Shh… don't tell anyone I'm poor. They all think I'm living frugal and green just like everyone these days. This is a blog about a senior citizen living a frugal life, on a fixed income, in a low income food desert, and passing along knowledge from lessons learned. Some she learned from her Grandma Mama many years ago and some learned only a few days ago.
Over the past week I’ve had another episode of chronic fatigue and been in bed. I wrote this post but failed to publish it before getting sick. I’m feeling much better and hoping the episode is over and my life will get back to normal once again.
I have really given my changing food needs some serious thought. If food is going to waste before I can eat it then I’m buying too much or getting too much from the food banks. I’m making progress toward a smaller food storage. Smaller because I really don’t need more than just enough for one person and only enough emergency supplies for a few weeks.
I found that grocery shopping for one can be tricky. For me its easy to buy impulsively and end up with way too much. These days I’m buying smaller packages. My idea is to buy just enough without finding myself in need of an extra grocery run because I’ve run out of something. I don’t like catching the city bus just for a couple of items.
I have been spoiled by the large refrigerator that came with the house. All the space inside looked so empty and my mind said it needed to be filled. Its the same idea behind having a big house with lots of empty space that somehow gets filled to capacity. I used to have only a dorm size fridge which was almost the perfect size for me. I’m saving spare change in a jar to eventually buy a small compact size with a drawer freezer at the bottom. Not as small as a dorm size but more like efficiency apartment size.
During a recent grocery stop with my sister-in-law I started repeating a mantra to myself “there is only me, buy for one” as I made my choices. It was a great time to put my new buy less idea to work. I spotted a quart size olive oil at a reduced close out price on the shelf. In the past I would have picked up more than one to store away for anyone who wanted any. Happily, I resisted the urge to purchase it and picked up an 8 ounce bottle at regular price. I repeated over and over again to myself, a bargain is not a bargain if it won’t be used. That little bottle was a small victory for a big change in my thinking. Not only did it cut back on the amount I spent but the smaller size will take up less space in my food storage. I’m more likely to eat all of it before it gets too old and finds its way into the trash
I did buy one cucumber, one pepper, one tomato juice, celery, parsley, lemon juice, one garlic, and one small bag of tiny frozen salad shrimp. I looked for fresh parsley but there wasn’t any so I settled for dehydrated in a can. All these purchases were small victories too. I wasn’t thinking about putting anything in the freezer. I wasn’t thinking about canning anything. I bought just what I needed. Much smaller amounts means less out of pocket and less storage space required. Everything fit into two bags.
My SIL was buying new pans so we went to that department. I spotted some single person sized ceramic pots at a reduced price of $2.50 each. So cute and bright red color. I bought two for experimenting. I’m hoping that using a small pot instead of a larger one will cut down on the amount I cook. These are 1 pint pots but the pots behind them are the ones I had used for years. The old ones are one gallon and two gallon size. The new pots look like toys next to the old ones.
Yes, I know cooking extra to put in the freezer does save time and money. I’ll go back to that eventually. For now I just want to break my habit of over abundance. Cooking too much at one time can lead to eating too much or wasting it because its boring to eat the same meal several days in a row.
On the way home we stopped at the new farmer’s market. Yea! Its just a short distance from my house and open every Saturday morning. There was only one person selling that day. Maybe more will come later. He had large slicing tomatoes selling two for a dollar. At first I thought it would be great to buy a half bushel for canning. I resisted that thought and bought only two tomatoes. I don’t have air conditioning and canning sure does heat up the house.
I’m curious, does anyone else use smaller pans to reduce the amount you cook? Or do you just cook less in the ones you already own? How do you resist the urge to over stock your food?