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.
First, 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.
Second, 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 we spent a bit less than $30 on 16 pounds of onions, and 20 pounds of potatoes--grown locally without synthetic chemicals.
But, 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.
This 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!


  1. I love how "making do" can bring out the creativity tenfold. :D

    1. It really is one of the best muses, isn't it?!

  2. Well, I am certainly impressed. So, if you can have beer, I can have Coke?

    I probably do that with all I have stocked up on. I, like you, stock up on staples when they are on sale and I have a coupon.

    Fresh milk (okay, it is not fresh in the store. got it.) would be my downfall. Milk and fresh green stuff would be hard to do without.

    Both your exceptions sound reasonable to me. Maybe I will do the same challenge after Christmas. You have inspired me.


    1. Ha! Yes, sounds like a Coke allowance is more suited to you!

      You'll have to let me know if you do the challenge. After we stock up on a few things at the start of the month (oats, shortening, flour) we're going to continue into December with the challenge, but we're open to snagging that occasional super-deal at the discount grocer.

  3. Congrats! Such wonderful savings!

    1. Its been surprising how much we've not spent that we otherwise would have...sometimes its too easy to just buy something, usually that I don't chips. This has been pretty interesting!

  4. How awesome!! And it certainly looks like you're eating very well. So much color in your meals, I love it.


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