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The OFFICIAL February NO-SPEND & PANTRY Challenges!!! Anyone can join, come on in!

post #1 of 120
Thread Starter 
Are you on a roll from the January challenge and want to keep it going? Or just need a kick in the pants with your own over-stuffed pantry? Come on in!

These are two separate challenges. Feel free to participate in one, the other, or BOTH.

(copied from last month's challenge - hope you don't mind Laura!)
The pantry challenge entails using what you have and not buying more. We want to clear space while saving money! Produce, Dairy, and meat if you eat it and don't keep stores of it are all allowed. Create your own rules, create your own exceptions. (examples: only checking out in the 10 items or less lane, allowed one on-the-road food purchace per week OR WHATEVER works to get you to pare down your pantry while saving $$$)
Don't forget to include all those pesky soaps and lotions that need using!!

The no-spend challenge is just not spending money on things you don't ABSOLUTELY NEED. Food, Bills, and Gas are all OK. Pretty much everything else isn't. Come on, you can go a month without a new shirt, a new lipstick, a new toy, a new tool, a new DVD, a new WHATEVER.
Create rules to help you get through.

Are you up for it??????
post #2 of 120
IM IN !!!!
I need to work on better meal planning. I also have a pretty stocked pantry even after the January challenge. I did stock up on a few items my last trip to costco. So I think in reflection of January, I need to only purchase minimal pantry items. I will need Meat this month ( we eat very little red meat) so chicken and pork it is...

I also need to watch prices and coupon match better on soaps etc..

Feb. is a short month I CAN DO THIS...

Goals
1. Finish the canned soups
2. Finish canned spagetto's
3. Rotate and finish canned veggies ( we prefer frozen)

I also need to make a full inventory list of what exists in there
post #3 of 120
i'm in for both.
post #4 of 120
I'm in for both. I've been doing both for January, so my pantry is actually clearing out! I'm even running out of rice and pasta. So, I'll have to do more grocery shopping, but only after I clear out my pantry even more.

We almost have to do the no spend challenge this month, because my husband has to drive to Seattle and spend two nights there for a job interview. This will take all of the spare money we have this month. So, it's 100% necessary groceries and gas for our spending this month.

~Denice
post #5 of 120
I'm in. Though I posted before that my personal pantry challenge isn't to empty the pantry, it's just to use up any oddball stuff that we don't regularly use, to keep my pantry stocked only with foods we used regularly, and to actually cook from my pantry instead of buying convenience foods. I buy nonperishables in bulk and stock up on certain things when they are on sale. I might have several months' worth of something in my pantry, but I know it will get used and I just take care to rotate what I buy so the oldest gets used first.

The no-spend thing works out pretty well for us. I shopped yesterday and wanted to share how we do it. My DH gets paid about twice monthly, but one of those paychecks comes just before all the bills are due (mortgage, etc). So I take what I need for groceries and other household needs from that other paycheck, only once a month. I probably spend the last week of the month crafting and fine-tuning my list of "needs" to get it as reasonably minimal as possible. As soon as he gets paid I take my chunk, grocery shop for the whole month, buy the few other things we might need, and then I don't take any more from his account until next payday. Shopping day is a challenge but a total blast for me when it comes!

I do try to keep a little $ in reserve for whatever we might have forgotten at the store or necessities we unexpectedly run out of and can't do without, but lately I've been trying not to spend anything at all. If I keep that reserve money separate, and my checking account balance is zero, I'm not tempted to spend anything.

So DH got paid on Friday and I'm going to count my weekend shop as "February" since it's basically the Feb. paycheck. When I got home with the groceries I knew I stuck to my plan because after the food was put away my DH said half-jokingly "didn't you buy any food?" because all I bought were staples and ingredients, no instant-satisfaction convenience foods or junk foods. So now I just have to keep out of the grocery store until next payday and I'll be all set. And I have to be committed to actually planning and preparing every single meal, but I've been working on that for awhile and it's getting much easier even on those sluggish days.

I did buy the girls each a bagel to eat while we shopped, myself a bottle of juice to stave off low blood sugar, and my treat to DH was some almond milk (bought cheap at the discount store) to make cocoa with. I wanted so much to buy many boxes of almond milk but restrained myself as we don't *really* need that much hot cocoa. LOL. I love our discount store - it's right next to our co-op and they have great deals on stuff we actually use - organic, etc.

