I think the time is coming for a no-spend/pantry challenge month. - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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Frugality & Finances > I think the time is coming for a no-spend/pantry challenge month.
mamablair's Avatar mamablair 03:09 PM 12-21-2006
Quote:
I'm new to this forum though, so someone explain exactly how it works. Can you buy bread, fruit, and other perishables?
I'm new here too, but I think it's kind of a make your own rules thing.

boobyjuicex3's Avatar boobyjuicex3 03:29 PM 12-21-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1growingsprout View Post
my potatoes... are all baked/cooked/frozen..
we are well stocked for january..

thanks for all who asked..
This is probably showing my ignorance, but... if i mash potatoes and freeze them will they have the same texture as before and taste the same?
ColeysMama's Avatar ColeysMama 05:19 AM 12-22-2006
I'm in. We had some unexpected stuff come up, and some mindless spending... and I have tuition to pay for on the 1st, so there will be no extra $ this month. It's kind of a forced thing for me right now, but I might as well get in on the thread so I'm not all lonely.

Our "pantry" (freestanding shelf unit) is pretty full - I went to Sam's Club a few weeks ago and we have all the basics. Pasta to last a year, dry milk, canned veggies, oatmeal, raisins, soup, etc. Some chicken and ground beef in the freezer, but not a lot. Also an insane amount of tuna (I buy it all the time but we rarely eat it... still I continue to buy it, out of habit). Huge jar of peanut butter... and enough flour to make a LOT of bread.

We will buy:
limited fresh produce (bananas, oranges, and tomatoes)
eggs
dairy
coffee (gotta have it, especially when classes start up again)
hygiene items
budget: $15 per week

We were getting WIC last summer and have an appointment to reapply in a few weeks, so that'll take care of a lot of perishables. And Cole will have cereal and juice.

As for no-spend... we have our mortgage, utilities, car insurance, various debts, internet, Blockbuster Online (which we justify by the fact that it's cheaper than cable tv, and there are no commercials), and gas. Oh, and tithe. And cell phones. "Extras" will be my tuition and books, and postage to send my sister a Christmas/birthday present (handknit from yarn I already have). That should be it.. I can't think of anything else that might come up.

I just realized that we have a LOT of bills. Not cool.
Vixenmama's Avatar Vixenmama 01:36 PM 12-23-2006
I have to make a play though---I just spent the same as a months groceries on our holiday food (we have guests who will be here 4 days) and I had major sticker shock---we are having a very luxurious treat for our holiday dinner--king crab legs.


Anyway, I bought most of this food at Costco so I have huge supplies of everything.


I also know I'm going to need to buy some yarn, I have 3 pairs of slippers to deliver from my holiday helper raffle.

I can see a strategy for staying focused on non-spending could be to do all the little repairs and maintenance around the home that can be done for free--while making a list for February of the repairs/maintenance that needs to be done with a small investment.

Right now I know I can patch up a bunch of holes that need covering, sand and then paint (I have all the raw materials).


best of everything in the new year to each and every MDC mama
kathirynne's Avatar kathirynne 07:43 PM 12-26-2006
I just did my budget, and I have $150 to last until 15 January*. (I get paid at the end of the month, but that is already earmarked for rent.)

I absolutely HAVE to stick to my budget. I never want to be cutting things that close again. (Granted, I have been "off-budget" because of car repairs, but still...)

(*If I wait until 15 January to pay my daughter's KinderKare tuition, I have $300, but the tuition will be late, and I really want to start the New Year caught up with her tuition. WWYD?)
KnittingKara's Avatar KnittingKara 08:13 PM 12-26-2006
I haven't been by this forum in ages, but I am SO in! Subbing and everything

Best Wishes!
hlkm2e's Avatar hlkm2e 08:19 PM 12-26-2006
Quote:
This is probably showing my ignorance, but... if i mash potatoes and freeze them will they have the same texture as before and taste the same?
I've frozen mashed potatoes before. What I do is make them a little dryer than usual. When they freeze, they retain some water, then it melts as they reheat. So, if you make them dryer the extra water will make them the right consistency when you reheat. Does that make sense? Anyway, they worked great for us. Oh, and I also froze them in serving sizes. I used an icecream scoop and made a serving size 2 scoops, then multiplied that by 3 people in our family, so 6 scoops per bag.
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey 10:23 PM 12-26-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathirynne View Post
I just did my budget, and I have $150 to last until 15 January*. (I get paid at the end of the month, but that is already earmarked for rent.)

