Final Eat From the Pantry Challenge

eat-from-the-pantry

Last month, we did the Eat From the Pantry Challenge. What a great challenge! We put a pretty good dent in our pantry/freezer/fridge. We didn’t save a lot of money, but the pantry challenge was not a total bust. It was soooo refreshing really. Since I was only buying fresh produce and staples, I really learned HOW to cook from my stock pile.

One of the things I realized was that I really knew how to stock up, but I didn’t know how to use up my stock pile properly. Therefore, what we had left to eat from was a lot of grains, pre-mixed items, canned food, etc. I learned that we really don’t prefer to eat these things. If fresh options are available, then we will almost always choose the fresh foods.

Take home point, keep a better record of what I have in my pantry so I know if I need to stock up this round on pastas/cereals/etc. I wasn’t doing a very good job of keeping up with what I was buying, and would see a sale and jump on it. Yes, I’d get it very cheap, but it wasn’t benefiting our family because that money could have been better spent on fresh produce or something similar (or just saved, of course).

What I’ve done since the pantry challenge is implement a better system for keeping track of my purchases. My plan is to take a pantry, refrigerator, freezer inventory at least once a month. I will keep the lists nearby so I can mark off when I use items up. I will be talking more about this later, but for now just know that I’m keeping track of my buying habits a little better.

I’m also working on tracking how long it takes for us to get through certain products. For example, we use coconut oil for all of our cooking needs (again, we’ll talk about why we use coconut oil later). We bought our first gallon in December. We started using it right after Christmas. I have recorded this date, and will see how long it takes for us to get through it. Right now we’re about a quarter of the way through it; therefore, this allows me to see that I will need to purchase this again in April (if not sooner).

By doing this, I think it will help me be wiser with how much I spend when I am stocking up on items. Obviously, I don’t need 3 gallons of coconut oil lying around, but for smaller purchases such as almond butter, this will be incredibly helpful. If I see that we go through it rather slowly, then no need to have 3 in the pantry. I can watch sales and buy as needed if that is the case.

January was a HUGE learning month for me, especially in the food category. I look forward to sharing all that I learned in the coming months.

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Questions for you!

Does your family use the stock piling method? How do you shop frugally while living naturally? Do you have a plan for keeping track of your buying needs?

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