Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Challenge of the Food Variety

Well, I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again: I'm broke. (I even canceled my cable and internet at home. It's that serious.) I attribute this not to being an exorbitant spender on things I don't need (after all, you haven't seen me replace my beloved and stolen iPad, have you?), but rather that I tend to buy things I need but not when I need them. One of the biggest crimes in this respect is my tendency to browse the grocery store like a woman browses a clothing store. I could spend a couple hours grocery shopping, just looking at products, turning them every which way to check for a few very specific things: Soy Free! Gluten Free! Kosher!

The result is that I often end up with a lot of food getting thrown away or never used. I make lists to buy things I already have in my cabinet and then return home with a big "D'oh!" Thus, because of my dietary needs and my inability to keep stock of what I do and don't have, I've decided to challenge myself. These are my rules for the next MONTH. Yes, I said month.
  • $10 fresh produce budget each week
  • No purchasing of non-perishable items (canned goods, cereal, spices, etc.)
  • No purchasing of dairy or dairy-like products (no Daiya, no feta, no nothing)
  • Photo documentation of the inventory and what is produced with it
  • No eating out unless it's paid for by someone else
  • No purchasing coffee (make it at home!)
Think it can be done? I'm fully stocked with nuts and lentils and other grains, not to mention cans of black beans and chickpeas and plenty of canned tomatoes. In the fridge I've got plenty of condiments and some cheese, not to mention that there are oodles of frozen fish in my freezer with frozen fruits and veggies, too. 

Also, with Israel being a mere 45 days away, I figure using up as much as I have in my kitchen might be a worthwhile endeavour. 

I'm guessing my $10 allowance will go to buy things like spinach, kale, jicama, and bananas -- four present staples in my kitchen. EDIT: I also have to buy eggs. Eggs ... I love eggs. 

Have you ever given yourself this kind of challenge? A "use it all up" before you "buy it all up" kind of situation?