Not Buying Groceries For Awhile.

I wanted to write about something I started on the first day of February. It was a necessity that became a choice. When we had to pull money out of our precious savings to pay for February’s rent after unexpected medical bills, car repairs, and my husband’s trip to Vegas in January, I knew we had to do something about it other than the usual attempt to avoid spending money. On occasion, when our budget runs tight, I’ll forgo grocery shopping and just focus on consuming what we have in our home until the next payday, which is usually within the week.
So, during that week, I made a tofu scramble using a block of tofu I left neglected in the fridge and scraps other veggies that I was running out of. It was delicious. I made another one the next day. Another time, I made tacos using tortillas I found in the back of the shelf, rice, and more scraps. They were delicious and things I hadn’t made in awhile because I was blind to what I had in my own kitchen! I also stopped to visit my parents and noticed their full pantry and stocked fridge. I counted over five different boxes of cereal, nearly a dozen packages of spaghetti, many cans of soups and veggies, bags of chips, a fridge stocked with meat and dairy products, and another freezer in the basement for extra frozen stuff. Whoa! Knowing that many families have similar amounts of food stored in their homes, it surprises me that people still go out to buy more or claim, “we have nothing to eat!” I’ve been guilty of saying the same thing, too. I don’t want to do that anymore. Around the same time, Joshua Becker shared this article on living with excess food in which the writer and his wife don’t buy groceries for a month. I decided to do something similar. I’m stretching it out even more.

I will stop buying groceries until I use up nearly everything in my kitchen.

We won’t spend money dining out, either.

What I’m hoping this will do for me:

  • Cut back on grocery costs.
  • Help me be creative in the kitchen.
  • Use up certain foods that have been sitting around for too long.
  • Prepare us for tiny house kitchen living.
  • Understand our food buying and eating patterns and habits.
  • Just to see if we can do it!

There have been a couple exceptions: a party we hosted over the weekend in which we acquired cupcakes, wine, & a bag of Doritos; my husband buying $25 worth of groceries* the day I told him about this ‘project’ so he could ‘survive’ lunch; and a couple meet-ups with friends. Yet, we don’t really buy too much because we have a small kitchen (our food fits in a fridge and two upper cabinets) and it wasn’t even ‘stocked’ like it usually is at the time I had this idea. Food has been consumed since then, but I still took an inventory of everything we have right now — the morning of February 12, 2013 — both mine & Kyle’s foods.

In our freezer:
a tube of cinnamon rolls
Boca vegan burgers
Bag of frozen chicken breasts
bag of mangos
bag of sliced peaches
bag of whole strawberries
bag of vegetable medley
bag of green peas
bag of edamame
bag of broccoli florets
cake pop bites
half bottle of absolut vodka
spelt flour
soy flour
shredded coconut
a dead frog
*ice cream bars

In the fridge:
nearly empty bottle of Midori (had this bottle for four years)
sweet & sour mixer
almond milk
gallon of milk
2 cucumbers
half an onion
1/2 bag of red potatoes
flax seeds
2 wheat tortillas
head of broccoli
1 lemon
*wheat bread
*peanut butter
*bottle of Sprite (for mixed drinks)

In the fridge door:
italian salad dressing
balsamic cranberry salad dressing
whipped cream
Chipotle mayo
chocolate sauce
soy sauce
stir fry sauce
pickle jar (with one lone pickle)
1/4 jar of tomato sauce
Earth Balance ‘mayo’
BBQ sauce
lemon juice
maraschino cherries
Earth Balance butter
Parmesan cheese

Cabinet one:
sliced almonds
sunflower seeds
candy canes
steel cut oats
garbanzo beans
instant mashed potatoes
1/4 box of spaghetti
basmati rice
instant brown rice
1 1/2 packages egg-free egg noodles
brown rice noodles
vegetable stock
2 packages rice mixes
1 can of corn
1 can of vegetarian baked beans
bread crumbs
chicken noodle soup
tomato basil soup
lentil soup
pasta and three beans soup
instant tapioca pearls
homemade raspberry jam
*bowl of doritos
*peanut butter sandwich crackers

Cabinet two:
various spices and extracts
canola oil
popcorn kernels
raw agave nectar
popcorn oil
red wine vinegar
sesame oil
chili oil
small jar of grated ginger
chia seeds
cinnamon sticks
coconut oil
apple cider vinegar
can of coconut milk
brown rice syrup
cacao powder
baking powder
baking soda
rainbow sprinkles
brown sugar
whole wheat flour
2 bags of powdered sugar
nutritional yeast
hot chocolate mixes
various teas (bagged and loose leaf)
green superfood powder

extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
*bottles of wine

Wow! I knew I had all of these but I didn’t really think about what I had until I wrote down this list. Granted, a lot of things are oils, powders, spices, etc., but they can be used to create a lot of different dishes. I also bought a lot of these to be used in a recipe that I tried once or never at all. It’s time to put them to use or ditch the recipes so I can avoid buying ingredients I don’t need.

The past eleven days have been good! Breakfasts were oatmeal, eggs, toast, and smoothies. Lunches were salads and leftovers. Dinners were anything we could do. We’ve eaten the food in our kitchen, used a couple gift cards to eat out, had some meals at our parents’ houses, had food provided to us at events, and even had some sweet friends that paid for meal one night because we drove up to see them. One night, we brought food to Kyle’s parents’ to cook. I was proud of this because we opted out of stopping for food and brought our own!

We probably will have to buy groceries at some point (produce and lunch fixings), but I want to see how long this lasts. I predict that I will struggle with not having much produce (although the kale, apples, and broccoli have lasted awhile!) and my husband is having a hard time with this idea because he is a picky eater. But we should be OK. Millions of people around the world live on less. We’re surrounded with excess. I’ll post some updates in the next couple weeks!

3 thoughts on “Not Buying Groceries For Awhile.

  1. Hi again. Thanks for an entertaining article. I was feeling sorry for you until I got to your list. Please come see my house — you’ll feel like a millionaire, at least in the grocery dept. :-)Until a few months ago, I’d buy groceries 2 weeks at a time based on the fact that is how long 2 gallons of milk would last before spoiling. I’d make myself eat up everything before heading out to the store again if I could. Now that I’m sequestered to home due to health & Medicare rules, I have others shopping for me. That is good but not always. My father will bring me 24-48 cans of corn or pork & beans at once. Sorry, but I can’t eat that many beans in 1 month. A friend will forget I prefer skim milk (cheapest) & instead will bring 1% (drinkable) or 2% (drinkable only in hot chocolate mix) milk.I’ve learned to be creative with food. I can now microwave long grain rice. Add tomato sauce for not quite instant homemade Spaghetti-Os. Very yummy.PS: Do we want to know about the “one dead frog” on the list? 🙂

    1. Isn’t it ridiculous that despite feeling like my cupboards are bare, I really do have a decent amount of food?! Maybe you can make a list of your food preferences for your sweet friends and family to have so they can remember what you like the next time they bring you something. By the way — rice and tomato sauce is very creative and does sound yummy!As for the frog — I wondered if anyone would catch that! It’s a deceased pet (a very tiny frog) that I have yet to bury in a watery grave. I’m sentimental and didn’t have the heart to flush it down the toilet.

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