I’ve mentioned it a few times in Rise and Shine, but for the month of March, I’m doing a Pantry & Freezer challenge at my house. I do these a couple times a year – the purpose is to eat as much from my pantry and freezer as possible – and as little at the grocery store as I can.
The purpose of the challenge is:
- Take a good inventory of what I have in the pantry and freezer
- Use up close-dated items in stockpile and freezer
- Eat out as LITTLE as possible, saving money by eating at home
- Save major money on groceries for the month
It’s like a short-term diet for your grocery budget and a great way to thin out your freezer and pantry.
My goal for March is to spend no more than $200 at the grocery store, while STILL eating lots of fresh foods, meats and dairy products. Hopefully I’ll spend less, but this will be my initial goal. On a typical month I spend closer to $400 on groceries for our family for 4.
The other goal is to clean out my pantry and freezer as much as possible. As I’ve mentioned before we plan to move this spring (see our downsizing journey here), so I’d like to get rid of our stockpile and sell our EMPTY freezer early this spring.
Now a pantry and freezer challenge is going to look different for each and everyone of us – it all depends on what you have in-stock when you start the challenge.
How much you spend during a grocery challenge will depend on:
- How much you currently have in your stockpile and freezer
- How many people you have in your family
- How flexible you can be with meal planning
- If you have any special dietary needs
Overall I see it like a big RESET button – for our stockpile and our freezer. Plus a nice savings in our grocery budget.
So far this month, here is what I’ve purchased at the grocery store:
March 3, 2015 – QFC – spent $15.84
Nearly 4 pounds of mushrooms on markdown, hummus, two packages of salad mix, butter, garlic bread, Mission tortillas, a dozen Simple Truth eggs, eight marked-down yogurts.
March 6, 2015 – QFC – spent $28.43
Gallon of organic milk, large clamshell spinach, 1/2 gallon chocolate milk, clamshell organic arugula, Wholly guacamole, Jennie-O Ground turkey 20 oz, two packages of mushrooms, four packages of Insernio’s breakfast sausage (reg. $6.99 each!!), bunch of bananas and a box of Fisher’s baking mix (pancakes).
Month to date spending to date – $44.27 (budget $200)
Just so you don’t think we’re eating canned veggies and boxed dinners to save money, so far this month, we’ve had the following dinners:
- Homemade spaghetti sauce and noodles with garlic bread
- Grilled chicken salad with grilled asparagus and sautéed mushrooms
- Grilled cheeseburgers with gouda cheese, spinach and sautéed onions
- Nachos with leftover taco meat
- Leftovers of above listed meals
I’ve posted a few photos from our meals over on Instagram and that’s a great way to get a glimpse into our daily lives.
I will update this post if I do more shopping. I’d love to hear from you if you’re joining me for this month’s Pantry and Freezer challenge!!