Ever see your favorite pantry staples on sale, go crazy and buy 12 of each? You get so excited thinking there will never be a sale again and if you don’t buy those $1 specials at the grocery store, you’ll die. Okay, small exaggeration, die is a bit of a strong word. Most people go into a frenzy whenever there’s a major sale – heard of Black Friday, Boxing Day? Yea, that’s me. Or, I should say, it was me.
I am no longer mass consumerisms’ bitch. I’ve learned to curb my impulse spending. Yes, occasionally it pops back out like a jack in the box but for the most part, I control it. I still love a sale; I just don’t go über nuts and buy everything in sight.
In my effort to be less wasteful with food, I made it one of my July goals to clean out the cupboards. I’ve noticed that I have been accumulating too much food for one person, which is unnecessary. Part of it stems from old habits when I was married. It took me quite some time after my divorce to change my grocery shopping habits. I was still buying enough food for two!
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Tips for changing your grocery shopping habits:
DO NOT go shopping when you’re hungry or in a depressed/emotional state of mind. You’ll be apt to purchase too much food or junk food that your mood might be craving.
DO make a meal plan for the week. Plan all meals, taking into consideration, which ones have to be portable and convenient to take to work.
DO clean out your cupboards at least once a year and keep an expiry date list. I used a simple pantry list spreadsheet from Canadian Budget Binder. Check out CBB’s Free Tools section.
DO know what a normal portion size is and how many calories you should take in. You will be very surprised at how little food you need; even if you exercise regularly. Many people don’t realize that when you’re exercising or trying to lose weight; more frequent, healthy small meals are what you need (unless of course you’re trying to bulk up like The Rock).
Operation Cupboard Cleanout
How did I clean out the cupboards? Easy!
- Clean out each cupboard (I had two to clean) completely.
- Spread items out on table or counter. [box type=”tick”]TIP: If you so choose, this is the perfect time to wipe clean the shelves and/or vacuum out dry crumbs, cereal. I prefer to wipe them clean with a damp paper towel. DO NOT use a cleaner unless you’re willing to wipe it off with water afterwards. Kitchen cleaners will leave a chemical residue and a nasty smell that your food may absorb.[/box]
- Start writing items down on your pantry list by category (I like: Baking, Rice/Pasta/Flour, Spices, Cereals/Snacks/Crackers, etc.), be sure to write down the expiry date if applicable! I had to taste test a few items and let me tell you: YUCKY! I shop at bulk food stores and sometimes I forget to write the date or finish them quick enough and they expire. I’ll just say that rancid peanuts were the highlight Sunday afternoon. YECK!
- As you write items on your list, place them back into the cupboard how you would organize it.
- Keep track of items you throw in the garbage and how much of the package was thrown away. This will be a stark reminder of your overspending and wastefulness for future grocery shops. For fun, take a picture of all the food like I did and post it on your fridge. It will be another reminder.
What did I find after clearing out the cupboards?
Take a look at all the food in these pics!
I had 6 bags of rice, 7 packages of assorted pastas and way too many packages of spices. I ended up throwing out one bag of rice, a package of cream of wheat, several bags of spices, some fruit snacks, a box of granola bars, box of crackers and 3 small packs of instant single serve oatmeal. They had all expired. About $20 bucks worth of food.
As a single, childless household there is no need for me to have as much food as you see in the pictures. To continue with my July Goals, phase two of Operation Cupboard cleanout will be to consume the items in the cupboard without purchasing any additional items. This will force me to get creative with my meals, which ultimately is a good thing. It helps you improvise and do more with less!