Well, we've hit the end of our 14 days without going to the store and I learned a few things from the experience that I'll share, but I really suggest you try it for yourself and see what you learn as each of us has a little different situation, family size, taste preferences, preparedness level, etc. It really is best to try these things out while you can still correct mistakes and make changes and additions to your supplies!
The challenge went like this: Pick any 14 consecutive days in August and don't go to the store for any of your normal day-to-day things like food, toiletries, etc. See how you do.
We spent Aug 1st through the 10th on a camping trip in Colorado and I almost used that as the start of my 2 weeks, but there was no way I could get my family out there and back (10 hr drive each way) plus live out of a cooler for the whole time without at least restocking ice, so I opted to start when we got back. I did a standard shopping trip when I got home for things like milk, eggs, etc. Nothing out of the ordinary, and no crazy extra quantities of anything, then we started our 14 days of no shopping. Because I didn't think we'd have too much trouble with this challenge, I opted to throw a twist in for myself and do it without telling my family, just to see how "normal" I could keep things.
The first couple of days I started noticing items that were low like laundry soap and my favorite toothpaste and wondering if they would last the whole 2 weeks. Yeah, we have extra toothpaste, but it's sweet husband's favorite kind (it's cheaper, so I'm more inclined to buy extras of his than mine) and I could use it in a pinch, but you know how it is with your favorite toothpaste. I was not thrilled at the notion of running out and no, I didn't cut back on the amount of times I brushed my teeth to conserve!
I was also concerned with the milk and eggs supply as the chickens haven't started laying yet and I didn't think the amount of milk or eggs we had would be sufficient. We have powdered milk and powdered eggs, but I really didn't want to start using them unless it was entirely necessary. I cringed every time my kids asked for a glass of milk, thinking it would run out.
I had a few advantages going for me. We live in a crazy little town with one "greasy spoon" restaurant that I am not even tempted to go eat at, so I'm used to making dinner instead of picking up a rotisserie chicken or pizza (they just don't exist here). We also have a decent garden that helped with fresh produce, although not fruit.
We ran out of fresh fruit after about a week, so we ate canned fruit after that and nobody cared. The eggs lasted until day 12 and the milk actually lasted to the morning of day 15. The trick to getting the milk to last was making powdered drinks like lemonade, koolaid, etc that my kids wanted to drink instead of the milk. I also substituted powdered milk for fresh milk when I baked--just add the milk powder to your dry ingredients and then add water instead of milk with the wet ingredients. Like 1 cup of milk=3 T dry milk (non instant) mixed in with the flour/baking powder/etc., plus 1 cup of water mixed in with the oil, egg, etc. Make sense? It's really easy because you never have to actually reconstitute the milk. I could have made the eggs last longer if I had started substituting for them in the baking also (1 egg=1 TB gelatin dissolved in 3 TB hot water, stir it up a bit, then add to the recipe as an egg). I did end up doing a gelatin/egg substitution on the night of day 12 to make the cornbread muffins to go with our chili--worked great.
At the end of the 14 days we were still eating "regular" food. No crazy food storage substitutions (aside from the egg thing), soaking and cooking beans, wheat meat, etc. Our weaker area was toiletries and cleaners. The laundry soap lasted fine, but now I have the ingredients to make laundry soap in the event I run out. Toothpaste lasted also and I picked up a few extra at the store on day 15. I did run out of conditioner (day 12 also) which I thought I had more of in the food room, but alas it was only shampoo in there, so I borrowed from the camping gear and then found a bottle under the bathroom sink on day 15 that had been there all along. Still, one extra bottle will only go so long. I also ran out of dishsoap, so borrowed that from the camping gear also.
I noticed that I wanted sweets like I usually do, but had to get creative so I didn't use all the eggs baking cookies. Sometimes I just opted to do without, which is never a bad thing.
We had our anniversary dinner from the freezer (like I said, there's really no place to go out here anyway so me cooking our anniversary dinner is normal) and I made 2 birthday cakes during the course of the 2 weeks. Now, my son didn't get his first choice for his birthday dinner--I was missing an ingredient, but he did get his second choice and was perfectly happy.
Another thing that was interesting to note is that most of the "food storage" foods I have are raw ingredients that need prepared and put together to make a meal. This preparing of food takes time and effort. Figuring out substitutions also takes time and effort. I've often thought that during a real emergency, my schedule would be such that the kids wouldn't be going to piano, school, etc. and we'd have lots of time for preparing food, but would that really be the case? The more I thought, the more I decided I'd been deluding myself. In the event of an actual disaster type emergency, there will be so much to do to clean up/make the place safe/etc. plus the stress you'll be under that having at least a week's worth of EASY out-0f-a-can type meals that your family will eat would be very helpful. More would be better. An actual emergency will probably also bring with it loss of power, gas, and/or clean water, none of which I had to deal with during this experiment.
I think that's about it. It really worked out very well. Nobody suffered, in fact, nobody even noticed. But I learned a lot from doing it about some things I need to stock up on and some ways to make what I have last longer. So what's stopping you? Give it a try. 2 weeks of not shopping. See how it goes for you.