As I mentioned last night, I paid a visit to my grocery store yesterday. This was my first food shopping trip in two weeks! You might’ve noticed that in my posts this past week I’ve been using the phrase “I used the last of…” or “I didn’t have any…” quite a bit. Last Friday, I challenged myself to let my food stock deminish in order to force myself to use up some of the items that I buy but never get around to eating. Some of the items that I have run out of include:
Kashi Vanilla Hot Cereal
Fiber One Honey Clusters Cereal
Fruit (with the exception of frozen fruit)
Vegetables (with the exception of sprouts)
Mac & Cheese
Normally, running out of just 2 or 3 of those items would be enough to send me running to the grocery store out of fear of starvation. I tend to eat the same food over and over again, so when I’m missing a few regulars, I start to panic. By last Friday, I had run out of my Kashi and Fiber One cereals and my fruit and veggies supply had reached a critically low level. I immediately made plans to go shopping that evening to restock. But then I realized I still had enough food to make meals through Saturday, so I said I would go on Sunday. But then on Sunday I got too tired and Lost was on so then I said I don’t really need to go food shopping for at least another day. And here it is almost a week later, I finally made the decision that I had to go food shopping.
A Happy Fridge
The hardest part about not going shopping was running out of my fresh fruits and veggies. To help tie me over, I supplemented my meals with fruits and salads bought from either my work cafeteria or Panera. Those three little purchases really helped me go a little bit longer before shopping since I immediately feel unhealthy when I don’t have access to fruit or veggies.
I have plenty of food in my household to hold me over in between shopping trips. I need to start making a better effort at doing a realistic analysis of my food supply situation before jumping to the conclusion that I need to go shopping when I’m only out of a few items.
I need to make a better effort at tracking expiration dates and making sure that I eat the food before it goes bad to help avoid throwing expired items out and thus wasting money.
If I run out of a particular item that I feel like I can’t go without much longer (like fruits or veggies) I should buy just those items instead of making a full-blown shopping trip and restocking items that I’m not completely out of.
If I eat outside the house too often, I’m not going to eat the food in my house. If I think that I’m going to be eating out frequently, then I should probably buy less food to keep in my fridge.
I wish I could show you how much food I’ve wasted in prior months. I would throw away whole packs of chicken breasts, almost whole heads of lettuce, whole onions, peppers, potatoes, half full egg cartons, and countless other perishable items at least once (if not twice) a month. The cause? I would buy the food that I felt like I should be eating, but didn’t have the desire to actually eat or prepare it. Instead of making my own lunch, I would choose to eat in the cafeteria. Instead of making my own dinner, I would pick up fast food or snack on chips.
I never kept an accurate count of how much I was spending on groceries and eating out, but I would estimate it to be around $450 a month (sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more). I used to get so frustrated by this number and would ask myself how could one person be spending this much on food every month?? I also felt a tremoundous amount of guilt for the food that I was letting expire and wasting. I’m proud to say that between three grocery visits and getting food out twice, my food budget came in at just under $300 for the month of May! I decided that I am going to start tracking my food budget every month and give a recap on the blog to help keep me honest. I’d also like to note that this budget should be properly titled ‘household budget’ since items such as trash bags, toothpaste, dog food, and kleenexes are included in that total.