The problem with saving

February 04, 2013

The thing is, it's hard to save. There is always something to spend your money on. Sure, sure, I am an American consumer to the core, but I think being an expat makes it even harder. You have to gut your belongings and buy a lot of things quickly - and with cash only, of course - upon arrival in your new city halfway around the world, only to find out when you're still here three years later that maybe you made the wrong purging and purchasing decisions (I still regret letting go of my olive J.Crew jacket, dammit...). Don't even get me started about the way bills work here either. That first January we learned about the massive utilities settlement bill that comes for the entire previous year that pretty much wiped us out. Good times. It just seems like there's always something coming up.

On the not-so-great purchasing decisions front, our meager pan collection had been getting to me for some time. The few Ikea ones we had were so thin, they practically bent like aluminum foil and required keeping a screwdriver handy to tighten the handles after every use, lest they fall off. Using the one non-stick pan we had meant picking out black coating from our meal to avoid cancer and/or PFOA poisoning. The fact that I had graduated from an 'I burn water' to an 'I just threw this together - without a recipe' kind of cook only exacerbated the issue of our pathetic cookware. 

My spicy orange-ginger beef creation - without non-stick coating included

So when a major housewares retailer was going out of business and slashing their prices last month, we figured it was worth a look. Everything we were finding was a Goldilocks kind of situation - this set is too small, this set is missing an important-sized pan - until we happened upon the set you see above at the far end of the store. It was so comprehensive we couldn't pass it up - not to mention 60 percent off. Since significant German sales hardly ever happen (seriously, I've seen the same sweater on the P&C sale rack for three years running, not once being additionally reduced in an effort to move it), we figured such a large purchase was well worth it. We knew we'd never see, let alone be able to afford, something like this here again.  

So shiny, so pretty... so promising of all the good food to come

January did involved this little setback in our Berlin savings plan, but on the plus side, my desire to cook has not waned in its usual way since this purchase. I look forward to meals where I can use multiple pans from the set and the indulgence of using a proper steamer pot for things like broccoli and tamales. I hand wash and dry all the pieces in our shiny new collection and put them lovingly back on the shelf to inspire my next meal. I think In short, I've become a bit of a hausfrau nerd. We may have set our Berlin departure date back a bit, but it's certainly going to be a tasty journey getting there.  

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische