Managing Money · money challenge

April Money Challenge: Pantry Challenge

I’ve got a bad habit. Well, to be real I have several. But for the purpose of this story, we’ll just go with the one. I have a bad habit of going grocery shopping, buying stuff on sale that I¬†would likely only eat during a national crisis when grocery shopping isn’t an option, then hoarding it all in my pantry and freezer. My freezer is filled with tilapia and frozen vegetables that probably haven’t seen the light of day in at least 4 years. And who even knows what strange nonperishables I have stacked up in my pantry. Probably the worst thing about this strange, awful habit of mine is that I will open the doors to the freezer, spin the lazy susan in the cupboards around, then decide I have no food in my house and go buy more groceries.

I’m always looking for ways to cut corners when it comes to my monthly budget. So when I looked through my spending for last month and saw that I spent a whopping $358.36 on groceries (keep in mind, I’m ONE PERSON), I decided to challenge myself to spend less this month.

I recently listened to a podcast that had to do with money challenges, and one person shared their experience with a pantry challenge. First of all, what a breath of fresh air to find out I’m not the only food hoarder out there. Second, I realized a pantry challenge was just what I needed this month.

The woman on the podcast had a goal to not spend anything on groceries, but that just didn’t sound feasible to me. I recently joined Weight Watchers, so produce is pretty essential to me right now. Plus, I don’t think my two cats would appreciate eating nothing but stale spaghetti noodles and 8 cans of garbanzo beans for the next month. I modified the rules to fit my lifestyle, and I decided that I can only spend $100 on groceries this month. Plus, I’m challenging myself to create recipes that are still reflective of my Weight Watchers goals.

We’re now a third of the way through the month of April, and I’ve only spent a third of my budget ($29.58 to be exact)! I’m not the greatest cook, but just yesterday I meal prepped for the week and made cilantro lime chicken with cilantro lime rice and beans (I only spent $1.50 for the cilantro and lime!) and Thai peanut butter chicken with rice, and I have to admit that I gave myself a nice pat on the back after. The Mexican stuffed shells I made last week weren’t the greatest, but at least they were edible. Oh, and just in case you were curious, I’m still holding up the Weight Watchers end of the bargain and lost 2 pounds in the last 2 weeks!