I am the originator of the phrase "Self-Imposed Grocery Exile". I just moved/duplicated this file from it's space at Geocities. Here goes...
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...no, that's not it.
It actually DOES come from Star Trek. Here, I'll explain...
Several years ago, during a tight money time, I looked into my pantry and freezer and realized I could live a month or more on what I had stocked up on. And that some of that stuff had been there a mighty long time. I decided to not buy any new groceries for a month. The only items I gave myself permission to buy were things we ran out of and perishables like milk and cheese. I gave myself $40.00 for the month. That was to feed my husband and myself and his three children when they came to stay with us every other weekend and every Wednesday evening. Well, I did it! I got rid of a lot of things that would otherwise have gone bad or would still be sitting on the shelf to this day! My husband certainly had a good laugh at my antics over the month, though he was a bit disgruntled that I would not buy all the yummies he was used to - the spoiled thing! He likened my little personal prohibition to the Star Trek character Spock's Self-Imposed Vulcan Exile. The Self-Imposed Grocery Exile was born! I mentioned it to several pals at ParentsPlace's Frugal Living Bulletin Board (Note: ParentsPlace is now part of iVillage). They thought it was a great idea and once in a while, they form little support groups to clear the cabinets! The main point to all this is that we often stock up too much and don't use those items in a timely manner. Stocking up is a fine and frugal way, but not using those items defeats the purpose.
Here are the basic rules to a Grocery Exile:
Rules: There are no set rules; you decide what is best for you!
Here are my usual rules.
1. Give yourself a set amount of money based on the number of people in your household.
2. Determine how long you will be on the Grocery Exile. (Usually a month)
3. Buy only things you run out of or perishable items.
4. Use up things that have been in the freezer and on the shelves.
5. Be creative! Get rid of it! You obviously had some idea what you wanted it for when you bought it!
Variations to all of that:
1. Usually I keep my Exile money in a little pouch and pay for groceries out of it, but I sometimes just keep track by the receipts.
2. If something goes on super sale, I stock up on it. Example? Ground Chuck or Sirloin for .88c a pound at Wal-Mart.
3. I have given up on my husband and now buy him his soda and other things. If I don't, he stops at convenience stores and pays their outrageous prices and that sort of defeats my purpose.
That's how the Grocery Exile was born. Use it if you like, have fun with it. Deciding how to use up that last little dab of whatever-it-is in the freezer can be fun, a challenge! Good luck and visit the Frugal Living Bulletin Board at iVillage.com for ideas, support, and others who can cheer you on!
That's all for the Grocery Exile
by Tamara Rutenber
Last modified/added to TamRootbeer.com