No Shopping Challenge

edited 5 January 2019 at 7:58PM in Debt-free Wannabe Challenges
16 replies 1.9K views
nicmalaurennicmalauren Forumite
94 Posts
Sixth Anniversary Combo Breaker
edited 5 January 2019 at 7:58PM in Debt-free Wannabe Challenges
Hi Everyone,

This is something I did once before and felt really pleased with myself afterwards so I thought this time I'd share it here to try and keep myself on track!

Basically, I have set myself the challenge of buying nothing during the month of January (with a few exceptions - I shall explain below!). I have a tendency to go and do a big shop, and then only use half of what I buy. Then I get stuck in a cycle of buying the same things over and over every few days, even though my freezer is full of stuff and I have loads of tins in the cupboard.
Like many people, I have overspent at Christmas so I think this is a fun way of saving some money and forcing me to use up some of the things I have in my freezer and cupboard (makes for some inventive dinners by the end of the month :rotfl:).

The "rules" I impose on myself are as follows:
  1. Pick five "staple" food items - these are the ONLY items I am allowed to purchase. I choose milk, flour, butter, wine, and coffee.
  2. No eating out or on-the-go - packed lunches to work every day. (However if a meal is provided at no cost, this is fine!)
  3. Household consumables may be purchased (toilet-roll, cleaning products, deodorant, soap etc).

That's pretty much it! If anyone would like to join in, you are obviously more than welcome and I will happily keep track of the number of days we all manage to go "purchase-free"! (So far I'm at 5/31!)

:j
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
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Replies

  • nicmalaurennicmalauren Forumite
    94 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Used my last leek and the last of my potatoes to make soup yesterday. Took that into work for lunch today along with some of a wheaten loaf I had made at the weekend using the last of my buttermik mixed with the dregs of my tub of Greek yogurt. Turned out surprisingly well!

    For dinner, I made an individual beef wellington type thing - so that's used up a lonely freezer burnt bit of steak, some of the leftover Christmas pât! and some of the pastry I bought and haven't used either. Did some red cabbage mixed with a cooking apple and an onion the oven to have with it.

    Running out of fresh veg now, so will hopefully get some of the tins cleared next! Made it to a full week without shopping now - 7/31.
    "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
  • bobbiz22bobbiz22 Forumite
    67 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I really like this idea! I'm pretty skint until pay day so I'm going to try and adopt these rules from today until 8th Feb to give myself a full month of no shopping too :) I have plenty of food in fridge/freezer and cupboard, so it will be good for me to actually USE it all for once!
  • nicmalaurennicmalauren Forumite
    94 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hiya bobbiz22! Let me know what meals you come up with - always looking for inspiration!

    Lunch yesterday was very straightforward - a tin of macaroni cheese - but hey, it's one less tin in the cupboard. I have some salady stuff for lunch today along with a couple of eggs. Dinner is likely to be leftovers from the day before yesterday.
    "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
  • I've planned to do this too! I spent a shocking £1200 last year on home deliveed take aways because I couldn't be bothered to cook! Yet the kitchen is full of enough food to last months!
    So I've done a stocktake (I laughed when I found 121 stockcubes....then I cried!) And I've made a meal plan and I will only buy from a small list. So far I have spent £8 this year on fresh apples, a whole chicken (which I used for 4 family meals) and potatoes and rtc bread.
    I love your 5 staples idea...might have to try that.
    Year to date spend on non bills: £34.92
    Debts:
    1) overdraft £400
    2) overdraft £500
    3) S credit card £3150 min payment £101 pcm interest £37pcm
    4)T credit card £8108 min payment £200 pcm interest £128pcm
  • nicmalaurennicmalauren Forumite
    94 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hello bustiblondilocks! 121 stock cubes is defo a record, but you'd be surprised at the ways to use them! Using them when boiling rice or couscous in particular really jazzes things up.

    Out of interest - how many are y'all cooking for? I only have to worry about me and the hamster (who isn't too difficult to please), so appreciate that it may be even more challenging for others!

