Project July

I’m going to do something more extreme than my pantry challenge.

I’ve talked it over with Hubs, and we’re going to go the whole month of July (yes, even with the holiday, company coming, mid-summer fun….) without spending a cent on food.

During the usual pantry challenge, I allot for us to continue to buy dairy products. Milk, cheese, sour cream, heavy cream, yogurt – those are all fair game while we make meals from our freezer or pantry.

I try to go as many weeks as possible without buying anything other than dairy. I think the longest we’ve gone so far was seven weeks. Not because we ran out of food, but because I became creatively challenged, and wanted to be done.

This time, however, for 31 days, we will not buy dairy. Or any grocery items. I know of one exception for sure, but outside of that, I don’t think we’ll even be eating out. (A day trip to Mount Rushmore with out of state family will call for a meal or more on the road, but don’t think I won’t have homemade snacks packed for the journey!)

It’s going to go beyond avoiding the grocery store, however.

I’m going to document e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. we use or consume during the month. How many loads of laundry we do (and how much detergent we use), how many pounds of this food we consume, how many of these items we go through…. all of it will be documented then evaluated.

I have been doing this pantry stocking thing for a while, but I don’t know the nitty gritty details of what we use, or how often. I have items in my pantry that I know I would use if I had to, but instead of using them, I buy fresh of something instead.

A perfect example: I have three pounds of minced onion in my pantry, but instead of using it, I buy fresh onions. It’s high time I use up the minced onions, especially since the onions I’m growing won’t be ready to harvest for several more weeks!

So for the month of July, no matter if we run out of something or low on something, or whatever happens, we’re committed to only using what we’ve got.

When company comes over, I’m not going to the store to buy extra items. We’ll use what we have (and it will be delicious, I assure you. No one will even realize anything might be “missing”).

As the month goes on and I collect my own data from what we use up, avoid using, etc. then (the hope is….) I will have a better grasp of the habits and health of our household, I’ll know what we absolutely need, what we can do without, and I’ll structure my future shopping accordingly.

July is not the best month in the world to attempt something like this, I know. It’s crazy hot, the garden is usually in full-swing (if ours ever gets started or takes off), and this year for us, we’ll be trying our best to keep meat bird chicks alive and thriving for a September harvest date.

Things will be a little chaotic. But also, if I put this off, I feel like I could really be missing an opportunity to focus on learning more (and making positive changes) with regard to our spending habits, eating habits, and pantry stocking habits.

Additionally, if the last 18 months have shown us anything, it’s that you can never be too prepared for total chaos and craziness. I believe this drastic step in using what we have no matter what, will teach me more than it will challenge me.

I have a general idea of how much of something we eat/use, but now is when we put my general ideas to the test, and see how off or on-track they are.

We have one more Azure Standard order coming our way at the very end of June, and that may be the last thing we pay for food-wise until the end of July (or beyond).

I am curious though. How many of you reading this could go an entire month without making a single trip to the grocery store? What would you have to do to get to a point where you could make it a month? Longer?

With inflation and food shortages and all the crazy things going on in the world around us, I realize things can get trickier to acquire, find, or purchase. At the same time, however, I would rather things be trickier to obtain than impossible.

I know not everyone thinks like me (obviously), and going an entire month without spending a single cent on food is pretty extreme. But the value we’ll get on the other side of this is priceless in my view. Not to mention the fact I know we can go an entire month without grocery shopping is an accomplishment.

So in a couple of weeks, it begins. Project July.

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