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My fridge, freezer and pantry are overflowing !
Old 03-03-2017, 10:35 PM   #1
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My fridge, freezer and pantry are overflowing !

I seriously downsized my furniture, kitchen stuff and clothing when we moved 3 years ago. I actually have empty cupboard space in the kitchen - it's amazing considering how much useless stuff I had (3 potato peelers 21 mixing bowls ?).

I can't seem to be able to do the same thing with my pantry, fridge and 3 cubic foot freezer ! Everything is JAMMED. I can't resist a sale even when I already have the stuff. About once a week I say "I'm not buying a single item of food except for milk, fresh fruit, and fresh veg until the freezer and pantry are empty !". And then I see a great sale on a food item that we eat frequently and off to the store I go.

I probably have enough food to last 4 - 6 weeks.

Has anyone ever done a no grocery challenge ? How did you do it ? I need help
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Old 03-03-2017, 10:50 PM   #2
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Ration your trips to the grocery store. For example, plan meals for a week, shop for them, and do not enter a store again until almost nothing is left.

I have neither a standalone freezer nor a pantry. This removes the temptation to fill them up. Once in a while I will cook some dish that uses up whatever produce is in the fridge, e.g. frittata or stir fry. I save grocery shopping as my reward.
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Old 03-03-2017, 11:02 PM   #3
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I have a large freezer that was stuffed... said we would not buy until it was down... but like you I see some sales and want to buy...


However, I have been able to get my fix by just buying half of what I would normally buy.... the stuff is going down over time and I do not feel like I am missing the sale...

Right now I am fighting the urge to buy some prime NY strip at $8 per pound... we love eating them, but I bought a good amount over a year ago and they are still out there... we did seal them up so they are still good..


The bad part is that DW will buy something to 'use later' and 'later' never comes!!! I threw away some tamales that were in our normal freezer for over a year... she got it from a friend but will not eat them... there are some whole fish in there that she says is good, but taking up space...

Then again, I have some stuff like that... bought ribs on sale and put them in the freezer... but another sale comes and I buy new ones and cook them since I do not have to thaw!!!!
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Old 03-04-2017, 04:05 AM   #4
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I start my shopping at Aldi's, and they require a quarter to get a shopping cart. Trouble is I never carry one cent of cash, and someone in our family keeps taking my quarter out of the cup holders in my cars.

My trick to minimize food purchases is just buy what you can carry. Use no shopping cart. Just shop for a specific item--not looking at everything in the store.
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:23 AM   #5
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I plan meals in advance and shop based on that. It's a lot of food, but very little is bought on impulse. We shop biweekly at the box store, and I order some bulk items, such as oatmeal, from Wal-Mart.com. these tend to be larger packages, so having a separate freezer in the basement is a convenience.

Have been married 31 years, combined two adult households and have a lot of cooking and baking tools, bowls and pans, but I seem to use them all.
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:25 AM   #6
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Maybe try this?: Besides limiting trips to supermarket, every time you take something out of the freezer (i.e., use it up) put the original cost of that in a piggy bank. Better yet, put the money in a freezer bag and put that in the freezer. That might give you a big incentive. If this succeeds, you'll have quite a bit of, ahem, cold cash to use for a frivolous but fun purpose.
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:28 AM   #7
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This does not seem to happen to us because if someone gave us food (unlikely) I would just incorporate it into our menu plan.

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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post


The bad part is that DW will buy something to 'use later' and 'later' never comes!!! I threw away some tamales that were in our normal freezer for over a year... she got it from a friend but will not eat them... there are some whole fish in there that she says is good, but taking up space...

Then again, I have some stuff like that... bought ribs on sale and put them in the freezer... but another sale comes and I buy new ones and cook them since I do not have to thaw!!!!
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:03 AM   #8
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Before every 'extended' vacation, we eat what's in the fridge and pretty much what's in the freezer section......so....book a trip.
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:17 AM   #9
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I just told DH this week, that I am not buying anything else that goes in the freezer, until we eat what is in the freezer. We have started eating out of the freezer.

I don't know why I don't plan a dinner menu for a week. It seems like such a good idea, but it is not something that I have ever done.
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Old 03-04-2017, 06:34 AM   #10
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I've always been one to stock up. It's a habit from when I was growing up and we only shopped once every 4-6 weeks for groceries because the store was 25 miles one way. A couple of times a year, I go on a use-it-up kick. We got our freezer over 1/2 empty of food, so now we can look for sales again. The pantry also got emptier, but I'm good about rotating stock and using up the non-regular items we purchase. My pantry and freezer were part of my emergency fund planning for years and I just can't shake the habit.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:13 AM   #11
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I plan for a minimum of two weeks, preferably for a month. It wasn't meant as a LBYM thing, although it kind of is. Started planning menus years ago, when life challenges ramped up and I was worried about our nutrition. It's not hard once you've done it. I'm basically rotating the same 3 to 4 dozen menus.

