You eat out of your pantry for the next ___ (insert number here) weeks. Plus your refrigerator and freezer.
It’s become a tradition to do this in January, and again later in the year, for yours truly. Jessica at Good Cheap Eats leads the charge every year — currently she’s about Day Eleven or so.
Some people take the hardline, and barely buy any groceries — others give themselves a set amount of money to stock up on items like dairy, eggs and fruit. (Or sale stuff — who wants to walk away from 99-cent hamburger or marked-down broccoli, just because it’s not in the pantry!)
Benefits Of A Pantry Challenge
It Clears Out Your Food Supplies
Those bags of spaghetti, boxes of cookies and such aren’t going to get stale — because you’ll be using them up. Nor will items in the freezer or refrigerator be apt to rot, or get freezer burn. Few things are more irritating than being forced to throw away food, just because you missed it, or it stayed hidden behind something else.
Your Food Storage Areas Stay Cleaner And Tidier
While you’re eating away, the shelves are getting bare…which means they can be washed and tidied up with minimum fuss. Cleaning the freezer, an unpleasant job at best, is a lot easier when it’s half-full. (Trust me — I know.)
Lets You Clear Out Other Areas, Including Drinks
Consolidate those teabags, and rescue the last few packets of hot chocolate. Do the same thing for the baking area, getting rid of stale items as you go. Wipe the shelves down when you’re done; your kitchen will smell and look a lot cleaner.
Makes It Clear Exactly What You Have — And What You Don’t
Start a list of items that need to be replenished — but hold off on doing it now. See if you can do without for a week or two longer.
And the best thing the Pantry Challenge does? It saves a nice chunk of money.
Cindy Brick is a personal property appraiser, judge and national teacher who loves to write about frugality and other personal finance topics. She has written six books and hundreds of articles, but often focuses on quilting, her teaching specialty. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two golden labs and a flock of very suspicious chickens. Find out more at Brickworks, http://www.cindybrick.com, or visit her personal blog: http://www.cindybrick.blogspot.com