to go to the gym three times in the week and once at the weekend! On days where I'm not at the gym, I'm going to meditate!' 

'I will reduce food waste by planning all of my meals for the week on Monday and go to the market to get cheap, fresh produce on Tuesdays and Fridays!'

'I will stop ending all of my sentences with exclamation marks!'

Tbh, 2019 has been the year where it's been very fashionable to not set resolutions. I think it's a bit of a backlash at the suffocating self-improvement movement - bullet journals, Marie Kondo on Netflix (no, I haven't seen it, I'd rather spend my time... actually cleaning the house? Or watching Mad Men instead).

I'm of the opinion that goal-setting can make you happier in the long-run. Ultimately, some self-reflection at the beginning of the year isn't going to be too much of a bad thing. Realising that you're spending too many hours online a day is something to take note of. Admitting that your impulse buys on pay day mean that you're struggling to get out of your overdraft is also not something to be scoffed at. 

Reflecting on the past year has left me feeling that I actually want to accomplish less this year, rather than more. I moved out of London t'wards the end of last year and now live in the Netherlands, in a city that very much has a part-time mentality. In fact, the highest number of people working part time in the EU are the Dutch.
I'm happy making enough money to cover my rent and basic expenses - with only a little fun money at the end to play a game of air hockey at the weekend (ha ha). This year, I want fewer side hustles and more hobbies.

Which brings me on to... your feedback! I'd really appreciate some comments on what you'd like more of/less of in this fortnightly collection of resourceful ideas.

Anything you'd like to me to cover on this newsletter in 2019, from budgeting, to writing an effective shopping list to thrifting tips, please do reply to this email and let me know. 

P.S Relevant Simpsons GIFs are becoming increasingly harder to find. The top one did make me think of this YouTube clip where Big Narstie tries to explain to David Schwimmer what a pagan is, though. Content breeds content, y'all. 

Read this.

Think offline.

A list of things that I'm grateful for this week. What are some of yours?
  • my writing desk! 
  • dishwashers
  • daily Mary Anne Hobbs on 6Music as of Jan 1st!
  • table service
  • the Mealime app (more below)
  • The School of Life
  • Paperback books
Save cash. 

I spent a lot of time around Christmas slumped on the sofa downloading free fitness/meal plan apps that would help kick-start the first month of the New Year. While fitness apps can work for some people (I find making a motivational playlist helps me more - my past two workouts have been soundtracked exclusively by early Dr. Dre), I can't seem to gel with apps like 'BetterMe' or 'My Fitness Pal' that focus their meal plans on how many calories are included in a meal. It seems icky and wrong and it makes me feel bad about myself, full stop. 

However, I did want to tell you all about the app Mealime, which (despite the terrible name) includes a huge variety of recipes for all sorts of dietary requirements. Despite my best efforts to avoid eating meat, I'm a flexitarian these days, but my boyfriend is veggie and eats no dairy. Set these preferences on Mealime and each week, the app presents you with a whole range of recipes that you can automatically add to a handy grocery list (you can go through and cross off things you might already have in your cupboard, like salt, herbs, pasta, etc). Anyway, planning your meals is great if you want to save money. Try it out for free and let me know what you think! 

Eat this. 

Vegan shepherd's pie, a recipe pinched from the Mealime app
Serves 2
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 828ml of vegetable broth (specific, amirite)
  • Half a cup of fresh thyme
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Half a can of lentils
  • A pack of mushrooms
  • Onion
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Coconut oil
  1. Wash and dry the fresh produce. 
  2. Peel and quarter the potatoes, transfer to a small saucepan.
  3. Cover the potatoes with hot water (from the tap), bring to a boil over high heat. 
  4. Peel and small dice the carrot and transfer to a medium bowl. 
  5. Do the same with the onion and garlic and add to the carrot bowl. 
  6. Preheat a saute pan over medium heat, add coconut oil. 
  7. Add the carrot/onion/garlic to the pan and season well. Cook for 2-3 mins. 
  8.  Once the potatoes are bubblin', reduce heat and cook until tender (15-20 mins). One done, drain, return to saucepan and cover to keep warm. 
  9. Small dice the mushrooms and add to the veg pan. 
  10. Now add the rinsed lentils and broth to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender (if you're using canned lentils, this shouldn't take too long). 
  11. Add the thyme, running your fingers down the sprigs and chopping up a generous amount to chuck in. (Save the rest for garnishing). 
  12. Once the lentils are tender, stir in the green peas. 
  13. Add coconut oil, half a cup of broth, salt and pepper to the potatoes and mash with a masher! 
  14. Serve up heartily (leopard print plate optional). 
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.
Visit her website

Copyright © 2018 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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