MENU
pantry-challenge_lead

2017 Pantry Challenge Starts January 1!

Let’s get this Pantry Challenge started! Ready to save some money and avoid food waste this month? Then it’s time for a pantry challenge.

2017 Pantry Challenge | Good Cheap Eats

It’s that time of year! One of the busiest times of year , in fact, for Good Cheap Eats because it’s time to rock the Pantry Challenge. Are you ready for it?

Every year since my youngest was a baby — she’s now 8 — I’ve dedicated part or all of the month of January to shopping the pantry instead of the grocery store. After over-shopping in December, the new year offers me an opportunity to pare down, clean out, and recoup some savings. We’ll eat up what we have, avoid wasting good food, and save some money.

You with me?

This year I’ve put together a Pantry Challenge Starter Guide, a quick read to help you get started on challenging your pantry. 😉 You can sign up for the guide here:

If you already get the Good Cheap Eats Newsletter, no worries. I’ll be sending out the guide in tomorrow’s email. Just be sure to check your inbox!

What’s a Pantry Challenge?

A Pantry Challenge is simply a time where you focus on using up what you have instead of buying more. Read more here.

How many of us have full pantries and freezers right now? Staying out of the grocery store, at least for the big shops, is in order.

Here’s what things are looking like in the Good Cheap Eats kitchen today, December 31, 2017:

2017 Pantry Challenge | Good Cheap Eats

The top fridge.

We’ve been busily filming for my Healthy Eating Made Easy course, so there are lots of movie stars in here. 😉 It looks full now, but that is a passing phase. I do have six kids.

2017 Pantry Challenge | Good Cheap Eats

The freezer/bottom fridge

At the end of last year’s FOUR MONTH PANTRY CHALLENGE — we were evacuated by the landlords in order to have the house fumigated — our refrigerator busted, leaking blue fluid. As it would happen, we found the Samsung refrigerator I’d been eyeing for over a year ON SALE. What I love about this, is that the bottom right section can be a fridge or a freezer. Yay!

I would like to get the freezer side more orderly, so I’m looking forward to using stuff up.

2017 Pantry Challenge | Good Cheap Eats

The pantry

We have the weirdest shaped pantry on the planet. It follows the curve of the stairwell and is a major design flaw of this house.

I’m not sure what all is in here, but I’m looking forward to seeing some white space.

2017 Pantry Challenge | Good Cheap Eats

The big freezer

Ahem. There’s no room in the inn. That’s what holiday trips to Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Ralphs will do to me in December. (Those tacos and fish nuggets are part of our NYE Party tonight.) I need to go digging actually for some other ingredients as well.

I’d like to empty this completely this month and thaw all that ice!

My goals for this pantry challenge:

My goals are often very similar from year to year.

  • I’d like to use up what’s in the freezer in order to thaw it.
  • I’d like to do a big cupboard clean out.
  • I’d like to recoup some money by NOT shopping so much this month.

As always, you get to make your own rules. This is not a no-spend month, but hopefully it will be a low-spend month.

I’ll be posting daily or almost daily what I cook, what I’m buying (if anything), and how we’re saving money in January. Please come back tomorrow and let us know what you’re doing! If you post your efforts on social media, use the hashtag #pantrychallenge so we can follow along!

Tell me in the comments what your hopes are for this year’s pantry challenge!

What are you hoping for from this pantry challenge?

2017 Pantry Challenge | Good Cheap Eats

Subscribe to Good Cheap Eats
Read Newer Post
Read Older Post

Comments

  1. Stephanie M. says:

    I have been participating in the pantry challenge for the last several years and it has taught me so much about over buying and how to stop doing that. Not only am I saving money by using up what we have but I have made some really nice friends along the way. It is important to being a good stewart to use what we have rather than buying too much and wasting food that goes bad because we bought too much. I have learned to buy only what I really need rather than buying enough food to feed a kingdom. I only live a few minutes from several grocery stores and have learned it is not necessary to buy as much as I was in the past. I now go to the store and buy what I need rather than constant impulse buying. Impulse buying has cost me a lot of waste and I’m not doing that any longer. I encourage anyone who would like to learn how to save money and be frugal to do this challenge. Challenge yourself – you will be surprised at what you can do with what you already have.