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.

I don't know why I don't plan a dinner menu for a week. It seems like such a good idea, but it is not something that I have ever done.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:18 AM   #12
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I intentionally keep what is probably 3 to 6 months of basic food around an would be very uncomfortable without it. Tell me again why it is so important to leave yourself at the mercy of supermarket supply chains that crumble in a day when there are any issues at all?
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
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I just told DH this week, that I am not buying anything else that goes in the freezer, until we eat what is in the freezer. We have started eating out of the freezer.

I don't know why I don't plan a dinner menu for a week. It seems like such a good idea, but it is not something that I have ever done.
This pretty much what we do when the freezer gets too full. We are lucky that SIL can cook without a recipe. We have learned that makes a big difference in using available ingredients.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:40 AM   #14
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Last year or so I decided to never throw groceries out (and it worked!), so we limit our fresh produce to what we can eat while it's fresh--right now some avocados, cilantro, asparagus and lettuce are calling my name, although not all for the same dish. We have a few pounds of pork chops, chicken breasts, ground beef, salmon, and shrimp in the freezer (no separate freezer) along with some frozen vegetables. I hardly ever plan a specific dinner in advance (I always wished I could be that organized but never succeeded at it), but we eat at home almost every night using what's on hand--last night we had penne with shrimp, pesto, and sundried tomatoes (I should have thrown some asparagus in it!), with a green salad and fruit. Sometimes I google the ingredients for a recipe idea and go from there.

Since we like to travel, we make do the week or ten days before a trip with no new incoming groceries and that empties out a lot.

Have supermarket supply chains ever crumbled in a day when there are any issues at all? That is something I will never worry about and that is not part of my grocery strategy. The hungry hordes will have to go on to the next house and take me with them, I guess.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:44 AM   #15
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I used to shop at Costco once a week. Even with teenagers, that was too often. Now I'm going every 10 days-2 weeks. We in-fill with fresh produce and milk from Sprouts (local produce store).

It's made a big difference.
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Old 03-04-2017, 09:00 AM   #16
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Meal planning here, too. On the weekend I spend a minute or two typing out my meal plan for the week. That way I can account for leftovers and avoid waste. It's such a simple solution that I can't imagine why I didn't start doing it sooner.

I've also worked at cutting down on cooking. Since I need to keep my weight down, food is a really poor hobby choice for me, so no food blog and recipe surfing, no searching for exotic ingredients, no elaborate recipes. I have a couple dozen simple recipes in rotation now. My spouse is a picky eater and prefers simple, predictable food so he's happier too.
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Old 03-04-2017, 09:02 AM   #17
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OK - my freezer is also stuffed at the moment! Fortunately nothing is old. We did a great job of eating it down before the holidays and I cleaned out anything old, so it was almost empty when we left right before Xmas. But here it is stuffed again!

Have stopped buying stuff that needs freezing.

Well, OK, I do have to get a couple more corned beef briskets while they are available so I can enjoy them later in the year.
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Old 03-04-2017, 09:10 AM   #18
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We do a weekly menu as well. Helps with grocery planning as well as piloting through a busy week with two self employed adults and two kids with school and after school activities.
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:13 AM   #19
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Thanks Live And Learn you just gave me the nudge I need to go down and empty the chest freezer! Have 36 hours of subzero temperatures so loaded everything in boxes and put them outside so freezer could defrost. Not too bad at the moment in terms of excess. Through out 3 chicken breasts which had left with bag open and got desiccated and 6 veggie hamburger patties (Ick - from DDs boyfriend the veg - I mean the vegetarian!).

Always fun to empty the freezer. Had a hawk and a rattlesnake in there for the taxidermy guy so finding them was also the impetus to give him a call!!
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Old 03-04-2017, 10:27 AM   #20
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I've been making weekly menu's my entire adult life. The menu is based upon sale items. The problem is that I buy double or triple the sale items so that I can freeze the rest. I just can't resist.

The only item in the freezer that is truly justified is turkey. Over the two weeks around Thanksgiving when turkey's go on sale for 69 cents a pound I cook 10 - 12 14 lb turkeys. I debone them and then package them up into meal sized portions for the freezer. Turkey is my favorite protein and it kills me to pay 1.69 / lb in June when the same frozen bird was probably in the freezer the past November.

I really just need discipline in this area. Nothing goes to waste (I very very rarely throw out food). I'm just unhappy with the "clutter".

I think I may try the "money in the jar" incentive plan. That one goes straight to my frugal heart.
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