Want to eat for FREE the entire month of February? I do! I was inspired by my friend AR Shaw who shared her own version of Spend Free February and I decided to eat from the food I have in my house. Of course, it’s not really for FREE since you’ve already laid out the cash for the food that you have, but you’ll be saving the money you would be spending on groceries this month. Have you ever looked, REALLY looked in your freezer, fridge and pantry to see what you have in there? If you’re like most people (myself included) you don’t know what is really in your food stores. I try to follow FEMA guidlines for an Emergency Kit . I know that I do tend to keep a bit more food on hand , and I needed to take an inventory. Not knowing what I had in the house caused me to spend unnecessary money at the grocery store buying more than I need, not to mention the WASTE of food that never gets used and goes bad. I thought, hmm… that’s a great idea, especially since I have a FULL freezer and I was hoping to save some money this month.
I wanted Food For Free In February!
I set some rules:
- Use the food that I have in the house to provide meals for the entire month of February.
- Take inventory of freezer, fridge, and pantry to see what I have to work with.
- Make a meal plan.
- Allowed to spend $25 a week for fresh produce/dairy
- No fast food sneaking
- Pre-planned eating out was ok. (our son’s birthday is in February) but only the 2 we had planned before I started.
- I’ll allow my son to purchase lunch at co-op when it resumes in a week, but I’ll bring my lunch. (He has lunch with his friends) .
- Think how to intelligently restock freezers with food after February is ended.
That doesn’t look so hard, does it?
IT IS! I took 2 days to inventory the freezer because I wanted to wait until the garage was warmer than the inside of the chest freezer. I was shocked to see what I had. I had over 4 pages 4 PAGES of frozen food to use. Lots of steaks, chops, some chicken, and surprisingly not a lot of processed food. There were a few half bags of frozen french fries, a box of chicken patties, and a few of those frozen meals, but mostly I found lots of food waiting to be made into healthy meals!
I started on February 1st even though I hadn’t inventoried yet. Here’s our first few days of dinners so you can get an idea of what I’ve been making.
Friday: InstantPot spaghetti and meatballs
Saturday: Chicken tenders and
as requested by son who had his girlfriend over for dinner
Sunday: Superbowl! We used up a lot of the leftover frozen french fries, and I made barbecue chicken nuggets.
Mon: Slow Cooker Beef Noodle Soup
Tuesday: Boudin my Daddy has sent me from Texas and leftover Mac & cheese.
ALL of these meals I made with food I had in my freezer. We home school, so I’m also needing to have breakfast and lunch for my teen son. I’ve been making lots of sandwich and leftovers, and have boxes of cereal and other easy things to put together. I’m also allowing him to eat some of the canned goods I have that will expire in the near future so that they won’t be wasted.
One thing I know that is going to make a big difference is menu planning. Once I know what I’m making, I can plan how carefully to spend my weekly $25 and know what I need to take out to defrost in time.