Earlier this month I was going through my pantry and I couldn’t believe how many things I had on my shelves, and how many of those things had been there for as long as I could remember! I went to my freezer and I encountered the same thing. My freezer was overflowing with bulk foods, hunted meat, and extra food. I thought to myself, “I bet we could eat for a whole month just on the things I already have in my pantry and my freezer without going to the grocery store.” So that’s exactly what I’m going to do! With the help of my garden, of course. 

Not only is this a lesson in overindulgence at the grocery store, it’s also a lesson in saving money, meal planning, and organization. I’m going to test my abilities to use what I already have to make some creative meals, and I’ll see how much money I save at the end. 

First Step: Purging and Organizing

When I decided I wanted to do this, I took everything off my shelves and put them on the floor. That helped me to see how many things I really had, and made it easier for me to put it back on my shelves in an organized manner. Full disclosure: my pantry items stayed on my floor for much longer than I intended. I even grabbed things off the floor for making meals, haha. However, it’s all back on the shelves now! I got rid of many things that were expired (though I tend to eat things way past the expiration… don’t judge me!) and I got everything organized. 

You’ll notice, I have a lot of things in my pantry that you might not expect, like Cheez-Its and Life cereal. This is a great time for you to take a good look at what you’re buying, but I’m a firm believer that there’s no good food or bad food, just some food we eat more of and some we eat less of. For the stuff that isn’t very healthy, I keep it in the back so I don’t see it often, and I try not to buy it very often. 

Second Step: Meal Planning

Next, before putting all the food back in my pantry, I made an Excel spreadsheet outlining all of my food to make meal planning easier. I’m a nerd like that, and I love spreadsheets, but I think this will be a super useful step for me in this challenge. (The entire list is uploaded to the Our Womanhood group!) I’d like to know what I have so I can make a plan. I’ve also decided to use my garden for fresh veggies, but if you don’t have a garden, you might want to think about how you’ll include fruits veggies in this challenge. Maybe you choose to use canned fruits and veggies, or you make an exception for fresh foods like vegetables that expire before the challenge is up. Either way, make a meal plan that works for you!

I’ll be keeping everyone updated as I go through this challenge! I’ll post about things that go well, things I didn’t anticipate, and my biggest hurdles. I will also post about what I learn and the money I saved. If you do this challenge too, keep me updated! Tell me about your tips and tricks!

Post your progress using the #nogroceryshoppingchallenge hashtag!

xo Natalie 

P.S. If you’re interested in getting my Excel spreadsheet for a no grocery store challenge, you can get that information and more on meal planning and budgeting by signing up for my lifestyle site called Our Womanhood!