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Fewer trips to the grocery store

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I've been reading a few blogs about taking back control of the pantry, refrig and freezer. The gauntlet has been thrown and I'm joining for a bit of time. The challenge is to go 30 days without going to the grocery store. No cheating by loading up before the starting bell. I've been thinking about it, especially since my refrig is very full from summer produce. :hapydancsmil:


My thoughts on this topic have been positive. I've been watching myself and realize that I scan the sales from various stores every week. I certainly can find something that I "NEED". Then I make the lists and head off to the store. I will need to have a better menu-planning program in place. I think this could be fun and certainly challenging.


What if I stopped window shopping for a few days and focus on what I already have? Isn't it true that over a billion people live on $1 per day or less? An estimated 26,000 children die every day due to starvation or preventable diseases? When I start thinking of them I realize how rediculous I can get with buying buying buying.


Anyway, I've enjoyed the past few days without thinking about food that might be on sale. How creative can I get with the ton of food I already have (not actually a ton :ashamed0002: )?


I think the biggest obstacle will be dairy, eggs and other perishable items. I tbelieve it's time that I try those dried eggs and powdered milk products once again.


THERE! I said it and now I want to live it. :imoksmiley:

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What about those that visit farms? I've read several that still visit farms & farmers markets. They also barter for needed items, but they don't step foot in an actual grocery store. I go to a farm weekly for certain items. I've considered the same similar thing, but I'd still go to the local places for the farm fresh items.

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I did this challenge a few years ago during the summer. It got a little hairy towards the end part because the meals were a little boring. I honestly don't know if I could do this challenge right now with school starting up this week because I'm so tired I can barely drag myself out of the bed...some of the convenience foods are going to happen until I can adjust to being back at work.

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Farm animals won't work right now. We travel too much. No house plants either. :grinning-smiley-044:


I like buying from local farmers too. I think the current challenge is to use what I already have. We have to get creative instead of reading the flyer, running to the store, and adding to our larder. I don't think I can do it without a menu plan, though. That means some time going over my inventoried freezer and bulk food storage. It's easier to buy it, pack it away, and then forget about much of it. Rotation is also a big part of why I'm trying this challenge. I tend to default to what's easiest due to time and energy.


Milk and butter is the first to become short. My inventory sheet said I had a few more pounds of butter in the freezer than I found last night. Had to toss out the yummy zucchini dessert idea because it called for 1-1/2 cups butter. :blush:


So far, thinking through my food choices has also caused us to eat healthier. The garden helps too. Watermelon, blackberries, raspberries, grapes, etc. :whistling:

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What blog are you reading the challenge on? I might try doing it later in the year once things settle down. I did find it really helpful to help clean out my freezer and refrigerator.

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I'm always of two minds about things like that.


On the one hand, it would be nice to see how the food would all even out (or not) and what things need to be increased for storage.


But the flip side is that keeping enough (subject to personal whim) food on hand is hard enough without adding in the possibility of using up the stored goods just before something happens and you're caught short.. sure you'd have the money you would have spent that month to catch up.. but if something happened before you got caught up... :runcirclsmiley2:

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What if's can paralyze us if we're not careful. :hug3:


I noticed that there are various blogs about not buying for 30 days, from 2011 and into 2014. The one I found and tweaked was:



"Don't waste the crumbs" was a cute name for their website. The comments at the bottom of the page from others was fun to read. We're all in this together. :grinning-smiley-044:


By not shopping all the time, it forces me to think through what I have and how I will prepare it. Defaulting all the time gets expensive. I'm looking at the prospect of "can I really integrate those lentils, TVP and bulgur or should I donate them and make room for something we might like more.


There's not excuse I can't find great recipes on the Internet anymore. But, I won't do it if I'm not forced into it. I'd rather do it before I'm forced into it or my stomach starts growling out of control. :laughkick:

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Sure, but I grew up with a pantry system so I cook from it, other than running out of our favorites there's no doubt I can cook with it.. when I shop I buy sale items and fresh/perishable items and I do use what's stored.


That's why I'm always of two minds about it, I guess, I don't have a pressing need to clear out or learn to use stuff. My stocked up stuff stays rotated and we use everything I have stocked. And as far as using stuff in the depths of the cupboards or freezers.. I pull that stuff out when I defrost the freezer and make plans to use it asap and when there's a canned food drive and grab anything we haven't used (since obviously we're ignoring it) and donate that stuff (and it's usually been given to us which is why it's there being ignored) And so the actual need to do it is on a par with the risk.. and so I waffle. :shrug:

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I've never ever used recipes on a normal basis. We can't do it. We do not go to the grocery store often enough. I hit a store mebbe 4 times a year. DH hates shopping so the most I can get him to do is pick up a FEW items now and then. Five is about the max he's going to want to do when he's been at work all day and still has an hour to commute home at night. Especially in the dark, winter season.


