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A new grocery challenge. Fed up of wasting food and money.

August 22nd, 2008 at 07:32 pm

I picked 12 pounds or roma tomatoes today and made them into sauce tonight. It was fantastic.

So good, it inspired me to clean out the fridge. I couldn't find a spot for the sauce leftovers.

When I threw away an entire grocery bag of spoiled food, I realized something had to change.

We spend A LOT on food. I don't even know how much. It's a category where we have no spending limits.

Well, that's going to change. We're obviously wasting a lot, and that is unacceptable, for many reasons.

So, I am going to institute a grocery challenge. I'm not sure exactly how it will work but I have a rough outline.

Step 1. Tally up how much we spend each month on dinners out and groceries.

Step 2. Reduce both of those amounts by 25 percent for Sept. and October, with the ultimate goal of reducing it to 50 percent of current spending within 6 months.

Step 3. A cook at home challenge. This may help accomplish step 2, and help us eat healthier. I have been wanting to make more home-cooked meals and have lately, but I can do better. I will start looking for healthy, possibly vegetarian cookbooks at the library.

Step 4. Plant a wonderful garden next spring. My plans were derailed this year due to being too pregnant to bend over. Hard to plant seedlings that way. I will focus on foods we eat often and items that we use that are expensive. Third, specialty varieties and items we can freeze for winter.

I do most of the grocery shopping, so I shouldn't need to enlist the hubby's help in this. Plus, he loves home-cooked food, so he'll be on board.

The money we save (compared to our current average monthly food expenditures) will go into our savings account, which frankly could use a boost because we just spent $7200 on a new roof.

5 Responses to “A new grocery challenge. Fed up of wasting food and money.”

  1. baselle Says:

    Step 3a. Control the fullness of the refrigerator. Filling it stuffed makes one feel great, like the wolves have been kept at bay, but if the refeer is too full, I lose track of items. Best fullness for me is about 1/2 full, maybe 3/5. Full enough for choice, but empty enough so that I can see everything at a glance.

    Step 3b. Exit strategy of items a bit over the hill. I'm not talking about poisonous stuff, just items where you think ... "I have to do something with it tomorrow at the latest." Gratin, stew, soup, roasted w/ tahini sauce.

  2. thriftorama Says:

    Both good ideas. I removed a shelf in the fridge. It makes it easier to see what's hiding in the back, and I agree about leaving it more empty. I am going to keep it at the level it's at now, which is about 1/3 full. we can see exactly what's to eat!

    We'll see how this goes!

  3. fern Says:

    Just an fyi, the freezer, unlike the fridge, works better when it's stuffed full.

  4. crazyliblady Says:

    I put an old jug 1/2 filled with water in the freezer to keep it full. It is supposed to make the freezer work more efficiently and use less electricity. I will watch for the impact on my electric bill. Hmmm...

  5. my english castle Says:

    I've tried (and mostly succeeded) making the fridge clean out part of my evening or morning routine.

    We're bad about forgetting dribs and drabs of things and if I take a look, I can remember to incorporate them in either my lunch or throw them into the dinner mix.

    I'm with baselle--too full is a recipe for disaster for me. I've also been trying to eat down some of the staples. My mom used to date boxes of everything when she bought them--which I thought was nuts, but faced with stuff on the shelf like curry sauce or Thai cooking sauce that I can't remember how old it is, I'm beginning to think (shock horror) that she had a point.

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