Thursday, November 17, 2011

Living Simply Part 2 - Food

I love grocery shopping. I could spend hours walking up and down the aisles of our local store. If I could get paid to do anything, besides being a mom and power-washing dirty transport trucks (yes, it's kind of my dream!), I would grocery shop for people. I also love deals. Flyer day gets me excited. I used to go through each one and carefully plan out where I would buy each item. I would often hit 3 or 4 different chains in a week to get the best price on certain things. Who knows if the gas used to get there was worth it but it I felt satisfied. Deal hunting is in my blood. My mom is the queen and when she found a good one when it came to food, she bought plenty. We had a room in our basement we nicknamed the "bomb shelter". It had shelves stocked with food and I'm sure you could last a year eating off the food in it. It was also great for playing store as a little girl. I remember Bran Flakes going on sale, which my brother loved, but there was a limit of 6, so my mom would send each of us into the store with money separately to take advantage.

While I don't mind being a deal-hunter and respect this trait passed onto me, I realize I have a problem. I buy TOO much food. Flyers are different these days now that my husband works for the biggest (and in my opinion, the best!) grocery chain around. I am pretty faithful to their stores and luckily love their products. But that hasn't seemed to curb my consumption. I have a large kitchen cupboard, basement pantry and deep freezer full of food. Besides the basics I can't avoid, I rarely buy things that aren't on sale. But do I really need 5 cake mixes even if they are only 99 cents? No. I'm all for saving money, but when saving money turns into things I never get to and items expired I can't even donate to a food bank, it's not good. I think it's okay to have a supply of food, especially of things we go through on a regular basis. We all love Triscuits so when they're less than $2, I stock up. The cereal Joel eats everyday is expensive so you can bet when it went on sale for half price, I bought a bunch. I know we'll go through them. But I need to cut down. I've had a dream for well over a year, of eating through our freezer. We're going to do it. The new PC Insider's report has come out with some great new products and I've decided I won't buy any of them until we've cleared out at least half of our food.

I don't think it's wrong to have a cupboard full of food, meals ready to go in the freezer and regular items on hand but I do want to simplify. Why? a) I don't want to buy things just because they are on sale...a clear weakness of mine. b) I want to look at the flyers and plan actual meals, hopefully a week in advance. c) I want to have less stuff in my house. d) I don't want to become a hoarder (perhaps I am close, judging by the pictures below). e) I want to cook more from scratch and use simple ingredients... in a realistic, "I have twin toddlers" kind of way. Let's be honest, the occasional frozen lasagna helps keep me sane. f) I want to spend less money on groceries and more on other people. And finally, g)It's just a good discipline for me in my quest to live a simpler life. I look forward to having a little more wiggle room in my cupboards and freezer and working on being a little more disciplined when I see a great deal. We'll see how it goes! Now with the slight fear of being judged and a bit of embarrassment, take a look at what I'm working with....

Our freezer, filled to the brim

My basement pantry, overflowing!

My kitchen cupboard, with no room for more


the smiths said...

I have a cous who does the same stocking up on sale items. I didn't grow up that up that way - interesting how we are shaped, n'est-ce pas? This is the part of our household budget I have always been careful about. It is the one monthly budget item I can (somewhat) control. I don't have a chest freezer, so I have to be on top of "baking ahead" and Ro and I continually eat what is in our freezer. I make a lot of what we eat which helps manage our pantry space. We try to keep things simple but we buy a lot of organic items so our bill stays high. J, I love how you are sharing your heart and going for it. Keep going!

Not Hip Enough To Blog said...

Love this post! Thanks for your honest reflection. So great. And on a side note, have you ever thought of applying to be on the show "Extreme Couponers" or whatever it's called on TLC? I've seen it a couple of times and always felt so sad at the end that there are so many people literally stocking rooms full of stuff that will take them years and years to go through, just for the sake of getting it all for free. I think it would be so cool for a christian to go on that show or do that as a lifestyle in order to give all of it away. What an amazing opportunity that could be! Anyways...that was a side note :) haha....good for you for setting some goals and doing a healthy reflection on things you can tackle in your own life. Definitely doesn't sound like it's too crazy, but good a good opportunity to grow and challenge :)

Alice said...

Great blog; I liked how you ended it too. I'm not judging. Just make sure you have 'salt' whenever I come over!