There, we did it. We survived a monthlong pantry challenge. Here’s how the final stretch went down.
Woo-ee! It has been A WEEK.
As you know, I started getting sick last week and it got bad. It’s still not better. At this writing, all eight of us have gotten the Plague of 2019.
- 1 – recovered
- 2 – in recovery
- 3 – on the tail end (1 with a double ear infection)
- 2 – in the throes of it
I spent most of the week in the same pajama pants and hoodie, venturing out for more kleenex and juice as necessary. Oh and honey. For some reason, we went through a lot of honey.
Oh I know why.
We had Homemade Medicine Balls on repeat. Like multiple times per day. Seriously, this persistent cough has been so bad, the only way to stave it off has been to drink. Nonstop.
As a result of opening my tea cupboard so often, I treated myself to a tea stand. I’d been wanting one for a long time, and I love this one.
Anyway, this illness definitely put a damper on the end of our Pantry Challenge, but we saw it through. Mostly.
I did stop tracking on Thursday night. I was more than ready to kiss January goodbye.
My Pantry Challenge Plans
As I mentioned earlier, my general plan was to spend only half of our monthly budget (currently set for $1000/month for the new year) by shopping my pantry and freezers before I went to the store. I focused on making more things from scratch and making good use of leftovers.
I ended up going over my pre-alloted $500 but that is to be expected, especially since the $1000 was already less than our monthly average last year. We closed out our January Grocery Spending at $634 which isn’t too bad.
I think that as I continue through the year with a tighter-than-normal budget, I will do a weekly pantry challenge to keep me from going overboard.
Pantry Challenge 2019: Week 5 Update
You’ll forgive the dearth of photos this week. I just didn’t have it in me. Here’s what we ate this last week:
Brunch: Breakfast Burrito Bar
Dinner: White Chicken Chili, Sourdough Bread and Butter
Lunch: Soup and Bread
Dinner: take-out, I felt that sick, but since Bryan chose a homemade meal for his birthday, I figured it was a wash.
Dinner: Grilled Pizza
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Toast
Lunch: Fend for yourself
Dinner: Nachos// Beans and Rice
Lunch: Vegetable Fried Rice and Chow Mein
Dinner: Slow Cooker Pork Loin with Sherried Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
I did excel myself with the birthday pizzas, even had all the toppings prepped and ready early in the day. But, no pictures. Sorry!
Final thoughts on this year’s Pantry Challenge:
It doesn’t help that I’ve been sick for almost a week. And keeping track of everything we eat gets a little old after awhile. I’m ready for a change of pace.
Next time I need to plan for illness.
Some years I plan ahead and make sure that we have what we need in case someone gets sick. I had the ginger ale and soda crackers on hand, but we got a different kind of sick during this year’s pantry challenge.
Next year, I’ll try to stock the pantry for flu and cold season in the early weeks of the challenge. Hard to do when you’re trying to spend as little as possible, but it’s probably something I should treat like I do our emergency food storage.
I don’t regret the Ralphs close-out spending.
As I mentioned in my grocery report, our local Ralphs is closing down and marking down all the dry goods. I’ve always said that you get to make your own rules for a Pantry Challenge, including when and how you take advantage of manager specials. Most sale prices will roll back around every six weeks or so, so I usually put blinders on and don’t sweat it.
In our case, with the store completely closing, these were sales that weren’t likely to come around again. Pasta for 39-cents a pound? Not something for me to skip.
I don’t regret it, even though this contributed to our going over my pre-budgeted $500. In the long run, it will help us save money throughout the year.
So, there you have it. Signed, sealed, and delivered.