I was recently listening to a lady on YouTube talk about minimalism, and she mentioned minimalism in regards to food shopping. This isn’t really something I’ve given much thought to in the past. I mean, I’ve done no spend challenges where I use up everything in my pantry and only buy the bare necessities. But what she was talking about was different.
Basically, she compared food shopping with Biblical provision. She said that her current take on the weekly groceries is to approach it like the Israelites of the Old Testament approached the manna sent from God. They were to only take what they needed for that day. If they took any amount beyond that, it would be rotten by morning. So she had started only buying what she needed for the week, rather than stocking up.
Grocery shopping like it’s manna from heaven…
Since the moment it came out of the YouTuber’s mouth, I have been soaking in this idea.
Manna from heaven… provision… groceries…
My Shopping Habits
I tend to be the kind of person who shops sales. I like to use digital coupons and combine them with whatever the store has on sale all in an effort to save money and eat fairly well.
Sometimes, in order to get the best deal, the stores have sales that require buying in bulk. I’ve been known to take part in those sales. I’ll buy ten of something just to save a few dollars. I figure the nine that I don’t currently need will eventually get used up. And I always have food on hand – no worries about going hungry, right?
But the problem with this way of shopping is that I generally have quite a few extra of something that I don’t actually want to eat. I mean, it was good when I needed it for a recipe, but how many cans of beans or boxes of crackers does one family really eat in a week? Or a month?
My point is, I buy a lot of extra. Just this past week, I bought an entire bag of potatoes. The only people in my house who eat mashed potatoes are my husband and myself. I bought the bag of potatoes to make mashed potatoes to go with a small turkey that we were gifted. I could have just bought a few potatoes and made what we need, but I saw the sale and thought I should just get the bag. After all, it has more! Again, the problem is that now I have a lot of potatoes that no on will eat.
I really like the idea of shopping like the food is manna from heaven. I like the idea of just getting what we need for that week. I like the idea of not wasting food.
I also like to meal plan. I’m not always consistent with it, but I do like to do it. And when I manage to be consistent, it is incredibly helpful. It helps save money, and it helps save time.
I can’t help but think that if I started really going through my pantry and refrigerator, noticing all we have, I could do my shopping in a more intentional way.
I can plan the meals and the ingredients around what is already on hand. And when we run out, I can plan shopping based on what we actually need – not worrying about buying in bulk or stocking up. I can even plan weekly meals around what the store has on sale in order to still save good amount of money.
Buying what we need.
If I need one jar of tomato sauce, then I will buy one. If I need one box of pasta, then I will buy one.
If the sale says I can get four for $5, that doesn’t mean I have to get the four.
I can work to retrain my brain and my grocery buying habits.
As I look through my pantry, I see so much that isn’t being eaten or used in any recipe. Boxes and cans and jars of items I got on sale… sitting… soon to be expiring.
So much waste.
Like the manna, I want to start only taking what I actually need.
I see this new way of approaching grocery shopping as being beneficial in three specific ways:
First, I will save money.
Even though I won’t be stocking up with the bulk sales, my weekly bill will go down as I won’t be buying as much. It would be different if I actually used all the bulk items, but I don’t. By only buying what is actually needed, our grocery bill will go down.
Second, I will save space.
If I’m not buying so much stuff, there will be more room in my cabinets. I don’t live in a big house so extra space is a glorious thing. Minimizing grocery stockpiles will free up some valuable real estate.
And third, I will save my sanity.
Sometimes, I go to make dinner and I just feel overwhelmed by all the stuff. Yes, overwhelmed by the food. It sounds crazy, I know, but I’m not someone who actually enjoys cooking so the more ingredients sitting around the more stressed I get. By just having what I need, I won’t feel so frazzled by it all.
This idea of shopping like it’s manna from heaven make sense to me.
How do you go about shopping for food? Are you a bulk shopper, or one who just buys what is needed? What do you think about the idea of treating groceries like manna from heaven?