I absolutely HAVE to stick to my budget. I never want to be cutting things that close again. (Granted, I have been "off-budget" because of car repairs, but still...)

(*If I wait until 15 January to pay my daughter's KinderKare tuition, I have $300, but the tuition will be late, and I really want to start the New Year caught up with her tuition. WWYD?)
Assuming all bills are caught up and you have enough budgeted for gas and other necessities, you can definitely do $150 for now until Jan 15. Of course it depends on so many factors but in my area of the country with a typically stocked pantry you can. But, is there a way you can pay maybe $100 to KinderCare and keep an extra $50 for emergency cash? And then pay that on the 15th?
gurumama's Avatar gurumama 10:53 PM 12-26-2006
As odd as this sounds, if you mash in 1 oz of cream cheese for every lb of potatoes, they freeze beautifully.
kathirynne's Avatar kathirynne 03:04 PM 12-27-2006
Are we allowed to redeem gift cards during a "no-spend" challenge?
kellykins's Avatar kellykins 04:13 PM 12-27-2006
Im not counting gift cards as spending during my challenge... But I guess everyone make thier own rules, right? I cant resist spending Christmas money and gift cards!!!
EnglishRose's Avatar EnglishRose 04:42 PM 12-27-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathirynne View Post
I definately need a no-spend month! ...2007 is a new year...this time I will stick to it! (Since I know EnglishRose IRL, we'll be partners for this little project. )

I know that I will feel much more secure when my bills are caught up and there is a comma in my savings account balance, so I can use all the support I can get.

MY RULES

1) Make a meal plan each Friday evening for the following week, based primarily around what is already in the cupboards.

2) Budget $50 per week for everything. (Groceries, toiletries, et cetera) Shop with a calculator, and anything over $50 goes back on the shelf.

3) Pay tithing, bills, and savings. SPEND NOTHING ELSE.
I'm glad to have someone IRL for support. (I'm going to adopt your rules, to make it consistant.)
CariOfOz's Avatar CariOfOz 11:05 PM 12-27-2006
I'm glad I discovered this thread, I am SO in, out of necessity really...so might as well join the crowd! After some overspending at xmas, and a few other things... the funding left for grocery shopping is slimmer than usual till the 13th of jan. After taking gas & tolls out (dh has to take toll roads to work every day : ) I think I'll have about 150bucks maybe ...thankfully I don't have to buy diapers (yay : !), and we're good for toilet paper and .. I do have to buy laundry detergent & dish detergent though. I don't have the BEST stocked pantry in the world, but I think I can do this!
damselfly41's Avatar damselfly41 01:12 PM 12-28-2006
Okay. I am gearing up for this. Am I allowed one final trip to the store before the first? What are you guys stocking up on? I haven't been to the store in two weeks (usually I go at least every week), so I am low on some things. I want to start the month out with some stuff. I think I will just make my weekly meal plan as per usual, and then rely on my pantry the rest of the month. Then, I will only get produce and milk. I'm planning to use the 10 items or less checkout like some of the pp's. I am excited and nervous. Dh is doubting that I can do this! But I'll show him!
Jennisee's Avatar Jennisee 03:53 PM 12-28-2006
I am definitely in! We have had some big expenses--the garage door and both cars broke down at the same time--and I start to freak out when the credit card balance hits four figures, even if it is only 1% APR.

My pantries and freezers (yep, plural) are busting at the seams, so I need to reorganize them, take inventory, and meal plan. I got a Mason jar sealer attachment for my FoodSaver, and I'd like to get my pantry down to mostly just glass jars of the basics, cutting processed foods and snacks to a minimum. I also need to be better about limiting my produce and dairy purchases. I live a long way from the grocery store, and I tend to overestimate the amount of fresh food we'll eat before I get back, and then I'm scrambling to use up a bunch of old produce all at once.

