Grocery Geek Presents: Eating From the Pantry, A Beginning

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This month my friend Crystal and I are “eating from the pantry,” which basically means that we’re focusing on what we already have to build our menus for January. Since I know that my six children can eat a lot and that our family has decided to make some important changes to our diet, I lowered my grocery budget by 33% this month. I’m hoping that I can spend even less than my January allowance of $400, but I also want to set myself up for success. (I hate setting goals that I can’t possibly meet.)

Even though this week straddled the months and the challenge didn’t technically start until today, I allotted myself $100 to spend on groceries, instead of my regular $150. I bought all that is pictured here, mostly fresh produce and dairy products. The prices at Costco and Sprouts were amazing:

32 oz yogurt – $2
organic tomato sauce – $0.09 after coupon
whole wheat flours – $2.50/5# bag
rice cakes – $2.59
extra lean beef – $1.88/#
chicken tenders – $1.88/#
braeburn apples – $.49/#
broccoli crowns – $.49/#
carrots – $.59/#
cucumbers – $.49 each
cabbage – $.49 each
avocados – $.49 each
iceberg lettuce – $.49 each
italian squash – $.49/#
mangoes  – $.49 each
romas – $.49/#
white onions – $.49/#
bananas $.69/#
nonfat milk – $1.98/gallon
whole milk – $2.43/gallon
romaine lettuce – $.50/head
organic spinach $3.49/#
2 # turkey sandwich meat – $7.08
bell peppers – $.90 each
whole grain baguettes – $2.25 each
Baby Brie – $5.29
2 # cheddar cheese – $4.59

All said and done, I spent exactly $77.57, staying $22 under budget. And $72 under what I’d normally spend. Yeah! Follow along with our eating adventures over at Good (&Cheap) Eats

How did you do at the market this week? Did you score any great deals?

About Jessica Fisher

I believe you can get great meals on the table -- and still keep that pretty smile on your face.

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  1. I've decided not to shop until we absolutely need something. I think that's a huge factor in our wasting food. My kids (ok, me too) are used to being able to pop into the store for whatever we want (not need). Hence, when the bananas run out I think I'll wait to buy more until the apples and the perssimonsnare gone. Same thing goes for the veggies.

  2. That's an AWESOME job!!

  3. That's a great list and small amount of money!! I'm so impressed always by your ability to get such great deals!

  4. I'm completely impressed by what you got for $77 plus the low prices on the fresh produce. Can't find that here.
    This month I started getting cash at the bank to take with me to the grocery store – $225 for 2 weeks. Did a big shopping trip on Monday (28th)and have $47 left for fill-ins (milk). Will use part of that to take advantage of a one day sale at the new grocery in town today; prices just too good to pass up, like milk for $1.80/gal.

  5. Mum in Bloom says

    I love this idea and will take an inventory of my pantry and join the challenge too! With all the leftovers from the holidays we should be good for a month. Thanks so much for this idea – looking forward to the bundle I'll save this month!

  6. Sam and His Parents (Angie and Brian) says

    I'm doing the same thing but with our chest freezer. We have so much stuff down there that I don't want to have to toss.

  7. The Prudent Homemaker says

    Starting the challenge–I have spent nothing this month. Today we had people over, and served brownies–made with powdered eggs. We had a meatless dinner tonight (mock chicken fried steak) and I used powdered milk as part of the gravy.

    Last night we had baked potatoes with dinner, and this morning we had leftover potatoes (we baked 10 pound) that we diced and fried with kechup. We still have 190 pounds of potatoes left in our pantry.

    We're committed to not shopping in January; it just isn't in the budget (our income was reduced). Nevertheless, our family of 7 has food to eat; we have fruits and vegeteables in our pantr and freezer, and a few growing in our garden.

  8. Your shopping trip is inspiring. I can't wait to see how I do with the challenge. I'm excited to shop this week as my list is small and I like a good challenge. I'm glad I've decided to blog about this challenge as it will help to keep me more accountable.

  9. Family, Money and Stuff says

    Great work! I wish we could coupon like that in Canada! 🙂 Oh well – just means I have to find other ways to save one or five hundred dollars 😉 … I think I can, I think I can I think I can!

    I'm making very small grocery lists these days … it's a tight grocery budget. Definatly going to need my focus and dedication to meet it 🙂

    Thanks for keeping us posted. Look forward to sharing the journey!

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