How to Find Money in Your Freezer/Pantry – Join the Challenge

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Do you need extra money because of an unexpected bill or unplanned purchase?  For many of us, it’s possible to find that money hiding in the freezer and pantry.

I don’t do any kind of bulk shopping, but I still end up with extra food in my freezer and pantry.  I tend to pick up the same items from the store each week, whether we need them or not.  This is because of poor planning on my part.  I know I use frozen chicken, flour, sugar etc., but I can’t remember if I need it or not.  Better to buy than run out.  Or I buy an item with the intention of using it that week, only to neglect it and lose it in the back of the freezer.

Take the One Week Challenge with Me:

Commit to trying to cook only foods from your pantry or freezer for a week.  You will need to buy some fresh dairy and produce, of course, but try to spend as little money as possible on groceries.

By doing this you will:

–  Translate the money you’ve already saved (by buying extra food) into cash that you can use for other things.

– Clean out your pantry and fridge, redeeming the lost and forgotten foods from reaching their expiration dates unnoticed.

3 Steps to Start:

1.  Leave a comment here and let me know you’ve joined the challenge.  Let’s support each other in this.

2.  Go on a “Search and Rescue Mission” in your freezer and pantry.  Take inventory so you know what you have to work with.

3.  Tell others.  Nearly everyone can use ideas to save money these days.  Tell your friends so they can get in on it too.  Let’s support each other in this challenge, sharing recipes and ideas.  How much money can we save?  Let’s find out!

Tommorrow I will share the contents of my pantry and freezer and show you how I created a menu using those items.  I’ll include lots of tips so that you can do the same thing.

Don’t miss a thing in this series – just click the orange “posts” button in the top right corner to subscribe or type your email in the box and the posts will be sent to your inbox.

I’m looking forward to seeing how creative eveyone can get with this.  Are you in?

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  1. I am in!

  2. I am in…sort of…I know I don’t have much in my pantry or freezer! I will try though! 🙂

  3. I think this is a great idea! I know I have enough meat in my freezer to make at least 2 weeks worth of dinners just from hitting sales. I just get lazy & grab something quick in the evenings. Our food spending is the best place we can cut back in order to make our budget work. I’m going to go write down the contents of my freezer & fridge now…and make a menu plan. I’ve subscribed to this post. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Im sort of in! I did go to the grocery store today, but got the bare minimum, because I had already planned to use what I already had in the pantry/freezer! Hope that counts lol!

  5. Melissa says:

    I recently did a version of this….a few nights each week we ate “from the freezer” … the refrigerator freezer is the one where all the odds and ends were…a little of this and a little of that. I made a list of everything in the freezer and how many like: 2 chicken patties… I put the list on the refrigerator and crossed it off as we used it up. It was kind of fun. The list is almost all crossed out now…but more things have went in the freezer. I need to update my list! Sounds like fun!

  6. Sounds like a good plan, and even better to do it with others and share the journey!

  7. This is a great idea! My hubs and I often do this, esp when we’ve lost the plot budget wise – very good idea indeed!! Thanks for visiting my blog on my SITS day this week!

  8. I’m in but I really am only in charge of dinner on the days that I have off of work….Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Does that still count? Sounds like a lot of fun!

  9. Tiffany says:

    This is going to be fun! Everything counts, whether you just went to the grocery or you only do dinner on certain days. Last night we ate from the freezer/pantry and had Sausage and Mozzarella Calzones with Homemade Crust. Yum! Eating from the freezer can be good.

  10. Great challenge! I am up for the challenge. I’m sure I have enough frozen chicken to feed my family for 2 weeks.
    visiting from sits……… to the freezer.

  11. I’m in, but we just recently went on vacation and cleaned out our fridge, freezer and pantry as best we could before leaving. I think this challenge is a great idea, though! I know my husband would be so grateful if we had a lower grocery bill. We are going to the grocery tomorrow, so I’m going to get busy making my list!

  12. This is what I did this week. Actually, I have to do this quite often. So I’m sort of in. My freezer is almost empty but I just restocked my pantry.

  13. I hoard so much stuff we spent two weeks cleaning out the freezer!

  14. I am in…I SO need to do this. I will start on Monday (I’m going out of town this weekend).

  15. Oh goodness, I’d love to be in…and I might do an inventory of my freezers, but it would take DAYS to get everything listed. I’m not even kidding.

  16. I’m in…I have been almost all summer! I did some major “freezer cooking” back in May. We’ve restricted ourselves to ONE takeout or eat out meal a month. We’ve done well….except while we were on vacation (but hey, it’s vacation). We’ve replenished staples only (bread, milk, eggs, etc). …I do better if I send my hubby…HE sticks to the list! My only splurge was when I got a deal on bonesless chicken breasts (1.79/lb)

  17. I am in! I do this about once a month already, so it will be easy-peasy!

  18. I am in. I’ve recently became a stay at home mom of a 5 yr old and an infant and I am so wanting to start menu planning and I know the only way to start is to clean house! I love your site.

