I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I am doing a January pantry challenge for the third year in a row, and I wanted to post at the midway point. My goal is to spend just half of our usual monthly grocery budget, so it's forcing me to be creative and use what we have on hand.
The first step I took earlier this month is to make an inventory of random items we've accumulated or things that need to be used up. I've shared most of that list below with you so you can see what I'm working with. I don't list things like flour and sugar that I always have on hand; rather, most of these ingredients were given to us, acquired for free/very cheap, or are expiring soon.
As I'm planning our meals this month, these are the items I'm hoping to use in the process:
*apple pie filling
*Panko bread crumbs
*homemade yogurt (This was something I'd wanted to try for a long time--my result was super runny, so I've been using it in baking.)
*frozen shredded zucchini
*frozen rhubarb #
*frozen green/yellow/red peppers
*soy flour #
*taco sauce #
*flavored mayo #
*instant potato mixes
Quite the variety, huh?! If you have ideas for the items with a # next to them (other than rhubarb crisp/egg replacement/tacos/sandwiches, respectively), I'd love to hear them! (Italicized items have been used up by the writing of this post.)
I'm halfway through, and enjoying the added challenge. I'm right on track on terms of the amount I've spent, and I've tried to be especially ruthless when making my grocery list. I really enjoy coming up with a grocery plan that involves sales, matching ads, and coupons. And I was proud on Friday when the cashier told me what a great job I'd done saving money on my bill!
In addition to groceries, I'm also challenging myself to use up samples and half-full toiletry items before purchasing more. I was amazed when I went through our stash to see that some products have been in there for, um, years.
I'm still contemplating where to send the remaining grocery funds, but completing the challenge is extra rewarding knowing we can bless someone else with the surplus.