Moving to and living in the Netherlands has been challenging for me. I’m not gonna lie. I’ve spent plenty of days crying and almost buying a plane ticket back to the US. The first year was the worst. This year, my second year has been much better. I’ve made friends and gotten into the groove of things. I’ve even picked up a bunch of good habits. I don’t think I ever would have been able to implement these with the crazy work schedule in NYC.
1. Cooking at home
When I lived in NY, I was the worst at making meals at home. I probably ate like 90% of my meals out. Like I’d eat a snack at home, buy a bagel for lunch, and then go out to a restaurant for dinner. I still can’t believe I spent so much money on eating out. Now, I make a lot of my meals at home. My boyfriend and I normally eat out/order take out only once a week.
2. Buying Super Fresh Produce
I’ve always liked the smell of super fresh produce. My family and I went a lot as a kid to farmers’ markets. So I’m trying to get back into it. I love the fresh Dutch strawberries that they sell here. The taste is incomparable to the ones sold at the grocery store. They are so juicy and delicious.
3. Spending Smartly
I used to spend hundreds of dollars a year on coffee. Buying a latte or just a coffee at Starbucks or the coffee card near my office. I invested in a good coffee machine. It cost around $250 or something, but it’ll make me coffee for years. I spend maybe $30 total now on getting coffee out a year.
You wouldn’t believe how much money I spent on Uber per year living in NYC. We don’t have Uber in Roosendaal, the city where I live in the Netherlands. I had to find another mode of transport. For the Dutch, that’s a bicycle.
4. Biking Everywhere
Speaking of biking, I’ve become truly Dutch. My bicycle is my main mode of transportation. It’s a healthy and easy way of getting around. Not to mention, it’s great for the environment.
5. Saying No if I Don’t Feel Like Saying Yes
I’ve learned to put my foot down and say no. I used to feel so pressured to always hang out with everyone who asked, even if I didn’t like them. I don’t do that anymore. I try to invest my time in people that I like and with who I can build long-lasting relationships.
6. Buying in Bulk When There’s a Sale
Buying in bulk? What is that? I was so bad at this because I was always worried about spending a lot of money at the same time. But now I do this all the time. Buying in bulk can often save you so much money. Why wouldn’t you do this? Recently the tuna was super cheap at the grocery store, so I bought a bunch instead of just buying the usual one or two cans.
7. Not Feeling Pressured to Work 24/7
I love the Dutch work culture. You work your hours and then go home. Whatever you didn’t finish can be done tomorrow. They take proper vacations and cherish their time. I strongly dislike that in the US people are always working a few jobs at the same time. Many people aren’t satisfied and always want more money. The Dutch are completely the opposite. It’s so refreshing.
8. Trying Not to Judge
Coming from a very judgmental country, I’m learning to respect everyone as equals. Just because you clean or pick up trash for a living, it doesn’t make you less of a person. At the end of the day, we are all human and should act like it. Just because you have a different opinion than your colleague or family member, it doesn’t mean you have to cut all contact.
9. Buying Off Brand Food Items
I’m a Hellman’s mayo, Heinz ketchup, and Skippy peanut butter kind of girl. Let’s be honest, those brands are expensive for no reason. There are plenty of less expensive alternatives that are just as good. I almost never buy the name brand foods anymore.
Follow my adventures and say hello to me on my Instagram scribble_a_dream.
What good habits have you picked up recently?