    Beetroot and goats cheese with some lentils and spinach for lunch today - not very keen on cold lentils I've decided. WIll stick to dhaal! Absolute king of dinners because I was home late - fish finger sandwich. Still - it's two more things gone from the freezer! 10/31 days done.
    "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
  • bobbiz22bobbiz22 Forumite
    67 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    So i didn't sleep at my house last night and forgot to take my pre-packed lunch! So I had to buy a boots meal deal today...£3.39 not massive but still annoyed at myself.

    I've been on a vegan for the past week to try and get me into the habit of cooking more, and eating more veggies and cutting out cheese (which I am usually craving every single day) !! So far, it's been really interesting, I have tried lots of new meal ideas, and weirdly, I am not craving cheese now!!

    So, here's what I have been eating:

    Sweet potato & lentil casserole - Sweet potato, lentils, stock, red onion, and curry spices.

    Roasted chickpeas coated in whatever spices I fancy for snacks. Or fruit from work (we get free fruit delivered every other day!)

    Pasta with garlic and chilli spices fried with spring greens or whatever veg is in freezer.

    Roasted Sweet potato chunks, then adding canned canellenni beans & red onion in last 5 mins of roasting. Then stirring through sliced green beans at the end and topping with dijon mustard mixed with soya yogurt sauce.

    Meat would go with any of these too if you have any! (apart from the snacks i suppose)
  • nicmalaurennicmalauren Forumite
    94 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Apologies for radio silence - was away at the weekend at a friend's holiday home. We didn't eat out once though as the three of us brought left-overs with us in the form of various sad-looking vegetables, fruit, end of a loaf of bread, some yoghurt and four open (half-drunk) bottles of wine! Made a vegetable tagine and served it with some couscous we found in the cupboard at the house that was only four years out of date (lol) and followed it with baked apples for dessert (although we did cheat a bit and bought ice-cream to go with those).

    I love the idea of the roasted chickpeas! I've been trying to use more plant-based protein as well, so thanks for the recipes as so far my creativity hasn't really stretched beyond daal!

    I have now pretty much run out of fresh food. Still have some cheese left, and I have some veg growing but not really enough to make much more than one meal out of! Hoping to really tackle the freezer over the next week or so, but there's definitely more space in it than before I started!

    Made a pretty epic macaroni (although I used fusilli) and cheese last night with some black garlic butter and some porter cheddar that I was given for Christmas. Topped it off with a heel of a loaf from the freezer (yes - I even freeze a single leftover slice of bread) that was made into breadcrumbs.

    Slight blip this evening as I went to IKEA (big rant there - sold me the wrong bl00dy thing despite checking with THREE members of staff) and had dinner there, but I didn't make it home until after 9pm, it was cheap (£6 all in for dinner and dessert) and the coffee was free. I make that 12/31 days!
    "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
  • bobbiz22bobbiz22 Forumite
    67 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    You're doing well! Roasted chickpeas are great for a little snack. The vegetable tagine sounds lovely!

    I always find i have tons of pasta & rice/grains in my cupboard (i think I have 1 packets of Orzo, 1 big bag of rice and 2 big bags of pasta!) but I NEVER use it up as quickly as I buy it.

    I am also out of fresh food now, apart from 4 vegan cheese slices and half a red onion.

    I had a big bag of lentils so I batched cooked a huge lentil soup. I used a cup of lentils & a jar of tomato based sauce (i think it was for pasta?) - added water to make it a bit runnier, and blended until smooth. It is yummy! So I now have quite a bit of soup to eat for lunches as well.

    With the rice, I think I may make a curried rice & green beans (frozen) dish. Just using some curry powder and oil to make the rice flavoured :)
  • bobbiz22bobbiz22 Forumite
    67 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Just to add 7/8 days have been spend free for me so far - Since starting 8th January :)

    Hoping I can stretch this until the 8th February. Fingers crossed.
  • little_greenlittle_green Forumite
    585 Posts
    500 Posts Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    ✭✭
    hi all, I absolutely love this idea!!
    Bit late to the party in terms of January but what i'm going to monitor over the year is how many spend free days I can manage in a month & how many consecutive spend free days I can manage.
    Of 15 days in January this far, I've only managed 4 spend free days (not great!) but i'm taking my discovering of this thread as a hit on the reset button so hopefully onwards & upwards from here!
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