Do you feel like your grocery budget is out of control? If you are spending hundreds each month on groceries and still having to run out weekly for ingredients then something has to change. It can be hard to get your spending on track and reign in your food budget. In the post Creating Your Future: January 2017 Goals I mentioned that this month we are doing a grocery freeze this month. It is a huge part of my finance goals because of how much money it saves my family. Keep reading to find out what it is and why you need a grocery freeze to get your budget under control.
Affiliate links may be used in this post. Ordering a product through these links may result in a commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.
What is a Grocery Freeze?
A grocery freeze is a specialized no-spend challenge. For an entire month you don’t spend one penny on food of any kind. It helps you reset your grocery budget and also prevents food waste. When I do it, I don’t spend any money at all on food. I don’t buy coffees, slip through a drive-thru, and no popping by the store for milk. If you want to adjust it, you can make exceptions for basics like milk, eggs, and bread. The perk of not allowing exceptions is that it forces you to get creative with your meals and, in some cases, learn alternative ways to prepare them.
Why Do You Need a Grocery Freeze?
I don’t quite know how it happens but we always end up with things in our pantry and freezer that keep getting shoved aside each month. Canned goods sit unused and vegetables in steam packs never get eaten. A grocery freeze is the way to fix that. It forces you to use up those lonely items because you simply don’t have anything else. It can also force you to eat more vegetables is you run out of meat to prepare. (I admit that in all my years of doing grocery freezes, I have only run out of meat once.)
Grocery Freeze Steps
Now that you know why you need a grocery freeze, it’s time to get started. These easy steps will walk you through the basics. It may seem intuitive but without preparation you can stumble (or give up) when you hit road blocks. I want you to be successful reigning in your grocery budget.
Pick you month. Don’t pick a month too far away. The closer the date is the better. That will keep you from padding your pantry with extra items before the freeze.
Start on the first of the month and create an inventory of everything in your freezer, fridge, and pantry. If you need help, I’ve got tips and a free printable for your at You Can’t Meal Plan without Knowing What You Have.
Take a look at your list and come up with a meal plan.
Make and freeze the meals you can in batches. If it’s not easy on you then you will be more likely to give up as the month goes on.
Are you ready to get your grocery budget under control and your spending back on track? Now you know why you need a grocery freeze to make it happen. Clean out your inventory and stop wasting food (and money) each month. I like to do these twice a year. Doing one in January sets the tone for my grocery budget the rest of the year. A second grocery freeze during the summer resets my pantry/freezer before the new school year. Come back next week for Grocery Freeze Tips to be successful and stretch your groceries.