An update to my challenge: My NO Spend Pantry Challenge with Meal Ideas.
I spontaneously left for a week when our sons made it to the Pop Warner National Championship. Life was a hectic whirlwind when we arrived home.
I hadn’t gone grocery shopping, yet had no desire to prioritize it. We had frozen milk, meat and veggies all waiting in the freezer, so I went another complete week without grocery shopping after arriving home. I seriously didn’t think it could be done, but it was, and our monthly grocery bill was nearly non existent.
I saved so much money on my groceries from using what I already had on hand and not rushing to fill the fridge back up.
Now, I have been challenged to an “Eat from your Pantry” (and freezer) month with my good blogging friends. What – a whole month, you say?
Attempting to avoid grocery shopping as much as possible, eat out of the pantry, freezer and fridge while getting creative when my children complain, “Mom, there’s nothing to eat,” allows me to take stock of what I already have, save hundreds of dollars at the same time by not rushing unnecessarily to the store, while still encouraging a heart of gratitude in our children.
This is going to be a challenge, trust me. I’m a bit nervous about committing to you, but I have two pantries that are bulging from my stockpiling of free, and nearly free foods from coupons (Are coupons worth it…yes, they are.) The point of my pantry foods is to use them, but first I need to keep them organized and rotated, which I haven’t done lately (as witnessed below.)
Since we are still in the middle of our very long, but always growing unemployment “God Watch,” and have already whittled our expenses down to the bare bones, this will be a wonderful way to use what we have and be better stewards with what I am cooking for our family.
Being without a job is pushing my faith, as well as my creativity.
- To spend only $200 on groceries during the month of January on fresh produce and dairy as necessary.
- Get together with my sister in law twice for a bulk freezer/baking day. It’s always more fun when done with a friend.
- Assign individual meals to each child for which they have complete meal making responsiblity (Five children…five days of the week). This will help eliminate the “There’s nothing to eat” dilemma, and they will master 2-4 recipes.
- Share and deliver baskets of food to the new homeless camp that we have been introduced to.
(OH MY…my husband made me edit my first goal to $100..YIKES…nervousness sets in…)
So would you like to join me in this 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. 🙂
We have been working on this as well! Meat and milk are the only thing we have bought for the last month…and I am still not out of food. Sometimes it surprises me how much I actually have!!
I am so excited for this challenge! We are constantly trying to shave our food bill too. This may be just the thing we need ;o)
I’m joining in!! Excited to begin, too! Oh, and while I’m here, I thought I would mention that I finally conquered my fear of Goodwill clothing. Bought 3 gorgeous “new” sweaters, 2 shirts and 2 pairs of pants for my son. I’m thrilled!! Finally, right?
I am joining in too! I agree with the triple coupons, but I have heard not next week now. Good Luck!
Oh how I wish they tripled coupons in my area. They don’t even double them anywhere (I’m in Iowa).
Good luck with the challenge, I’m joining in too and looking forward to it.
I really need to do this too. I’m not sure if I can go a whole month, but I can try for as long as possible.
I am all for it. I try to do this periodically where we eat from our pantry and freezer and only buy the necessities. I love seeing what I can come up with and my husband thinks it’s great. Soup supplies and pinto beans are a staple in my pantry, so we can go far with those. Can’t wait to read everyone else’s ideas.
Thanks for the challenge. Sometimes that’s all we need to get going.
God bless you abundantly. Oh, yeah, I love Goodwill clothes. I have a blast seeing what new beauties I can bring home on 1/2 price Saturday.
Wow, your blog looks wonderful and so professional! I haven’t been up on my blogging for awhile. I got very sick last year, but God healed me miraculously at the end of October, and I am now getting back into the swing of things (I hope).
And you’re speaking at the bloggy confrence? You’ve really climbed up the ladder lady! Congratulations.
Thank you for always sharing the love! I’m going to keep up with this pantry thing, I need to do this too, and go on a bit of a money fast after this Christmas!
Blessings to you!
Great ideas. Can you explain your 3. goal?
Unfortunately, we never get triple coupons here in N. California.
My hubby loves to shop and often stops off at the store after work. He blows my budget!
Are you wanting an explanation of “assigning my children meals?”
I will definitely make this a post. They are each going to be responsible for making the entire meal on their assigned day using what we have, so together we will set a meal plan, but I’ll let them pick the meal. We’ll work on reading the recipe and hopefully, by the end of the month, they each will have mastered this one dinner meal from scratch. 🙂
Jen….you’re an inspiration. I’ve partnered with Yvonne from Stone Gable to eat thru our freezers/pantries for the month of January. Seems like a perfect way to both organize AND get a handle on the food budget. I’ll be looking to your blog to help with keeping on task.
