Coming Soon: The Pantry Challenge

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The 2015 Pantry Challenge is coming soon! Join me as we use up what we have and get a good start on reducing the grocery budget in the new year.

Pantry Challenge - The 2015 Pantry Challenge is coming soon! Join me as we use up what we have and get a good start on reducing the grocery budget in the new year.

Hey Good Cheap Eaters!

I’m giving you a heads up about the Pantry Challenge, starting January 4th. I hope you’ll join me!

Our family does a Pantry Challenge about twice a year where we focus on using up what we have so that we can waste less food and save more money. It’s a great way to start the new year and offset any excess we might have experienced over the holidays.

Join the Pantry Challenge.

If you’d like to take the Pantry Challenge, mark your calendars for January 4. That’s when I’ll be starting our family’s challenge. I’ll be live blogging it every evening, posting what we ate and how folks felt about it. This year, we’re going to see how low we can go for the entire month.

1. Get ready.

There are a few things that you can do to get ready. Mainly, get your mindset ready. But, then practically do this:

Read these past prep posts to learn more about this project:

2. Follow along here and elsewhere.

If you don’t already subscribe, you can sign up for email alerts here from the site. Feedburner will send you a short email every day there’s something new on the blog.

I’ll be hosting a party on Facebook on the 4th. Its purpose is to help YOU plan for a great month of eating up what you have without your family knowing it! Ha! That is, indeed, part of the challenge. Follow the Good Cheap Eats Facebook page so you won’t miss it.

On instagram, I’m jessicagfisher. You can follow along there. I’ll be using the #pantrychallenge hashtag.

If Pinterest is your game, you can follow my Pantry Challenge board.

Follow Jessica’s board Pantry Challenge on Pinterest.

3. Think about your goals for the challenge.

I’ll be sharing my goals for the challenge about this time next week. Think about what your goals might be:

  • to use up what you have
  • to save money
  • to make it easier to move
  • to get rid of ingredients you don’t want to buy anymore
  • to downsize

You’ll have an opportunity to share your goals and plans here on a daily basis, so start thinking how you want us to keep you accountable.

Are you up for the Pantry Challenge?

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  1. I love reading about your pantry challenges! For some reason I find your creativity in cooking from the pantry very interesting. No, I won’t join. I am too fickle in my appetite – sometimes I just really want something that I don’t have!

  2. YES!!!!! I love pantry challenge posts!!

  3. Yeah! LovE the pantry challenges!

  4. I’m trying a no sugar challenge in January. I’m not sure I can do a total pantry challenge at the same time. It might be a mini one though.

  5. Heather M. says:

    Yay!! Can hardly wait AND have tons of accumulated food. And we’re headed out of town for this coming week, the week before. I know I’ll be buying fresh like always, but being creative with freezer/pantry, etc. I need this both for the budget and for cleaning out food!

  6. We’re in!
    I will be out of town at a conference for a week, but all the rest of the month, we’re all in. Hubs is starting an online grad class, and we definitely need to use what we’ve got after all the holiday feasting 😉

  7. June Combs says:

    I’m in! I can’t wait to see what’s at the bottom of my freezer! I’m looking forward to getting creative in the kitchen, we rarely eat out anymore for 2 reasons, money and I don’t trust all the ingredients restaurants put in their food???

    I’ve done your pantry challenge in the past and didn’t make it the whole month, but that’s OK as long as I make progress I’m happy!

    Thanks Jessica for all you do! J

  8. Love the pantry challenge! Love your posts and ideas! We started ours this week after Christmas, Kids are off school, I am off work so with no lunch box building dynamics we are eating up all the pieces and parts and using up what is in the house!

  9. I am so in-can’t wait! Pantry challenge helps me break the spending frenzy of December and challenge my creativity to make interesting meals from what I have. I am one of those who finds a good deal and buys lots. There are just two of us so it tends to stack up. My goal is to allot ten dollars a week for fresh. That should do it. This is my fifth year, I think.

  10. I am having surgery on Tuesday and will be off from work for 6 weeks, so we are doing a pantry challenge for a couple reasons. We have a full upright freezer in the garage, a full house fridge/freezer, cabinets full to the gills and a down for while mom/wife. We are cutting our monthly grocery allowance in half to $200 – husband, wife, 2 kids in college within driving distance from home and one adult son living at home, and (3) dogs.
    I have followed your Pantry Challenges for a while and always enjoy seeing what you come up with!

    • I can’t wait to hear how it all goes. I assume your husband and son are going to be doing this, right? You need to rest!

      • Oh yes, the boys can cook. I made sure there were simple and guy friendly things for them to cook. I am sure I will have to offer some guidance here and there. I got a bread maker for Christmas – after reading all your posts about how awesome it is! I made a French loaf today – I don’t expect it to last long. I made 2 loaves of pumpkin bread today as well – putting one in the freezer. Making a big meal tonight and tomorrow night so there will be leftovers for a few days. I made a small trip to Publix yesterday so we have really started our Pantry challenge today.

