Author Topic: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge  (Read 4823 times)

Pinkie Mustache

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Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« on: July 23, 2014, 09:48:21 AM »
This has been a great money saving exercise for us:

We had to consume everything in our fridge, freezer, and pantry (ok, not the extra flour or the bbq sauce, but almost nothing was left) before I agreed to restock, and from then on we've only bought just what we need to eat during that week (we're a family of five).  All leftovers are consumed.  This has reduced our food waste and food bills tremendously. Have you tried this, or will you?

TeresaB

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2014, 10:40:58 AM »
I don't think I would do this personally. I try hard to shop by stocking up when food is cheap. So if I ate everything I had, I would probably not be able to replenish as cheaply as if I had been watching sales the whole time and had never run out in the first place. I can see how it would save money short-term, but long term I think I'd be worse off.

Pinkie Mustache

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2014, 10:50:25 AM »
That's a good point - there are somethings that are worth stocking up on - non-perishables, toilet paper, laundry detergent.  Before this experiment I had stocked up on detergent so I haven't needed to replenish it.  I'm sure there is a balance to be struck. In general though, I've found the overall approach to work for us - I think it has to do with the mind set of not having extra so we don't use more than we need.  Also, since we first "emptied out," we've stuck to just replenishing what is most essential to our diets.

smalllife

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2014, 11:00:40 AM »
I stock non-perishables from the bulk bins so I always have flour, beans, rice, sugar, spices etc. in stock but we purchase perishables as we need them (veggies, meats, etc. - milk and eggs being an exception).  Our fridge is usually pretty bare but we always can throw something together!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2014, 11:16:14 AM »
I would consider this an intermediate-level way to reduce food spending. I've certainly done it.

But a more advanced step is the keep a FULL pantry, and constantly cook FROM that pantry. There are lots of long-keeping staples that are far more efficient to buy in bulk, particularly when in season.

To use the phrase at the heart of the book "Independence Days": store what you eat, eat what you store.

The key is knowing what you use, how often you use it, and stocking the shelves so that things get used on a FIFO basis.

The other benefit to a well-run pantry is that, in hard times (either massive bills, unemployment, weather, etc) you can cook from the pantry for days or longer.

I could go on and on, but that's just a newbie being excited about it (first year canning and growing) :)

Pinkie Mustache

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2014, 01:37:20 PM »
I would consider this an intermediate-level way to reduce food spending. I've certainly done it.

But a more advanced step is the keep a FULL pantry, and constantly cook FROM that pantry. There are lots of long-keeping staples that are far more efficient to buy in bulk, particularly when in season.

To use the phrase at the heart of the book "Independence Days": store what you eat, eat what you store.

The key is knowing what you use, how often you use it, and stocking the shelves so that things get used on a FIFO basis.

I could go on and on, but that's just a newbie being excited about it (first year canning and growing) :)
So, that's interesting and I could attempt it by stocking up when there's a real sale, but, and this is going to sounds crazy, there are no places to buy in bulk anywhere near where I live!  I think the closest I could come is a really large, oversized container of rice and another or baking soda (and oddly, belgian chocolate - I can get that from the national supplier, go figure) :0/  There's nothing like costco in these parts. I guess its just not part of the culture...
But hey, do go on! I'm all ears for any advice!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2014, 01:43:47 PM »
If you can't buy in bulk, then maybe keep a price list so that you know when a sale is worth stocking up on.

If you're into canning, freezing, or dehydrating, you can also take full advantage of seasonal produce. Not sure about a climate like Israel, but I'd think prices on some things swing around quite a bit.

Pinkie Mustache

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2014, 01:55:44 PM »
Good tips!  I wonder if its worth stocking up on frozen things and plugging in an extra freezer (I have one from my old business), or if the freezer running would cancel any savings...

Prices here do fluctate if droughts hit.  Interestingly, if something is out of season, it cannot be found either, unlike many of the grocers in the states.

Trudie

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2014, 08:09:08 AM »
I am not certain the model of freezer you have.  Is it Energy Star or rated?  We have a small chest freezer in our basement (for two people) that we use as overflow for our refrigerator and freezer.  We use it to stock up on meat and vegetables.  I've enjoyed preserving in the past, and have found that freezing as a preservation method is much faster than hot water bath canning and in some cases equally effective.

The reason I stock up is because I know my habits.  My days are long and I know I would fall into bad habits (I'm far from perfect now) if I didn't keep a well-stocked cupboard.

But, mine is overflowing now.  My weekend challenge is to inventory what I have, cut my losses on anything that needs to go (especially outdated spices), and perouse recipes to use up what I have.  I actually think it will be a fun challenge.

Nate R

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2014, 08:40:31 AM »
Haven't done this exactly, but one thing I WOULD recommend when the opportunity arises is to buy a SMALLER fridge when the time comes. Wife and I (And 2 meat-eating dogs) did OK on 10 cubic feet (total for fridge and top freezer). Needed a small fridge for a small kitchen. A bit tight at times, but it worked. We found that before that, 12 CF was plenty for us. (An older model we had). We have 18 Cubic feet now (different house, fridge came with it), and I find that's big enough that things get "lost" in it, forgotten about, etc.

My wife's family of 5 used a 12 cubic foot fridge/freezer growing up. No reason people can't today, right?

(I will add the full disclosure that we have a small chest freezer in the basement for the bulk meat we buy. 1/4 cow, 1/2 hog, lamb, etc.)

 

yddeyma

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2014, 07:30:15 PM »
But what'd you do for fresh produce?  To eat everything would take me at least 3 weeks or so....

kyanamerinas

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Re: Minimalist Pantry and Fridge Challenge
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2014, 12:58:41 AM »
yeh, i love having a full pantry. i don't buy much elsewhere so buying food becomes my fun shopping! obviously when it's on sale. and just so there's no excuse for going out if i miscalculate portions or timings or schedule or simply don't fancy what i planned. can't wait to move out of shared accommodation and have a proper pantry rather than just a few cupboard shelves.