Frugal Living

Shelftember – by Melany Heger

I was introduced to Shelftember by Emily here, who is known to us as
Aussiedebtfreegirl. The challenge of Shelftember is to consume whatever is in your
pantry for the whole month of September. You’d only have a limited budget for fresh
produce and other similar items, for instance, cheese or dairy, or yogurt.
When I stumbled upon the Aussiedebtfreegirl Facebook Page, I was looking for Frugal
Living sites. And I am so glad I found Emily’s page! Finally, there are like-minded
people. They are women like me who want to live simply and joyfully. Getting rid of
backlog—debt, pile-up, too much stuff—was the main point.
I have a LOT of backlog. I’ve got too many things bought when I was bored, upset,
missing someone, in pain—stuck in my pantry. Maybe you have the same problem, or
maybe you don’t. I’ll just share with you what happened to me when I decided to tackle
my pile head-on.

Going to the groceries became a hobby for me when I was a full-time, stay-at-home-
mum. Grocery shopping was my way of coping with the uncertainties of family life.
More specifically:
I bought things on sale = letting go of a bargain means I let go of an opportunity
I bought premium items = rewarding myself for a job well done, since barely anyone
praises full-time mothers or housewives
I bought things for my kids = which are really for me since these are “treats” I’m
supposed to indulge in once in a while.
Could you imagine how many things I have bought and stocked up for the last three
years of my life, when I grocery shopped as a hobby?
So much, too damn much.

Nearly a year ago, my adventures with online jobs finally got serious. I’ve finally landed
a job that is stable, and along with my newfound career came the decision to get rid of
The Pile.
I needed to let go of my bad habit. (Grocery shopping as a drug.)
Finally, I was ready.
When I reached the decision point, Shelftember entered my life. Honestly, would it not have
been for Aussiedebtfreegirl and her Facebook Page, I would not have had the strength
or the resolve to do it.
So, Shelftember is done. It’s the third day of October 2021. What have I learned? I
need to move on with my life. If I don’t make a bold move, if I don’t stick to the plan, if I
am not determined to do it, I will just fall back into my old, bad ways. My old, comforting
bad ways.
I’ve got to find better things to spend my time and energy on. I’ve got to find ways of
rewarding myself that are not related to shopping or stockpiling foods. For one month
this year, I exercised what Emily called, “forced creativity”. It rocks! Try it!
With forced creativity, I realized I really had all I need—my reservoir is deep. I don’t
need to run out to the store since I’ve already got five or six versions of that “thing” deep
in the recesses of my pantry. I just need to get a move on—go dig it up, use it up, make
the most of its (product) life.
Thank you to all of you here for being part of my Shelftember journey. Inspired by
accomplishments so far, I will continue the Elimination of The Pile this October. (Let’s
see how many months it takes to clear it up.) Until then, I will keep on watching
Aussiedebtfreegirl’s Youtube videos for inspiration. See you too in the
Aussiedebtfreegirl Facebook Page!