  11. I’m happy to hear you will be hosting the Pantry Challenge again. I desperately need to participate. I also look forward to hearing what you create and seeing how fellow readers are faring.

  12. Stephanie M. says:

    I can hardly wait to start. I love and always look forward to participating in these pantry challenges. It’s always great to get new ideas.

  13. I am participating this year but I am starting next week and going through January. I figured and extra week wouldn’t hurt.

  14. I’m in…..after I go to the store today! $1.25 bags of shredded cheese (2 cups) is too good to pass up! 🙂

  15. I’m in! January 4th sounds perfect. I think I’ll decide a budget after I do an inventory, I’m just not sure how much meat I have.

  16. Heather M. says:

    Second comment, but a good one.

    So we left town this afternoon to drive to NY and spend the week with my in-laws/playing in NYC. This morning a did several awesome things:

    – froze 7 bananas (no one ate them Xmas week. Hmmmm.
    – took the overripe tomatoes and cooked up a small batch of quick tomato sauce and froze it.
    – froze leftover cooked chicken and ground turkey from the fridge
    – froze chicken stock made form cooking chicken on Friday (we took it to friends’ where we do an impromptu make-your-own quesadilla party w/their new panini maker— so fun!)

    I was so pleased with myself! Less waste. We’ll see what survives in the fridge of the rest of the fresh(cucumbers, peppers, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc). I’ll be using that stuff up first!

    Aside from my birthday on the 6th, buying fresh produce and dairy as needed, and indulging the home from college kid with her favorite foods(chipotle, Panera, other local spots they don’t have where she’s in college), I’ll be pantry-challenging like crazy all month long! Ready to get creative and cook. 🙂

  17. For the first time Jessica, I’m in !

    I have one Costco run on Saturdy to restock what was used up over the holidays but otherwise it’s dairy, fresh fruit and veges and some bakery bread/buns (my breadmaker died in mid-November). I will, however, be on the lookout for .59 lb turkey after Jan 1 – cannot pass those up !!

    I’ve followed you on your last 3 or 4 pantry challenges so I’m anxious to see how we do after all of the great advice, hints and tips you’ve shared with us. Good luck all !!

  18. Hi Jessica and everyone!

    I have watched the Pantry Challenges the last couple years and have enjoyed all the posts and comments. So much fun to relate to everyone’s experiences. This year I have the motivation and the timing works well so I am planning to join in!! I plan to purchase fresh veggies and fruit as needed throughout the month as I am not ready to go without fresh veggies especially for a month, but I will commit us to eating up the small amount of canned and frozen veggies that I do have stockpiled. Very excited to try for 1 month!
    Thanks 🙂

  19. I’m in. I was completely out of rice, lentils and pasta so I got those this weekend to use as a base for meals this month. Now I’m ready to go!

  20. Working 70-80 hours a week for the past 6 weeks or so has left me MIA from this (and every other) blog (there are 67 posts here I have to catch up on!), but I came to check for any challenge news as I figured it would be starting in Jan. I actually started mine a little before Christmas. Even during the holidays, we bought things that were liked or were on good prices, but then haven’t been home to eat them, so we are full to bursting around here. I am really annoyed that a whole bunch of poultry stock I made has probably gone bad from being put in the fridge (no room in freezer) and I’m thinking it has been there too long now. Half of Christmas dinner (ham, cheesecake, rolls) came from the freezer and pretty much the only open space is where those items were. All the rest came from things also in the house; not a single thing had to be purchased for that meal. That’s ridiculous. The full freezer actually helped curtail spending, as there were a few things each of us saw and considered getting and we played off each other with “YOU have to find the space to put it” and thus it got left at the store. Now, however, as my schedule *should* significantly lighten in January, I’m going to use up a bunch. I sincerely hope. There’s not even much room in the fridge and I don’t think there’s even much readily edible food in there, so I’m not even sure what is taking up all the space. argh!

    • I can relate to your stock and space issues, although I’m in better shape than I was a year ago. My goal is to clean out enough in January for that to no longer be an issue and then to keep eating down so that it’s not a perpetual issue in the future. I find the most success when I minimize shopping, so the pantry challenge posts will help motivate me. An added bonus is that with less time shopping I should have more time to purge some other areas of my home in January. Good luck!!

  21. I wanna play too. Im only buy the neccessities – milk, eggs, butter, fresh fruits & veggies and hubby’s chips for his lunches. I should be okay for most of the month if not all of it.

  22. Hello, I am so ready for this. My pantry is stuffed…yet, I seem to be out of the normal stuff (like PB, olive oil) but I just don’t seem to have room for me to restock the pantry. I am all over this, my challenge will be using up what little meat I have and then having to go shop for meat. Also trying to incorporate more fresh and whole foods. Thanks for the challenge.

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