For the whole month of January I took on a challenge to limit my grocery shopping to only fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, and bread. The point was to use what food I had on hand and to use up food items that were getting close to expiring. Along with the grocery buying I also decided to quit eating out too. Hubby and I had gotten in the habit of eating out every Friday night. Along with that I was stopping and picking up a pizza now and then or other takeout 1-2 times a week. THAT ALL STOPPED. This is what I learned:
I had a lot of food on hand. Because our church has encouraged us to keep a goodly stock of food stored up I knew we wouldn't starve by any means.
I found stuff in my freezer that I had completely forgotten about that would have gone bad had I not used it. I even found a whole chicken in the back of the freezer that was dated Oct. 2008. I would not have used it but it had been double wrapped, so I cooked it. I acutally go two meals out of it.
This challenge forced me to take a look at the amounts of food I was making for every meal. You see, I have four children (who are all grown and married) and I never transitioned over to cooking for two. When I made a pot of spaghetti, it wasn't a small pot, it was large enough to feed eight people. Was that necessary? NO! I would end up throwing it out the next week because we got sick of eating the leftovers. I can't tell you how much food I was wasting, it was sinful.
One of the best things to come out of this challenge was that I found that I didn't have to fix large meals with all of the trimmings EVERY NIGHT. Sometimes just biscuits and gravy were enough of a meal for us. Making smaller meals really cut down on the cooking and clean-up time too.
The BEST thing to come out of all of this is the extra $5oo I was able to put into savings.
This challenge has really changed the way I cook and buy groceries. I think the next step I will make is to start couponing. I have heard that you can have a ton of savings just by doing this.
Does anyone know of any good blogs or websites that help in this area?