Boost Your Budget Pantry Challenge Recap
Here are our assets, challenges, and goals for this challenge.
My goal was to spend less than $100 this month. Since our grocery budget encompasses more than just food, I was hopeful but not going to beat myself up if we didn't make it. We spent a $97.82 this month and that included me going to out to eat for lunch one day, an unexpected prescription, cat food, a library fine, The Grocery Game (which I haven't been using so I cancelled) and various other sundries that cropped up. Plus we fed many extra mouths over the course of the challenge.
I am fairly pleased with that total and Engineer is ecstatic. The money we saved from our normal grocery budget has a greater purpose - getting us ever closer to a debt free lifestyle. It also helped to balance out various things that cropped up this month - new windshield wipers, oil change, etc.
We are going to continue eating from the pantry and freezers until we can see the bottom. :) However, we will lighten up on the spending a little. If there is a super good clearance deal I may go for it but I am going to intentionally not restock until we get down to a reasonable level.
The things I've learned and will take away from this exercise:
- Although couponing/stockpiling is fun and a great tool, I had lost track of just how much was available to me. I need to keep better track of the food that is already in house before I buy more.
- We waste very little generally but throughout this challenge I found myself using every last scrap of food, sauce, or ingredient to make us a zero waste household. That has been a pretty cool byproduct of this challenge.
- I have felt like I am living on the set of "Chopped" every day. This goes along with being zero waste. Even though I have a menu plan I have to look at the ingredients I have, find a recipe that sort of comes close to using what I have and substitute or wing it for everything else. It has been mostly fun but sometimes mentally exhausting.
- No matter how much I like to be in the kitchen, sometimes, I need a break a.k.a. thank you Lord for Subway gift cards from Christmas.