Last summer we bought a deep freezer. There was the opportunity for us to receive food that wasn’t going to be used due to everything being closed and we couldn’t turn that away so we made space in the garage and filled up our new freezer with food.
And fill it we did. Almost a year later there were definitely things that had gotten lost, food that we really needed to eat, and between that freezer and the fridge/freezer we had a lot of food. So we challenged ourselves, we weren’t going to buy any groceries for the entire month of April.
Summer is a real season of fresh produce for us. Between our own garden, our CSA box, and the farmer’s markets that we love to frequent we mostly only eat fruits and veggies which is wonderful, but it means we barely touch the freezer. We wanted to make a dent in the food we did have before this season started, plus it would save us lots of money, and make us get creative with some of the things we did have.
So one day we took everything out of the freezer. We wrote down ideas for things we really needed to use, tried to organize the freezer (that was a fail), and really remember all the food that we did have and should be using. We also wrote down the very short list of things that we were allowed to buy which included eggs, cashew milk, and english muffins (which we ended up try to make instead).
Now if you read my post last month about meal planning you would know that I try to plan out the meals for the week on Sunday and then pick from those meals the night before or day of. Having a list of things that I needed to use really helped me with this as I had built in meal ideas ready to go. I also made an area of the freezer with easy items so if we needed to switch it up quickly things like frozen ravioli and dumplings were in one area that I could grab from.
The real question that is on everyone’s mind is, how did we do?
Honestly, pretty well.
Did we pick up things from the grocery store? Yes we did, but it was very very minimal. A pack of strawberries because they are starting to be not as pricy, some seaweed for a salmon bowl (that was absolutely incredible), some snacks (which I am not counting since this was really focused on more meal foods), and we did eat out a few times, but overall we really accomplished our goal.
Our freezers are not empty by any means, but we have been able to get rid of some things that had been in there for a long time, get in the habit of using the frozen foods in our meals, and save a bit of money in the process.
Overall it really wasn’t too hard to go a month without groceries. It does help that there is only the two of us at home, but I think it is a challenge that many people could do. The only thing I really missed was lettuce/spinach. We didn’t have much for produce at the end, but we have lots of frozen fruits and vegetables in the freezer so we were working on using those instead, but lettuce is something that you can’t really replace with a frozen version, but it was something we could work around.
Now that it is May we have visited both Costco and the Farmers market and our fridge is full of fresh produce again, but I am still working on the freezer as much as I can. I still have a list of items I want to use up and areas of my freezer to grab from quickly.
Let me know if you have any questions about preparing to do a “no groceries” month and what we learned (and why we are probably going to do it again).
Have you ever tried to go without groceries? What are some of your tips and tricks?