Life { Faith } Tea

and ramblings on everything in between

Why My Refrigerator is on a Zero-Based Budget, Too

I originally posted this blog in Dec. 2014. As we all recover from our Thanksgiving eating binge, I thought I would share it again. I read this in a Time magazine article

“When people stockpile groceries, they devour them twice as fast.”

That’s definitely food for thought, isn’t it? 🙂 

I’ve gotten into the habit of only going to the grocery store on payday, which happens every two weeks. I’ve learned which vegetables and fruits need to be eaten the first week and which ones can hang out in the fridge until the second week. I’ve learned which meals can be frozen for later and which leftovers need to eaten right away. I’ve been diligent about selecting my meals before I go to the store so I know exactly what I need and how to use up everything I buy. I hate throwing those hard-earned dollars into the trash!

Dave Ramsey, that wonderful man who changed my thoughts on money, believes you should tell each dollar where to go each month, so on the last day of the month your budget is down to $0.00. This is what a zero-based budget is. I’ve decided to start treating my refrigerator like this as well, so every item has a place to go and isn’t wasted. But more often than not, this is what my refrigerator looks like on the morning of a Friday payday:

photo (3)

Sad fridge 😦 

I know I might be missing out on savings by not buying in bulk and skipping the 10 for 10 deals at local grocery stores. For some reason, I can’t wrap my head around how that would work for me. I don’t want a lot of extra money tied up into food, especially food that lives in the cabinets. It takes me a few months to go through one box of noodles. Why would I want to store 10 of them in my limited cabinet space and tie up that money? I like to make meals that consist of fresh produce rather than boxed items, and if I placed more boxed items in my kitchen I would undoubtedly reach for them more often. As a household of one, it’s easier for me to live this way than if I were a family of four, I certainly get that.

What this system of only going to the store twice a month forces me to do is be smart about what I buy and use up everything I have. The Thursday and Friday of a pay week often leave me with slim pickings. Sometimes I have to get creative those last two days – peanut butter and jelly on tortilla shells or veggie broth, noodle, and bean soup – but I’m often surprised by what I can find to throw together.  And I’ve never gone without a meal. Sometimes when I open that skinny fridge, I take a moment to remember that some families have no resources to fill theirs back up again. It helps put things into perspective.




Perks of my zero-based refrigerator are not having to do the monthly purge of old items that were pushed to the back and sprouted mold colonies, having clean refrigerator shelves to wipe off regularly instead of when I have the time to take all the contents out to do so, and not throwing away excess or spoiled food because I know exactly what’s in there and what its purpose is in my meals.

This ramble is nothing more than a reminder that we can be budget-conscious in all areas of our life. Living with less can encompass clothes, electronics, lattes, and – yep – groceries.


5 comments on “Why My Refrigerator is on a Zero-Based Budget, Too

  1. Katelyn Cresmer
    December 5, 2014

    I love this idea! I want to try this out!

    • Ashlee
      December 9, 2014

      It’s been working for me for many months now so I highly recommend giving it a go! Let us know how it goes if you do. Those creative last day meals are always the fun part. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Minimalist Monday // Talk Budget to Me | Life { Faith } Tea

  3. TJ
    January 8, 2016

    I never did this deliberately, but when I realized that my growing boys were going to eat a month’s worth of groceries in a couple of days, I had no choice. 😉

    • Ashlee
      January 11, 2016

      Ha! So true! I bet the grocery budget could quickly get out of hand that way.

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This entry was posted on November 27, 2015 by in Finances, Money and tagged , , .

What’s that she said?


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