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27 January 2012

Eat from the Pantry Challenge: Wrapping it up.

(Insert Rocky music here)

I made it through January shopping my pantry first. 

So, here's my goals and how I did.

1.  Lower my grocery bill.
       Yup.  Done.  Less than $200 for the entire month.

2.  Use up deals from the pantry.
       Check mark here too.  I've made room and I plan to reorganize the old pantry
       next week.  I've even made a dent in the freezers so that I can do a small amount
       of freezer cooking in February, if I so desire.

3.  Teach Josh to make one recipe a week.
       I'm a little lenient on this goal.  I mean, is heating up corn really a recipe?  No, but
       it's still a help at dinner time.  So he made pudding, corn, muffins, and measured
       ingredients and dropped the no bake cookies we made.  He did the stove top
       cooking only with my overprotective supervision.  Still, I think he did great.

4.  Put money in our emergency fund.
       This was a total failure.  But as I said before, it could have been much worse.
       That hot water tank coupled with losing our renter really took it's toll this month.
       But, we're not in debt over any of it.  So that's actually a pretty great thing.
       Maybe I'll change this to a minor failure instead.

So what I've learned is to be more diligent with using what I have.  To take the time to check and see if I need something before I run to the store and assume I'm out.  (Six bottles of cinnamon, I'm talking about you.)

I've also learned to plan for leftovers.  I'm not saving anything if I'm throwing out food each week.  I am still amazed that I did not throw away a single item of food in the past four weeks.  I figured out a way to use everything, whether for lunches or leftover night. 

I'm keeping leftover night.  One week we didn't really have enough for leftover night, so we made due with breakfast for dinner.  But in general, it's a great way to use up what you've already made and give yourself a little break as well.  That's a win-win in my book.

All in all, a great success.  Thanks to Jessica at Good(Cheap)Eats for this challenge.  It was fun!


Rachel E. said...

Good for you! I always wonder how people do it on so little with kids. You have a household of five, we have seven. We just got back from the store and I spent just around 500 pln for the week. My husband buys the milk and juice on Saturday and I haven't bought any toilet paper. Plus, he will buy a few things at the commissary at work that are cheaper there than at the local market. It's crazy. I hope it's easier when we return. Just so you know, 500PLN is equal to $143. However, the last time I shopped was about 12 days ago. So, we have been stretching it until now.

Barb said...

I'm not as diciplined as you on this shopping thing but people laugh at me when I say I only grocery shop (major) about every 6 months. I would have to figure out what I do on a weekly basis but it's not but milk and bread (occasionally) and a few snacks when we cannot do without. I think the key I try to stick with (having boys that are big eaters), would be that you have to buy more filling foods and not so much food that has no nutrition (not that it's not tasty sometimes). It truly makes a difference on your food bill. I usually spend about $500 or $600 hundred every 6 months. I'm sure I could do better if I cut some snacks and planned more for sales.

Hey Charlie, I decided to do my own blog instead of facebook. I wanted more control on positive and useful things in my life. I really enjoy you as a friend and didn't want to stop communicating with you. Tim told Ronnie to tell you. Hope to keep up with you guys.