We skipped grocery shopping, saved money and didn’t starve

Want to pluck the low hanging fruit of grocery savings? Frugality experts advise skipping a weekly shopping trip and feasting on contents of your freezer and pantry.

Save money 2_Depositphotos_Copyright jarin13

Photo credit: deposit photo_Copyright jarin13 with edits by author

I’ve always thought this was a great idea but have not had the courage to try it. Until now. And in the interest of full disclosure, it may have been a decision fueled by laziness, not courage.

The resolution transpired as we took the scenic route home from our mid-coast weekend getaway, having attended our niece’s wedding. We’d had a wonderful time and continued to enjoy balmy weather and beautiful scenery when a flash of anguish interrupted our reverie.

We needed to grocery shop.

Bolstered by two days of irresponsibility and the knowledge that we had a stockpile of toilet paper, I suggested we skip it and eat all the foods we’ve stored for busy times.

Despite my enthusiasm, I have to admit I didn’t think we could do it. But by Wednesday when financial and culinary success was so close I could taste it, I knew my readers would be hungry to read about it.

Here is our varied dinner menu for our week of no shopping:

Sunday: Two frozen hamburger patties cooked on the grill sandwiched between sesame seed buns of unknown vintage, and frozen corn we pretended we had just cut from the cob. Delicious.

Monday: Chicken taco soup accompanied by homemade corn bread. Sadly lacking was a dollop of sour cream. Side note: The last time we drove our Subaru before we bought our new-er car was when we took this spicy soup to a potluck. After the Subaru sat outside in the sun for two weeks, Patrick opened the door and once his eyes stopped watering and he donned an air filtration mask, he discovered an abandoned tub of sour cream. And that is why we had no expired-but-safe-to-eat sour cream. Despite this omission hmmmm….good.

Tuesday: Lasagna and remains of a bag of frozen broccoli. Tip: Broccoli crumbs don’t look appealing but are as nutritious as intact florets. Yum.

Wednesday: Chicken taco bowls with jasmine rice, topped with Mexican cheese. We salted the rims of our water glasses and offered a toast with imaginary margaritas. Clink.

Thursday: Ham steak with homemade macaroni and cheese and more fake corn on the cob. Comfort food. zzzzZZZZZ.

Friday: Leftover macaroni and cheese paired with carrots and hot dogs. We weren’t sure how old the hot dogs were but estimated three years by counting the rings. Fascinating.

hot dogs with face

Desserts: We each got two cookies at the wedding so we turned them into four desserts. One night we had slightly crystallized French Vanilla ice cream with them. Sweet.


By week’s end I had some surprising revelations:

  • The refrigerator still contained two beers, one egg, and the same jar of maraschino cherries we’ve had since we got married 25 years ago.
  • There are fixings for pizza, which would be delightful with the two beers.
  • We have enough frozen cranberries to make muffins every week until November.
  • I remembered the need to apply another coat of oil-based paint to the bulkhead when I found a frozen brush and roller hiding under the cranberries.

I wanted to challenge us to a second week but alas I confronted a deal breaker.

We ran out of dishwasher soap.

Have you ever tried this technique to save on groceries? How did it work for you?



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16 thoughts on “We skipped grocery shopping, saved money and didn’t starve

  1. Love it! I recently tried this too – mine was totally fueled by laziness and exhaustion. If I hadn’t run out of wine, I might have gone on for months! I mean, children can live without milk but no one should expect a mother to live without wine.

  2. Sounds like it went well! I have considered it – I think it’s a great idea! I usually come undone when I remember that I hate cooking and meal panning at the best of times, and REALLY don’t want to be ‘imaginative’ with random ingredients. I do have so much stuff that needs using up though, so I really should pull myself together!

    • This may be a problem for you Silly Mummy. Most of the time I enjoy the meal planning part and I have to say my kitchen creativity geared up with this challenge. I bet with your creative mind you could do it too if you tried!

    • Yes, if we did it you can too. It was kind of fun and I didn’t lose any weight so I guess we had enough calories in storage for me to maintain my body storage. I’m storing things up now so I can try it again.

  3. I definitely need to do this! We are so guilty of always buying ‘new’ things, when the freezer is chock full.
    PS I too probably have that many frozen cranberries!

    • I know what you mean Christina. I come home from shopping and have trouble cramming everything into storage. As for the cranberries, apparently I have a fear of running out of them. God forbid I should roast a turkey in the summer and not have any cranberry sauce. Oh wait, I’ve NEVER roasted a turkey in the summer, but you never know!

  4. I seriously need to do this—I have so many things in my freezer that have been there forever—all half portions of things that have been forgotten. I’ll just pretend that none of the items have expiration dates on them.

    • Atta girl Marcia! I know you can do this and you will love the results. Easy meals and an empty freezer. With a long enough cocktail ‘hour’ my bet is you won’t even notice what you are eating. So nice to have you stopping by.

  5. I snorted when I read the line about the hot dog rings! I applaud your creativity, practicality and intestinal fortitude, Molly (and Patrick)! Those of us with undated mystery packages in the freezer should follow your example–if we dare…

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