Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eat from the Pantry/Spending Freeze

Last week we made a commitment to make a donation to help with the Earthquake Relief in Haiti.  We're up to $107 so far thanks to all of you who have linked up and left comments!  We made the commitment late one night knowing that we wanted to help, but without a thought out plan for where the money was coming from.  (Gasp! .... I did something without a plan or a list?  So unusual for me!)

We have a weekly grocery budget of $80 to feed our family of 5.  That includes all our food, toiletries and household items like cleaning supplies, toilet paper etc.  A lot of that budget is spent towards stockpile items not things we need that week.  Finding the grocery deals and coupons and planning my grocery lists is a game for me and a game I that I really enjoy.  I know that sounds crazy ... who likes to grocery shop?  I do!  My stockpile is a security blanket of sorts.  I like knowing that I have all that I do on hand.  It's also somewhat of a prize or proof that I've done a good job.  Do I really need to add to it every week though?  I have been stuck in the mentality that I do.  I drive myself .... and my husband ....crazy with checking and double checking repeatedly checking for deals to be sure I don't miss one.  This week I'm going to take a break.

Many blogs are participating in an Eat from the Pantry Challenge. ( I heard about it from Money Saving Mom.)  Some are making this a month long challenge.  For others it's shorter --- a week or 2 weeks.  For many reasons, I'm going to participate in the challenge for the rest of the month.  Our saved grocery money will be used for our Help for Haiti donation.  I'm going to take and hopefully be able to enjoy a break from my constant quest to find the best deals and enjoy other things.

Eat from the Pantry means just that ... get creative and use what's on hand.  It doesn't mean no grocery shopping at all.  I'll still be buying things like milk, bread and produce.  There's a Pepsi Deal at both CVS and Walgreens this week.  It has been an annual deal that I've known should be coming soon.  I am still going to get my deal fix with one trip to CVS.  (Details in another post later today!)

I just finished making my meal plans for the next 2 weeks.  I went through my pantry, fridge and freezers and found the items I need for 22 dinners.  I was surprised to find as much as I did so truthfully getting creative to come up with meals wasn't really a challenge.  The hardest part for me is going to be letting go of any deals that come up during the 2 weeks challenge. Something that happens all too often in my house is the collection of leftovers that go bad and get thrown away.  I included a leftover night once a week on my meal plans to avoid wasting food.

Along with eating from our pantry, we're also going to give up eating out, occasional Starbucks ( I love my Carmel Macchiatos!) and other non-necessities for the 2 weeks too.  Those things come from our $70 a week "entertainment" budget and giving up those things will be a challenge too!  I'm looking forward to game and/or movie nights spent with my family at home.

Wish me luck self control and let me know if you want to join me or are already doing a similar challenge!

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