Thursday, July 13, 2006

Consuming Perishables

The last two hours have been spent calculating our current financial status- recording receipts, running budget reports, balancing bankbooks, double-checking bills, so forth and so on. I'd been a little (translation: VERY) lax since returning from the U.S. and thus had about two weeks worth of paperwork to wade through.

Boy, do we spend a lot of money on food.

I know it really only seems like it because most other things that are required for sustaining life and eking out an existance (rent, water, electricity, gas, precious internet) are directly taken out of our bank account... but when 40 of the 45 receipts on your desk are somehow connected with edible components, you begin to wonder why you're spending vast amounts of money on things that are here one day and gone the next.

Don't get me wrong, I like food. A lot. So does my husband. It's fun to try out new restaurants, concoct new dishes, sample a variety of flavors, indulge in local specialties, and savor favorite treats. Nevertheless, we do our best to be more frugal than extravagant, get the best value for the yen, cook at home more than we eat out, and stay away from exotic wares that try to tantalize the tastebuds merely by their packaging. Yet, despite our best efforts, by necessity our grocery budget here is twice what it was in the states.

All the cookie-cutter phrases of "food is expensive on an island" and "expect Barbie-sized portions for more money" are true. Don't ever dismiss such talk.

Happily (one of the only happy things about it), summer has come, which means fresh fruit and veggies are popping up for reasonable prices. We need such perks to get us through the 34 degree C weather (that's 93 degrees F for you Western people) spells that come up. Like those passing through right now.

You haven't begun to live until you've baked in your house for a season :)

1 comment:

Ljw said...

I've heard one of those "money experts" from tv and whatnot say that food/groceries are usually the 2nd largest expenditure aside from a mortgage or rent. Having done the calculations, I would DEFINITELY agree for my family. Even with the dog gone, I don't see where we spend that much less. But I do try to get good deals on meat and buy in bulk when I can. I imagine with the lack of land for farming or livestock, no doubt island prices would indeed be higher. Stay cool(er)!