An Insider Look at My First Grocery Strike

Grocery Strike – Refusing to buy new groceries for an allotted period of time, thereby committing to use up what is on hand.


Last week, I swung open the fridge door, saw half a carton of eggs, some milk, condiments, and a few containers with leftovers.  It had been WELL over a week since I bought groceries.  So, I made the decision to go grocery shopping.

Problem was, our grocery envelope was empty (we use the cash envelope system).  Payday was five days away.

Suddenly a new thought popped into my head.

I swung open the freezer door.  Then I punched in my husband Dontae’s cell phone number.

“Hey, so we’re almost out of food and over budget.  How would you like to just eat up what we have on hand until payday?  We’ve got food in the freezer and pantry.”

Dontae paused.  “Um…alright?”

It’s how felt too.  Everything about the idea ended with a question mark.

BUT it was wildly successful!  And, let’s be honest, it was only for four days (12 meals).  But I learned a bunch and I’m going to share it with you!


What I learned from our grocery strike

  1. Saying “No” is easier once you are committed:  I was bummed that our entire stockpile of fresh fruit and veggies consisted of two aging bananas.  But we knew we were saving money – that’s a powerful incentive.  I made do with what we had.  For example:  Aging bananas became banana bread.
  2. Creativity makes it fun:  When meals came, it was like putting a puzzle together.  I’d start with a base (like rice, tortillas or noodles), then select a canned or frozen veggie.  I’d assess what protein to use (meat, beans, eggs).  Adding seasonings and sauces helped a lot too.  For example:  One night we came up with a sweet & sour chicken dinner using our toddler’s Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets. Mickey Mouse chicken nuggets
  3. A new sense of gratitude:  On payday, I went shopping.  I bought fresh fruit, veggies, cereal, yogurt, milk, deli meat, canned goods, frozen goods and CHICKEN.  After stuffing our new groceries into our bare bones refrigerator, I was overwhelmed, OVERWHELMED with gratitude.  We have so much to be thankful for.




  • Step #1:  Swing open your fridge door.  Inspect your pantry.  Bump your “grocery run” back 3 days.  HOT RESOURCE: Go to  Select what food is in the your kitchen.  It will generate a list of recipe ideas for you!
  • Step #2:  Document your progress.  Follow my Facebook page here, then snap a picture of your dinner and put it on my wall.  Add the hashtag #grocerystrike so we can see your progress and cheer you on.  I’d LOVE to see what you come up with.  Plus, you will inspire others to try this money-saving technique, too.


Click here to show me what’s for dinner!


Join the discussion:  If you initiated a grocery strike TODAY, what would you cook for dinner tonight?

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4 thoughts on “An Insider Look at My First Grocery Strike

  1. Couldn’t agree more with this post, Laura. A grocery strike really does bring out the creativity and gratitude in everyone in the house. We’ve come to be a society where we just go and get what we want, when we want it, because groceries and other things are so easily accessible. But when we implement a grocery strike, it forces us to be grateful and content with what we have. It’s a serious attitude changer!

    • You’re right, Laurie. It helps a lot that we moved to the country, so there is less temptation to pick something up “just around the corner”. When I was pregnant and working full time, I drove past four Arby’s going to and from work, everyday. All I craved in that pregnancy was curly fries – and I ate a lot of them! I think being at home helps you stay grounded more.

  2. Laura, I’ve done this and liked it so much that I’ve done it more than once. When I changed jobs I was broke between pay days with the new pay schedule. I realized that when I thought I had next to nothing that I really had an abundance. I’m a good cook and fairly creative in the kitchen, so it worked out fine. And I agree that we have sooo much to be thankful for.

    • That’s great to hear you’ve had such positive experiences with this, Meredith. I’m sure it didn’t feel that great in the moment. And I don’t doubt you were creative – I have seen your work! 🙂