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How to Save Money on Groceries with a Pantry Challenge

It is a brand spanking new year and time to get the household budget back on track after our planned (and a bit of unplanned) holiday spending.

Both Husband and I were slammed with work projects, instead of our normal one person busy the other person not so much during the holidays. It meant meant a few more take out dinners and unplanned impulse grocery shopping than usual.


It is time to take advantage of the window of calm January brings and get back on track. New Year. Resolutions. Blah, blah. All that.

Of course, the first thought in my mind was,”oh no!  We have to cut out everything! No spending at all. How depressing. Poor us!” Even though all of the bills are paid. We have a refrigerator bulging with holiday leftovers, and a new batch of ingredients and treats we got as Christmas gifts. Quite frankly, we’d be eating the leftovers and from the pantry and freezer no matter what because we need to clear the clutter.

For some stupid reason a have to (or should do) makes me feel bad which honestly, will lead me to buy something probably small, frivolous, and not really needed (hello, I have Christmas gifts) to make up for the bad feeling and will chip away at the experiment.

That depressing self pity party didn’t last long because My Internal Mommy Voice woke up from the back of my brain and sternly said,”You stop that right now young lady! You have seen with your own eyes people in countries who would consider themselves crazy rich on what you have. Be grateful and change that attitude before I change it for you.” I may have visualized hands on hips and appropriate finger wagging too.

Mom guilt and my mother is nowhere to be found. She’s good.

Well, one thing is for certain. The moment I changed my thinking to let’s challenge ourselves and do an Eat From the Pantry Month my attitude improved a thousand percent. No pity party. No depression because we are playing a game to see how long we can go without grocery shopping instead of felling like we are depriving or being overly strict with our selves.

Would you like to play along with me?

The Eat From the Pantry Rules are simple. Make meals from what you already have on hand in your refrigerator, freezer, cabinets, and pantry.  You can be as strict or relaxed about this as you like. If you run out of a staple item like milk and want to buy more (like us) go for it. Or if you run out of staple items like bread and want to try your hand at baking bread (also us) or substituting something else for the item be my guest.

If you are a weekly grocery shopper and want to try an Eat From the Pantry Week, that’s OK too.
You can still play along if you are a lucky duck who spent the holidays elsewhere and has an empty kitchen. Clean out a bathroom closet or cupboard and try to make those extra health and beauty aids last as long as they can (writing the date you open the item on the label helps with tracking.)

To get you started about thinking of leftovers as ingredients rather than compost fodder I went through my archives and put together a list of ideas to help you out.

26 Ways to Use Extra Pantry Staples

Whole Wheat Breadmaker Pizza Dough
Taste of Summer Vegetable Soup
Dijon BBQ Sliders Recipe
Mixed Bean Salad Recipe
Ham and Cabbage Recipe
Russian Vinaigrette Salad Recipe
Chivy Egg Salad Recipe
10 Tasty Turkey Leftover Recipes
Chicken with Spinach and Garlic Almonds
Crock Pot Gumbo
Crock Pot Turkey or Chicken Stock
10 Ways to Use Orange Peels
10 More Ways to Use Orange Peels
Potato Chive Bread Recipe
How to Repop Popcorn Kernels
Dairy Free Dark Pumpernickel Bread Recipe
3 Meals from Leftover Turkey Bones
3 DIY Coffee Drink Recipes
Husband’s Homemade Orangina Recipe
Russian Black Bread Recipe
How to Make Orange Citrus Cleaner the Lazy Way
10 Homemade Dog Treat Recipes - Including Allergy Free
Baking Soda Mason Jar Shaker
Seven Ways to Use Shampoo
How to Froth Milk Without an Espresso Machine
How to Eat Healthy From a Couponing Stockpile
To get your creative cooking juices flowing, what is the most unusual ingredient in your kitchen right now and how will you use it?

Looking for more quick, healthy, and cheap recipe ideas? Check out the following - and more! – below!

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