Friday, March 8, 2019

Fridge, Freezer & Pantry Challenge

I made it! 
I made it through a week of only eating foods found in my freezer, fridge or pantry. 

I want to share my (10) lessons.

But first, the background. Why did I decide to do this?
1. Last weekend I had decided to do a budget. 
When I was finished, I was very alarmed at the amount of money I had been spending.
2. I had just started reading the book Essentialism. In it, it goes over how we think so many things are essential, that really aren't (this is probably the most simple way to explain it- this book is life changing). 
3. I also listen to the Minimalist podcast. I could see that things were getting way out of hand.
4. I was noticing too much waste being thrown out each week when I did my fridge/freezer/pantry clean out before trash day. 

I stood and stared at everything and my first (usual) Sunday thought was-
 I need to hit the grocery store! 
Then I decided, no. I spend too much at the store, I'm not using what I already have effectively. Granted, I didn't really have that much in my cabinets, but I knew I had enough, and I was ready to prove it to myself.

There were days where I had lunch that consisted of graham crackers and peanut butter but hey- it was good. It's not what I would have wanted, but it hit the spot. There were also days where I had full on gourmet meals (did you guys see the scallops and the no bake dessert I made from items I already had?!)

What did I learn?
1. I never ran out of food. I'm still not out of food. I'm very tired of what I have, but I still have food. So therefore, I never went hungry. I mean, I still have pantry items that are going to last me a while. 

2. I was still able to make healthy meals. Part of this is because I shop pretty healthy, so I was happy about this. 

3. I buy WAY TOO MUCH breakfast food! Why am I so obsessed with breakfast? Man I really love Michele's Granola though. 

4. Freezer items should not be underestimated. Freezer foods probably won't go bad, and allow you to still eat nutritiously. I knew this already, but I feel like now I understand the importance even more. 

5. Eating out (for me) should be a treat, not something that I do regularly. I need to pull in the reigns. 

6. I did WAY more dishes than usual! I think I loaded and unloaded my dishwasher 2- 3 times this week. Families are laughing I'm sure, but as a single person, I probably run it once a week. Not sure about the effect there on my BGE bill. We will see. 

7. I estimated that I saved about $150 this week (at least). Imagine what I could do in a month. 

8. I accomplished more because I was home more. 

9. I learned the value of meal prep BEFORE going to the grocery store. At the beginning of this week I looked through everything and decided on meals. If I do this each week before I hit the store (and I mean really go through everything) I will be much more successful at saving on costs and waste.

10. I was less stressed. With less in the fridge/freezer/pantry, it was less chaos, and I was able to cut through the clutter and easily decide on meals! 

What do you guys think? 
Would you try it at the expense of less stress, saving money and wasting less? I found it to be very eye opening. 

Have a great weekend!
-SBR


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