Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Pantry Challenge

I kind of love pantry challenges and I just realized that I haven't done one in over TWO YEARS! WHAT?! So here I am, starting one now and praying I can make it the whole month. The basis of my pantry challenges are:
  • Spend no more than $100 on food for the entire month
  • Use what we have on hand in the pantry, fridge, and freezer
  • Menu plan every week
I already know this is going to be difficult for a few reasons. First, we eat much differently than when I've had past pantry challenges. Our grocery budget has expanded as a result of our mostly real food diet, and I no longer coupon all the time for processed foods. We also buy raw milk at $8/gallon. Luckily, there are three gallons already frozen in the freezer, so hopefully those will take us through the month. Second, we are hosting a Halloween Party for a few couples in the middle of the month, so I'll have to get creative with making food and treats with what I have on hand.

All in all, I am really looking forward to this. I have a big vacation to Florida coming up in December and some penny-pinching right now is desperately needed. I also think this might help me blog more recipes?

I also have not budgeted for eating out. We sometimes go out to eat with another couple for dinner, but I'm not sure if that will happen or not this month. So I decided to just let it be extra if it does happen. 

Here we go! (It's kind of perfect that this starts on a Wednesday, because that is when sales change for my local store)

Menu Plan for October 1st- 8th
I don't plan for breakfast & lunch because we generally eat different things for breakfast, and Brad buys lunch at his work. 

Wednesday: Steak with Mashed Potatoes (leftover taters from Pierogis last night)

Thursday: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Roasted Veggies

Friday: Chicken Noodle Soup with Rolls

Saturday: Free Pizza from Pizza Hut

Sunday: Waffles with Bacon and Fresh Fruit

Monday: Cheese Ravioli with Carrots and Apples

Tuesday: Spaghetti with Green Beans (from the garden) and Rolls

Money Spent: $49
Money Left: $51

I did a little shopping yesterday to start off the challenge.While not the healthiest, I love cereal for quick breakfasts and we were out, so I paid full price for this box. (Agh!) I also picked up some of mine and Katie's favorite yogurt and some sour cream, both full price. The canned pears and canned beans were both on clearance for $0.49 each (I love dented cans) and the organic bananas were also on clearance for being a teeny bit brown. They taste better this way though, and there are already 3 missing from the original bunch. I also picked up a couple of oranges for smoothies and juices, and 4 packs of organic free range chicken on clearance. The tub of ice cream was totally a late night impulse because sometimes a girl just needs ice cream. Not pictured are 5 loaves of our favorite 9 grain organic bread that are in the outside freezer.

Clearance is basically my best friend when it comes to not only pantry challenges, but to eating real food as well. It can be expensive, but when you shop smart, you can get the things you need for way less than the regular prices. I feel a little guilty saying this, but I kind of like that more people don't buy organic foods in my area. They often end up in the clearance bins as a result, and then on my pantry shelves.

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