  2. I have been waiting for pantry challenge to start again! My freezers and pantry are overstuffed after the holidays. My goal is to see how long I can go without buying ANY groceries. There are just two of us and my husband is pretty flexible about what he eats luckily. The last two years my brother has gifted us a Christmas Omaha Steak package which almost makes pantry challenge seem to easy. I remember the time years ago when I made “quiche” out of cut up mozerella sticks and mayo subbing for eggs. Not my finest meal and we still laugh about it. Anyway, this is my seventh or eighth year and I love this group for fun support. Bring it on, January!

    • The thought of that quiche is hilarious! Bless your heart. Did it work?!

      • Let’s just say not exactly a culinary delight!

        • I’m on board for another pantry challenge! I’ve been trying to be concientious all year with my purchases since the last challenge. I still have plenty of surplus to use though. I can’t resist those holiday sale prices! My goal is to buy only fresh dairy and produce and to use up the oldest items and little bits of things. Thank you so much Jessica for inspiring all of us!

  3. I am so thankful you do this. I am hoping to use up the “old” so I can bring in the new this garden season and fall for meat. Pay off debt and add to savings with the money saved along with buying another dehydrator that costs a pretty penny.

    Here is my start for the challenge on my blog http://chefowings.blogspot.com/2016/12/pantry-challenge-2017.html

  4. I LOVE following the pantry challenge!! I am the type of person who sincerely finds how other ppl live tremendously fascinating. Give me a good Jane Austen adaptation any day, over a sci fi flick. Really looking forward to hearing about your challenge!!! and I will do my best as well. I have half a hog (raised by a friend) and a quarter cow (pasture raised on grass) in freezer, so I should do pretty well. I mean, I should , but will I!!!

    • I could not have written it any better Trish! I LOVE to observe people and their behaviors!
      This year will be more watching than participating.. I have been very cautious with purchases the past few months and my Christmas gifts were fresh baked sweet breads using up a lot of produce frozen in the summer/fall…
      My goal is to empty the deep freeze and defrost it before I stock up again!

  5. Laurie in CA says:

    I’m in! Both of our freezer sections of our two refrigerators are full and the pantry is pretty well stocked (there are only two of us in our household). I’m hoping to spend no more than $100 in January and $100 in February for groceries (I normally budget $300 a month). We are well stocked on meat as we bought 1/4 grass fed steer in August and have a lot left! Hubs and I want to lose the Christmas weight too so I’ll be trying to make meals that aren’t fattening. I buy mostly organic fruit and veg through a local CSA. I’ll be using my breadmaker a lot more the next couple of months. I always love to see how others manage their food budgets and food supplies.

  6. I am in!! I actually started my pantry challenge the day after Christmas. My freezers are so full that I will not need any meat for a long time. I would really like to get one of them emptied so I can defrost them both.
    My pantry is pretty stocked as well. I have plenty of pasta, beans and rice. I have lots of veggies and tomato products and frozen tomatoes to make red sauce and enchilada sauce.
    Tomorrow I will make my menu plan and get things prepped for the week.

  7. Since Thanksgiving I’ve been assembling freezer meals and meal kits as a way to use up leftovers (early new years resolution…do my darndest to eliminate food waste and simplify my life as much as I can…wish me luck..lol)…so far so good…steady on… the saying goes
    Anyway…just when I thought I’d been doing awesome I stumbled onto your website (very cool place to visit I just want to say)…and your pantry challenge…well!! I realize I could take it to a whole other level
    Count me in!

  8. Stephanie says:

    I just prepared for this over the weekend. I made a list of everything we have and my goal is to eat what we have and spend WAY less this month. We will still spend because I need fresh fruit and veggies, plus our daily snacks like kids yogurt. But I’m hoping for a big improvement.

