The OFFICIAL January NO-SPEND & PANTRY Challenges!!! anyone can join, come on in! - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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Frugality & Finances > The OFFICIAL January NO-SPEND & PANTRY Challenges!!! anyone can join, come on in!
Baby Makes 4's Avatar Baby Makes 4 08:30 PM 01-02-2007
I would love to join for this month.

I am quite sure that we have enough food in the freezers and cupboards to last all month with the exception of bread, milk, soy milk and produce. I can make my own bread but I will need to buy the rest.

Also, my youngest has a dairy allergy so if I run out of food that he can eat I may need to pick up a few things.

I am also in for no-spend except that I had already planned to buy some cloth diapers this month. I think that is still frugal though since I am try to build a cloth diaper stash so I can stop buying disposables.

This should be challenging! We are not a very frugal family but we are trying to become one.

Here are my rules:

* No groceries other than milk, soy milk, 2 jars of pasta sauce and produce as needed. If I run out of coffee I'll just have to drink tea.
* No eating out this month - we need to detox our bodies from the holiday pigginess
* Limit educational purchases to those that are reimbursable by DS's homelearning school
* Luke is allowed to spend his holiday gift money and I am allowed to spend Logan's holiday gift money on books and cloth diapers only
* If we run out of disposables I will need to buy some more as our cloth diaper stash is very small right now

spiderdust's Avatar spiderdust 10:16 PM 01-02-2007
I've already blown it. : But maybe I've blown it in a way that's not so bad...

I had a smallish bunch of collards from our CSA drop and a smoked ham hock in the freezer. That, along with some leftover Hoppin' John & pork chops from last night's dinner and some cornbread, was part of tonight's dinner.

I washed, trimmed, and sliced up the collards and put them in the pot, then went to get the ham hock out of the package. I had thought that the package contained two hocks, but it's actually one HUGE hock. This is about the size of my daughter's head!

One huge hock, one little bunch of collards. It seemed wasteful somehow. I couldn't put the hock back in the freezer since it had already thawed, so I had to use it.

I remembered that I had about pound of collards in the freezer that I blanched and froze this summer. I could cook those with the fresh collards, but that still didn't seem to be enough considering the size of the hock. We had gotten some kale and chard and beets (with greens) in our CSA drop, but we had already eaten those. (If I had been thinking before, I would have cooked all of the greens together.)

So... I looked around the house for loose change. : I found enough to buy 4 more pounds of fresh collards. I'll cook all of them (including the frozen blanched ones) in the big stockpot with the giant ham hock, and there will be plenty for meals later on. I can freeze the cooked greens in containers with some of the broth, and they'll only need to be heated up in a pan when it's time to eat them. The meat pulled off of the ham hock will go with some leftover smoked turkey to make another meal.

Did I screw up? Or was this smart? I had cash in the house (not to mention the bank), but I figured that if I only used "found money" (change that was lying around the house), it might not count against me.
Aeress's Avatar Aeress 11:17 PM 01-02-2007
I don't think that you "broke" your no spend bond. Freezing is always good!

Now for a challenge- yellow lentils, help me use these up. I have some browned gr.beef from tonight, carrots, garlic (no fresh onion) dried onion and most seasonings.

I am out of other fresh/frozen veggies, minus carrots and taters.

I rarely cook lentils but I do enjoy them.

I also need to use up some bananas- no bread please.
vannienicole's Avatar vannienicole 11:57 PM 01-02-2007
Ooo, I have never done one of these, so my earlier rules are definately a challenge for me. I was really proud of myself yesterday at the store. I found a magazine and a book that I wanted but put them back and vowed to head to the library with DD over the next few days and read it there !
melissel's Avatar melissel 12:24 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderdust View Post
Did I screw up? Or was this smart? I had cash in the house (not to mention the bank), but I figured that if I only used "found money" (change that was lying around the house), it might not count against me.
If you will really eat the cooked greens, I think it's genius! Good for you for making the most of what you had.
Synchro246's Avatar Synchro246 12:29 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by vannienicole View Post
I was really proud of myself yesterday at the store. I found a magazine and a book that I wanted but put them back and vowed to head to the library with DD over the next few days and read it there !

