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Monday, February 1, 2010

Eat From The Pantry Challenge -- What I Learned

Whew! Looks like we made it -- January is over and done with! We met our goals. We stayed under our budget (okay, well almost!). Is it okay for me to let out a big...YAY! Now I know why they call it an Eat From The Pantry Challenge, because it definitely was just that...

As glad as I am to move on into February, I did take with me some valuable lessons:

1. You never realize how much food you really have stocked away, until you stop going to the store.

2. When you are forced to stretch your budget, it can be done!

3. Accountability is everything. That's why I love this blog -- it keeps me accountable to all of you!

4. Creativity and flexibility are musts.

5. Taking a break from couponing and deal-seeking is a wonderful way to slow down and de-stress a little.

6. I discovered a few items that I need to stop buying in bulk, because they were all expired in the back of my pantry. Note to self: Be careful about buying dressings, barbecue sauces, marinades for the grill, mayo, and canned cooking soups.

7. I need to start going through and cleaning out the shelves of my pantry once a month. It keeps things nice and organized, and keeps the rotation of items in check (so that nothing expires!)

8. I've realized that $35/week is actually a fortune to spend on groceries! After trying to spend $35 for THREE weeks worth of groceries, I should have no problem sticking to my weekly grocery budget (oops, already blew that one...just wait and see!)

9. Not stocking up on snack foods does wonders for self-control when on a diet!

10. Kyle (hubby) took for granted the amount of food we always have on hand. He was like a roaming lion in the kitchen for 3 weeks...always trying to find something to eat as a quick snack. Well, those types of foods just didn't exist during this challenge! Haha! Needless to say...when we went to the store this week, he was running through the aisles like a little boy in a candy store! He was so excited to pick out his snacks that were "free or almost free!" (Stay tuned for a guest post from my husband in the coming weeks: "A day in the life of a coupon addict's husband")

Well, there ya have it folks! It was a very fun challenge, but I was extremely excited to go shopping for groceries and cook up a storm this past weekend. I must say, it seems I'm just a bit out of practice on the coupons. It almost felt foreign when I started clipping away again! Haha! =)

And check out my "empty" pantry (above) and freezer (below) at the end of this challenge. Nice, clean, and organized -- the perfect way to start out a new month!

What About You: Did you follow along or participate in this challenge? I'd love to hear about your failures, triumphs, or ideas!



Blogger Nicole said...

Yeah, that's really "empty"! HA! Kyle sounds like my husband when there are no snacks around. My husband just hangs out in the kitchen with the pantry open staring, trying to figure something out to eat. Haha, they get so spoiled with couponing, don't they?

I once stocked up on a few of the really big bottles of Ranch dressing. The expired too quickly to use:( Felt like such a waste. Learned my lesson though!

This was a good post. I'd like to try to join next time. I wasn't brave enough this time because I didn't do hardly any shopping during December. Our pantry was already low at the beginning of January.

February 2, 2010 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Meagan said...

HAHAHA! Sounds just like my hub, too. EXACTLY! They just stare into the pantry, like something is going to jump out at them...

So spoiled, indeed!

Definitely join in next time. It's so much fun!

February 2, 2010 at 4:39 PM  
Blogger ALB said...

A roaming lion...hahaha. My husband is the same way. He just keeps opening the fridge and/or freezer, as if something is going to magically appear in the 5 minutes since he last looked in there!

February 3, 2010 at 10:50 PM  

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