  19. I am in…was just getting ready to head to the store. I guess I’ll do inventory instead!

  20. I’m in! I am overloaded with stuff in the pantry and am excited to try it out 🙂

  21. Lovin My 6 says:

    I was just saying I just want someone to tell me what to buy and what to cook. After 21 years I’m tired of making the menu and grocery list. I will join the challenge.

  22. I am in! I actually went through my pantry, fridge, and freezer and found a ton of food for many meals that will easily last two weeks. The best part – I may not have to go grocery shopping for a while. Thanks for the inspiration!

  23. Excellent! I’ve been working and researching freezer meal prep to save time and money. When I tracked our spending habits for a month and found out how much money we were spending on eating out, I was shocked. No wonder we are always broke by the end of the month.
    Your site is a a great source for anyone who needs to eat at home more. This past week me and the kids have really had a ball in menu planning, cooking and heating and eating leftovers. Can’t wait for next month. I will definitely use your site for our family and sharing it with everyone I know. Thanks so much for all your hard work!

  24. I’m in! I really need to do this. I spend way more than I need to with my quick trips to the grocery store. I buy loaves of bakery bread to freeze, and then find I have other loaves in there. Same with frozen veggies. Buying in bulk and being stocked is GREAT, but only if you keep track!!!

  25. I am in. Thanks for explaining it this way, in this time it only make sense to save money, and in my house the food budget is the first to start slimming down. : )

  26. I am currently unemployed & trying to save $$ on groceries. You CAN eat healthy “on the dole”! Today’s lunch: baked mahi-mahi w/lemon-pepper bread crumbs. Added steamed brussell sprouts, celery sticks & baked Splenda-cinanamon apple w/ low carb butter pecan ice cream. OK, so the celery & apple were not freezer finds. I’ve had the fish packed back awhile & needed to use it, but I wasn’t crazy about its taste/texture–the bread crumbs solved that problem. Tasty! Some times I just have to think up new ways to use things.

    Same thing happened w/ some boneless pork loin. Cooked it & didn’t like the way it turned out. Put it in freezer so as not to waste it, but just hated it every time I ate a bit of it (there was alot). One day I was making lasagna & had the bright idea to grind it up in the food processor & add it to the beef in the meat sauce. Absolutely delicious!!

  27. Tracie Denney says:

    I am in.

  28. I’m in on the challenge. I tried to take stock of what was in my freezer, but we just bought 1/2 a cow, so it’s a bit corked up in there! I know I have:

    Tons of frozen veggies, breads, sauces, leftovers, chicken, hotdogs, milk, flour, sugar, cranberry berries, chocolate, coconut (shredded), leftover bits of potota chip crumbs, cracker crumbs, blueberries, shaved ham, shredded cheeses, butter, frozen spinach, coffees, juices, celery, chopped onions, zuchhini…

    My pantry:

    lots of boxed cakes, brownies, puddings, jellos, jelly pie fillings, canned sweet potatos, pumpkin pie filling, swt. cond. milk, evap. milk, peach syrup, misc. choc. chips, Indian Black tea & chai fixin’s, coco…

    V-8, crm. of mushroom/chicken/celery, lots of homemade spaghetti sauces & tomato juice, couple cans of veg-all, peas, chic peas, bbq sauce, one box of Tastefully simple beer bread mix, lots of green beans, instant mashed pots, some pastas, wheat berries and rice…

    Fresh… potatos, onions

    I also have a pasta maker, wheat grinder and juicer.

    I guess I have more than I though!!!

    Tyralei in Wisconsin

  29. I am in for the challenge! thanks!
    Patty in Iowa

  30. I am in for the challenge! This should be interesting. I’ll come back tomorrow to share what is currently in my fridge/freezer/pantry (which are probably all pretty bare!). Wish me luck! 🙂

  31. I’ll do it with you!! I grabbed a homemade chicken pot pie out of the freezer last week and it was amazing, I thought wow, I forgot I had that in there, LOL!

  32. I’m in! though I don’t have too much in there…. I’m pretty obsessed with no waste so I tend to use ever bit of food in the fridge freezer and pantry at the end of the week before I allow myself to buy more groceries. My baking cupboard however is another story…. It’s chocka-block-full

  33. I like to try this….Only thing is I don’t have any meats in the freezer. May need to catch the next challenge.

  34. I am willing to participate, I try to make a list of monthly meals anyways and only use whats in the house. I tape up lists on the inside of my cupboards of whats there and cross them off as I use them.

  35. I’m definitely in!

  36. Christine LaFord says:

    Luckily we now have enough stored food to do this. (Tax returns are a godsend…lol.) Just a couple weeks ago we were pretty devoid of stuff in the freezer. However now that we have staples and bulk meats I can say that I AM IN!!!!!! 🙂

  37. I am in

  38. I will give it a try 🙂

  39. Just what I needed this week! I am totally in

  40. I’m in!


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