You’ve seen me complete the Pantry Challenge as a way of cleaning house and saving money before, but this April we’re doing a quick two week version to save on our grocery budget. March was a tough month – we had birthday parties, bridal showers & bachelorette parties. Needless to say March was expensive. This month we’re trying to make up for it by cutting back on our April grocery budget.
Normally we spend $300 on food per month for our family of three. (Some months we’ll plan an extra $50 to eat out too, but that’s only when the extra funds are available.) Instead this month I wanted to cut it back to $225. Although it’s “only” $75 in cuts – that $75 normally covers a TON of food at Aldi so we had to improvise. In order to make it work our meal plan includes items that have been building up in our pantry.
Let me start with a small disclaimer here, because we meal plan, we don’t actually plan to end up with left over food – but it happens. A small collection of extra boxed noodles here, or a can of green beans there, and before long we had enough food in the cupboards to supply a full 7 days of meals for our family! With the help of Bean by Bean I was able to fulfill most of my family’s protein needs with beans from our cupboards.
Would you like to cut back on your grocery spending this month? Here’s how:
- Take inventory of what you have. – Empty your cupboards and write a list of your freezer and refrigerator contents.
- Make menu lists. – Write down all the breakfasts, lunches, dinners & snacks you can make just from the items you have on hand (no other ingredients needed).
- Search for recipes. – Once you’ve filled up your meal plan with recipes you come up with off the top of your head, it’s time to call in for back up! Websites like Pinterest or Super Cook, books like Robin Takes 5 or a good friend may come in handy.
- Create a purchase list for ingredients to fill the rest of your menu plan. – Undoubtedly, there will be a handful of items you still need to purchase, but the key is that these items will be limited and meant to compliment what you already have on hand at home. (For example, canned tomatoes were added to our purchase list when we realized we had everything else to make chili.)
- Sit back & relax. – Enjoy the spoils of your labor! You’re saving money, cleaning up your cupboards and feeding your family at the same time… good job!
Do you have other great ideas about limiting your grocery budget for a short period of time? Share your ideas in the comments below!
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