To celebrate our final week in Sydney early one morning my sister and I headed down to Circular Quay. We had a beautiful breakfast perched on a rolling lawn in the botanic gardens, overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. And we weren’t plagued with guilt regarding how much we’d spent on breakfast. If you find yourself a tad peckish down at Circular Quay you’re looking at around $7 for a muffin. A muffin. After finding ourselves trapped in this situation more times that I’d like to admit, we opted to bake our own muffins the day before and pack them along with a freshly cut fruit salad. I can assure you the breakfast was significantly healthier and tastier – not to mention cheaper – than one we would have purchased.
Would you believe me if I said very little effort was involved? Getting up five minutes earlier to chop up the fruit salad and spending half an hour the day before whipping up a batch of simple muffins (it doesn’t need to be fancy-pants!) isn’t exactly a hardship. With some forward thinking and a smidge of preparation ahead of time, you can save yourself some dosh and the guilt/stress associated with spending ridiculous amounts of money on food when out and about (and if you don’t suffer from this, you’re one lucky bugger). Why waste the experience with niggly negative thoughts like “that was almost a days worth of grocery shopping in one croissant” floating around in the background?
I don’t mean to be nosy, but I must ask – are you the person who smuggles food into the cinemas? It’s ok to fess up. I do. When perfected, the art of smuggling in snacks will save you a fair amount of money over the years. (Let’s just pretend I’m not advocating ‘illegal’ practices here). For years our local cinema used to conduct bag searches before you entered the cinema…it took some serious creativity to get past that hurdle! Whilst the popcorn smells heavenly, it’s not only messy –how many times have you accidently knocked the whole box flying? – but more often than not a homemade brownie or a handful of roasted chickpeas will soon curb that craving. Call me a scrooge if you wish, but the savings really do add up, even after only a few trips.
These thrifty grandma-ish tendencies have spawned even further – to the realm of concerts. Not all gigs are awkwardly timed, and often the adrenaline is more than enough to get you through. However, Taylor Swift’s Red concert two weeks ago was slap bang over ‘dinner-time’. (I’ll add here that Sydney’s Allianz stadium was packed with 40 000 people, of which 90% were shrieking girls. I was one. No shame. No shame.) I’d dragged along a very reluctant sister (that’s what they’re for, right?), so to keep her happy and the hunger pangs at bay it was necessary to pack some nibblies. Mini spinach quiches, flaxseed and currant muffins and chocolate cookies did the trick quite nicely. It prevented her from falling asleep in any case. Just. Honestly, some people.
Concerts, sports games and areas with a high tourist turnover,such as Circular Quay, are akin to cinemas in that they have a captive audience. Thus they can bump the price of (often very ordinary) food up to ludicrous heights. Yes, the smell of hot chips/popcorn/hotdogs/churros/whatever else is on offer can be incredibly tempting but it’s rarely worth it. Ever lined up for twenty minutes just to buy a small box of soggy, half cold chips for ten dollars, and then missed the goal of the game/part of your favourite song/seeing someone’s ice-cream fall off the cone? You know what I mean. Not exactly getting your moneys worth.
Sure, you won’t always the time nor energy to plan ahead and prepare for such outings, however if you do you’ll certainly save money and also enjoy the experience more (hopefully), without wasting time fretting about the cost of what you’re eating!