Life is interconnected and so are the topics on this blog. It might be cooking and gardening one day, yoga the next, knitting and sewing, or hiking and then bird watching followed by recycling or composting. They are the parts that bring humble joy to my life of voluntary simplicity in Montana.
Matt and I have undertaken a little challenge this month. The challenge is to not spend any money on food in the month of November.
We were taking stock of the food we had at the house and realized
that we thought it was a very, very possible challenge for us. We've
got a freezer loaded with garden-fresh goodness and pre-made staples:
sweet peppers, spicy peppers, pesto, carrots, gnocchi, pancakes, bread,
spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. We've got seemingly years worth of
dried beans and non-dairy milk (we stock up whenever there is a good
price). We've got shelves full of tomato sauce, tomato sauce, apple
sauce, apple pie filling, apple juice, grape juice, pickles, jellies,
etc. We've got baskets and bags full of fresh potatoes, carrots, and
onions in storage. All we had to do was make sure we had enough oil and
flour and we figured we'd be set. (As it turns out we should have also
made sure we had enough oats, but we didn't... so its been a nearly
oat-free month, but that's okay.)
Before I go any further I will say that there were two caveats to this challenge.
we allowed ourselves an $8 per week beer allowance. Basically, we like
to have a nice beer on our Friday night and forgoing this simple
pleasure we thought would be possibly the least enjoyable aspect of our
non-spending month. Since we don't make our own beer (yet! Our first
batch is fermenting as we speak though!) we didn't see any way around it
other than to allow ourselves that beer budget.
we take part in a local food buying club that only has food delivery
dates quarterly...and the delivery date for this quarter fell in
November...so we spent a bit less than $30 on 16 pounds of onions, and
20 pounds of potatoes--grown locally without synthetic chemicals.
that's it. Other than those two things we've done no food shopping
since the last week in October. Matt's decided he could really get used
to not running to the store every week!! We even made a scrumptious
thanksgiving meal with only what we had on hand. Its been a fun and
interesting challenge. It made us reflective about where our food
dollars would normally go. Its inspired us to get a little creative in
the kitchen. And we've certainly saved money without feeling like we
are missing out on anything.
While I know
no-food-shopping cannot last forever--I like to have a stockpile of
dried good and when things are on discount one must strike while the
iron is hot, so to speak--I think we may have had a slight epiphany on
how little we can spend on food and still eat well--very well, in fact.
challenge had also made us all the more appreciative of the gifts from
our garden. Gardening really is the bee's knees! Matt is figuring out
the cost savings from our garden bounty, but I can tell its more than
paid off already. And its so convenient to just run to the pantry than
to the grocery store!