Our Fourth of July parties are completed, and I am diving into our Summertime Pantry Challenge, where my goal is to eat from our fridge, freezer and pantry for the month, and share some additional ways to save money on food. I am going to clear out some of the food items that have been lingering for awhile, get creative in the eating produce department since my garden is busting at the seems, and limit spending drastically for the month. In fact, for the next ten days, I will probably not even step foot in a grocery store. Yes, I think that will be possible since I have so much produce on hand (but I am may need some fruit). I think you could do it too – maybe just for a few days?
It continually amazes me when my children open our fully stocked fridge and freezer, and claim there is no food in the house. With that being the case, they are about to find out what it means to get creative with our food and really use up what we purchase.
One of the benefits of stockpiling is that we have our own “mini store” on hand (which is the goal). Rarely, do I come across a recipe and panic because I am out of half of the ingredients. I typically have 3-4 extras of things we use often, but with that stock pile comes a few downsides. It seems ironic that with extra food can come waste, but periodically, our kids are more wasteful the more I have on hand.
For instance, we make taco dip, served with tortilla chips, continuously for snacks. As I type, we have three different bags of tortilla chips open. Really? Three? Could they not have looked just a bit closer before opening another one. Not to mention the two ketch-ups and three jams open as well.
A year and a half ago, I went on a very significant Pantry Challenge, and ended up only spending around $100 for the entire month, for our family of seven. By the end of the month, it was tricky, but the challenge was so worthwhile. I had the whole family on board, including my husband, which is crucial, and we got incredibly creative. We were in the middle of our year of unemployment, so the significant cash saved made a huge dent in our very tiny budget.
Now, our food budget is not the issue. (Wow, I really can say that with no stress.) We have the ability to choose NOT do this. I have the ability to choose NOT to coupon or be frugal in the food department, yet that choice over many years, would be disastrous.
My desire is to model for our children that saving money in every aspect of our lives, over a long period of time, is really the difference between living financially free and continually being strapped. Now, please hear me. There were periods where we were living frugally, and still incredibly strapped for cash, but I am talking over a life time here. Right now, some of my guys will question this pantry challenge month, and debate the fact that we have money to shop, so why decide on this challenge. But this challenge is going a bit deeper than just being good stewards of the food that I already have. It’s about teaching my children a bigger life lesson. We are heading to Guatemala in the next month, and I want them to realize that our “nothing to eat” is a continual bounty, and if worse came to worse, we could survive for a long period of time on what we have right in our home.
My goal is to update on our pantry challenge a few times a week throughout the month, and I would love for you to join me. I have an entire category titled, Saving money without Coupons. These posts share ways to save money on food without having to cut coupons. Even though, pairing coupons with sales is ideal, hopefully this category will open up your eyes to a variety of money saving ways, and a food challenge is one of them.
As I stated in last year’s pantry challenge. “There are no right or wrong ways to do this. Do what works best for your family. That may mean just beginning with a one week challenge to dig deep into those cupboards, take stock of what is hiding, and use what you have on hand. It requires a bit more time, but it will be well worth the re-organizing in the end.”
I’ll be updating through out the month, and would love to hear what you’re doing as well. We can encourage each other along this road and see where we end up. It could be interesting.
Some of my friends are challenging themselves as well. It’s always inspirational to see how people tackle this challenge in different ways. Not all of them are limiting their spending, but the nature of the challenge, makes that happen anyhow, and I love to think of all the ways we can put that saved money to work for us.
- Amy from The Finer Things in Life
- Erin from $5 Dinners
- Jessica from Good Cheap Eats
- Shaina from Food for My Family
- Lynn from Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
- Tammy from Tammy’s Recipes
So join me and get creative for the month. You’ll be so glad you did! Now let’s see what you all are cooking up for Tasty Tuesday.
Simple Rules for Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods – As always, please link directly to your recipe post and not your blog URL, so that everyone can find the recipe months from now. The new image link that I amusing will not accept your recipe without a link back here to beautyandbedlam.com.
Also, Please do not link up a recipe meme that you have started. Thanks for your understanding.