A Week with No Shopping: An Introduction & March's Meals
A Brief Introduction
What is "A Week with No Shopping?"
A week with no shopping is exactly that: no spending for a whole week. Automatic bills, rent, and gas are not included. What is included? Groceries, Target trips, online shopping, etc. That's right, I take a break from buying anything for a whole week. To be clear, I don't do a big shopping trip the day before this starts! This definitely requires meal planning and doesn't always go perfectly. There may have been a week where a lack of onions resulted in my husband grabbing one on the way home and reminding me that we have "onion money." (I can be rigid even when following self-set rules sometimes.)
Why do you do it?
Three main reasons:
- to save money for a week (no impulse buys!)
- to reduce food waste (use up what needs to be used)
- to challenge myself creatively (how can I make a meal with this?)
Where did the idea come from?
In all honesty, I'm pretty sure I saw it on someone else's 18 for 2018 (a list of 18 goals for 2018, read about it & listen on Gretchen Rubin's awesome podcast here. It's probably something that has been written about elsewhere as well, I definitely don't claim to be the inventor of not spending money! Anyway, I decided to add it to my list for the reasons above AND because I knew I could do it. I've dabbled in not spending on clothes before while doing capsule wardrobes inspired by Caroline Joy Rector's Unfancy blog. If you're interested in fashion, limiting spending on clothes, or getting creative with what is in your closet, I highly recommend her archives.
I also had recently experience curbing shopping when it came to groceries. We moved across the country in 2017 and were lucky enough to have a moving company that would move everything except opened/perishable food. I had a lot of kitchen cabinets (almost too many) that were packed full with pantry staples. As soon as we knew we were moving, I knew I had 2 months to try to use up what we had. So, I planned meals around what we already had and only shopped to refill fresh produce and dairy items. It was a rewarding challenge and definitely informed how I keep my pantry stocked in our new home.
A few more thoughts...
Once I started officially doing a "week with no shopping," I definitely noticed a difference in our pocket book and in the amount of food waste I created. I would frequently stop at the store after work for a missing ingredient or an impulse craving and end up spending $20 or more on things that I didn't really need!
Food waste and over spending are huge issues in our current culture and every small change can make an impact. You could go big and cut out all shopping, or do just food for a week. Yes, it requires some planning and forethought, but hopefully you'll find it is worth it! Each month I'll write a blog post summarizing the week & document most of the meals on @eat.like.a.queen and using #weekwithnoshopping. Please share with me if you decide to try!
A Week with No Shopping: March
My March week with no shopping ended up being the last week. Taxes, a hair appointment & an eye brow appointment were spread out in the month and then, frankly, I realized that I hadn't done it yet. Luckily, I did plan ahead the week before to make sure I had extra onions & garlic so there wouldn't be a lack of alliums based emergency. (I also realized with 9 days left in the month that I still had 40 miles to walk if I wanted to meet another 18 for 2018 goal of walking 75 miles each month. AND I CRUSHED THAT ONE TOO & CELEBRATED WITH ICE CREAM!)
To create my meal plan, I needed to consider both what the week looked like (any special events, work schedules, etc.) & what was in the fridge.
My "week" would be from Friday - Thursday and include one night where I'd be attending a pot-luck taco party & game night with people from my new workplace. I signed up to bring paper plates which I'd already purchased. (I know what you're thinking, but I get a healthy dose of anxiety when it comes to going to new places & being around people I don't know well, so I opted for something I couldn't worry about.) This did mean that my husband had a freebie night and so he ordered pizza. Technically this was spending, but he isn't part of the "rule" AND this was a special occasion. Plus we had leftovers for lunch the next day.
from the pantry/freezer:
- 1 1/2 heads of garlic
- a yellow onion
- the last square of ramen noodles
- brown jasmine rice
- a jar of pasta sauce
- dried orzo
- vegetable broth
- frozen homemade dumplings
- frozen meatless meatballs
- a can of coconut milk
- a can of chickpeas
- a purple sweet potato
- 2 frozen, sliced bananas
- frozen bread
from the fridge:
- a half of a purple cabbage
- a few sad carrots
- a head of broccoli
- a bunch of celery
- 3 stems of green curly kale
- 3 stems of dino kale
- a bunch of cilantro
- half a red onion
- a quart of homemade white beans
- leftover marinated tempeh
- a few pieces of lunchmeat
- 2 jars with a few floating pickles
- leftover baked beans
- cherry chia jam
Note: Dinners are for two people. Lunches & breakfasts throughout the week are for one person. On weekends, it is lunch/brunch for two as my dearest likes to sleep in. :)
- Friday: dumplings & roasted cabbage "mein"
- Saturday: no cook (taco party for me, pizza for the Mr.)
- Sunday: green Thai soup from The First Mess Cookbook
- Monday: kale fried rice
- Tuesday: parmesan orzo pilaf with jazzed-up pasta sauce
- Wednesday: my favorite chickpea bowl (recipe coming soon!)
- Thursday: white bean & celery soup with easy croutons
All in all, this was a very successful week with no shopping! We had some really great meals and used up A LOT of things in the fridge & pantry. There's still a few things that I need to use up soon (cheese) so I'll take that into account for next week's meal planning (oh darn, nachos). Also, with a near empty fridge, it was a good opportunity to take everything out and wiped down all the shelves & drawers of all the sticky stuff & crumbs. It feels great to have a clean space for all the new, fresh veggies.
Confession time... there was one "cheat" during the week... I had to go get flour. But NOT for the raspberry chia bars, for the sourdough starter that I started last week. I didn't realize just how much flour would go into starting that! I had a bonus $10 bill in my wallet (I never have cash) so I used that to get the flour. It's like it never happened. ;)
I hope this was helpful or inspiring! If you'd like help meal planning or figuring out a week with no shopping feel free to contact me on instagram, email, or in the comments below. Happy eating!
Don't forget to share with me if you make it! I love to know if I've inspired you. <3 @eat.like.a.queen and #eatlikeaqueen
Eat like a queen & be your best self!