I simply start with protein...egg/meat/etc. Then figure out if I go with pasta/rice/potato. By that time I'm figuring out with nationality I'm spicing with [italian, Asian, Mexican, Hawaiian, Greek,....etc]. Veggie would mesh in with whatever seems to be forming as I look at:


1) what has to be used up

2) what's different from yesterday

3 ) what else goes with that or how can I re-make yesterday's meal [roast/veggie turn into stew, etc]



It's only two of us and we don't have many dislikes [except hot spice for me but I add to DH's dish later] It would be much harder if there were more of us...especially children with many dislikes. I only have so much energy so most meals are in oven, crockpot, or ready for fry pan within 15 min. Once I'm up....I'm zipping before I don't have energy to finish.


My biggest fail is that I can't access storage foods easily. Nor can I have them in an organized system...due to seriously small space. [it would help if my biggest space did not include rodent infestation nearly every year...] So I am caught out on rotation due to those factors. :(


DH and I already had a time of eating beans and soup for a year or more. Did it once, can do again. Not happy about ever-increasing tightening of our food budget these past 5 yrs ....and corresponding with less and less garden possible. Without the hope of God's provision, I'd be freaking out already these past years. :runcirclsmiley2: But.....we've had enough to stock up.... No where close to starving but it sure could get uninteresting at meal times....in some future Hooey.


MtRider..... :feedme:

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I would never risk this if I had a choice. But I do risk cuz I only stock up, as I mentioned, a few times per year.



So....if this is just a test, why risk anything? :scratchhead: If you want to catch sale things, put them aside in a tote or something and continue on with the exercise. Don't use them until it's over. :shrug: You can't buy fresh veggies or anything that can't be stored until after the test, of course....


.....I get VERY edgy when I haven't stocked up for a few months. I'm dodging around the holes but always thinking...I'd be so NOT happy if something happened right now! :( Why would we ever, if given a choice, leave ourselves vulnerable for no good reason? That's like not buckling your seat belt and saying that you're getting too paralyzed with fear of a auto accident and have to free yourself! If it makes sense to stock up, then keep stocked up. Use organization [separate goods] and self-discipline instead of risk.


MtRider ...sorry, I definitely understand the exercise for not laxing back on the easy stuff, but don't understand the need for risk :unsure:

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That was an interesting blog. I don't understand the need to have the cupboards emptied out though! I want mine full, even overflowing as she says, at all times! I shop for groceries once a month already. I've seen several "clear out the pantry" challenges on different frugal forums and never understood them either. I guess I just think differently. I keep my pantry and freezer stocked, I use the food I stock and I love having it fully stocked. I don't consider it "excess".

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This challenge has been an eye-opener. I didn't realize how so much of my life revolves around food thoughts. Sunday papers have so many coupons and grocery store flyers. I'm not sure I've ever said "no" to weekly adverts. before. :grinning-smiley-044:


I don't actually have to do the challenge. I have plenty in food storage but I generally default to our favorite meals, leaving some foods alone, i.e. sprout seeds. Some of the seeds don't sprout anymore. That would be tough in a lean winter around here.


Meal planning around larder sounds like work. Making up a month's worth of menus sounds so time-consuming. However, I've done it before when others live with us and it works great. We have more variety at the table and I spend less time thinking about what we're having for the next meal.


I'm finding that we're slowly losing weight, too. Onward and upward!! :happy0203:

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We're a lot like Mt_Rider. Our budget allows us to 'stock up' once a year. Then, miscellaneous things get added once a month.

I never planned a month's worth of meals. DH really does not like to eat the same thing, day after day. I freeze leftovers to use some other time, dating them to make sure they do not get forgotten or freezer burn.

The yearly 'stock up' is mainly dry goods, herbs and spices, to give us a variety between "... [italian, Asian, Mexican, Hawaiian, Greek,....etc]...". Meat and veggies are our main monthly purchases.


MIL even mentioned that prices are going up more and more and she is getting less and less.


I will agree, 'why deplete your cupboards for an experiment?' Honestly, that would scare the beejeebies out of me. We don't have the income to take that type of risk.






...patiently waiting for next years 'stock up'.... (because we were unable to do our 'stock up' this year, and I am already using last years' beans.)

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Many of you are probably aware, but just in case...did you know that if you're an Amazon Prime member, you can shop in the "prime pantry" and buy bulk & have free shipping? We haven't checked out all the variables about pricing, but we're figuring if there's no shipping charges it's gotta save somewhere :-)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've thoroughly enjoyed this challenge of eating what we have and not running to the grocery store so often. The refrig takes the biggest beating during the summertime due to our huge garden. If we eat more out of there first, there's no need for shopping except for milk or fruit. Not looking at the grocery store flyers each week has been the hardest habit to break for this challenge. Then I remember that there's nothing on sale that won't be coming back around. And if not? We didn't NEED it anyway. Learning wants/needs has also been an eye-opener.


This week? Create a month's worth of main meals by using what we have in storage. It's more procrastination than actual paperwork! Also, losing weight has been a side benefit because I actually THINK about what I put in my mouth instead of feeding every stomach growl that comes along. It's also a good reminder that I'm not drinking enough water. :grinning-smiley-044:

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