Friday, January 22, 2010

Update time....Pantry Challenge

TWENTY TWO days into this months challenge... How are things going?? Well...... Eating from the pantry challenge has proved to be very insightful.

What is working:
First of all I have been able to stick to the budget I set for us ($168 for the entire month). I have $23 remaining for next week's milk and produce.
Second, we had PLENTY of food in the pantry and freezer to eat well balanced meals and we have lots left. This is wonderful and it has shown me that stocking up when things are on sale really, really works. It is a built in savings account... when money is tight we won't go hungry!
Third, it has been a fun family project and helped us to save a bundle of money that we are using to go on our first family vacation in FOUR years!! The Indiana state park system offers a stay one night get the second night free offer in the winter.... we reserved a family cabin (completely modern) that includes passes to the indoor water park!! The kids are SO excited!!! They haven't complained once about running out of cold cereal! We leave this Sunday and return on Tuesday evening.
Fourth, I have enjoyed baking more!! I actually LOVE to bake so this has been fun for me!

What isn't working:
First, I have to admit that my budget didn't go as far as I wanted it to or expected it to. I am always optimistic about how far I can stretch a buck! I realized that there was no way my budget could include non food items.... Yikes! Ok, I am learning exactly how to divide our household budget....

Second I have learned exactly how much JUNK FOOD my family loves! Actually, this has been a source of great frustration to me.... why can't my husband enjoy my home made goodies as much as his dear little Debbie??!!! And don't get me started on chips and soda. To be completely fair I can't pick on my husband without being honest about myself... I NEED my coffee creamer!!!!!! The kids have been frustrated with not having some of their favorites, but their wants are healthier (string cheese, chunk cheese, tortillas, nacho cheese sauce... hmm.... I am seeing a pattern... CHEESE)! So, a bigger portion of my food budget goes to JUNK food than I would like. How much of an issue do I make of this??? If we HAD to live without these processed foods we could... and my husband would adjust. However, do I need to make a big deal about it right now?? WISDOM is key here!! I am praying.....

Third, soup really does help stretch the food budget and my family has been open to eating more soup this month.... however I know they are looking forward to less soup in the near future! Seriously we have only had soup 1-2 times a week, but for some reason my family is just not big soup fans..... My husband likes MEAT! We have learned that there are a lot of meals we could eat if we really had to STRETCH the food budget.... we can eat SOUP!

One more week of the challenge..... I am packing food for our vacation (cabin has a fully stocked kitchen). I did purchase some additional food for our trip.... used the "vacation fund" from our grocery savings. I didn't have to purchase much and I am able to take most of our food from the pantry. One great thing about this challenge is that it really has been a family project. My husband has NEVER been this involved in our food! The children have been overall very positive and we have LEARNED that we really could eat differently (more soups and beans) to survive if we had to. I will keep praying about the junk food issue.....

How is it going for you?? I would love to hear!



tammi said...

Wow, I am so impressed!!! I really need to get better at stocking my pantry ~ there are very few things in there that we'd be able to enjoy for more than a week or two!

Great job!

And have a great holiday!!! Sounds like fun!

Leanne said...

I am so excited for you guys, Heather! I hope you have a wonderful time...and your frugalness ALWAYS inspires me! I had to leave small group early, because I had a counseling appt at 12 and I had to get CJH picked up and then everyone home and then go back to Faith!!! I felt like I had driven half way around the world by 11:30!
Let us know how you like the water park! AND ENJOY YOUR WONDERFUL FAMILY!