Wabi Sabi's Avatar Wabi Sabi 01:13 AM 01-03-2007
Hi everyone. I just posted this over in meal planning before realizing that there was already a pantry challenge thread going on over here. I'm in for the pantry challenge, but the no-spend challenge is a bit out of my comfort zone right now, LOL.

I've never participated in this before, but I REALLY need to clear out our pantry/freezer. I like to buy in bulk when I find things on sale and as a result we have an over-flowing pantry and two freezers. We are probably moving in a couple of months and I don't want to move tons of frozen meat or canned goods.

For the rest of the month I really want to make a concerted effort to only buy the perishables that we need- milk, eggs, produce, etc. The only grocery items I'll buy are ones that we really need to complete a meal/dish or staples that we run out of such as peanut butter. My very picky MIL lives with us and she refuses to eat anything even semi-healthy, so I have to buy a lot of frozen junk and fast food for her so that's another exception for me.


I just finished menu planning for the week and shopping. Breakfast is always cereal, yogurt or oatmeal and lunches are generally leftovers or a PB&J sandwich so I did not write those out.

Tues-Teriyaki chicken (from Trader Joes- has been in the back of the freezer for a LONG time), frozen green beans from last year's garden, brown rice, pineapple
Wed- Venison sloppy joes, a large green salad, corn, oven fries
Thurs- Ham and beans, cornbread, more salad
Fri- Salmon tacos on whole wheat tortillas, guacamole, chips
Sat- leftovers

All I had to get at the store this week was some produce (bananas, greens for salad, cilantro, a lime & oranges), milk, yogurt, sour cream, and bread- mostly organic. I only spent around $25-30 for the week if you subtract the things I bought for MIL (frozen dinners, diet Pepsi, smoked sausage, Pringles, a few other things) off of the bill. I also had to buy a new jar of fish oil supplements, but I'm not going to include the cost of supplements, medications, toiletries, etc. into our grocery budget.

My DH and my MIL will be the biggest challenge- both get pouty if we don't go out to eat often- especially a big breakfast out on the weekends. I'm sure we'll still be going out to eat- but 1-2X a week will be a huge improvement over the current 5+ times.
lisac77's Avatar lisac77 01:15 AM 01-03-2007
I'm in for the pantry challenge. It'll be my first! DH's business is failing and we'll be declaring bankruptcy in Feb, so I can't do a no spend because we HAVE to spend our extra cash before we file.

I have oodles and gobs of stuff in the freezer and pantry - I should easily be able to stretch it for a month. My downfalls are always poor planning and eating out. Here are my rules:

1. For the love of all that is sacred, NO TARGET. I always overspend and buy a toy for DS that he doesn't need. Kroger only for this month. I guess I can try to make it to Sack 'n' Save. It's a bit of a drive, but so much cheaper!

2. I will only buy dairy, bread, and produce. Total budget for weekly groceries is $25-$30.

3. I will allow myself to buy ONE extra ingredient to round out a dish, but it MUST be used up by the end of the month, and I MUST stay within the budget.

4. One trip to the store per week and I have to use fast lane check out (15 items or less!).

5. Restrict eating out to Fridays for lunch only. (This is my weekly visit to my parents' house. Sometimes we do lunch and dinner out but they are doing a pantry challenge this month, too!)

I hope I can do it. My pantry REALLY needs to be cleaned out.
*andiflipping*'s Avatar *andiflipping* 01:43 AM 01-03-2007
joining a little late but I really need to.

We are trying to save for a house.

I am doing the no-spend.

My only exception is Sunday, dh and I are going out for our anniversary so we are spending gift money to eat out.

