When we moved into our tiny home, many things about our old lifestyle had to change. The first few times we went shopping, we WAY overbought and could not fit everything into our small kitchen. Since then, we've learned how to make it work for us!
We have to meal plan very carefully. I'm used to planning 2-3 meals for the week and kind of winging the rest. That doesn't work anymore, as we rarely have extra food to use! I plan 5 meals for the week and we eat leftovers for at least one meal and usually eat at a friend's place, or on the go for another.
We have quite a bit of cabinet space, but only an apartment sized fridge and no extra freezer. For appliances, we have a small 4-burner gas stovetop and a countertop oven, I also use our Instant Pot daily (or more!), we have an electric skillet that we use quite a bit, our Kitchen Aid mixer and a small blender. We got rid of all of our other appliances before we moved, or within the first few months when we figured out which things we'd get the most use out of.
I rarely buy large quantities anymore. This was a hard change for me! I'm used to stocking up when things are on sale, or doing a huge Costco trip once a month. That just doesn't work anymore. We do still shop at Costco for some things: coffee, sausages, coconut milk, and snacks are a few of the things that come to mind. I go to Costco twice a month now and still regret it almost every time, haha! I feel like it takes 2-3 days to get everything put away.
We're also picky with which leftovers we save. We used to keep everything, and rarely eat any of it. Now we only keep what we know we'll actually eat and toss the rest. This has also taught us to make smaller amounts of things. I used to make two batches of some meals and freeze one, but we just don't have the freezer space anymore! My friend Renee (a local blogger with 14 kids!) recently gave me this awesome rubbermaid set and we right away got rid of any other containers and only use these. They stack together perfectly and I like that they're plastic, so easy for Austin to toss in his backpack and take to work or school.
Several months ago, we decided to try out a gluten and dairy free diet, to see if it would help with Abram's asthma and Austin's excema. While neither is cured (and we didn't expect them to be!) we've seen pretty incredible improvements for both of them, so we're sticking with it for now! It has changed our shopping and eating habits quite a bit, we buy WAY more fresh fruits and vegetables and way less processed food and canned items. Not because we're super healthy, but because we have no other choice!
I expected our changes in shopping and eating habits to make our food budget way higher, but the truth it, it's the same or less. Because we're careful with what we we purchase and don't buy any extras or go shopping until all of our current groceries are used up, we end up saving a little each month.
Dishes are all done by hand, and we only have enough to get us through one meal - so we're forced to keep up with dishes! It's not a big deal now, but it was a challenge when we went for weeks without running water in the winter.
Meal planning has proven to be yet another way that tiny living is teaching us good habits and forcing us to keep up with them. I'm grateful for the push to eat healthier and meal plan more carefully!