Oh, another thing we did (though incidental) is we lent our second car to my sister. So I'm hardly doing any driving at all; DH is buying just enough gas to get to and from work, and for me to go into town occasionally on the weekends to do errands. So I've become superconscious of when/how I really *need* to use the car. DH is spending more on gas because our family car gets worse mileage than his commuting car (the one we lent to my sister) but I'm spending next to nothing on gas because I'm hardly going anywhere. I expect this to last about another month before we get the car back. It has been a huge, wonderful lesson in being conscious of our driving habits.

I guess that is enough rambling from me! Good luck, everyone.
post #6 of 120
I'm in!

The weekly meal plans are really helping. This is the second week in a row, and, I haven't needed to buy anything other than milk and a little produce. DH is another story.: But, at least it has been much, much less. Instead of around $300-$400 for the last two weeks, we've spent less than $80 on groceries!

I'm going to keep it up as long as I can, but I am starting to run out of some items that I really use a lot.

I've been making homemade bread, instead of spending $4 for a nice whole grain bread. And I uncovered a couple of large (from Sam's club) bags of frozen vegetables the other day in the freezer. My pantry and fridge are starting to look better, now I'm working on cleaning out my freezer. Who knows what I'll uncover!


Bec
post #7 of 120
I am in on the pantry challenge. I do plan to stock up on meat and some other essentials. I used up all the pasta...can't believe we did that!

The goal is 100 for meat to stocl up and then to only pick up fresh veg/fruit for 30-40 a week.
post #8 of 120
I am in for the pantry challenge. Use up what I can out of there. I will allow myself to purchase perishables (dairy and fruits and veggies)
post #9 of 120
I'm in for the no spending part. I was really good the first half of Jan but then I slipped a bit and bought a dvd from the co-op board here and a used didymos. I'm all set for a no spend month.

My pantry isn't stocked enough for a full month challenge but I'd love to get that stuff that isn't used as much out of here. So for the month of Feb I want to use all the weird foods in the pantry. I'm also going to follow a strict meal plan. I make meal plans and then forget about them mid-week.

So what are everyones plans for a free or cheap V-day? I'll have both kiddos so I bet we'll put the 4 yo to bed early and watch a movie and have a nice homemade dessert together.
post #10 of 120
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post #11 of 120
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetfeet View Post
So what are everyones plans for a free or cheap V-day? I'll have both kiddos so I bet we'll put the 4 yo to bed early and watch a movie and have a nice homemade dessert together.
Well, for us, dh will be out of town. About 4-5 hours away for work. And he'll be gone the whole week. So, no fancy stuff for us. If I feel like being evil, I might swing by a local little deli to get a piece of their sinful chocolate cake for $3. But what's nice is that when dh is out of town I'm not as pressured to make meals with meat - the kids and I can eat pb&j for all the lunches and do soups and veggies and fruits for dinner. So it works out... plus I can do a few recipes that he just plain doesn't like and he's none the wiser.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amyamanda
I'm in. Though I posted before that my personal pantry challenge isn't to empty the pantry, it's just to use up any oddball stuff that we don't regularly use, to keep my pantry stocked only with foods we used regularly, and to actually cook from my pantry instead of buying convenience foods.
That's mostly mine, too. I have a bottle of roasted red peppers down in the pantry for a recipe I never got around to making. Oops. Need to figure out how to use random stuff like that or just get it off to the food bank.

Although this month I am trying to halve our grocery/restaurant bill down to $200. I'm just hoping chicken doesn't go on sale - when it does I spend at least $40. Only things we should really need are things like lettuce, green peppers, maybe carrots if I use them all up, maybe some russet potatoes (have some red in the garage that need to be used up this month - roasted potatoes here we come), milk, bread, yogurt, eggs, that kind of thing. Haven't exactly figured out how to make really yummy fluffy bread though - my Kitchen Aid just doesn't seem to cut it like the Bosch's I've seen lately.
post #12 of 120
I'm subbing for inspiration....
post #13 of 120
I'm in again! We will be on a trip the last week of February, so my spending goals are generally for the first three weeks. My goals this month (I prefer "goals" to "rules" ):

--Spend less than $75 on groceries for the month. I need to stay on top of meal planning, use up what is in the freezer and pantry, and not buy more produce and dairy than we can eat.