  9. Happy New Year! I am looking forward to following along and gleaning tips from everyone. I will participate too, just in a modified way. We had a lean grocery month in December due to a stomache bug that knocked all four of us and my folks and in laws down hard. It. Was. Awful. Anyways, we made it and I spent the last week post-Christmas sorting out the contents of the fridge. We were all craving fresh produce so I did a shopping of about $140 (mostly fruit and veg which is expensive right now in NH) and that’s nearly all gone so I will be buying more produce for sure. Dairy will be needed as well and maybe a little meat but hopefully not much for the pantry. I’d like to keep our spending to around $500 which is about 2/3 our usual.

    I chuckled when I read that you’re planning to defrost your chest freezer…we just got over a foot of snow and it’s ‘warm’ today at 30 degrees. I won’t be able to defrost much for another few months. Perhaps my food savings will afford my family some ski passes though!

    Echoing others, it is so interesting to get a snapshot of others’ shopping/food/cooking/eating. Thanks for organizing all of this!

  10. tastycook says:

    Count me in. The freezers, fully laden, have been inventoried in anticipation. I’m usually pretty good at keeping track of what is in them but, with hubby in hospital in the fall and needing some care when he came home, that fell by the wayside. However, things are now back on track and hubby knows that my aim is to use what we have, within reason, for as long as we can.

    The fridge is quite well stocked with dairy and fresh produce. Both of these will be replenished as needed. My main challenge is to make low-sodium food that is appealing. It’s really amazing what a difference just a little bit of salt makes to the final taste of a dish.

    • Do you ever use the herb summer savory? My sister has to be very low sodium and I find it very helpful. Unlike herbs such as basil and sage it doesn’t have a defined taste that people notice. But, it seems to kick up the existing flavors in a fashion a bit like salt. I use it with meats, casseroles, soups or almost anything that is savory instead of sweet and needs a boost. Other herbs can also help when you have cut the salt we are used to using. I probably use them more, since I have trouble when I eat black pepper. When you cut both salt and pepper you have to learn fast other ways to help the flavor or food!

  11. We have done the pantry challenge for several years. Our main goal this year is to save money. We had lots of medical expenses in 2016 and have nearly $1,000 worth of dental expenses scheduled for January. Everything we save on groceries this month will be used to help pay for the dental expenses.

    I inventoried the pantry, fridge, and freezer yesterday in anticipation of our January 1st start date. I did not find anything expired, but a couple of things that are getting close so I will be working on menu ideas to use up those items first. We have lots of baking supplies, peanut butter, cheese, deli meat and frozen desserts—mostly leftovers from Christmas. We do not have much meat, dairy, or produce.

  12. I am all in this year! Since grocery shopping is a comfort to me I have ended up with lots of stuff in my pantry and freezer. The freezer is full and the pantry is literally overflowing into the kitchen. My goal is to get rid of the ridiculous amounts of excess and get it to where there is a manageable stock of items that we eat/use regularly.
    I need to complete my inventory and write down things that can be made out of what I have.

    • I envy your comfort level with grocery shopping! I don’t like it, which is one reason my pantry and freezer are so full. I tend to stock up when things are on sale so I don’t have to shop as often. A different cause, but the same effect. I participated last year and it did help me with the manageable levels issue but I still have room for improvement.

    • I don’t have a pantry, unfortunately, so I have to use cabinets. It is so stuffed right now the doors are not closing properly… I am like you in that I do actually enjoy buying food, but with only two of us to eat it, that gets out of hand in a hurry. I gave away a bunch of stuff from the fridge/freezer over the past couple of months – so why are they still as full as can be as well?? – but I need to pull things out of the cabinet and see what stuff I have that is not on the brink of expiring that I can donate to someplace to get me started.

  13. I’m in. My goal is to eat up food that’s already been bought, rather than letting it freezer burn itself away.My challenge is that we are retired and eat way less than we used to and I haven’t completely adjusted. Moreover, I return to feeding 7, at least once or twice a week.

  14. I knew I had to do a pantry challenge when my cousin came out of my pantry on Christmas night and announced in the event of a zombie apocalypse he was coming to my house. My husband and I moved into our new house which has a huge pantry. It is overfilled. I hope to free up some space so it functions better. The same needs to be done for our big freezer. I actually started a few days early so today is day five for me. Good luck everyone!

