Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pantry Challenge Update #1 & Menu Plan for the Week

Last Monday I posted my initial goals for the January Pantry Challenge that I am participating in with Life as Mom and scores of others across the globe. Each week I plan to give you an update on my progress. 

My original goals were (1) to lower our weekly grocery budget, which hovers around $75 per week; (2) make & keep a running inventory of what's in our pantry, freezer, and fridge; and (3) shop only for the basics and my stockpile. 

(1) Last week I kept all my receipts so I could keep track of my spending for the month.  I was completely shocked to see that I only spent $38.75 at the grocery store.  I didn't buy any meat because we have tons in the freezer, which certainly lowered my spending.  As I make the weekly grocery list today, I KNOW that my spending will definitely be higher this week; however, I plan to keep it under $75 and use as much of what we have as possible. 

(2) Last week I also took inventory of all the food and condiments in the house and have been fairly diligent about marking items off as we eat them and adding items as we purchase them.  These handy-dandy inventory worksheets I created have been a lifesaver for sure!  I hope you'll take advantage of them or make your own. 

(3) Shopping for only the basics isn't my struggle.  Every week we need a fresh supply of milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, fruits & veggies.  We are going through lots of fresh and dried fruits right now so I'm trying to keep that stocked up and buying less crackers.  My struggle is with my stockpile.  I think I have a hoarder personality because I don't want to use up the meat or shrimp in the freezer unless I can replenish it soon.  I'm not sure what my actual struggle is with, but I feel compelled to buy and buy items when they are at a rock bottom price for fear that the deal won't come back around for a long time. 

The Pantry Challenge has really shown me so far that I am capable of making do with less if I'm only creative with the ingredients available to me.  I'm trying new recipes--some good, some not so good--to use up these foods so as not to let them spoil.  I'm also finding that having an inventory is not only key to being successful in this pantry challenge but also integral to not being wasteful.

For my Menu Plan for the week of January 8th, click here.  I'm doing my menu planning two weeks at a time this month.  Despite a few changes, it has truly been nice not to have to think a lot about what to fix every week. 

If you're doing a similar Pantry Challenge, how are things going for you?  I'd love to hear from you!  


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