--I can still stock up on things when they hit my pricebook low, but they won't count towards my $75.

--I do have a list of clothes and household items we need, but I will only buy them secondhand or at my pricebook lowest price, and I will use our Christmas gift cards whenever possible.

--I will do better limiting eating out than I did last month. (DH's business trip really did me in.) I will try to limit myself to Moms Night Out, movie night with DH, and two small drive thru/take-out meals.

--I need to come up with more low-cost ideas for getting out of the house. I get such cabin fever and get lonely, but I don't want to have to spend money every time I get bored.

--Make a list of budgeted items for our trip to Las Vegas and try to stick to it. We did an excellent job of this last time, so I'm confident we can do it again.
post #14 of 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmonter View Post
I'm just hoping chicken doesn't go on sale - when it does I spend at least $40.
Ha! I do that too. This time it was pork shoulder, at about 1/2 off. I bought a package, which was two cuts weighing in at about 13 pounds. So, I made Italian and breakfast sausage this weekend. Shame on me.

But I did want to learn how to use the grinder attachment for the KitchenAid, and how to make sausage. My elbow hurt from cutting up so much meat.

Really, this month I SWEAR I will be working on clearing the freezer.
post #15 of 120
I'm going to do each challenge half-way. We're planning a Costco trip on Saturday, and my goal is to spend $150 and essentially not have to grocery shop for the rest of the month. Between Costco and what is already in the pantry/freezer, I think all we should need are a few fresh veggies each week, but even that may not be true since we have a lot of frozen veggies. Maybe some yoghurt and bananas for the baby each week.

I figured out what needs to come out of my paycheck each week this month to cover rent, car insurance for 6 months, and some emergency car repairs that are being done right now, and it leaves me with $69 each week. After I pay my few personal bills, I will have $97 for gas, my portion of the cable and cell phones, and anything I forgot. My goal is to meet this, and not draw into March's paychecks!

I'm going to need some MAJOR discipline to get through February without attacking the savings account or my credit card.
post #16 of 120
Count me in! I'm doing meal planning 101 and just took stock of what we had in the pantry, fridge and freezers, so I think we've got several weeks of food there...As to spending - my DH is in grad school and I've not yet gone back to work after DD was born in Nov. so $$ is extremely tight. EXTREMELY TIGHT!
post #17 of 120
Oh, I need some help using an item in my freezer.

My boss have us POUNDS of smoked salmon as a Christmas present. (I work in the seafood industry btw). I know I can use a little making a nice smoked salmon dip, and DP has used some before as a crust on fresh salmon (delicious, btw) but I don't know what in the world to do with this much.

I looked on allrecipes but I wasn't terribly impressed by anything.

Anyone have some good recipes? Maybe a smoked salmon soup or something? Lord.
post #18 of 120
Smoked salmon with cream and pasta... a favorite at my favorite coastal restaurant.


OR

I can trade you for some lamb...
post #19 of 120
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosie_plus_one View Post
Anyone have some good recipes? Maybe a smoked salmon soup or something? Lord.
I copied an appetizer from a fancy restaurant dh and I went to for his birthday. Crustini (toasted cracked wheat bread) with smoked trout (I've only got salmon) and a lemon dill cream cheese. Yum. Had my homemade version's leftovers for lunch today.

Lemon dill cream cheese - 1 8oz brick of cream cheese (I used generic, but I bet Philadelphia would taste better, it always does), juice from 1/2 lemon, zest from said 1/2 lemon, and dill to taste. Add a few splashes of cream or milk if you want it to be creamier/spreadier. Whip, stir, whatever until it's a little fluffier and/or blended.

And what about a salmon loaf? Instead of beef, use the salmon.
Salmon burgers... Salmon cesar salad... anything helping or am I just being annoying yet?

ETA: Yeah, the salmon and pasta sounds good... Mmmm... homemade garlic alfredo sauce...
post #20 of 120
lmonter - Huge help!! But can I do that stuff with smoked salmon? Salmon loaf sounds awesome....
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › The OFFICIAL February NO-SPEND & PANTRY Challenges!!! Anyone can join, come on in!