Pantry Challenge Updates: How are You Doing?

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

pantry challenge

Today marks the end of the third week for some who are “eating from the pantry.” To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure how this would go for the FishFam. I knew Crystal could pull it off because she’s way smarter than me. But, I had my doubts about myself. My kids eat a lot; my husband has a physically demanding job that requires good nutrition and energy to sustain him through the day; and we all love to eat. Those could have been potential road blocks to this challenge. But, I’m learning a lot through it all.

And hungry tummies are still being filled.

What I’ve learned so far:

1. Baking is not as time consuming as I tend to think. I have a great collection of bread and baked good recipes but I often put it off because it seems like it will take too much time. Since I’m not buying a lot of bread or baked goods during this challenge, it’s forcing me to make them myself and it’s turning out not to be that bad after all.

2. Using cash envelopes is the best way for me to keep track of my spending. Sometime last year I started using the debit card for grocery shopping. I kept a mental note of what I was spending, but it wasn’t completely accurate. Switching back to all cash has shown us that those little trips add up really quickly.

3. We have an emergency fund in our kitchen. The challenge is showing me that if push came to shove and we didn’t have cash on hand for our normal month’s worth of groceries, we would probably be okay. My regular shopping has produced an excess that is feeding us quite well. Now it’s just a matter of getting back to “regular shopping” in a wise way.

How are you doing on the Pantry Challenge? Share your triumphs and your fails. We’re here to help each other and offer encouragement to keep moving forward. It’s never too late to start making the most of what you have.

About Jessica Fisher

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

Read Newer Post
Read Older Post


  1. I’m a big believer in shopping for groceries with cash. I’ve only been doing it since Dec 28 and I can see a huge difference and we haven’t had a lack of food in our fridge/pantry as I had thought might happen. It forces me to make wiser choices as I’m making my way down the aisles.

  2. We love using the envelope system!

  3. Even though I’ve not had a chance to post about it, I have been doing the challenge this month. I’m really happy about only spending $100 so far this month. I’m just hoping I don’t have to double my budget next month since I’m starting to run out of all my staples. Oh well, it’s worth it 🙂

  4. Wow, all I can say is that I am in awe of you and Crystal. Even a one week eat-from-the-pantry-challenge seems difficult to me. While we haven’t been eating from the pantry this month, one of the financial decisions/goals that my husband and I made for this year was to try taking out our allotted grocery money in cash rather than using our debit card. It has already made a noticeable difference in my grocery spending, and the month isn’t even up. Dave Ramsey is right–there is just something harder psychologically about parting with actual greenbacks!

  5. I goofed up and link #41 goes nowhere, I corrected it with #42, so please feel free to delete #41.

  6. I spent $27 last week; but bought over $90 in groceries (between the Kroger 10/$10 sale & Meijer 10/$10) I was paying .07 cents & .12 cents for pasta, yogurt & crackers. The lady behind me at Kroger was a fellow coupon shopper & was actually cheering us on….it was really encouraging (& now DH sees how much I can save)
    But now my pantry is stocked again, so I’m planning to stretch the pantry challenge another 2 wks & try to limit our grocery budget to less than $20/wk. I just wish we had your produce deals.

    We did goof on our trip for out of town & spent tooooooo much on fast food, so that kind of negates the store savings

  7. We aren’t shopping at all this month (haven’t been since mid-December). I’m making French Bread this morning.

    There is no money for us to go shopping, so we’ll be doing this for a while (as in several months).

    This week we’ll be having honeybaked ham (homemade), lots of potatoes, stir fry (I have mung beans sprouting to add in), whole wheat waffles, crepes, ham sandwiches (from the ham I’m cooking), tuna sandwiches, turkey and ham crepes, chicken caccitore, citrus fruit salad, homemade bagels, spanish rice and beans, and several soups.

  8. Keep up the good work:-)

  9. I love Using cash envelopes but also hope have an emergency fund every month

  10. Thanks for starting this challenge, and keeping us posted. I’m learning alot too about how I really can make things myself -croutons, salad dressing, baked goods, etc etc. -and all from my cupboards and pantry!! Whoa. Who knew I had so much stuff in there??

    Thanks again! Love reading 🙂

  11. I have really been enjoying the challenge. I set our budget at $40 per week. So far out of three weeks we have only spent $70 so we are way ahead. I figure we have saved $365 so far this month. I am looking forward to seeing what the final outcome on January 30th. I can honestly say we are eating better and my husband has no idea that I am doing this challenge. I plan to use the extra cash to buy him a Nintendo Playstation that he wants but would never buy for himself. SHHHHH

  12. I agree that baking is an excellent way to stretch your dollar and provide yummy snacks. I’ve made 2 batches of muffins as well as a loaf this past weekend! Some for now, and some for the freezer. 🙂

  13. You always have the best ideas! My recipe today is actually a “shop your pantry” one! Thanks so much for hosting

  14. Thank you! This is my first time here!

  15. I have been participating in the challenge this month. I have spent about $25 on produce (I split a organic produce co-op with my mom every 2 weeks) and some tax for free yogurt at Staters this week. I do need to go and get more yogurt and milk today, but that will be it for the month! I am only feeding three as opposed to your big family, but I normally spend $200-$250 a month and looks like I can squeak in under $35 for the month! My love of baking homemade has really paid off this month, but I imagine that is saves us a lot most months. I can’t remember the last time I bought bread or tortillas!

    I have been keeping a running list of things I need to replace at the end of the month. It really isn’t much. I would say $50 worth. I plan on buying those items in the beginning of Feb. and continuing with the eat from the pantry challenge.

  16. I’m loving it so far! We are cleaning out our freezer and we are having fun with it. We did our own “Chopped Challenge” and got our whole family involved in making dinner! It was a blast and we came up with some exciting dishes quickly! I posted pics on my blog.

    • Jessica Fisher says

      That is wonderful! It is a lot like Chopped, now that I think of it. Hilarious! My family might get on that bandwagon.

Thanks so much for participating in this conversation about "a mom's life."

This is a place where moms can be themselves. Remember that each mother's path looks a little different. Please keep your comments respectful and kind. Reasonable minds will disagree in a nice way.

So let's talk about it, using "our big girl words."

Share Your Thoughts