Saturday, January 2, 2010

Eat From the Pantry Challenge

I don't tend to make New Year's Resolutions, but I have some goals I'd like to accomplish in the month of January. Most of them center around organization projects (and getting the half the contents of Toys R Us that have somehow landed in my house over the past month under control), but I came across another great idea last night.

It's the Eat From the Pantry Challenge. The whole idea is to shop as little as possible, and to use the items you already have in your pantry (or fridge, or freezer, or cabinets) for meal-planning.

I'm a fan of stocking up on things when they're on sale, when I have the right coupons, and (my newest addiction) using the price-matching policy that many stores have available. It's a little extra work, but if you can stay organized and on top of it, you can save a ton of money! I estimated that I saved around $50 on my last trip to Walmart by looking at other stores' ads ahead of time in order to price match, and using my coupons as usual.

I think this challenge can blend really well with what I'm already doing to save money. I do like to plan my meals ahead of time for the week, but I've gotten away from doing that in these past couple holiday months. It's also hard to plan ahead when you know so many things are going to come up at the last minute (Christmas visitors, impromptu holiday get-togethers, visiting relatives, etc.), but now that January is in full swing, I'm really excited to get back to my normal routine of planning out our dinners.

January also happens to be the busiest month for my husband. He works long days and most Saturdays this month. He also happens to be a huge basketball fan, much to my dismay, so this is also a month when he tries to squeeze in a few games here and there, meaning dinners are sometimes rushed or eaten away from home. While I know a plan is just that -- a plan -- I'm going to attempt it anyway, and just know that I'll have to go with the flow sometimes. And, on nights he might not be home for dinner, I'm looking forward to trying some recipes that he might not be as much of a fan of. I'm seeing orange chicken and stir-fry in my future this month. :)

So, here's the challenge! You set your own goals, based on what you expect to work for your family. See the link for some ideas of what others are doing!

My goals for this month in the EFTP challenge:
  1. Make only two "big" shopping trips during the month for groceries. Things like milk and produce may be purchased as needed in between.
  2. Stay under a budget of $150 for grocery bills this month. It sounds like a lot, but I've actually cut what I would normally expect to spend by 25%. Of course, I traditionally buy a little extra of certain things to stock up if I see a good sale on a product we use frequently... so all bets are off if the store is having some ridiculous sale that truly will save us money in the long run. :) But, I hope to be able to do it, and I think I might be able to cut back on some of the "snacky" stuff... and by eating from the pantry, of course!
  3. Try at least one new recipe a week. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but it's really easy to get in a rut with cooking. I already met this goal both last night and will meet it again tonight... new recipes both nights!
  4. Post a recap weekly to let others know how I did! I've fallen WAY out of the routine of blogging from what I used to do, and that's okay... but I think it might give me a sense of accountability if I know someone else will be reading about it... even if it's just two or three others. :)
So, those are the goals! I hope to be able to meet them, and I'm honestly excited to see how I end up at the end of the month.

Now, off to do some meal-planning for the week! I'll come back and post our menu later.

Who else will take the challenge?!

1 comment:

  1. You are so organized!!!! :) I will be following your blog (I do anyway :))to see how things go! We don't use a pantry because I have always just planned the week's meals and then bought pretty much exactly what was on my list for the meals, plus our normal staples like milk, bread, cereal... I guess I just did that for years out of necessity while we were starving students! LOL You may have inspired me to do the price-matching thing, though! :)