Great Canadian freezer challenge of 2014?
Seriously, we have a problem. Right now, if you were to press us on it, we would tell you that we feel the need to go grocery shopping because we don't have any food in the house to eat.
This last week the kids have been sick which is no good. We feel helpless as parents because all we want to do is magically make them better, but we also feel guilty because we enjoy how quiet the house is and the increased snuggle time. Regardless, this week has been mostly spent indoors, hunkered down trying to live on as little as possible which bodes well for our 52 week money challenge.
Have you ever had a kitchen full of food, but no idea what you wanted to eat... so after some strategic procrastination, you end up in a restaurant?
Guilty as charged, that pretty much sums up our first 6 years of marriage. However as we are going through this money challenge, the end result NOW seems to be going to the grocery store instead to buy whatever it is we want to eat. A good compromise for some of the time as it is cheaper than a restaurant, but not a great long term plan.
Maybe the answer should be a little planning and a trip to your freezer?
We got this awesome idea from our friend Deb Adams who messaged me on Facebook. Here is what she said!
"Hey Jackson! I've totally enjoyed catching up on your blog. We're still figuring out exactly how we're going to apply it, but we've been on the trail of trying to change some of our financial habits in 2014 as well. One idea that we've been trying through February is one I got from a blog livingwellspendingless.com.
Basically, we've tried to mostly eat out of our freezer and pantry, buying only fresh food, milk, etc. We haven't stuck to it 100%, but it really showed us how much food we were essentially wasting by having it stay in our freezer or pantry for months (or, embarrassingly, years?!). Anyways, we weren't perfect, but we spent $300 less on groceries in Feb than in Jan - so a step in the right direction!"
There is Money in Your Freezer
The challenge: How much money could you save on your regular monthly grocery bill by eating primarily out of your freezer and pantry, only shopping for fresh food at the grocery store? How long could you eat like this (I guess that depends on how much food you have stored away). Here is how we are going to approach this!
- Go through entire pantry and freezer and inventory EVERYTHING
- Figure out roughly how many meals you have tucked away
- Figure out if you can make multiple means from combining ingredients
- Distribute your meals across a calendar
- Make a shopping list to supplement your meal plan with fresh food
- Calculate how much you think you can save
- Execute plan and put your money not spent on groceries into a savings account
- Tally up how much you actually saved
- Tell someone about it
If you want to let us know how much you have saved, that would be awesome!
We can make a running total of everyone! Current balance (thanks to Deb & Ryan) is $300.
Our Food Inventory
As proof of how our minds can play tricks on us, I decided to actually look into our freezer, fridge and pantry and physically look at the food we have on hand. Seriously, I had no idea... here are some pictures, because well, awesome blogs have pictures!
And in case you didn't notice... the bags of frozen veggies say 2012 (looks like you aren't alone Deb).
In case one freezer wasn't enough, we actually have 2 freezers full of food.
Looking at this picture, our fridge doesn't seem empty, but I assure you when I am standing at it, I can't find a single thing to eat! Wild. We need more HP sauce.
I get a lot of grief from my buddy Robb over on the #becausemoney podcast about buying 60 cans of beans for a buck a can... maybe rightfully so, but I can't wait to make use of them and save some serious grocery money!
After looking at all these pictures of the food we have in storage, I wonder if we would qualify as doomsday preppers... or is this just what normal people have on hand?
It is one thing to "know" what food you have on hand by looking at it, but it is another thing entirely to itemize everything and start to put a meal plan together that will feed your family for the next weeks/months to come. Stephanie wrote down every single item we had and I bet we have over 60 meals here without visiting a grocery store.
I guess we will see how determined we are to save money after the 20th can of beans!
Thanks for taking the time to read our blog, we certainly appreciate all the feedback and encouragement. If you have done something similar to this in the past or want to take the Great Canadian Freezer Challenge of 2014 with us now, please let us know, we would love to hear from you. Feel free to drop a comment in the box below.
As always, here is a list of previous blog installments in case you missed one!