WNC family implements ‘no-shopping November’

REAL DEAL: Real Food Living, founded by Vickilynn Haycraft in 1984, features blog posts this month detailing the Haycraft family's experience with "no-shopping November." Photo courtesy of Haycraft

While some are celebrating no-shave November, one Western North Carolina blogger and her family are partaking in a different type of abstinence.

“It wasn’t a choice— it was a necessity,” says Vickilynn Haycraft, writer and independent product reviewer, explaining her family’s need for “no-shopping November.” “We had a large emergency that exceeded our available funds, and the only place we could borrow from was our food budget for the month.”

In order to feed her family for a month without buying any groceries (aside from a Thanksgiving turkey), Haycraft took inventory of her stock at the onset. Now she is busy planning meals and snacks based on available items and documenting her journey with daily blog posts at realfoodliving.com, where healthy recipes and pictures accompany reflections from each day’s efforts.

“It is pretty exciting in a challenging way,” says the food storage enthusiast in an early blog post. “It gives me the impetus to do what I love – creating and revamping recipes my family will enjoy. I am thankful that we have what we have, and I know this will be a positive learning experience for all of us, but mostly for me!”

This isn’t the first time that Haycraft has avoided supermarkets to cut costs. In fact, years ago, she implemented a food savings plan that lasted for several months.

“It was a reduction of shopping, not a complete stop. We used what we had on hand first, but we shopped for perishables. Now we are not shopping at all, even for toiletries,” says Haycraft, who has already made homemade hygiene products like coconut oil deodorant for use this winter.

Although the meals Haycraft has documented so far in endeavor look impressive considering her limited supplies, she has struggled, as the leader of the home-budgeting project, to get complete buy-in from all participants and to internalize the fact that her own energy is, much like the family’s food stores, a limited resource.

“This is not an experiment, challenge or dry-run,” Haycraft reminds her blog readers. “It’s real life for us and I know many of you have been in similar situations.” But “there are positives every day,” says the mom, who cites “being more creative in my food planning and prioritizing what to shop for when we are able to shop again” as primary takeaways.

Haycraft’s recipes are available online, and she is planning a recap and Q & A session at the conclusion of her month-long experience.

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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4 thoughts on “WNC family implements ‘no-shopping November’

  1. Kat McReynolds

    Despite the fun name, this is, as Vickilynn phrased it, a real life necessity. I think her effort to turn a potential financial crisis into something positive is admirable.

    • Vickilynn Haycraft

      Thank you Kat for the positive and informative article. I have heard from others who are encouraged by the series, and some who are implementing similar strategies to help with tight finances. Thank you for sharing.

      • Valerie Keyes

        Hey! Thanks so much for sharing! I know exactly where you’re coming from since this household is going through some financial transitions. Have been kinda dreading the “shopping frenzy” time of year. Have avoided it for years…but still hear about it from work mates, etc. So good to know I’m not alone. We try to celebrate with little things we do for each other, or go somewhere special together. Even if it’s free of cheap, it’s the love that counts!

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