My downfall is diapers but I don't NEED anymore. OMG, can I go a month without buying any? It will be hard.
Vixenmama's Avatar Vixenmama 01:58 AM 01-03-2007
to use up all the gross cakemixes dh's coupon crazy uncle lavished on us (tonight we made the "funfetti" cakemixes, I still have 3 "holiday funfetti" mixes left---oh btw, "holiday funfetti" means GREEN cake!)

also from the coupon crazy uncle....
maybe 6 or 8 cans of hormel chili w & w/o beans


-We have a huge amount of brown rice, so I tonight I made a batch to freeze (I package it in ziplocks and freeze---works like a charm)

-We have a ton of oatmeal, so at least 3 oatmeal breakfasts a week

-I think I'll be making pumpkin bread w/ some canned pumpkin

-I bought an unbelievable amount of frozen asparagus at costco last month I need a few ideas about what can be done with it



My Rules
-Use the stuff in the pantry that we've been ignoring (especially teas and other weird things)
-Buy only the very most necessary food items (milk, produce, etc.)
-Buy nothing else discretionary
-Find free entertainments for the remainder of the kids vacation
-Make meal plans (have not done this so far...)


about the free entertainments...today I was going to take dc to the children's museum which is $20 for all three of us, but then I remembered this challenge---I opted for the free zoo, we spent a lot of time outdoors and in the conservatory, I brought pb&j---had to buy some gas 'cause we were on "E" but other than that it felt great to keep the wallet closed. Also, I made sure I had a hot beverage from home so no "coffee" stop.
melissel's Avatar melissel 02:06 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
I'm in for the pantry challenge. It'll be my first! DH's business is failing and we'll be declaring bankruptcy in Feb, so I can't do a no spend because we HAVE to spend our extra cash before we file.
mama
lisac77's Avatar lisac77 02:08 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissel View Post
mama
Thanks. It's gonna be all right (she says to herself for the 7,000th time today). We are keeping the house. It's fine. :
Fiestabeth's Avatar Fiestabeth 02:11 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Softmama View Post
Alright, I have some dried tomatoes, pasta, and chicken. What else do you put in that to make a good dish??? I have tons of stuff like olives, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, etc...just not sure how to use the dried tomatoes (not even really sure why we have them???)
Thanks!
If you didn't already use it up, here's a really yummy recipe from my mom. I've used grilled chicken in place of the portabella mushrooms (delicious either way.)

Portabella and Garlic Pasta

3 15 oz. cans of peeled and diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of fresh parsley, minced or 2 T dried
1 T fresh basil, minced or 1 1/2 t. dried
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed in a garlic press
1/2 to 1 t. salt or to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 T good quality balsamic vinegar
4 large portabella caps, grilled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/3-1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. of pasta, preferably ziti or penne

Heat grill to high. While grill is heating, combine all ingredients except the parmesan, the portabellas and the pasta in a microwave proof bowl. Stir to mix. Set aside.

Brush the portabella tops with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. When grill is hot, place portabellas on grate and reduce heat to medium high. Grill until liquids pool on top and mushrooms are reduce in size and begin to flatten out. Turn and continue cooking until tender. This whole process takes about 10 minutes. Remove from grill and cut into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the sauce mixture.

Cook pasta according to package directions. When pasta is almost done, heat sauce mix in microwave oven until hot – about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain pasta and toss with sauce mixture. Add parmesan and toss again. Serve with extra parmesan cheese on the side.

********

I'm in for the pantry challenge! We actually started mid-December and have been doing a really good job. I had said I would allow us four times eating out through the end of January and we've already used up two! Nothing super expensive though - $6 for all of us once, and $10 for all of us last night. We also went to Starbucks yesterday but used a gift card.

My rules:

1. Buy only produce, dairy, and bread (but I'm going to try and make bread at least once this month). Dairy for us includes milk, rice milk, yogurt, cheese, and eggs. But I think I have enough cheese to get us through the month.

2. Make a meal plan based on what we already have on hand.

3. Two more times eating out for the month. (YIKES!)

4. Spend as little as possible, and shop the sales on necessary items.

5. I am going to buy organic ground beef one time this month, to make my huge winter batches of Italian Vegetable Soup and Southwest Chili to put in the freezer. Other than that I'll use meat/fish/poultry from the freezer.
melissel's Avatar melissel 02:13 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
Thanks. It's gonna be all right (she says to herself for the 7,000th time today). We are keeping the house. It's fine. :
You know, we went through a 2-year period where things around here were really bad (I won't go into details, I'm still too ticked off at what a scam DH's job at the time was), and my mom always said, "No one's taking your children away. No one's taking your husband. You're healthy, you have your family, everything will be OK." I still tell myself that when things look and feel bad. So you're right. It might get hard, it may not feel so great, but in the end, it WILL be fine.
lmonter's Avatar lmonter 02:30 AM 01-03-2007
Fiestabeth - How much does the Garlic Pasta thing make (like how many people?)? And does it taste okay without the sun-dried tomatoes.

