Sunday, January 1, 2017

Annual pantry and freezer challenge 2017


Every January, I force myself to do a pantry and freezer challenge. There are several reasons behind this:

-post holiday weight gain as well as RX induced weight gain
-the need to downsize stock on hand, in case of an impending move, come Spring (one of the joys of renting)
-rotating of stock
-elimination of some lurkers: now restricted, no long care for, too expensive, hard to find etc

Benefits of this approach:

-reduced grocery spending, saving time and money in the process
-no need to go out if the weather is bad, an issue this time of year, we'll just make do!
-avoiding food waste
-eliminating overstock/excess in stock
-interesting variety of meals

How this works for me:

-I will menu plan for Feb (Jan was done already and is already based upon what's on hand, as usual). -Before I menu plan, I will take an inventory of kitchen cupboards, pantry closet and garage freezer to see what needs to get used up
-I will focus on things I can make at home, planning ahead in the process, which is something I've usually done. I will not be tempted by the marked down danish as a treat, for example, as I know that I can easily make a coffee cake using some canned fruit pie filling or home canned jam out of my pantry.
-I will seek alternatives. Instead of looking at a fzn pkg of ground beef as potential sloppy joes which would require that I purchase a can of sauce and a pkg of buns, I will only consider that menu choice if I make my own sauce, and my own buns at home.
-While some* grocery shopping will happen, I will try my best to limit it to must haves such as weekly perishables or items that are a super deal such as the 5 lb bags of Russet potatoes on sale for 99 cents, limit 2. That's 1/2 the price of Aldi's potatoes and a staple ingredient we will definately use.

I hope to carry this challenge from Jan thru March, possibly longer. I will be reaching out to my landlords come March 1, to see their intention to renew the lease or put the condo on the market. If we do end up having to move, I wish to reduce what has to be moved.

Anyone else doing a pantry/freezer challenge?


slugmama said...

Seems like you just moved there. geez

I also need to do a total reorg of my stockpile/pantry. No one here ever puts anything away where it belongs so now it's a jumbled up mess and I have trouble finding stuff. ugh.

Belinda said...

We are definitely doing a freezer/pantry challenge here. January always brings extra expenses for me as my car insurance, Farm Bureau membership, and license plate renewal are all due this month. That means I need to tighten the purse strings in January, so this challenge fits the bill for me.

laura said...

I'll be doing a pantry challenge, too. I'm going to extend it as long as I can, too, although I expect that by March we'll be doing more extensive grocery runs. I love the strategies you posted!

Debbie said...

I look forward to seeing updates on your challenge! :) I have to lose some weight also and it is a major undertaking for me.

CTMOM said...

Sluggy, yes, my one kitchen cabinet for groceries is a bit messy and overfilled, so that is part of it. Yup-been here 6 months already!

CTMOM said...

Belinda, I am finding the electic bills high here, but we have also run out of hot water 4 times now, last one being just tonight. Long story short: my EX looked at the water heater and told me that he thinks that one of the elements is out, so the remaining one is working overtime. I just emailed the landlord.

thyme2save said...

My pantry and freezers are over-flowing and organized to use without waste, which has me joining you. Because DH and I must eat different menus, one extremely limited and demanded by MD's and one with whatever is desired, many meals are bulk cooked into one-serving size for the one who may eat whatever. Happy New Year.

Lili said...

I try to minimize grocery spending in January and February, every year, as the grocery deals are few and far between in these months. So, I'm right there with you, menu-planning my way through a pantry, fridge and freezer full of foods.
Happy New Year, Carol! Wishing you a prosperous 2017.

NAN said...

You've motivated me, Carol! I don't have a lot in my 2 fridge/freezers but I have been thinking of turning one off. My kitchen fridge is almost 20 years old and I just know one of these days I'm going to find it DEAD. The garage fridge is 16 years old too and pretty much just holds diet soda. My sis says I should just bite the bullet and buy one nice one for the kitchen and she's probably right but I hate to replace when they still work. I also have way too many bags of various flavors of candy chips left. I think last time I counted it was 12!!

CT Bargain Mom said...

We are joining in on the pantry chow down. Time to eat up what there is. This week kicks it off with leftovers buffet and ham and bean soup. Hoping that will be the extent of my big cooking for the week.

I can't believe you may be moving again in the spring/summer. I'm sure you're tired of it, I know I would be..but it keeps you from accumulating tons of stuff I'm sure.

CTMOM said...

Nan, I agree with your sister, old refrigerators (and you have 2 running) use some serious electricity, compared to new models. I suggest buying a new one for the kitchen, freecycle or otherwise giveaway the old ones. Does your electric company offer any rebates for old refrigerators? will they pick up if you decide to trash it? know anyone who would want them for scrap?

CTMOM said...

CT bargain, love the term "pantry chow down"! To be clear, I do not wish to move, but will have no choice, should the owners decide to sell the condo. The told me that they would never sell it out from under us, while we are renting. Taking it one year at a time.