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I’m a frugal foodie and I have the extra freezer to prove it. I had a mild, simmering feeling that I was, but proof came when Mr. BuLL went on a 2-week out-of-country trip.

While he was away, I had adventures in how to survive without hot water for 5 days and giant spiders (capable of eating small, yippy dogs on our street) moved in under our deck.

I learned about the woman I am and the woman I am doesn’t spend much on food.

The grocery bill was culled to meager portions of their once hefty glory. It wasn’t one way but a combination that turned the savings knob from small and cute to something bigger and more awkward.

My frugal foodie’s soul echoes with Filled with Money sentiment, “I can live on a ramen noodle budget for the rest of my life without having to lift a finger.” (As I Google Costco’s ramen isle.)

Less Buying

Recently, I dug out the Kindle. I rarely use it, preferring library books to digital, but when I don’t want to travel to the library to get a book, it’s plan b.

I was drifting through some of the free books I downloaded years ago. One brief book offered a new saving suggestion: grocery shopping once a month.

As a gal who shops weekly, I was aghast. Having food last a week was an impressive feat, but having food survive a month?!

What kind of sorcery is this?

My standard reaction to different and uncertain. I felt the same way about skinny-leg jeans. Now, clingy denim is all I own.

The idea began to percolate, and I realized that when I worked summer gigs, it would have been a smart move considering the closest town was 45 minutes away. Taking a monthly trip, instead of weekly, would have saved gas and time.

I live in town now and a grocery store is 5 minutes away, but I would save money and time if I grocery shopped less.

After a week of mulling pros, cons, and life itself, I skipped a week of grocery shopping. Before I jumped off the deep end of a canyon with no parachute, I looked at the fridge, freezer, and cupboard. From there, I planned meals to ensure that I would have actual food that I would eat and not survive on sardines and saltines.

Frugal foodie 101: don’t create a mini food desert with crackers and fish. 

Garden Variety

A garden can cut costs on food and I planned to use it while I was taking a vacation from the grocery store.

Our household doesn’t have a traditional garden plot but 6 pots. A few for big and small tomatoes, zucchini, and pepper plants.

Enough to prevent scurvy.

As I cooked throughout the week, there were a couple garden variety servings. Some nights it was only garden vegetables, but other nights it was garden-supported meals.

When I had an excess bounty (tomatoes, so many tomatoes) I froze in batches.

Freezing extra food is a defaulted habit for this frugal foodie.

Frozen Demands

For many years Mr. BuLL and I, have been a fridge and freezer kind of couple.

We have a normal fridge and a large upright freezer.

The large freezer is food harvested in bulk which includes:

  • A variety of meat from steak and roast to bacon and jerky
  • Bread from a discounted bread store
  • Homemade pumpkin, berry, and apple pies
  • A bimonthly 5-pound fish subscription
  • Garden vegetables

A smorgasbord of food for year-round options.

Going on a grocery shopping hiatus and being a frugal foodie means eating well, but instead of pursuing the grocery store halls, it’s between the freezer walls.

Cupboard Collection

Our cupboard is the size of a linen closet that Harry Potter wouldn’t fit in.

I try my adulting hardest to keep it full of useful items and cull expired items. Even if I was bankrupt of fresh fruit, vegetables, and questionable condiments, I could survive on soups, canned tuna, and nuts.

It would be a weird diet, but I’m not the queen of normal either.

As the 2-week shopping retreat came to a close, I pilfered the cupboard less than expected.

Fresh vegetables took a prime role because the cupboard chaos can survive longer than a pile of tomatoes, banana peppers, and zucchini.

It’s the lifestyle of the fresh and fearless.

Frugal Foodie

Food can shift my energy from a lethargic, grump to a less lethargic, grump. It has magical properties that can infuse energy for hours or sap it like an unattended carpet cleaner.

As I’ve learned more about my human condition and its growing sensitivity to dairy (a tear-worthy tragedy), I’ve grown fluent in the other food pyramid contributors. Protein, vegetables, fruit, and carbs, are now the main diet suppliers.

Not something I would have chosen as a frugal foodie, but I enjoy the health, energy, and indigestion-free lifestyle.

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