Friday, February 5, 2010

Findings From My January Pantry Challenge

For the whole month of January I took on a challenge to limit my grocery shopping to only fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, and bread. The point was to use what food I had on hand and to use up food items that were getting close to expiring. Along with the grocery buying I also decided to quit eating out too. Hubby and I had gotten in the habit of eating out every Friday night. Along with that I was stopping and picking up a pizza now and then or other takeout 1-2 times a week. THAT ALL STOPPED. This is what I learned:
I had a lot of food on hand. Because our church has encouraged us to keep a goodly stock of food stored up I knew we wouldn't starve by any means.
I found stuff in my freezer that I had completely forgotten about that would have gone bad had I not used it. I even found a whole chicken in the back of the freezer that was dated Oct. 2008. I would not have used it but it had been double wrapped, so I cooked it. I acutally go two meals out of it.
This challenge forced me to take a look at the amounts of food I was making for every meal. You see, I have four children (who are all grown and married) and I never transitioned over to cooking for two. When I made a pot of spaghetti, it wasn't a small pot, it was large enough to feed eight people. Was that necessary? NO! I would end up throwing it out the next week because we got sick of eating the leftovers. I can't tell you how much food I was wasting, it was sinful.
One of the best things to come out of this challenge was that I found that I didn't have to fix large meals with all of the trimmings EVERY NIGHT. Sometimes just biscuits and gravy were enough of a meal for us. Making smaller meals really cut down on the cooking and clean-up time too.
The BEST thing to come out of all of this is the extra $5oo I was able to put into savings.
This challenge has really changed the way I cook and buy groceries. I think the next step I will make is to start couponing. I have heard that you can have a ton of savings just by doing this.
Does anyone know of any good blogs or websites that help in this area?


Amy said...

WOW.. $500.. Connie that is fantastic!

I did a little challenge of my own. However, you sure beat me for the month of Jan. I'm still working on my challenge. (3 month challenge) Blog post to come.

I'm going to suggest Little Miss Know It All. She is local for me, but I think she may have some helpful ideas.

Sandra said...

I did the challenge too and was able to eat well from the pantry and freezer too...and we are down to three people in the house so I know how you feel trying to cooking in smaller portions. Luckily my daughter takes a lunch to school with her and they have a microwave so she uses up a lot of leftovers. There are a ton of free grocery coupons you can get online on of the best is for pennypinchinggazette. You are allowed to print out about two of each coupon to use at the store.
Google: 'print free grocery coupons' and it will bring up a lot of sites at are free...some cost money because they offer ofter serves but I have always used the free ones and been just fine. Sorry this is such a long comment!

Lori said...

Wow, impressive. I need to start the transition. My son is serving a mission and will be going away to college wen he gets home. My daughter is 16 and looking forward to college as we speak. I need to learn to cook smaller meals now...get in the habit. Thanks for the nudge.

tammy said...

Wow, that is a huge savings! I coupon and ad price match a little, but not as serious as some people out there.

Jo said...

My children are eating from our pantry and freezer while my husband and I eat more fresh, healthy foods. Can't believe my children won't eat salmon and brussel sprouts!

My fav site is


Cecelia---Sis---Mom said...

That is a good chunk of money in the savings!!! Our payday fell on the first day of my crazy workload, so we just looked for what we had. We have eaten a whole week off of what was in my pantry. We had to run out for milk, bread and some fruit. Other than that we were good to go. Nice to know I wasn't completely out of everything. :-)


LeAnn * ~ See Great Things said...

Wow, I love your pantry!

Rainy Day Farm said...

Bravo! You did better than I did, but I also have 3 kids. It was fun to do it. I am going to continue a little and see how I can change my grocery shopping! I do need to restock now though!

Anonymous said...

Great Job! My favorite Websites for couponing are hotcouponworld and southernsavers. Good Luck! Couponing is a ton of fun!