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Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

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Toronto, Canada
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Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

We are going to Paris on a budget and since we are not big foodies, we are looking for ways to save some money. We will eat at restaurants occasionally but spending 50-100 euros everyday just on food doesn't sound right to us. I was wondering if its a good idea to carry some instant noodles, pan-cake mixes, some instant coffee, jams etc to be able to make quick meals in the morning? We are renting an apartment so we will have access to stove/microwave etc.

As i said, we are not big foodies who would like to try new restaurants everyday and spend money blindly - so please don't comment on cheaping out.

Paris, France
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1. Re: Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

You can get anything you need in Paris. Why would you want to pack noodles and jam?

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

Why waste suitcase space to bring these items from Canada? There are supermarkets all over Paris that carry these items, at very reasonable prices. The people who live in Paris do not eat out every night.

Denver, Colorado
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for Paris, Denver
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3. Re: Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

I wouldn't pack those. We do sometimes pack protein bars. My boyfriend get cranky if he's hungry, this way I can throw him a snack and all is good again :-)))))

For breakfast, you really should try some croissants. Otherwise, just buy a container of oatmeal and you'll have cheap nutritious breakfast all week.

For dinner, it's a bit harder. My favorite dinners in Paris were always bread, butter, and cheese :-)

Edit: Don't miss out on the fun of shopping in supermarkets. I try to stop by one on every trip, it's so interesting how things are different (or the same) throughout the world.

Edited: 30 March 2014, 05:12
Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

For breakfast send someone out to the nearby bakery to pick up breakfast bread while the other person makes the coffee. A baguette will cost you about one Euro. Stock the kitchen with coffee, tea, milk, OJ, butter and jam , yogurts or whatever you like. (we love the yogurt selection which is broader than what we typically have in US supermarkets) If you prefer cereal, that is easily available. There are whole aisles of breakfast foods in supermarkets.

For lunch pick up sandwiches at bakeries wherever you find yourself. You could also buy ham slices, cheese, baguettes and make your own for even less. Pick up fruit at markets. Lunch is also the best time for nice meals out -- the nicer restaurants often have lunch menus similar to their dinner menus but costing about 60% or so as much.

You can buy cheap dinner food at Picard, or ingredients in supermarkets. Or buy a rotisserie chicken from a butcher -- they are terrific. If you pick them up in outer arrondissements they tend to cost much less than in the pricier neighborhood but they are a bargain anywhere and so good.

It is totally unnecessary to shlep this kind of stuff across the world. Pack a few snacks, but once you get to Paris you can buy anything you need and we always love hitting the cookie aisle where there commercial packaged cookies are different and often tastier than some available to us. We particularly like the breakfast cookies that come in separate little packs of four and thus make great emergency snack food to tuck into purse or pocket.

vancouver, BC
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5. Re: Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

MarilynKT….imho, I think it is a good idea to bring some of the essentials with you so you don't need to buy a large bottle or a huge bag or a jar of something which you will only use a little bit.

We have never rented an apt in Paris but when we do rent a condo in Mexico, we do bring our own spices in ziploc bags so we don't need to buy an entire bag of it in Mexico. In addition, we would also bring our favorite noodles (instant kind) ; our favorite tea bags; and a few snacks which we can't get in Mexico.

As long as it isn't too heavy for you, I think it would be wise so you don't need to look for a supermarche upon arrival.

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6. Re: Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

For our last trip abroad, I packed Instant Oatmeal, granola bars, jerky, and almonds and sandwich bags to pack the snacks, I landed up taking most of it back with me! It did not take up that much space and the almonds did come in handy on one particularly long day. I loved shopping at the grocery store and eating different brands of foods (now I am looking forward to that yummy sounding yogurt).

Victoria, Canada
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7. Re: Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

One thing I always pack is ziplock baggies.. you can buy stuff at store and markets and have a way to divide it up and throw a baggie full in your purse for snacks. As others have said there are grocers all over you can buy things at comparable prices..

I do think if renting an apartment it helps if they have things like salt , pepper and some other spices available there.. the one I rented from does.. but when we rent ski chalets here there is never anything left as the housekeeping throws out all left overs.. so just to be safe.. pack a few spices.. whatever you normally use( garlic powder, steak seasoning, oregano, etc) so you don;t have to buy a big container in Paris. That should take no more room then a tube of toothpaste. Don't go overboard.. there is alot of great stuff in paris to shop for and enjoy.

Ottawa, Canada
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8. Re: Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

I too pack zip lock bags; they weigh so little, and are handy for packing lunches. Also, I bring coffee. Yes, I know I could buy it in Paris, but again, it does not weigh a lot, and I don't need to waste any. I measure out how much we need for the duration of our stay and bring it.

One other handy thing are a couple of very small freezer packs. (from the dollar store) As we often make and carry a lunch, and we travel in the summer, I find they keep the lunch cool. We just freeze them again in the evening, and they are ready to go.

We often buy a baguette from the local bakery in the morning for just less than one Euro. I fill it with meat or cheese - whatever - and cut it in three for the three of us to have at lunch. We carry bottled water purchased at the grocery store, and it's a very inexpensive lunch that is ready to eat whenever we are.

Edited: 30 March 2014, 13:33
Paris, France
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9. Re: Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

Here are current prices at Monoprix, though other supermarkets will be a little less expensive. Maybe you could do the math and see what is really worth bothering about. All prices in centimes or euros.

1 liter milk - .83

250g butter - 1.91

6 eggs - 1.74

4 pots yogurt - 1.55

370g strawberry jam - 1.47

25 servings instant coffee - 2.22

750 g granulated sugar - 2.39

1 kilogram flour - .71

300 ml Knorr ready-to-eat chicken noodle soup - 1.65

1 baguette - 1.10

PS - do not bring either laundry detergent or dishwashing soap to Paris. The machines here use different products, and you don't want to be responsible for damaging them. If you need small amounts of laundry detergent, go to a "laverie libre-service" (coin laundry) and buy what you need from the machines there. Usually, some cleaning products will be left for you in the aprartment - you should ask about this.

Edited: 30 March 2014, 13:55
Val-de-Marne, France
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10. Re: Pack instant food (mixes)/coffee/jam to save money on food?

For a short stay it makes sense to bring tea bags or instant coffee (although most places will have a drop coffee machine and probably some coffee and coffee filters already) as well as the basic salt/pepper/spices (that too should be available at the apartment but you never know). Apart from that, there is absolutely no need to buy jam, instant noodles, etc, they are available and cheap here. A standard 360g jar of supermarket brand jam costs about 1 €, a smaller jar will often cost more (fancier brand).