  15. I, too, will be continuing the Pantry Challenge. I have a lot less than I did a year ago so it will be fun to see how long it will take to use up what we have. Its a good feeling to be able to see and know what is on hand. Menu plan is ready to go.

  16. I’m so happy that today is the first day of the challenge – also the first day of the New Year and the first day of the rest of my life. All fit in nicely together.
    I’ve been waiting for this challenge for what seems like ages and ages.
    I’m a senior, living alone, and on a fixed retirement budget. I’ve been spending an average of $250 a month on food but starting this month am budgeting no more than $120 – after January’s clearing out of the freezer and tiny “pantry” bookcase, I’ll begin using up before I purchase more food. I was given a huge frozen oven roaster chicken on Saturday – its defrosting in the refrigerator – that will be used up ALL week ending with an incredible chicken noodle matzo ball dumpling soup. So I’ll send this week checking everything in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry and then making lists of what can be made with it all. I normally go shopping on Wednesday with our senior bus but will pick up ONLY what is on my tiny list (a few vegetables and some Newman’s Sockaroni sauce and flip- and whipped yogurts (my passion). I’m so excited – you give me wonderful way to start the year – a purpose which not only challenges me to my max but also allows me to eat healthy.

  17. My goal is to use up some stuff from the garden that has been in the freezer close to 2 years (peppers, pesto, roasted tomato sauce) and of course save money after Christmas and unexpected car repairs in December. I have my inventory done and am ready!

  18. My goal is to spend half or less of our regular grocery bill in January. Then I can put the other half in savings for when it’s time to do our bulk beef order direct from the farmer.

  19. I’m finishing my inventory today. I’m so ready to do this pantry challenge this year. I’ve been way too lax in budgeting my money for groceries even though the prices keep going up and up. I need to get everything under control and this challenge will help me do just that.

  20. I am looking forward to this. My freezers are not as full as last year and I think I have a better handle on what is in them. I love the camaraderie of the pantry challenge. I have a very well stocked pantry and freezers, so planning is fairly easy to start. I want to spend less in January, since I’ve been restocking meat and the bills have been higher the last couple months with that and the holidays. I am also adapting to cooking for just the two of us now and not needing as much on hand. The pantry challenge helps me to be aware of reasonable amounts to keep on hand and how our eating habits have changed. I’ve continued to track grocery expenses this last year and it has been an interesting experience. I also want to start making more things myself instead of buying at the store, such as bread. I have fallen behind on this.

    I’m glad to see this starting up right away. Thanks!

  21. Woo!! Been waiting for this! I love joining in, reading all the awesome comments, and doing a much-needed emptying of my freezers and pantry! There’s also no room at my inn!! Holiday treats and snacks have taken over!! But at least this year I know what’s in my freezers better than I did last year!

    • Also, my goal is to shop as little as possible and only buy the bare necessities – produce, bread, dairy as needed. And to stretch the items we already have in those categories to their fullest!

  22. I’ll be joining this year! I did it last year and I learned a few things! We recently moved into a much bigger house which came with a standing freezer plus a small refrigerator. I missed my chest freezer for the big things, so I bought a 8 cu ft one. I put all (I think) the plain frozen meat I had from standing freezer and my 2 refrigerators. It’s almost full! We are a family of 4, my 6 yr old son eats good, but my 11 yr old daughter doesn’t like meat much if it isn’t processed like bacon, ham, sausage or chicken nuggets. Yeah, this challenge might stretch longer than a month lol. I love that you do this, helping and encouraging others to spend less and using up what we have, thank you!

  23. I got my inventory and plan put together last week in anticipation of this! This year will be more of a challenge for me. I’m used to having a large deep freezer, but we recently moved into a small house with no space for an extra freezer, so I just have our side-by-side right now. I will have to purchase meat (since there’s hardly any extra storage space, I don’t have much stocked up), dairy and produce, but otherwise I’ll be feeding my family of six using what I already have. My goal is to pay off our car loan this month with the savings (we’re so close!). Hoping that $100 is all I need to spend. Thanks for the motivation, Jessica!

