Food

This Woman Spends Absolutely Nothing On Groceries

If you're looking to keep your family's food bill down, there are lots of ways you can do it. Whether you decide to cut coupons, comb through flyers or shop bargain brands, there are lots of easy savings to be found.

But do you think you could feed your family on literally no budget? That's the challenge that Lydia Harvey from New Zealand set for herself this year. The idea first came to her when her son Ashton was diagnosed with coeliac disease (a gluten allergy) at age 3.

Lydia began reading the labels on the food she bought, and realized she was spending her entire paycheck to buy food full of ingredients she couldn't recognize. Instead, this year she's only serving her family healthy ingredients that she can get for free.

The Harvey family - Lydia, her husband Matt, and their four children - mainly eat fruit and vegetables from their own garden. She rescues chickens which lay eggs for the family, and everything else they need she gets by trading.

One nearby family lets Lydia look after their orchard in exchange for half the produce. Another makes cheese for her, and she'll bake food for neighbors in exchange for sugar and other baking supplies. She's even cleaned people's houses for meat they hunted themselves.

All this is hard work, but Lydia says it's teaching her family to eat healthier and think about their food.

"The kids complain that they miss their noodles and their chips, but they've actually become quite good at foraging for food," she told the New Zealand Herald. "It means they have to think about where their food is coming from - they can't just mindlessly open a packet of something."

The family has made it through their first month spending nothing on groceries, and they're hard at work canning vegetables and fruit for the winter. Lydia says she's already saved enough money to pay for a family vacation, and people have been happy to help support her.

One anonymous person even left a box full of shampoo and toilet paper on their doorstep, with a note saying "I remember the time you helped me."

What do you think of her idea? Would you ever try something like this?

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