I've got oodles of diced and stewed tomatoes to use up, and was actually going to ask for ideas of how to use those suckers up.
Fiestabeth's Avatar Fiestabeth 02:47 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by lmonter View Post
Fiestabeth - How much does the Garlic Pasta thing make (like how many people?)? And does it taste okay without the sun-dried tomatoes.

I've got oodles of diced and stewed tomatoes to use up, and was actually going to ask for ideas of how to use those suckers up.
It makes a lot. We can eat it for two dinners, plus a lunch sized portion for dh to take to work. And it tastes fine w/o the sun-dried tomatoes. Mom always puts them in because she always has them on hand, I always leave them out because I don't!
oneKnight's Avatar oneKnight 02:47 AM 01-03-2007
I had to spend $30 on gas because DH wasn't clever-enough to demand gas money out of his parents when they asked us to come down today to help them move.
We were near 1/4 tank and it takes exactly 1/4 tank roundtrip for the drive so.....yeah. He probably just didn't think of it, and he never really knows about the gas situation because he doesn't drive my truck (and his car is out of commission)
lmonter's Avatar lmonter 03:23 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiestabeth View Post
It makes a lot. We can eat it for two dinners, plus a lunch sized portion for dh to take to work. And it tastes fine w/o the sun-dried tomatoes. Mom always puts them in because she always has them on hand, I always leave them out because I don't!
Hmmm... does the sauce/chicken freeze well without the pasta? (yeah, I don't eat fungi either...) I just don't eat leftovers well, so if I can freeze the extra for later... And I'm still working on a friend's Christmas present - I'm giving her a handful of freezer meals ready to thaw and heat up, but I've actually decimated some of what I already had on hand.
Fiestabeth's Avatar Fiestabeth 03:59 AM 01-03-2007
I haven't tried freezing it, but I bet it would work. If you do freeze it let me know how it goes!

Anyone have any creative ideas for side dishes to accompany BBQ chicken? I just made some in the crockpot today for tomorrow's dinner. I have potatoes, frozen broccoli, frozen corn, carrots, an apple, rice, quinoa, lentils, an acorn squash.....
lmonter's Avatar lmonter 04:06 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiestabeth View Post
Anyone have any creative ideas for side dishes to accompany BBQ chicken? I just made some in the crockpot today for tomorrow's dinner. I have potatoes, frozen broccoli, frozen corn, carrots, an apple, rice, quinoa, lentils, an acorn squash.....
Got any cheese? Cheese up some broccoli, corn and/or carrots.

I've got a great recipe for Cheesy Corn Chowder, but in addition to the frozen corn you need creamed corn, a green pepper, an onion, some flour and chicken stock. And cheese.

I think you can grill acorn squash, but we're not big squash eaters if it's not zucchini.
Fiestabeth's Avatar Fiestabeth 04:15 AM 01-03-2007
I don't have creamed corn or a green pepper, but I'd love the recipe anyway for later use! I'm always on the lookout for good recipes.

Oh, and if anyone has canned pumpkin they need to use up, I have a yummy pumpkin pancake recipe. One can of pumpkin worked for three double batches! I just froze the pumpkin in proper amounts and pulled it out as needed.
Baby Makes 4's Avatar Baby Makes 4 04:34 AM 01-03-2007
My first no-spend victory.

Logan got some money from family today and I really wanted to use it to buy him some books and new clothes. Instead of doing that I used the money to buy 5 new Fuzzi Bunz which puts us one step closer to never buying disposables again. We can go to the library tomorrow for the books.

