Frugality – “Shopping in the Pantry”

On this forum thread, a challenge was laid out: Don’t go to the grocery store. Don’t do it. Just stop. 🙂

So what’s the deal? Look in your pantry. Look in your freezer. Can you see everything? Is it all stuff you will use over the next week? The next month? Is there stuff in there years old? I had stuff in all three categories in my pantry. I had a lot of stuff in my freezer – I mean a LOT. There was no room for anything else, and I have a big freezer on my fridge and a chest freezer! Not only that, but none of it was really organized. How about you?

A couple of people on the Budget forums on Recipezaar are having tight times right now. Really tight, as I am sure a lot of people are these days. So one woman posted and said she wasn’t going to the grocery for a while. She has a very productive garden, and lots of stores, and not a lot of money. Of course, we all loved the idea and thought it would make a great personal challenge.

How long could you go just on food you have stored? What is going to waste in the back of your pantry because you don’t even know it is there? Have you finished everything from your last big OAMC session? Have you finished everything from that session a year ago? Do you need to take the challenge? 🙂

For myself, I don’t need to take it for financial reasons, although, we do have several big home repair purchases which would be a little easier on the bank account if I can cut my spending. However, my pantry needs to be thoroughly cleaned out and reorganized, and I just can’t stomach it while it is full of stuff. And my freezer was so full, I literally couldn’t fit anything else in it.

That was a little over a week ago. I am still going to the store each week. I have 6 mouths to feed, and 2 of them belong to children who need milk on a regular basis. I am also a firm believer in fresh produce (especially when my stock of frozen veggies is low because it is summer). My garden isn’t producing right now, so I am going to go to the store for the things I don’t have, but I am not buying meat, I’m not buying cheese until I run out. I am making menus that try to use up stuff that has been hanging around the pantry for a while. I am pulling out interesting recipes from some of my cheap cooking sources. And I am improvising. 🙂

Now, a word of caution. If you are in hurricane-prone areas, this might not be the best thing for you. Or it might be a great way to get your emergency stores rotated. Since my biggest danger as far as possible emergencies is a power outage, I am looking to get the freezers cleaned out, and the pantry cleaned out, so that I can assemble a pantry stocked with foods we eat on a regular basis, not on a whim.

So what have we eaten so far? Here’s last week’s menu and this week’s menu:

  • Big Dinner Salad with homemade ranch dressing
  • Spaghetti with vegetable sauce, side salad and homemade creamy Italian dressing
  • Veggie and chicken fajitas with lime crema, rice, and beans
  • Ham and Beans, with cornbread casserole
  • Apple Beef Brisket, with baked mashed potatoes
  • Tamales with salad
  • Hamburger Pinwheels with steamed broccoli
  • Asian grilled pork chops, ginger rice balls, and steamed veggies
  • Meatloaf, flavored rice, and corn fritters
  • Moroccan Chicken, hummus with mini pitas, couscous, and sweet potatoes

And next week will be even better! 🙂

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