  24. I would definitely like to save some money. My pantry is stuffed full and it needs to be emptied for a good cleaning. There’s definitely plenty of stuff I need to use up in my freezer. Everything in my refrigerator gets used pretty regularly though. I think it’s because it is eye level and everything is easy to get to. I would really like to apply that same concept to my pantry, but right now it’s too crowded with food to even see the possibility of that happening.

  25. Just what I need right now 😉 … I really need to use up some half bag / quarter container / few pieces in package things … I started this morning with breakfast of couple of different things thrown on the baking sheet and heated in the oven, things like 2 waffles, 2 pieces of frozen french toast, some frozen potatoe patties, scrambled some eggs and cut up tomatoe… I was able to finish up 2 bags (waffles and french toast) that were hanging in the freezer for ever… I did inventory of pantry and freezer… I don’t have a lot of food since we live in small place but I have a problem with all those things that I buy to try and we never finish bags because we either don’t like it too much or we don’t eat that kind of food too often ;( it takes up the space but I feel bad to throw it out… Since since few months I’m very serious about paying down our debt I’m constantly looking for ways to save and I just realized today that for a while I need to keep my grocery shopping very basic, only buy foods that everyone likes,so we don’t waste anything… it’s going to be boring for a while, but it will make menu planning, cooking and storing / finding things in the cabinet so much easier… In January I’m only gonna buy milk, fruits and veggies after I run out of fresh and frozen stuff since I have 4 and 5 year old that love milk and fruits and need veggies 😉 … looking forward to see what everyone else is doing

  26. Deja Armsteong says:

    Freezer inventory happening in a few minutes. Fridge cleanout was for lunch. Totally need to take this serious this month. Major unexpected financial crunch in December and huge screaming expenses coming up (replacing 11 year old van and rewiring our house!).

  27. I am also in!

    We moved from a condo to a house in late summer, so I actually had my own pantry challenge before we moved 🙂
    I have been restocking several things, but I feel like my spending has gotten a little out of hand, so this is a good chance for me to get back on track. I hope to save a third of my grocery budget this month and put the money in our savings account.
    I look forward to following everyone again this year 🙂

    Kathy in Denmark

  28. I’ve seen your challenge each year and thought I Could do it on my own without actually joining. It hasn’t worked very well so I’m officially joining you this year. I intend to be creative to use meat, sides and fruit from the freezer and canned goods from the pantry. I have quite a bit of fresh veggies for this week. I can do this!

  29. My focus for the pantry challenge is to find those old things and use them up intentionally – not necessarily to make alllll the meals from our food storage, but to use those few things that linger.

    In that vein, today I made chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips (to use up those peanut butter chips), and tortellini is on the stove as I type (turns out we like frozen and refrigerated tortellini more than the dried version).

  30. I’m all in. I went through my pantry, freezers and fridge yesterday. I organized everything and got an idea of what I have. I really don’t have a ton to work with. We raise our own beef and have a tiny bit of pork left from the pigs we raised but we are low on veggies other than beans. I’m still excited though about seeing how much I can shave off my grocery budget this month.

  31. This will be my second year participating. The past six months, I’ve gone a little overboard on our food budget- we ate out A LOT, we paid for several weeks of meal service as we transitioned to paleo, but now we need to settle back into our routine.
    Here are my goals (1) recoup some $$ I spent on Christmas this year (went way over budget). (2) transition our pantry/fridge to more paleo and freezer-meals and (3) Trim down on our pantry- We have three cabinets, I’d like to see if I can get down to two.
    I’d love to see pre and posts of everyone’s cabinets/freezers throughout the challenge- wonder how we could do that?
    Cant wait to start.

