Category Archives: Simple Cooking

April Grocery Shopping Ban

You know how some people spend way too much money on clothes? Or, shoes? Well, I spend way too much money on groceries.

I love to cook, so naturally I like to have a variety of ingredients hanging around to work with. But, sometimes the personal grocery store housed in my pantry, cupboards, refrigerator and freezer starts to overflow. Seriously, I wonder how long we could eat on just what we have stored up.

When I go into a grocery store to buy, say 5 things, I end up coming home with 20. Going to the store to get only what I need has never been my strong suit. I see things that spark an idea for a dish and somehow it ends up in my basket.

We also have an ongoing goal to simplify our lives and home. That includes not buying things we don’t need. More stuff is just more stuff cluttering up our space, mind and draining our wallet. However, this simplifying thing is much easier said than done, let me tell you. It requires a tremendous amount of self-control to not buy the pretty, shiny thing you just saw but instantly love. Like, I didn’t know you existed 20 seconds ago, but now I cannot image my life without you sitting on my shelf/wall/closet. It’s a problem.

You have to practice self-control in order to get good at it. So, I have decided to practice “not shopping for things I don’t need, including groceries” in the month of April. [I realize that name is kinda lame. If you can come up with a catchier name, please let me know.]

Before you start worrying that we’re going to starve to death or something, let me show you the storehouse we currently have in our tiny kitchen.

This is my open pantry, which has our fruit stand, grains, rice, beans, canned veggies, tea, cereals, peanut butter, crackers, pasta, etc. Those bananas are ready for some banana bread, don’t you think?




This is our cupboard, which has a lot of my baking flours and other things: ketchup, loads of canned pumpkin I got on clearance (pumpkin bread, anyone?), oatmeal and such. That big blue bag is full of raisins, because my husband and boys are obsessed with raisins. Me? Meh.

My spice cabinet will come in handy, to flavor these meals! That giant container at the top is bay leaves for making beans in the crockpot. The vegetable oil is for seasoning my cast iron pans.

Lastly, here’s a picture of my freezer, whose depths I have not explored recently. Aside from lots of frozen veggies, ice, frozen fruit juice and some prepared foods, I’m not really sure what’s here. We shall see!


Not pictured is my giant box of Yukon Gold potatoes, my refrigerator (because it’s a mess), my 20-pound bag of brown rice, my tea drawer and a few canned goods in my garage.

Goodness gracious, just writing all this out, I think our family of four could live off our food stores alone for several months, maybe even a year. What do you think?

Now that your fears of us starving have been laid to rest, let’s take a look at what this shopping ban will look like.

I will not buy:

  • Groceries, except fresh produce, bread and milk
  • Food at restaurants if I can eat at home or bring food with me
  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Toys (The boys are arguing that these are necessities. I beg to differ.)
  • Household items
  • Stuff we don’t absolutely need

I may buy:

  • Fresh produce (veggies, fruit, herbs)
  • Fresh bread
  • Almond milk
  • Soy creamer for my tea (Very important, guys. I need my tea.)
  • Food at restaurants if I need to eat and haven’t brought food with me
  • Necessities (toilet paper, gasoline, etc.)

I’ve put myself on this ban, but since I do most of the shopping for our family, it’s sort of a family affair. We’ll all be experiencing the effects together – hopefully all for the good.

I’ll probably have to get pretty creative with some of our meals. Or, not creative. In other words, some of our meals may be pretty simple: rice and beans, rice and veggies, oatmeal, etc. This isn’t a bad thing. Simple is good and it reminds us how little we actually need to live.

Contentment is a beautiful quality and one that is staggeringly scarce in this world.

What I hope to get out of this shopping ban:

  • Tone my self-control muscle, which should make it stronger for the future
  • Greater contentment and appreciation for everything we have
  • Save $400+
  • Use up some of the food we have stored up
  • Healthier meals – Less eating out means I know what’s going into our meals

We’ll see how it goes! Have you done something similar in the past, either voluntarily or out of necessity? Have any tips or words of advice for me?