I'll be looking for that decluttering challenge, too! Our New Year's resolution here is getting our home better organized and tackling home projects we've put off.
tangozulu's Avatar tangozulu 05:30 PM 12-28-2006
I'm in for the pantry challenge! I think part of my nesting w/ this pregnancy was stocking the pantry/freezer...and then my mom came for a visit and brought some more stuff...so I definitely could use this. I'm thinking limit spending to $20/week...I really have a lot of stuff, the only thing that I would HAVE to buy is milk...we freeze a lot of produce and bought apples by the bushel so we are even good w/ that!
hlkm2e's Avatar hlkm2e 05:37 PM 12-28-2006
Last night I took one of the free calendars we got in the mail and wrote out a meal plan for the month. I have enough meat/protein in my freezer/pantry to easily get through January without even skimping I made a grocery list for the first week of the year. I plan on going once a week to get fresh produce, her is my first list

lettuce
asparagus
bananas
apples
grapes
raspberries
strawberries
broccoli
tomatoes

I will only buy them if they have organic, so some things will get left off. I figure asparagus or broccoli (although dd will be disappointed if she can't have her asparagus) and raspberries/strawberries.

I have meal planned for hamburgers, so I thought about putting buns on the list, but decided to use wheat toast instead.
Synchro246's Avatar Synchro246 06:39 PM 12-28-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by damselfly41 View Post
Okay. I am gearing up for this. Am I allowed one final trip to the store before the first? What are you guys stocking up on? I haven't been to the store in two weeks (usually I go at least every week), so I am low on some things. I want to start the month out with some stuff. I think I will just make my weekly meal plan as per usual, and then rely on my pantry the rest of the month. Then, I will only get produce and milk. I'm planning to use the 10 items or less checkout like some of the pp's. I am excited and nervous. Dh is doubting that I can do this! But I'll show him!
Heck yeah go to the store before hand!
I got garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towels(I know I don't need them), dh's deoderant and bodysoap, hand soap, laundry soap, dish soap, some frozen veggies, some pasta (we were out), and eggos for dh's breakfasts. I should have bought a few pounds of coffee beans and some cherios for ds. I'm going to allow those in my next trip to the store reguardless of when it occurs.

Everything else I need is allowed in my rules for the challenge. If I run out of the basic household soaps I use I am going to try to make them myself.
My firm goal is to make it to the end of February only buying dairy, produce, and gas.
PatchyMama's Avatar PatchyMama 06:40 PM 12-28-2006
I think I am in - tho I have a slightly differnet plan because I really dont have much of a pantry. Its just a small closet, LOL. I need to think up the rules I want because I definately need to use what I have to keep our food budget low this month
Synchro246's Avatar Synchro246 06:41 PM 12-28-2006
I've already started whiddling away at some of my pantry stock. I have a mini-loaf of "cocktail" bread. It's sourdough. It's not delicious. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of how I could use it in a cooking recipe.
PLEASE??????
MAMom's Avatar MAMom 09:32 PM 12-28-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246 View Post
I've already started whiddling away at some of my pantry stock. I have a mini-loaf of "cocktail" bread. It's sourdough. It's not delicious. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of how I could use it in a cooking recipe.
PLEASE??????
You could make breadcrumbs out of it & use in meatloaf or something like that.

Or make bread pudding out of it.

Or soak it in butter and garlic and make croutons from it.

Or make mini french toast from it! I bet your kids would be delighted with that!

Or let your kids feed it to the ducks
MAMom's Avatar MAMom 09:35 PM 12-28-2006
I love this challenge & I'm so in!