  32. We will jump in, but not until January 15. I go out of town the second week in January, and trying to keep my guys on track while I’m not at home is a LOST CAUSE. We’ll hop in with both feet after that. 😉

  33. I always look forward to the pantry challenge, but my family never does. That’s because in the past I have tried not to buy anything during the month. Although we had lots of food, we missed dairy and produce. This year I am just focusing on rotating stock. I do plan on buying dairy, bread and produce. Oh, and wine of course. Lol. Looking forward to using up some older items and cleaning up my pantry along the way. Good luck everyone!

  34. We actually do not have alot of extra in our freezers right now. We do have the produce we put up last summer to last until garden comes in again, a couple turkeys to last tll november & a few other odds & ends! Our pantry not real stocked either besides a bunch of extra flour & sugar I got really cheap. So my goal is to not buy extra this month & hopefully I can still save some money!

  35. I’m so excited to be participating again this year in PC 2017.

    My first attempt at a pantry challenge was in 2016. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The only reason to look back on my pantry challenge was to see all the wonderful things that came out as a result of it.

    First, made new friends.

    Second, realized I was overspending every month on groceries and have been able to shave $45/month off my grocery bill. That’s $45/month that can be spent on some other bill now.

    Third, if it was at all possible to get more frugal…I got more frugal. For that reason, I was not able to clear my freezers/pantry shelves as much as I had anticipated. I had a healthy amount of food at the start of 2016 and rarely had to buy meat this year. I threw very little, if any food out in 2016. I transformed and repurposed meats/ veggies/bones/ veggie scraps/fruits, etc until they could not be used any longer.

    Fourth, my spending for 2016 was $1236.00 and change. We are a family of two adults now, the offspring have grown up, some married and with their own children now. My food consumption is limited by a ridiculously restrictive diet but I’m not withering away yet either! LOL! I shop mark-downs and clearance, BOGO sales, coupons and have my “rock bottom” price point list at which I will make a purchase.

    Unfortunately, I am away from my kitchen right now and won’t be able to begin on Monday. I may have to jump in beginning next week but I will be reading posts and getting ideas (maybe even giving a few along the way too).

    Looking forward to another great year, making new friends, trying new recipes, and reading on how to make a meal from a pantry.

    Last year I made homemade tortillas for the 1st time, a loaf of bread with a previously unused bread machine that was collecting dust, homemade pasta noodles, carrot waffles [which were unexpectedly delicious] and pierogies for the 1st time too.

    By sharing recipes, I made a new “iced-coffee” from Stephanie M. My saga of growing tomatoes in a garden was an epic fail but Mona got me thru my disappointment.

    It can be tons of fun. I like the “accountability” along with the friendships.
    It’s what you make of it so I hope many make the most of it with me!

  36. Hi everyone, happy New Year!

    Looking forward to participating. This year I aim to not purchase any dried, boxed, frozen or canned goods at all in the month of January. Perishable, nonfrozen purchases are acceptable – so that will be mostly vegetables with some dairy. Won’t need much of anything for meat, freezers are stocked. Minus coffee…. there hasn’t been a sale on coffee beans for a while so I am not stocked up on that. Coffee is a must so won’t be slowing down on that!
    This is also a great time to look at expiry dates and if there is food you think you may not eat up in time then consider donating to a local food bank.
    Have fun everyone! 😀

  37. I always look forward to this!
    My biggest focus is to find something to do other than cook. I am use to cooking and grocery shopping for 5. Well, one married this year and moved out (of course). One is 23 and works an hour from home. So, more often than not, she is late getting off, drives home after a 10+ hour day and wants to nibble, shower and go to bed. That leaves the 16yo that works several nights a week at Chick-fil-a, where he gets a free meal.
    Hubs and I can make do with smaller meals. I need to adjust my time in the kitchen, and the amounts I am preparing. This will require an adjusted grocery list and, consequently, save $.

  38. Yay! We are in again this year. The fridge, freezers, and pantry are all stuffed to the gills. (Again!) I’d like to significantly cut our grocery spending this month and concentrate on eating what we have. We may have to buy some dairy and fresh produce, but I think that should be about it.

  39. Melissa M. says:

    PANTRY CAHLLANGE!!!!!!!! WOO HOO I am very ready to try.

