Robbing Peter to Pay Paul – No Grocery Shopping Edition

When I was a child, I hated grocery shopping.  HATED IT.  I think it was the old ladies running over my toes with their carts.  Or maybe it was the mean auntie I was required to shop with.  I don’t know but I tell you it was not fun for me,  Not one bit.

That was pretty much my attitude for years, even as an adult.  Because of my first job out of college (BEST JOB EVER!) I had most of my meals paid for through travelling expenses. Sometimes fast food.   Sometimes room service, but never home cooked food.

I rarely grocery shopped and when I did, I didn’t shop well.  You know with a list, or a plan or a vague idea of what to eat.

Then one day, I had a daughter. And then the next day (so it seems to me) she was ready to eat meals that weren’t pumped or pureed.  And I had to make them.  And fortunately,  not too long after that I discovered Aldi.  And now, I no longer hate grocery shopping. If you don’t know the joy that is Aldi, you are missing out.  But that is something to share in another post.

So while I do not hate grocery shopping, I am still aware that groceries are a line item on my budget.  About $50 a week on average when I included special activities, family get-togethers and holidays.

I decided not to spend that $50 and instead, feed my family from the pantry and freezer for the week.  Why?  Well at first it was to have the guilt free pleasure of spending about $60 at Madonna’s Seafood at a Saturday date for Mirror Image and me.  My co-worker recommended this place because it has an All-You-Can-Eat steamed crabs menu.  We LOVE crabs.

But that changed.

The same day I made the plans to scrap grocery shopping for the week and made plans to dine at Madonna’s, I picked up a prescription for Mirror Image from Sam’s Club. It was $113 that I was not really expecting. Bye crabs.  It was nice almost eating you.

I decided instead to re-route the grocery money to the prescription expense.  Not because I couldn’t pay both.  I could.  In fact, I could have paid both the restaurant and the groceries to begin with.  What I wanted to do was experiment and sacrifice and claw back some kitchen real estate.

We go grocery shopping every week. I love trying to new recipes and stuffing Mirror Image’s little mouth with all sorts of yummy treats to show her she is the love of my life.  I also take my lunch to work and I don’t ever want to have an excuse to get a burger.  Finally, we are real foodies at my house.  We kind of live to eat, from a gourmet perspective.

So, to help balance out the unanticipated medical costs, we will sacrifice this week.  To show I can step up, I am experimenting with simple meals made from the pantry and freezer this week.  Here is my budget meal plan:


  • Breakfast – Bacon & eggs & bagels & canned pineapple
  • Lunch/dinner – Ground turkey tacos & beans; homemade French fries


  • Breakfast – Bacon & eggs & pork sausage & canned beans and apples
  • Lunch/dinner – Ground turkey tacos & beans; homemade French fries


  • Breakfast – Hard boiled eggs & bacon (me)
  • Lunch – Canned Grilled Chicken & Sausage Gumbo soup (me)
  • Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich & apple (her)
  • Dinner – Pasta and meat sauce (us)


  • Breakfast – Hard boiled eggs & sausage patties (me)
  • Lunch – Pasta and meat sauce (leftovers) (me)
  • Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich & apple (her)
  • Dinner – Chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms (us)


  • Breakfast – Hard boiled eggs & sausage patties (me)
  • Lunch – Canned potato soup (me)
  • Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich & apple & cookies (her)
  • Dinner – Beef Stroganoff & green beans (us)


  • Breakfast – Bagel with cream cheese and salmon
  • Lunch – Chicken with tomatoes and mushrooms (leftovers)
  • Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich & apple & cookies (her)
  • Dinner – Garlic Chicken and broccoli


  • Breakfast – Pain au chocolate and banana (me)
  • Lunch – Baked potato (me)
  • Lunch – Peanut butter sandwich (her)
  • Dinner – Tuna casserole & green beans (us)


  • Banana bread
  • Pumpkin bread
  • Gelato

I have all of this food (or the ingredients) in my house.  Right now. It really is not a big sacrifice to give up shopping for the week and, it will help me clear out room in the freezer and the cupboards.  Plus, it is a good lesson for Mirror Image and I to keep in mind…gratitude for all that we have.  Especially when there are so many that have so much less.

How often do you prepare meals plans around your pantry surplus?

Thrifty Image