January = Low spend month and pantry challenge here

One of my goals for this year was to have 2 low spend months--one in January and then again in June/July. This month is the perfect month for us to have a low spend month. Our freezers are full (we have the one that is attached to the refrigerator and then we have an upright freezer that we were given 2 years ago). The upright freezer has developed an ice layer on the shelves and needs to be defrosted. However, I have to use up most of what is in there in order to do that. Our cabinets are basically full with staples like canned veggies, canned fruit, pasta, pasta sauce, cereal, peanut butter, etc. Right now this is what our freezers and cabinets look like:

So this month I have committed to have a very LOW grocery budget and to do a pantry challenge to use what we have. I have discussed this with Bill and we both agree that we need to do it....to save some money, to clear some food clutter,  AND to try to make up for some of the ground we lost over the last couple months with overspending :( 

So for the month of January the guidelines that I am putting forth for the spending challenge are:
  • $20 per week for groceries. $10 of this is for milk (we go through 4 gallons a week), the other $10 will be for fresh fruit/veggies, and bread and any absolute NEEDS for that week.
  • $20 per month for diapers. I have a full box for Jacob that will last him through most of the month. I will need to buy overnight diapers for him which will be around $10 for the month. If I must get Luvs toward the end of the month for his everyday use, I have a coupon that will bring the cost down to around $10.
  • $20 for incidental/household uses. This includes toilet paper and maxi pads (if I run out). Right now that is all that I can think that we will NEED this month.
So $120 total for spending at the grocery store. That is way down from the $350 average that we usually spend for our family. I hope to post on Mondays what my menu plan is and what I spent at the grocery store that week. I hope to start going shopping on Sunday nights as I will be going back to work tomorrow after Christmas break and with Bill's work schedule it is easiest to do grocery shopping on Sunday.

I spent last week doing inventory of our freezers and cabinets and came up with a list of dinners to have this month. I was able to come up with 22 different dinners for us. This also allows for a few leftover nights and for a couple nights to have dinner with my family or with Bill's side of the family. If we follow through and use what we have I can see us doing very well in the pantry challenge and in the grocery challenge I am putting us on.

Are you doing anything similar this month? How are you approaching it?


  1. I've been thinking about something like this... but haven't "mapped it out" yet! You helped me remember to get on it! I like your throughts though. I got the papers today and hopefully there are some good deals I can find this month. I have enough to get us through almost a month. This might be just the challenge I need. That way the cabinet is purged and can make way for more healthy options.

  2. We only have $40 a week to spend on groceries for a family of four, so I think we are down as far as we can go!

    I created a printable to better help my family use what we have and eliminate waste, thought you might be interested in printing it off http://mysimplewalk.com/2011/01/meal-planning-printable/

    Good luck with your challenge!


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