Jen, you are just plain awesome. 🙂 I was sitting here today trying to think of where to start with the New Year and attempting to be MUCH better about starting to plan meals, find a coupon system that works, and figure out when/where to shop and work it around my little ones’ schedules. Obviously, I need to start here with you and go through your archives again and take notes. 🙂 Good luck on your goal, and I’ll be reading along as you go. 🙂
Jen, you do such a good job with the website! I am trying to do this too only a bit different since I am only able to shop at the commissary here in Germany. I will tell you that this week’s trip was 1/2 of what I normally spend and I used some great expired coupons that people from the states sent to our base! While my stockpile and storage is not what it was like while in the states, I must admit our little store in the basement does a good job! Thank you for reminding us daily about God’s provisions that we can share with others and for ourselves. Believe it or not, I have found a few good resale stores here and have managed to find the bargain corners in many stores. Thank you for your inspiration!
@Jen from Germany,
I have been searching for someone in Germany to send my expired coupons to. If you would like to e mail me privately(with APO address, etc.) , I would be happy to send them to you. When we were stationed there (just outside of Munster in the British sector of NATO at that time – a very small base that is now closed I understand) I was not into couponing. Of course this was back in the early 1970’s. If I can be of help by doing this, just let me know. Will be glad to!
I’m definitely in on this! I always get so many freebies with triple coupons so I have a bunch of random stuff that needs to be used up. We also have tons of odds and ends hanging out after the holidays so it’ll be great to use them all up. I’m setting aside $50 for produce, dairy & a triple coupon trip or two. I was worried about being creative enough to come up with enough meals for the month but then I thought back to the unemployed mom who took all our fridge, freezer and pantry leftovers (random items doesn’t even begin to describe this stuff) when me moved and said that she saw atleast 20 (!!!) potential meals for her family of five…..if she can do that, I can surely come up with a month of meals from our well stocked freezer and pantry. Good luck to everyone!
You can do it! Good luck on your challenge!
Triple coupons? TRIPLE coupons?
We’re lucky if once a year we see double coupons.
Often when grocery money has been needed for Parker’s medical bills we have had to rely on our food storage. But it hasn’t really been a planned and thought out thing. (If that makes sense.) And right now I really need to do some stocking up. But with the money I save this month I can do some good stocking up next month, right?
$100.00 for our family of 8. Wait. It will have to be $100.00 for 7 of us. Parker is on a blenderized diet and I have to purchase what I have to purchase for that. All expensive stuff, of course. argh.
Okay. I’m in. 😀
Tammy and Parker
@ParkerMama on Twitter
Love the way your blog’s looking Jen, glad to have found you on facebook. Happy New Year. I’m totally buckeling down this year and budgeting/saving. Last year kinda stunk!
You will do great and with the kids help I am sure the creative juices will start flowing. You can make a pizza with about any kind of topping if all else fails.
While this sounds like a good idea I worry that all my family will be eating is preservatives and msg…that’s what’s in most packaged or canned food. What about fruits and veggies? My kids eat a ton of them and they cost me a fortune! Don’t know how to cut out something so healthy! I would love to be able to cut back on my grocery bill and still cook without preservatives so I will be checking back!
hi Krista – I totally agree about the preservative and canned food issue (although I am using some of those things this month). Check out my last post on how I spent only $25 last week and most of it was on produce and fresh things….marked down of course. 🙂
Okay…with much skepticism…I’m giving this a try. Prove me wrong!
haha Amanda – I’m there with you, but my first week is behind me, I only spent $25 and I stocked up on produce with that. You can do it, just a little bit at a time. 🙂
I am so proud of your entreprenuerialship. Surely mispelled, but you know what I mean. I think that’s Awesome! I might have to try it out in Feb (since I’ve already spent $100 this month AND Feb is the shortest month). You have definitely encouraged me!!
Jen, we did this last January and we truly ate like kings. One day found my husband making homemade tortilla chips out of some corn tortillas from costco we had in the freezer. It was fun. I hope it’s going great for you so far.
Also, I used supercook.com a lot that month. It was fun to me to enter in everything I had in my pantry, spice shelf, freezer and fridge and let the website tell me what I could make out of it. It’s not foolproof but it was fun to me.
I have often told my hubby I thought we could eat for days on end based on what is in our pantry…it just may not be what everyone would prefer to have! I look forward to reading about how you did.
Our Challenge is still going until February 9th! This has been such a great idea for our family and our blog http://www.busy-at-home.com . Thanks so much for sharing!
I am going to see if I can handle this..It kinda scares me though. We really need to cut back..it’s not good that I drive by Wal Mart every day…..and stop every other day!
Hope I can hang in there.
I love seeing families trying to cut their spending back! My husband and I, as well as our two 40 pound dogs, eat very, very well (mostly organic, non-GMO, fresh, homecooked meals with a few pre made foods tossed in) for exactly $200.00 a month, no more. We’ve successfully done this for just over 2 years, and have never gone hungry, and only twice eaten ramen noodles. Even then, they were freshly prepared ramen noodles from the asian market restaurant, and not the nasty stuff from the grocery store.
It so can be done 🙂
Love hearing that. Yep, it can be done with extra effort, time and work, but it’s worth it. HAve you found unique ways to save on your dog food? That’s one I am still stumped on – besides making it homemade. 😉