Mom, there’s nothing to eat! How often have we heard this yelled throughout the house? I walk into the kitchen only to discover one of the kids, actually half of a kid, with his entire upper body inside the refrigerator.

Now, I know that we have plenty of food in our house because I did all the grocery shopping yesterday.

He just can’t find what he has a “taste” for. I gently move him aside and stick my head in. The top shelf is filled with three gallons of milk and two gallons of orange juice. The doors are filled with condiments, pickles, salad dressings, and bottled water. The second shelf has left over vegetables, bread, buns, and eggs. It’s summer so I keep the bread in the refrigerator. The bottom shelf showcases leftovers from the previous two nights’ meals. The drawers contain two heads of lettuce, a few apples, some lunchmeat, and several packages of cheese.

My son has plenty of options, but he still claims that he’s starving and there is no food. The refrigerator is full but I do have to agree with him, a little. I suggest a bowl of cereal. If he uses up some of the milk I’ll have room for tonight’s leftovers. Then it hits me, I stock up and then try to deplete my supply of perishable foods, so therefore I must need a second refrigerator or a spacious chest freezer.

I would love to be my mother. She would go to the grocery store once a week. I have reduced my shopping trips to twice a week and on occasion still have to return to pick up something that we have run out of. My mom had only one refrigerator so how did she do it?

For starters, she shopped at only one grocery store. I shop between four. Plus, if I remember correctly, either her or my dad would stop at least twice a week at the local convenient store to pick up additional milk, bread, or lunchmeat. This is reasonable, so why don’t I do that?

Let’s just say that my mom’s way of shopping was thirty-plus years ago. The prices at the local convenient store were only slightly higher than the prices at the grocery store back then. The price of a gallon of milk was the price of a gallon of milk. It didn’t matter where you bought it. Nowadays, you could spend twice as much for a loaf of bread depending on where you shop. My grocery shopping habits are totally opposite of my mothers.

On Thursdays, one store has milk on sale for $2.49 a gallon. This store also has the lowest prices on bread. So I buy three gallons of milk in an attempt to make it last until the next Thursday. I normally fall short by a day or two, and have to spend over $1.00 more for another gallon. They also had eggs and bacon on sale. This will save me a trip to another grocery store as long as I pick up some lunchmeat. I can reserve the second store for next week, probably on Monday.

Then I head to a local discount store that has juice and frozen food at a lower everyday price. I buy two gallons of orange juice that should last me a week, I hope. This Thursday they also had lettuce on sale for $.89 a head. Of course, I had to buy two otherwise I would be paying around $1.49 for a head of lettuce next week. They also have hot dogs at a reasonable price.

During my shopping trip I passed up a deal on both yogurt and cottage cheese. I knew I wouldn’t have room in the fridge for them. Plus, I could buy them on Monday when my milk and juice supply was lower. I started another list for Monday that included cantaloupe, grapes, ketchup, and cheese slices. The cycle never ends.

From this, you have probably guessed that I have a tendency to stock up on food when items go on sale. So now it is Friday, my refrigerator is packed in order for us not to have to run out to the store and pay more for everyday items than we have to. But I need a solution to my “empty” refrigerator problem. I’m planning on buying all the “good” food, at least according to my son, in three days.

Since redesigning my kitchen to incorporate a larger refrigerator is not an option,

we are thinking of buying a smaller second refrigerator. But where would we put it? My first instinct is the basement but I am afraid that I will forget about it and would actually let some items spoil. Also, would the price of buying and then having another appliance running all the time outweigh the cost of stocking up on perishable items? I could get all my grocery shopping done once a week and not have to worry about what we still need to buy.

I start my online research. I could get a small fourteen cubic foot refrigerator for around $350-$400 on sale. That is an awful lot of milk, about two years worth. The only way that I can see getting a second refrigerator is to find one second hand at a garage sale. But of course, you run risks with not knowing how long it will work and it probably wouldn’t be energy efficient. For now I will keep my schedule of grocery shopping twice a week and alternating between what refrigerated foods we buy. The kids will just have to deal with not having anything to eat in the house for four days per week. There is a part of me that wishes I could have designed this kitchen. I would have left a huge space for one of those mammoth refrigerators and all of my food problems would be solved.

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