Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Year of Intentional Shopping Part I: Food

I wrote a little about this yesterday, but the idea is that from August 10th 2016 to August 10th 2017, I will begin an experiment designed to change how I approach all purchases that I make. I feel that I have been too wasteful and haphazard about my shopping, and I’m absolutely sick of it. This will encompass all purchases that I make for myself and my family- food, toiletries, and of course clothing. I’m the person who does almost all of the shopping in the house so my efforts will contribute towards my whole family’s well-being.

The Big Picture

The goal here is to only purchase things that I have clearly identified a need for.  No more overbuying things because they’re tempting or on sale, no more adding random things to my home because I was bored or curious or whatever the case may be. I can think of a million examples of things I have recently purchased that would NOT pass this new initiative. I bought several items on sale at my favorite store recently, just because they were having an extra 50% off sale prices and I was feeling like I had too few options for tops. I sometimes randomly pick up clothes for my kid depending on how ‘cute’ they are, and often in the next size ‘for next year’ without a real plan or understanding of what she will actually need. Lastly, I’ve over-purchased fruit or vegetables without a real plan on using them, and have had them go to waste before I got to them. All of these are examples of purchases made without an intention, without a certain need or plan.

This new project does not mean that I cannot fall in love with something unplanned and purchase it, but that these things must be:
  1. A very rare occurrence
  2. Something very special
  3. Preferably purchased after a ‘power pause’ (more on this later)

Today, I’ll just review my ideas and new guidelines for food purchases. This post was getting much too long so I’ve divided it up and will publish the other parts over the next few days.

Purchasing Food Intentionally

Ideally, I would commit to meal planning all of the time in order to really nail down what I purchase and make sure I use everything up. However, meal planning takes time and energy, and I don’t always have enough of either. I've tried several forays into meal planning and I've never gotten through more than a week.

So what will I do? I will commit to using meal planning more frequently, and to keep an eye to purchasing only the foods I can use. I can keep a store of things that I need that last to make quick meals for when I don’t have a meal plan (canned and boxed items such as noodles and sauces). Perishables, however, really should be purchased with care. And of course, we need to talk about wasting money on eating out. I want eating out to be more intentional, not because I didn’t have time to grab something I already had in my fridge in the morning! This contributes to wasting the food I have, and of course the $ I spend towards food.

Here are my strategies to make my grocery shopping more intentional:

  •  Meal plan at least one week a month
  •  Review what I have (perishables) every other day and make sure to use ingredients or leftovers before they go bad if I couldn’t meal plan
  • Review what I have (all) before I shop for groceries and make a list of what I actually need
  • Shop using aforementioned list
  • Never shop when I’m hungry
  • Pack lunches every night to avoid rushing, forgetting, and wasting
  • Pack snacks with lunches to avoid wasting money at a vending machine
  • Make eating out (including fast food) a planned treat, not something I lean on when in a rush
FWhat strategies do you use in order to not waste money and/or food?

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