So, while I have been laid up for the most part with this virus, I have been watching videos on YouTube on more ways to save money. I found some "Eating Down Your Pantry Challenges" and that, for the most part, is what Jeff and I have been trying to do lately. Let me tell you, some of the people who did these videos did an excellent job and others...well, they spent way more money than I do on a normal month where I am not challenging myself to save money. 😬
For the ones that did a good job, they took inventory of what they had on hand and needed to be used up ASAP and made a menu plan from there. Their meals looked really good and healthy. This is the way that I try to menu plan on a weekly basis so it is very familiar to me. They also utilized leftovers and made them over into other dishes...another great way to save money and not become bored with eating the same thing for several nights in a row. I tip my imaginary hat complete with flowers and feathers to them. 😉
Now to some of the others. Oh my, where to start... First of all, if your goal is to save money and eat out of your panty, then shouldn't the majority of the food you consume be coming out of your pantry, fridge and freezer and not from the grocery store? I totally understand supplementing and buying things like fresh produce and milk as needed but do you really need to spend upwards of $300 on those things alone when you have canned and frozen fruits and veggies at home that you could be using for even half of those meals? And if you are buying lots of fresh fruits and veggies, at least buy things that are in season and not those expensive items that have to be shipped in from South America that are going to cost you and arm and a leg. Look, I am all for buying a treat now and then, even on a challenge, but do you really need to be buying lots of chips, packaged cookies, snack cakes, etc. when you are trying to save money and claim to be in desperate need of cutting your food bill? Mind you, these items were not already in their pantry, they went out and bought them while doing their challenge.
I think what it comes down to for me is this...why are you doing the challenge and how much do you want to save on your grocery bills? If you are just wanting to clean out your freezer, pantry and fridge and have a clean start, that is great. Go ahead and buy whatever else you want. But, if your goal is also to drastically cut costs for the month so you can pay that upcoming tax bill, a medical bill, contribute to a much longed for vacation fund, a car repair or something else and you have to find that money somewhere, then for goodness sakes, attack this challenge like you mean business and do it! One woman, who I thought did a great job, had spent $400 on Christmas gifts for her children so she decided that she needed to cut $400 off the food bill for that month. I like that. She moved funds from one area to another and made cuts where she could to do so. She had a family of 6 with 3 of them being bottomless pit eating machines, also known as teenagers. 😉 I could relate to her because I had 3 teenagers and all their friends here eating on a regular basis for years and boy could they pack away that food! She buckled down and did it all while feeding her family really good meals mainly from the food she had on hand for the most part. This woman set a goal for herself and met it. Bravo!!!! 👏 These are the kinds of people who inspire me and encourage me when I am trying to challenge myself also.