In January I posted a weekly journal of all the meals I created using only (mostly) ingredients I already had in my pantry, refrigerator, deep freezer, etc. In week one I shared all the food I had, which turned out to be a lot! In week two I admitted that I was still going to the grocery store for certain things such as eggs and milk, and basically anything I really needed (ok wanted) to make a specific recipe.
My top views/posts in week 1 & 2 were:
Then in week three I cut my grocery budget in half, and by week four I realized that I still had enough food to keep going for another month. The only problem with that is somewhere along the way I purchased a few more packages of meat (chicken breasts and ground turkey to be exact.)
Most popular recipes in weeks 3 & 4 were:
Apparently I’m not very good at the pantry challenge because the thought of preparing and eating meals of only 1 or 2 types of meats didn’t inspire me at all. I didn’t have any problem with the vegetarian meals, but I like a variety and assume my family does as well. In fact, there were food items on the list that I never used at all. Hence, the reason I could go on another month at least.
But in truth I did not spend so very much on extra groceries and necessities anyway. I did (and still do) buy a veggie box twice a month ($40 each) that is not figured into my weekly food budget. After saving my receipts and adding them up, I saw that I spent $274.20 for the whole month to feed a family of four, a dog and a cat. (Actually I didn’t buy any dog food this month because I bought a huge thing at Sams Club in December.) That total divided by four weeks comes out to $68.55 a week.
Now, my goal is to seriously keep my budget right at, if not lower than, $60 a week for the next 22 weeks. That’s until late June. We’ll see.
There’s a way you can do this if you have not been able to, or have not tried and don’t know how to start. One way I “started” was by checking out The Grocery Game. I found this to be rather difficult to do while attempting The Pantry Challenge at the same time, so I stopped. BUT it is a very helpful tool and definitely worth the free 4-week trial. In fact I will probably give it another go at some point in the Spring when I am finally done with this pantry challenge.
I started keeping track of all my grocery receipts in September, just to see how much on average I was spending, and how little I could spend. I shopped typically on Tuesdays, kept each week’s receipt, wrote the month and which week it was (#1, #2, etc) and then stapled all of them together at the end of the month.
September: $256.91. I thought I was off to a pretty good start, but to be fair I had a very well-stocked pantry and freezer at this time. $64.23 per person/week.
October: $402.03. Not so great compared, but for 4.5 weeks (5 trips this month) = $100.51 per person/week.
November: $306.99. That’s still more than I thought it would have been for us being out-of-town for 10 days that month. $76.75 per person/week.
December: $607.48. Yeah, that’s right. It kinda makes up for any money I saved in previous months, but I actually budgeted for this. My trip to Sams Club alone was $426.14 and I bought a lot more stuff than just groceries. In fact almost a hundred $$ of it went to Christmas presents, not to mention food and non-food items that were purchased specifically for Christmas (parties). I allowed myself $400 for that trip and went over by $26 and some change.
January: $274.20 Divide that by 4 people and I’ve spent $68.55 per person for the whole month. Sure it seems possible to do while participating in the pantry challenge, but will I be able to continue on this budget once the foodstores are depleted?
We’ll see….stay tuned And if you missed any of those great recipes just click on the title to link over. Have a blessed day!
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