5 Keys to Saving Money with a Pantry/Freezer Challenge

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One way to save money on groceries is to shop your own pantry and freezer.  Here are a few tips to help you whittle your grocery bill, while keeping your family fed during your own pantry/freezer challenge.

1. Go on a search and rescue mission in your pantry and freezer.  You need to know exactly what you’ve got in there.  Examine expiration dates, pitching what’s already past its prime.  Make a list of what you find.


2.  Search recipes for meals that use the foods you find.  Don’t be afraid to substitute ingredients and get creative in your cooking.

3.  Decide how long your challenge will last. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing deal.  You could decide to avoid buying any meat in order to use what you have.  Or you could do make 3-4 meals each week from your stash and buy the balance of the meals at the grocery.  Do what works for you. You will see the biggest savings from doing a solid week or more of the challenge.

4.  Grab a calendar and plot out your meals. You might surprise yourself and be able to plan a whole month!  If you like using the computer to plan, check out Plan to Eat.  The site lets you save recipes from all over the web and plan your meals by dragging and dropping into a calendar.  It also creates the shopping list (in the case of a freezer/pantry challenge you won’t need to shop!).  Very handy and very organized.

5.  Commit.  Stay out of the stores as much as possible and keep to your plan.

I’ve been taking stock of my own pantry and freezer.  My freezer is full of all kinds of foods I can build meals with.  The pantry has yielded 4 bags of white sugar, 5 bags of brown sugar, several boxes of oats and 5 bottles of chocolate syrup.  We may need to go on a Buddy the Elf diet!

How about you? Are you planning your own freezer/pantry challenge?

Plan to Eat is one of my site sponsors.  They offer a great service and I highly recommend it for those who like to do their planning online, especially if you like having access to it all through your smart phone.

This post is linked to Tutorial Tuesday at Hope Studios. Find all kinds of crafts, recipes and other tutorials there.

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  1. These are great tips!

  2. marybeth says:

    I recently started doing this very same thing. I made a blank calendar in Excel and was actually able to plot out a months worth of meals from my freezer and pantry (it was schocking!). The only things I had to buy at the grocery store each week were things like fresh produce or dairy. I was even able to plan most of March out using freezer/pantry items, too. My family is enjoying all of the different recipes I’ve been trying out.

  3. Shellie says:

    I had my own eat from the pantry challenge in February, since its the shortest month of the year. I put the difference from my budget into my Disney Fund. I ended up putting $258 in my fund!! I love to see my pantry and freezer at the end of the month. You really get a better sense of what to stockpile and what is a waste.

  4. I did a complete pantry/freezer challenge the entire month of January. It was so nice to only spend $15 – 20/week on dairy and fresh veggies. We are still operating on a freezer challenge of sorts as I refuse to buy anymore meat products until I can see the back of the freezer! I am forever buying meat on sale, sticking it in the freezer and forgetting about it. Time to use some of it up, especially before it gets warm and we shift to more fresh, garden food on our menus.
    These are some great tips for using your freezer and pantry.

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