With tax day approaching, and because we run a business, Nat and I have the pleasure (pain?) of tallying up our yearly expenses.
Not surprisingly, food is always our second biggest expense (housing is #1). Every year we ask ourselves the same question:
Should we spend less on food?
But ever since we came across the idea of value-based decisions, that question has been easier to answer. Food fits into so many of our values that compromising on quality and choice seems backwards. (Of course it's a 'yes' if the alternative is debt).
So what the heck is a 'value-based decision' and how do you make one? Here's how we did it:
How to find your values
- Find a list of values. Luckily, you already have them. We all have values. Things like adventure, education, fun, family, power, health, security, etc. If you google 'values' you should find a good list like this.
- Write down your top five. Eight at the most. These are the ones that would be deal breakers for you, like passing up on a new job (growth, status) if you had to uproot your family life (family, stability), or taking the trip of a lifetime (adventure, spontaneity, fun), even if it makes your financial future less secure (security, hard work, practical).
- Start thinking with values in mind. Write down your top values someplace handy. We use the 'Reminders' app on our phones. And that's it. No need to do anything different, just start making decisions with values in mind.
By asking how our actions fit with our values, following through or changing course - two things that are hard to do - feel easier.
Recognize the Balancing Act
More often than not, though, we are balancing different values. For us, recognizing that trade-off helps us feel more confident in our decisions. Our question about spending on food falls into this balancing act, too. For us, we're willing to make the trade-off of saving more money (security, wealth), in exchange for high quality foods (health, community, family, friendship, curiosity, growth, etc.).
What are your top values? Does keeping them in mind help simplify your life?
We made this recipe for GoodEggs a few weeks back, and I think it's our favorite of the bunch. I know we're using asparagus two weeks in a row, but a) it's in season, and b) it has prebiotic fiber and a ton of vitamins. Feel free to substitute the type of sausage to try different flavors, too. (Merguez was my favorite).
- 8 eggs
- 1/2 bunch of asparagus, chopped
- 1/2 bunch spring onions, sliced
- 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
- 1/4 lb sausage, cut into pieces
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
Place oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add a Tbsp of oil and the sausage pieces. Cook until mostly done, about 2-3 minutes each side.
Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt, and beat until well combined. Set aside.
Add the asparagus and spring onions to the sausage, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the spinach and cook for another minute. Pour eggs into the pan and distribute ingredients into an even layer. Continue to cook on medium low for about 5-8 minutes.
Start the broiler. When eggs have mostly set, but there’s a little liquid remaining, place skillet under broiler and cook, checking every 1-2 minutes, until the frittata is fully set.
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