  40. After an epic fail at trying to have a Pantry Challenge in December, I am so ready for this. My goal for this pantry challenge is to stay under budget ($150) for the month and reduce food on hand while minimizing waste. I believe that being accountable to the group will help me remain focused.

  41. Monday – Jan 2

    Breakfast – cup of hot tea

    Lunch – baked potato with black beans

    Dinner – Chicken Enchilada Casserole is on the menu for tonight. Was going to make chicken fajitas but Bachelor Son had a can of enchilada sauce in his cabinets!

  42. I’m IN! At the Man Crew House, we consistently serve Hercules and two older teenaged sons, a tween that eats like a teen and myself, plus currently my mom is in residence. Now then, my mom LOVES to shop so I keep seeding her to grocery store and now OUR stores runneth over. It’s time to dig out, eat it up and stop giving the grocery store so much of our money 🙂
    Can. Not. Wait!
    Blessings, Kristy ~aka~ the Mama to the Man Crew

  43. I’m SO in on this. I was contemplating starting it up again myself a few months ago, but life was so incredibly busy the past couple months (even more so than usual) that the situation actually got worse instead of better. Bad direction… when dinner ends up being cheese and crackers because it is so late at night and you’re just so tired that you can’t do anything else, that does nothing good for the food stores that you were planning to eat when you bought them. We are at absurd quantity levels again, and I finally looked at the grocery spending for the last few months/whole year, and we were waaaay over budget. Thankfully I had the money for it, but I was not happy at all to realize we basically spent 13 months of grocery budget money in only the typical 12 months of a year. Time to reign it in!
    Things I am allowed to buy: veggies, milk, eggs, possibly some bread
    Things I am not allowed to buy: everything else
    Tiny exception: I finished off my soy sauce and my Worcestershire sauce and I’ll need to replace those as I do use them often, especially with beef/mushrooms, and with stir fry meals.

  44. Danielle L Zecher says:

    I’m in, though I’m starting week and late. I had a nasty cold the last few days of December, and didn’t really feel better until yesterday. So not a lot of cooking has been happening.

    I’m hoping to clear out some space, get a little more organized, and save some money this month.

    I’ve never successfully completed a pantry challenge, so I’m hoping this will be my year.

  45. Tuesday –

    Breakfast – toast with peanut butter and orange marmalade, cup of hot tea

    Lunch – cheese and celery sticks. Cup of hot tea

    Dinner – Meatball stew for for two!

  46. Wednesday –

    Still operating out of bachelor son’s kitchen which appears the likes of which a successful pantry challenge has already taken place. LOL! Working with what I’ve got….

    Breakfast – white egg omlette with kale salad

    Lunch – peanut butter and jelly sandwich

    Dinner – chicken, broccoli and rice casserole.

  47. I’m so excited to have found this!! I started the pantry challenge on my own before Christmas! Didn’t want to buy much the week before and then we were out of town from the 26th to the 31st and now that we are back I’m tryin to eat up what we have and be creative.
    We are a family of five. The 24 yo comes and goes but the 22 yo and the 16yo live here with DH and I.
    Picky eaters and they are not embracing my challenge.
    Ha! Well my 16yo daughter feels we have no food if we don’t have pizza rolls or American cheese !!
    I thoroughly enjoy making home cooked meals and look forward to this journey!

  48. Thursday –

    Breakfast – cup of hot tea

    Lunch – leftover chicken casserole

    Dinner – soft chicken and black bean tacos and kale chips.

  49. I actually started this the day after Christmas, There were a few unknown items in the freezer so they went bye bye! Although I am not a good cook at all. I love following others/ Tonight i had peanut butter toast & spagettios 🙂 Both my girls are in college now so trying to adjust my shopping.

    • I’ve been trying for years too now that all my children are living on their own. Doing the pantry challenge really helps me to realize that I need to cut back on my shopping habits and change them. I have even been able to shave $45/month off my spending too!!! 🙂 PS…I bet peanut butter toast and spaghettios were delicious!

  50. Snow Alone Saturday –

    Where I am staying in NC did not receive as much snow as anticipated, ice/sleet and snow dusting which I personally think is more dangerous than snow.

