Indiana Daily Student

Conscious Consumerism

--Image courtesy of Amazon.com
--Image courtesy of Amazon.com

I, like any girl, love shopping.

I love going in a store, browsing through the options and picking out my purchases.

I’m not talking about buying clothes though, I’m talking about grocery shopping.

Being a foodie, I love hitting up my local grocery stories every week to pick up food for the week. The problem, as is with any type of shopping, is that I usually don’t need as much food as I buy. Even though I have cabinets full of food, I always go out and get something new every week.

Just last week, I bought two boxes of Cocoa Pebbles, arguably the best cereal in the world. But I didn’t need it. I already had instant oatmeal and granola for breakfast, a bag of granola that cost me a ridiculous $6.

So why buy? It’s more fun to get something new and exciting instead of digging through your pantry.

But this week, it changes. Except for vegetables and fruit, I refuse to buy anything new when I have edible food sitting at home.

The reason for this change? My parents.

In between moving houses, my parents are renting a house much smaller than our old one. When I came back to visit my parents for winter break, I saw how cramped they were. Stuff was everywhere and I couldn’t believe how packed the fridge was.

This problem is apparently genetic. When I was going through my pantry today, I found four boxes of brown sugar. Count it, four boxes of brown sugar. I’m not sure when I had the reason for stocking so much of the sweet stuff. Was it an incredible buy one get one free deal that I didn’t want to pass up? Or did I run out one day and resolve to never be short of brown sugar again? Whatever it was, I had $10 worth of food sitting in my house that I will not use in a whole year’s worth of baking.

When you buy something, you are paying for more than just how the item costs up front. You have to transport it, store it, clean it and then eventually, move it. When you buy something, you are taking on the added stress of possessing that object. That’s why it’s important to put down that family-size bag of Doritos and ask yourself if you don’t have a half-eaten box at home.

One of the biggest problems with food clutter is the sale. Every time an item goes on sale, even if I have it at home, I am fiercely tempted into buying it. Chicken breast on sale for $1.77 a pound?

Why yes, I’d love some. It’s only when I remind myself that I’ve had a pack at home in my freezer for three months that I have to put down the incredibly good deal and back away.

One of the other reasons for my uncluttering is my impending move. I only have a month left in Bloomington, and whether I have to move back home or to another city, I don’t really want to lament all the unused food I had laying around.

So this is my challenge. One month. Only buy the bare minimum. I’m budgeting around $10 a week for groceries, which should be fine since I only need a few fruits and veggies to beef up my already stocked fridge.

In whatever situation you’re in, it’s good to step back and see what you have already. It forces you to get more creative with your cooking and less responsive to your cravings. By reeling in my food budget, I can force myself to experiment with what I have.

Who knows, maybe by the end of next month, I’ll be happily shopping again. This time, with no guilt.

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