Grocery Geek: Into the Pantry Challenge

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Grocery Geek: Into the Pantry Challenge  - How our family is saving money this month by eating down the pantry.Today marks Day 11 of our Pantry Challenge. I’ve had to be a little creative with things, but we’ve still got some money left to last us to the 2-week mark. I’ve kept up on the inventory and made a meal plan for the next week.

I’d characterize the challenge this way: it makes me very thankful. I’m so thankful that I don’t normally have to count how much milk and butter are left or fend kids off a certain ingredient because it’s destined for a certain meal. Even though we eat very frugally in comparison to the national averages, we eat very well.

A fringe benefit of the challenge, one that I hadn’t counted on, is thankfulness.

I did one shop this week and received the produce box. Here’s how it went down:


Grocery Geek: Into the Pantry Challenge  - How our family is saving money this month by eating down the pantry.

By Tuesday we were out of milk and eggs. I also got a $5 off $45 coupon at Ralphs so I decided to make the most of it. It was really hard to force myself to spend that much! But, I tried to prioritize and make sure I got things that would carry us through the challenge well.

  • potatoes $3.49
  • 2# bags of carrots $2.49
  • organic broccoli and cauliflower $0.99 manager’s special
  • GMO-free clementines $3.49 after coupon
  • mushrooms $3.50
  • eggs $1.99
  • milk $3.29
  • ginormous container of yogurt $5.49
  • sunflower oil $3.99
  • unbleached flour  $2.99
  • white whole wheat flour $3.99

I’m thrilled that Kroger, Ralph’s mother company,  is working to expand their organic line. Ralphs has been my favorite store out of the true old school grocery stores for the last five years. And they’re making it easier for me to fit better food into our budget. Love it.

Total spent: $44

Abundant Harvest Organics

Grocery Geek: Into the Pantry Challenge  - How our family is saving money this month by eating down the pantry.

Due to lower temps, our produce box suppliers weren’t able to include some of the crops they normally would have. The lettuce was sad and small. And honestly? I don’t love collards, bok choy, rutabagas, and turnips. Yes, I know how to use them, but I don’t love ’em.

The box also included herbs de provence, green onions, red leaf lettuce, clementines, oranges, apples, red potatoes, daikon, and spaghetti squash. I’m glad the box is on vacation next week because it will take me awhile to use up some of these items.

Total spent: $43

Spent this week: $87 (exactly what I spent last week!)

Spent this month to date: $174

This means that I have $26 to spend between now and the end of the challenge next Wednesday. I wrote out a meal plan for next week (will post tomorrow) and made a list of priorities to get from the store. We’re cutting it close on the butter and milk, but we’ll be fine. Then I’ll have $400 to spend for the balance of the month. That will feel like we’ve hit the big time, won’t it?

Edited to add: I spent $27 in the last days of the challenge, bringing our Challenge total to $201.

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  1. this is JUST FOOD spending, correcT?

  2. Day 11
    Breakfast: Banana bread, milk, raspberries and blueberries
    Lunch: Homemade meat lovers pizza and tossed salad
    Dinner: Homemade chicken noodle soup and crescent rolls

    A family friend sent us a Jimmy’s Cheesecake sampler so tomorrow it is cheesecake for dessert. Today we had a special treat as well. My daughter earned $10 cat sitting and decided to use her earnings to treat the family to ice cream at Dairy Queen. She is such a sweetheart. I do not think I would have made such a suggestion when I was 11.

  3. I still have not gone grocery shopping since New Years Eve. We did pick up one gallon of milk, a loaf of bread, and ham on the 2nd or 3rd. So we have spent about 9.50-10.00. I think I am putting of grocery shopping for one more week if at all possible. I do need to go to Sam’s Club for garbage bags soon. So I will try to stretch out until that is a necessity.

    Also so far we have only eaten out twice this month totaling $50. $30 of it was popeyes that I brought to a friends house for a playoff game party.

  4. I have been grocery shopping today. We ususally do a big stock up trip once a month, when one of the biggest supermarkets has 25% off all organic products. We are about 90% organic, so this saves us a ton and I don’t have to run around after deals as much to get the best price.
    Unfortunately, we missed this stock up trip in december, so we had quite af few things we needed to pick up. Therefore I didn’t spend as little as I would have liked, but we are now stocked up and I will only have to get a little milk and produce for the rest of the month (I intend to keep up with this challenge untill the end of January).

    I am using this challenge to see where I can optimize my grocery budget. Even though our grocery budget is very low compared to other people (food is expensive in Denmark and we prefer organic products), I have a feeling I can cut it down a little. So far, it seems I’m right 🙂

  5. Grocery spending was a little high this week. But also because I had to stock up on a few things at Costco. I spent about $60 at Trader Joe’s, a lot of it on fresh items, and all necessary. I spent $8 at an international grocery, on produce and fish sauce. About $15 at Target on food items. And $66 on food items at Costco(actual bill was a lot higher– household items and Turbotax). Still thinking we can pull off the $500 for the month. Mostly only need fresh items and a few random things to make it through January.

  6. Things have been going well around here we’ve spent only $55 out of our usual $300 for the month. I had run out eggs and I had hubby stop down the road at our neighbors and pick up some, he came back with 5 doz! So I boiled 1 doz up and they are being used for snacks. My fridge freezer is looking a bit empty but after hubby suggested I wash it instead of refilling it from the big freezer right away, that’s what I’ll be doing as soon. I will be doing the challenge for the entire month.


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