Pantry Challenge, January 2016

Pantry challenge, baby.  Better get yo’ dancin’ shoes!

It’s January.  Again.  Can you believe it?

Pantry Challenge 2016
Pantry Challenge 2016

As we’ve been on our financial journey, I’ve learned that a great way to make money work for us is how we do with the groceries.

GoodCheapEats, one of my favorite blogs for healthy, budget-friendly meals walked me through a pantry challenge .

Oh?  A pantry challenge?  Sounds a little weird at first.  I attempted my first pantry challenge last year and it was a real win for our family!

Know what else?  A pantry challenge is seriously…FUN.  It’s like food Tetris where you know you’ve got to make it work through the 31 days and spend as little as possible but still make sure your family is eating healthy, delicious meals.  I love the challenge part of it all!

A pantry challenge is made to help you:

  • clean out your kitchen and make sure you eat the food you’ve already purchased to avoid waste
  • take inventory of what your family eats regularly to ensure they are getting healthy meals
  • shop smarter.  If your kids don’t eat that “one meal” you love- you don’t have to make it every week.

So, it’s a great way to clean out the kitchen, avoid waste, take inventory, and shop smarter AND can also help the family save some money?

Sounds like a perfect January project.  There’s something so refreshing about starting the year this way!

My friend Amy, sent me a text while posting this saying, “I think it’s time for a pantry challenge.” Even my husband mentioned during December, “You know, hon, we should do another pantry challenge to start the year off…”

Uh, yes please.  I love it when the people around you are working together, setting goals and building each other up like a power team.  It’s so amazing!

Care to join me? I thought so.  Let’s make those dollars s-t-r-e-t-c-h and use every drop of their value this month.

There are a couple steps in the process:

1.  Prepare for the Pantry Challenge.

After the major power outages in November, I’ve taken inventory of our pantry & freezer.

To start though, you’ll need to through the pantry, the freezer, and all the food storage cupboards. I’m talking all of it.

Throughout the month, I’ll be reporting what we have, evaluating how to use the food, and make an overall plan. (This will include a major clean out of the pantry.  I love a clean house!)

And yes, I’ll show you what’s going on here. Even if it isn’t my best work.  We are all here to learn

2. Make a menu.

Next, I plan to make a menu on how to use all the foods and not have leftovers day after day.

After a couple of years of learning to cook for just the three of us, this is becoming easier…but I’m still no success story.

I have never been successful at making a menu and sticking to it.  But we’ve made some progress this year.  This is one of those goals that will happen little by little.

I’d like to start making bread at home again.  I loved doing that before but somehow, just got too busy.  And by making it at home, I mean make the dough in the breadmaker then putting it in a pan to rise.  That’s my kind of homemade.

What about the crock-pot?  I know there are people who have love stories written to the power of that little guy.  I don’t quite get it.  But this another area I hope to have some success.  And possibly a steamy romance story about how it’s saved me from dinner drama.

3.  Shop for only the essentials.

During January, we plan to shop only to replenish the fruits and veggies, milk and cheese and use up everything from our home.

We have half a turkey breast roast, half a ham, some salmon, ground turkey and ground beef in the freezer to get us through the month. I plan to try more veggie recipes.  The idea of just trying this is a great game in my mind!

I’ll be reporting our shopping trips, what was purchased, what I thought we needed and really don’t or vice-versa. Our usual monthly grocery budget is $300 per month.  I am hoping to spend only half of that and make sure that we eat well.

Half?!?!?  Like $150 for the entire month???  Yup.

Think we can do it?  Me too!

Tell me now, how do you plan to save money in January?

7 Replies to “Pantry Challenge, January 2016”

    1. Aren’t we all like that? I think the routine of buying things can just add up to just too much! Please keep me posted on how things are going with your challenge… I will be cheering you on every step of the way!

  1. I love it. Good luck with this challenge! We’ve tried our own version of this at several points in 2015, particularly after we moved because we didn’t realize how much food we had stored. I would make “cupboard stew” in a crock pot, which is a compilation of anything in the cupboard or fridge that I could use. Ha! I think we could use a fridge challenge now, so I’m hoping to save 20% on our January grocery bill!

    1. Cupboard stew?!?! Oh, that’s awesome! I’m trying that next week, for sure! Keep me posted on how you do on the January grocery bill, eh? I’m cheering you on!

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