    Bought a can of tomatoes for the cupboard earlier in the week, took it out today to make homemade tomato soup b/c snow and soup just seem to go together with a grilled cheese sandwich!

    Breakfast – hot cup of tea
    Lunch – soup and sandwich
    Dinner – Rotisserie Chicken Breast and gravy, roasted broccoli.

  51. Sunday – JAN 8

    Breakfast – cinnamon bagel with hot tea for me; omlette with cooked kale and toast for son.

    Lunch – leftover meatball stew and peanut butter saltine crackers

    Dinner – it was YOYO night tonight! Swiss cheese and crackers, a banana, and a Kellogg’s fruit granola bar.

  52. Yay! These ladies are EXPERTS and they will help you and encourage you like no one else! Glad you found us!

  53. Reducing or eliminating the terrible mess is part of the reason for doing this! It’s hard to straighten/organize/clean up your supplies if you have too many of them. Even if you don’t share it with others, you should still take the before picture. Then when you get depressed and don’t feel you are making any progress, you can compare the current look with the original look to see that you really are getting somewhere after all. (and of course if you actually are not making any headway, you can always do a sweep of things to donate to a food bank)

  54. I signed up for the free Pantry Challenge starter guide. Got the newsletter but not the starter guide. I did check my spam box

    • Hi Renee,

      Did you get the confirmation email after you subscribed? When you clicked that to confirm your address, the file should have downloaded to your computer directly. Check your downloads file? Thanks.

  55. Hi. I just got the free Pantry Challenge starter guide and printed off the inventory/planning sheets. I’ve never ever done anything like this before, so you’re gonna have to bear with me (while I grin and bear it, or something like that). Anyway, I read the starter guide, and it kinda looks, sorta, like what I try to do all the time. (Please don’t think I’m weird…just frugal? I find recipes that use MOST of what I have, then shop for the rest.) Anyway, I REALLY need new ideas to use up my stuff. I have some really fabulous recipes that I like to use, but I never have the stuff to make them. I DO have a lot of normal, everyday stuff (including frozen meat and meat in a can) but I don’t really know what to DO with them. I need ideas, I guess.

  56. Ok. This was my first day, actually my first time EVER doing any kind of pantry challenge. I gotta say, it went pretty well! We were snowed/iced in, and we didn’t go ANYWHERE today. No big, my pantry is pretty well stocked for the two of us.
    We didn’t have breakfast, we never do. I know, please don’t judge. ?
    For lunch I mad some Asian coleslaw, and for supper we had some cod from the freezer that I baked with some Mrs. Dash, some Au Gratin potatoes (from a box that I had), and the rest of the coleslaw. Dessert was Rice Crispy treats that I made earlier in the day.
    I even have some ideas for the next few days, using only what I have on hand :-)! This is HUGE for me and its making me feel really good (and frugal)!! I’m so glad I found you guys! ( originally posted this somewhere else, obviously in the wrong place. Did I mention that I’m new to stuff like this? LOL)

  57. Joining in starting today. My daughters and I started our own pantry challenge Jan 1 but I just found your website today. There are just two of us now, but I still hoard food like I am feeding the family. I don’t spend much on groceries since we have a big garden, fruit trees and chickens. My freezers and pantry are full as well as dozens of jars of home canned goodies. I purchase 50 pound sacks of potatoes, onions and 25 pound sacks of carrots. We still have boxes of apples and winter squash to use. What I need is accountability and inspiration. I read all of the posts from 2016 through the end of Feb. Way to go ladies! Breakfast today was my favorite apple omelet. I peel and microwave a big apple. Then pour the juice into a cup, add two eggs and whip it together. Put a teaspoon of butter in a nonstick skillet and cook the eggs like a pancake. Top with the apples, a shake of cinnamon and a teaspoon of brown sugar..fold as an omelet….it will really fill you up. Lunch was pork stroganoff made with leftover pork roast and homemade noodles…..there is enough left for several lunches. Also made coleslaw.

Share Your Thoughts

*