The No-Grocery Challenge
A few weeks ago I was making a grocery list and going through my pantry and realized I had 7 cans of tomatoes. 7- for a one person household. I ended up with these 7 cans of tomatoes from stocking up at sales or with coupons and then putting them away in a cupboard where I forgot about them, only to buy more a few sales later. Same thing with my pasta and rice supply, frozen chicken in the freezer, and even frozen soups and prepared meals I made a few weeks back. All this food, yet I have still be going to the market almost every other week and spending money.
After taking an inventory of what I have and seeing what I eat and use the most, I decided an experiment was in order- to see if I could go a whole month without buying any groceries. As soon as I made that decision, I quickly realized that I would run out of milk in that time, which is an essential item for my tea and coffee. And while I have a good stock pile of frozen vegetables in the freezer, going a month without fresh fruit like bananas is not the healthiest decision either. So my no grocery month challenge has one asterisk, which is in the month time ( January 29- February 29), I can buy only the milk that I need and have a small budget of $10 for 2 weeks of fresh vegetables or fruit.
I have a set plan to make this month very do-able and I hope, sustainable for the future. While living off the pantry and freezer items will help my personal budget for one month, I also am hoping that it will help reframe my grocery shopping and meal planning for the future. As evidenced through my stockpile of canned tomatoes, I buy items I need when they are on sale and often don’t check my current stash before I head to the store. With some pantry staples I do like to have 2 of things so I don’t run out just when I think I need it, but seven is clearly too many. And while buying items like pasta when they are on sale and I have a coupon means a real savings for me, doing it multiple times a year on a one-person budget and one-person eating schedule is a bit much and I will donate some of my pantry non-perishables to a local food pantry too.
I am confident that I can do this challenge and make changes in how I spend money at the grocery store. I’m especially enjoying the opportunity to try out new recipes for pantry staples that can become standards in my meal rotation.
Have you ever done a no-grocery month? Any tips or helpful suggestions for me?