Save Money with a Pantry Challenge

by Jenn K on January 21, 2013

Thanks so much to Jessica Fisher from Life as MOM and Good Cheap Eats for sharing this great post with us. I’m still on “leave,” enjoying my time with new baby and settling into life as a family of 6. I’m so grateful for the help and support of my fellow bloggers during this time! ~Erin

Most of us know that savvy shopping can save us money on food costs. We clip coupons; we stock up on sales; we snatch up the manager’s specials. But there’s one fabulous way to save money and it doesn’t require a club card, a coupon, or even a trip to the grocery store.

It’s called using what you have.

As a reformed coupon fanatic, I know the wild rush of scoring great deals for just pennies. I know the happy dance of finding awesome mark-downs in the clearance aisle. I know the joy of getting something FOR FREE!

I also know the letdown of throwing away excess food that went to waste because it was too far past its “sell by” date or because I bought multiples of something without knowing that my family actually liked it.

It doesn’t save you money if it goes in the trash.

(summer rolls)

One way that I remedy this potential waste is by spending two months of every year, January and July, focusing on the food we already have. Instead of stocking up on more sale items, I try to use up we have already bought at a great price. I call it the Eat Down the Pantry Challenge.

No, I don’t end up spending more to restock the following month. (We all know that the deal cycles continue.) Quite the contrary, I learn more about my shopping habits when I shop the pantry. I find out that I’ve been overbuying or simply buying things we don’t really like. Since I’m forcing myself to use it up, I make a mental note not to buy that again.

Not only does this pantry challenge clear out the old, but it ushers in new ideas and habits toward shopping better.

  • I learn from bad purchases and don’t make more of the same.
  • I use things up before they go bad and maintain my savings.
  • I spend less on groceries during the pantry challenge month and have surplus to spend or save for other things.

A pantry challenge has proven to be a great way for our family to be good stewards of our resources and still eat well. This month so far I’ve spent less than half of what I normally spend to feed our family of eight.

(afternoon cookie snack)

You can follow along with the Pantry Challenge, share your experiences, and get help on how you struggle to use items that you’ve purchased in the past.

Do you have a big stockpile that needs to be used up?

Jessica Fisher is a busy mom to six children, making her home in San Diego. She writes about life, laughter and the pursuit of a clean house at Life as Mom and shares delicious ways to act your wage at Good Cheap Eats. She is the author of several books, including Organizing Life as MOM and Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook.

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