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Monday, January 18, 2010

Eat From The Pantry Challenge: My Plans and Goals

I have been talking (for a week now) about joining other bloggers in the Eat From The Pantry Challenge. I came in a couple weeks late, as most are doing this for the entire month of January. I started last week, and decided to participate for the remainder of January.

In this challenge, each blogger has made different goals, depending on what they would like to accomplish and what limits they would like to set for themselves. Some bloggers are only cutting back the budget a bit and still buying many items. Others are simply not shopping at all. It just depends on the situation.

The beauty of this challenge is that I get to set my own goals. I wanted to go ahead and flesh out my personal goals and plans for this grocery challenge...

Here are my goals:

1. Spend only $35 total on groceries for the last 3 weeks of January (10th - 31st).
2. Only buy fresh dairy and produce items (milk, veggies, fruit, cheese, etc.), and items free or practically free with coupons (under $.50 each).
3. Use up some of the close-to-expiring items in my pantry.
4. Make all dinners from what we already have on hand. I do this every week, but this is going to be a lot more strict.
5. Aside from fresh produce/dairy, use what I already have for breakfasts and lunches every day.

Let me just tell you...this is going to be difficult. We don't have as big of a stockpile as we normally do. We just had house guests for 2 weeks, and we used up a lot of food while they were visiting. (I thought we still had a pretty good-sized stockpile remaining, but I was wrong!) Also, you probably already saw my Frugal Failure last week, and I spent way too much. The $26 I spent last week is included in the $35 budget that I have set for all 3 weeks. That means between this week and next week (the last 2 weeks remaining in January), I can only spend $10. It's going to take quite a bit of creativity! It should be fun, though!

Why am I doing this? Simple: We can't afford to go over our grocery budget. During the first two weeks of January, we spent almost double on groceries than our normal monthly grocery budget. Now, I did have that vacation budget in place that I was telling you about, but we still went over. I'm trying to even things out a bit, and get back on track. This will definitely help, and I'm even considering doing another grocery challenge for the month of February, but we'll see...

Would you like to join in on this challenge? Feel free! It takes a bit of creativity, but it's eye-opening to see how far you can truly stretch a budget with what you already have on hand! My favorite tool is the "Ingredients Tool" on! It works wonders...



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