The February Eat from the Pantry Challenge ends today. Overall, I feel we did a decent job of sticking to eating from our pantry. Usually, I spend between $200 and $300 a month on groceries! This month I spent approximately $110 which decreased our bill by half! We will use the extra money we saved to put towards our emergency fund as we have had some unexpected expenses occur which somewhat depleted it.
For March, I am still going to try to eat from the pantry as much as we can and see how low I can keep our food bill. However, I am completely out of many things we love to have around! Some of those items include butter, oats, and raw nuts (such as walnuts, almonds, pecans). There are other items as well, but those are the main items. Unfortunately, the nuts and butter are quite an expense. However, I am going to be looking for deals and mark downs on these items to hopefully re-stock my pantry.
Other things I learned from this challenge:
- I need to go through my pantry more often! I found many items which were expired or near expiration. Most of the items were from Tim’s trip to Korea last year, but there were a few others as well. I also found jars of food I have canned which had gone bad too. Apparently, they did not seal correctly during the canning process.
- Have items on hand for quick and easy meals! We had so many unexpected event occur this month! We were so busy! Last week I was gone from my house every day running some errand or attending some meeting! The week before was similar! I planned my menu, but I found I ran out of time to fix the meals I had planned. Fortunately, I have some “default” meals such as Spaghetti, tacos, chili, etc. which I can fix very easily or even stick in the crockpot to make life simpler!
- Keeping my pantry organized will make/makes life much easier! I am often in a hurry or rush, and it seems things just get thrown into the pantry and not properly put away. I try to get back to it, but it does not always happen! I have designated my 7 year old son who has a talent for organization to help me keep the pantry organized. Actually, he asked if he could organize it for me! I told him to go for it! He did not place items exactly the way I would have, but after I got used to where everything is, I actually like the way he did it! He straightens it at least once a day for me (his own choice), and it has been such a blessing! Of seven children, he is the only one who likes to have everything perfectly neat and in order. He is the third born and second born boy. I encourage you to get your children involved as well.
- It is okay to stock/re-stock your pantry while eating from the pantry! There were lots of great deals this month on items we use a lot. One of the greatest deals was the 15 pounds of rice I purchased at Ingles during Triple Coupons last week! We grind the rice for flour as well as eat it, so getting it free as I did last week is a huge blessing!
- Overall, I feel we met the goals I had originally shared. We had a great time participating, and I am thankful for Gabrielle at Couponing in Critical Times for allowing us to be included in her idea!
- As I was cleaning out my pantry, I also cleaned out other areas of the house including my coupons and the items I have won from participating in sweepstakes. There are many items I WILL NOT use! I am going to give some to charity, but the others I plan on giving away during the month of March. March makes two years since I began blogging, and I want to celebrate! Stay tuned for lots of giveaways!