We've already used a bunch of stuff since I first read this thread & January hasn't even arrived yet!
___________________________________
SAHM to a spectacular DS (5/2003) & delightful DD (2/2006 HBAC!)
International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN)
Aldara's Avatar Aldara 10:22 PM 12-28-2006
Okay I am in tooo!!!!!!! We have a ton in the pantry and I want to clear it all ou before I go shopping with menu and lists in hand!!!!! I figure that will be the easiest way to do this thing....Start the month saving money...My hubby will love it:-)!
Blessings
spiderdust's Avatar spiderdust 10:45 PM 12-28-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246 View Post
I've already started whiddling away at some of my pantry stock. I have a mini-loaf of "cocktail" bread. It's sourdough. It's not delicious. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of how I could use it in a cooking recipe.
PLEASE??????
Stuffing!
Breadcrumbs!
Attila the Honey's Avatar Attila the Honey 11:25 PM 12-28-2006
How about eggs baked in bread cups - something like this?

http://www.recipelink.com/ch/2002/no...trecipes1.html

You'd have to use more than one slice per muffin tin, but I think it'd work. I've seen many variations on this, do some googling.
Vixenmama's Avatar Vixenmama 02:37 AM 12-29-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by hlkm2e View Post
Last night I took one of the free calendars we got in the mail and wrote out a meal plan for the month. I have enough meat/protein in my freezer/pantry to easily get through January without even skimping I made a grocery list for the first week of the year. I plan on going once a week to get fresh produce, her is my first list

lettuce
asparagus
bananas
apples
grapes
raspberries
strawberries
broccoli
tomatoes

I will only buy them if they have organic, so some things will get left off. I figure asparagus or broccoli (although dd will be disappointed if she can't have her asparagus) and raspberries/strawberries.

I have meal planned for hamburgers, so I thought about putting buns on the list, but decided to use wheat toast instead.
Do you have a meal planning blog? Because just reading your shopping list made me think "they eat goooood in that house"!
hlkm2e's Avatar hlkm2e 01:38 PM 12-29-2006
Quote:
Do you have a meal planning blog? Because just reading your shopping list made me think "they eat goooood in that house"!
I have no idea how to make a blog : But it looks like fun, I love reading other people's. We eat yummy stuff, but usually pretty plain. Lots of stirfry's, grilled veggies with just olive oil and lemon juice. Lots of raw fruit. We eat meat, too. Usually just cooked on the stove with some seasoning. I was a really picky eater until my first was born. I decided I wanted her to eat well, so I needed to learn to eat well. Now I love most veggies and we hardly eat any junk food. Fast food went out over this summer. I enjoy cooking and planning just not cleaning up I'm proud to say my dd is a great eater, her favorite food is asparagus! Well, that and vanilla ice cream
Jennisee's Avatar Jennisee 05:07 PM 12-29-2006
This just got a lot more serious for me. We have been talking about visiting friends in Las Vegas, and I think we've decided to do it, but I am committed to paying off the credit cards before we go. My new motto is going to be, "Do I want this, or do I want Vegas?" My basic rules I've come up with:

--Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan. Groceries will only be dairy, produce, eggs, and staples we truly need. I think I can keep this under $100 for the month.

--Only eat out when we go to the movies (we were given a season pass as a Christmas present), and keep it simple and frugal.

--Before buying something new, I will question whether we truly need it, and I will try all my secondhand resources.

--I will still follow the pricebook mentality and stock up when something is truly at its lowest price.

--I won't put off things that need done, like car repairs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synchro246 View Post
I've already started whiddling away at some of my pantry stock. I have a mini-loaf of "cocktail" bread. It's sourdough. It's not delicious. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of how I could use it in a cooking recipe.
PLEASE??????
I used up a loaf of French bread by making a broiled raspberry dessert. I cut the loaf into slices, spread each slice with melted butter, sugar, and a tiny bit of cinnamon, sprinkled fresh raspberries on top, spooned melted raspberry jam over the top (melted in the microwave), broiled until the bread was golden and the sugar was melted and crunchy, and then topped with whipped cream. You could use other fruit--fresh apples and apple jam, canned peaches and peach jam, etc.

I also use up bread by brushing with melted butter or olive oil, adding minced garlic or garlic powder, maybe adding a little cheese, and baking. Garlic bread!
Softmama's Avatar Softmama 07:37 PM 12-29-2006
i'm in...
hlkm2e's Avatar hlkm2e 07:40 PM 12-29-2006
My dd is sitting on my lap at the desk right now playing meal planner. She has a calendar open and a pen in her hand. She keeps asking me, "OK, it's sunday, what is yiayia going to make you?" And then she writes it into the sunday slot on the calendar. Cracking me up!
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