Cut your grocery bill 25 percent by doing nothing

Cut your grocery bill 25 percent by doing nothing
How would you like to cut your grocery bill by 25 percent by doing nothing?

It's easier than you think. All you have to do is cut out one grocery shopping trip a month and challenge yourself to use up the food you already have.

Amanda Gable is a stay-at-home mom under constant pressure in her own kitchen. Planning and cooking can be exhausting. So, all too often, Gable simply gives up thinking ahead.

"You go into the grocery store for, you know, one ingredient to finish a recipe and you end up picking five or six different things. And you can end up spending $50," she said.

It doesn't have to be that way, according to Steven Shaw, an award-winning New York food writer and director of the eGullet Society, a culinary arts group.

Shaw challenged himself not to shop, but instead to cook all of his family's meals with just the food in his apartment.

So, could Gable pull off the same thing?

She didn't shop for a week, and made meals with only the food already in her kitchen.

Day one: Gable scrounged through her cupboards and discovered 4-month-old tortellini that she prepared with grilled hamburgers from her stash of frozen meats. And stuffed in the bottom of her refrigerator, she found asparagus. That's dinner for four!

Day two: Gable was desperate for certain spices for a sauce and, while rummaging through her kitchen, found spices that she forgot she bought three years ago!

She also found chicken in her freezer bin for skewers, and brown rice in her cupboard.

Gable figures she'll save more than $50 a week at the grocery store - for her, that's 25 percent - by shopping less impulsively.

There's some food for thought! Keep in mind that make a shopping list can be a big help. Make a list and stick to it, unless you find a really great in-store sales.

Using a list keeps you from making expensive impulse purchases that really drive up the bill. Going to the grocery store fewer times does the same thing, because it means less temptation to buy something not on the list.

ABC News consumer correspondent Elisabeth Leamy contributed to this story. She shares other savings methods in her book Save Big that helps you cut costs on all sorts of things.