Friday, January 6, 2012

Pantry and Freezer Challenge

December was such a high volume food month - so many goodies, and so much celebrating! And our food expense spiraled during the holidays, as well, and is to be expected. Now we're enjoying going a bit lighter on the meals. Actually, this week has been a soup week - a great way to start out the New Year! I love soups ...

But now that things have settled a bit after the holiday celebrations, I am needing to make up menus for the weeks of January. A few bloggers who I visit from time to time are focusing on a "Pantry Challenge" this month, focusing on using up items in their pantry - items that need to be used up. This also helps to keep the food budget down during this month-after-Christmas. I am going to take the same approach this month, as there are things in my freezers that need to be used, and an added benefit will be that our grocery expenses will be a bit less this month. Keeping track of what is in our freezers is always a good idea, especially as we have two freezers in addition to the freezer part of our refrigerator.

I found a two-page chart online to keep track of what I have on hand in our freezers - it has a column listing the date of purchase, as well, which is beneficial in keeping track of when an item should be used. Click here for the blog where you can find the free download, and here is one of the bloggers who is writing about a Pantry Challenge this month.

I've been having trouble lately keeping within our grocery budget. Our grocery budget has remained the same for quite a few years ($350./month). It's just the two of us here now (our children are all grown), but we often have family home, or friends over. We also hosted a reunion this past July with 30 people here for several days, and also when our whole family is home for special holidays, we are up to 23 people. I added up our monthly grocery costs for this past year, and it averaged out to $408./month. And food costs are going up - I need to find a way to feed more money into our grocery budget. And always, find ways to cut costs. Spending less in January should be a good way to start out the year.

Linking up with I'm Lovin' It, Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats

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