I got back from vacation and decided to do a pantry challenge.
This is my first ever attempt at doing a pantry challenge for the entire month! I love reading all the blog posts across the web in January and seeing all the money that people are saving, plus they are using up food that they already have. The hardest part for me is the totally empty fridge when we return to when we come back from vacation. I mean TOTALLY empty! There was butter and condiments and that was it! I suppose I could do it a different month, but for some reason I haven't.
Besides saving money I also start getting emails from our CSA about signing up for the coming season and I still have two fridge freezers full of misc. food, one deep freezer full of duck, chicken and hamburger and another one full of our CSA vegetables. I suppose I shouldn't sign up again if I have two freezers full, but we enjoy the healthy product from the farm. It always takes me a month or so to stop hoarding all the food I froze and canned and start eating it. Then December flies by and in January I feel the need to start using it all up so I can sign up for the CSA again.
The first day we got back I had to spent around $110 to restock the fridge and snack cabinet so we could live. Since we got back on January 8th we were actually only home for three weeks and that's probably the biggest thing that helped us save money. Usually if we have extra food cash it usually gets spent on eating out so I tried to be extra conscious of not eating out and cooking in for all our meals. As I made meals trying to use up food from the freezer I ended up putting up some yummy freezer meals. Some days I felt like I was doing great using stuff up and other days I felt like I was putting more stuff back into the freezer than I was taking out (at least it was in the form of meals). I'm sure it was partly God stretching and multiplying our food.
At the start of the third week, I realized I hadn't spent any of our second week food money so we put that on our Christmas Fund (I may have got a little bit over this year, but last year I did so good). I spent some of the third week money on eggs, milk and butter to cook things over the next few trips to the store. At the end of the month I managed to squirrel away another week of food money that we put on our mortgage. I know fun, fun, but it feels so good to pay some extra off.
The hardest part of the challenge was all the cooking I had to do when we ran out of prepackaged snacks. My kids like to eat all the time! We still have TONS of food, so I'm thinking I'd like to try it again this month. Shawn even defrosted a couple bags of duck breast and we enjoyed two different meals. Only a million more bags of duck/goose to go. We ran out of fresh fruit and veggies at the end of the 3rd week, but I had lots of peaches and blueberries put up so we weren't feeling too deprived. Overall, I would say my pantry was a success and I can't wait to see how the next month goes.