Tomorrow I am returning a toy that I bought for Logan which he doesn't need and some hair dye I bought for myself ... which I do not need. I will use the refund to buy 1 more Fuzzi Bunz diaper and an extra hemp insert.

So there ... 6 new FB diapers without a penny coming from the bank account.
oneKnight's Avatar oneKnight 04:34 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiestabeth View Post
Oh, and if anyone has canned pumpkin they need to use up, I have a yummy pumpkin pancake recipe. One can of pumpkin worked for three double batches! I just froze the pumpkin in proper amounts and pulled it out as needed.
I have half a big can frozen from some pumpkin bread I made at Christmas.....bring on that recipe!
lmonter's Avatar lmonter 05:13 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiestabeth View Post
I don't have creamed corn or a green pepper, but I'd love the recipe anyway for later use! I'm always on the lookout for good recipes.
Double Corn & Cheddar Chowder

1 tbsp margarine
1 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2.5 cups chicken broth
1 can (16 ounces) cream-style corn
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper (I just use the whole pepper)
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce (I'm a wuss, don't use it)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

1) Melt margarine in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 5 minutes. Sprinkle onion with flour; cook and stir 1 minute.

2) Add chicken broth; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add cream-style corn, corn kernels, bell pepper and pepper sauce; bring to a simmer. Cover; simmer 15 minutes.

3) Remove from heat; gradually stir in cheese until melted. Ladle into soup bowls; sprinkle with black pepper, if desired.

* * Add 1 cup cooked white or brown rice with the corn for a more filling meal.


Lanna's notes - just sprinkle the shredded cheese on your bowl just before you serve it. Otherwise the cheese taste just disappears. I also add like twice as much frozen (sweet) corn, and not as much broth. But I'm more of a stew than soup/broth kind of gal.
vannienicole's Avatar vannienicole 05:49 AM 01-03-2007
Would it taste as good if I used veggie broth instead of chicken? I have tons of it in my kitchen that expires in february!
lmonter's Avatar lmonter 06:06 AM 01-03-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by vannienicole View Post
Would it taste as good if I used veggie broth instead of chicken? I have tons of it in my kitchen that expires in february!
Probably, but I've never tried it (my veg. broth is set aside for brining turkeys and dh isn't allowed to mess with that little stash). Might give it a spicier kick though. Whatever you do though, don't use plain water. (I made the mistake of making a soup one time without broth and just water - ick.)
hlkm2e's Avatar hlkm2e 11:13 AM 01-03-2007
Lisac77, first (( )) for you, then could you use some of the money you need to spend on gift cards to the places you always need to go. That way if you need money in the next few months, you'll have those cards. Like maybe your gas station, the grocery, and Target?

Asparagus, I can't remember who asked, but this is how we eat it. My dd loves it this way.

Lay flat on a cookie sheet, drizzle a little olive oil, put in a 475 oven until done, drizzle with lemon juice and crumbled feta. Divine!
phatchristy's Avatar phatchristy 11:59 AM 01-03-2007
Anyone have any ideas on what to do with an OLD 6 pound can container of garbonzo beans....it's at least 7 1/2 years old. It's the only really old thing in my pantry (everything else is within a couple of years).
Softmama's Avatar Softmama 12:19 PM 01-03-2007
Hey guys I'm just ckecking in to say I'm doing great, so far so good!
I am printing out those recipes and am waiting for the pumpkin bread one as I have some pumpkin frozen that I'd like to use.
I've also just discovered the allrecipes.com and their ingredient search- too much fun
aprildawn's Avatar aprildawn 12:28 PM 01-03-2007
I've got to head out to the store today for a few things. I'm kinda disappointed, but it's got to be done.

* chamomile tea (i've been having lots of trouble sleeping and i ran out last night.)
* one of those vapor plug in things for DD2. she was up coughing last night all night.
* onions (i forgot to get a bag of these when i was at costco yesterday)

gonna only get those things and nothing else!

i was also thinking that i was going to have to get some more chicken stock at costco and i was totally bummed, but then i realized i have a frozen chicken carcass from a rotisserie chicken a few weeks ago. our friends who came for dinner also brought a chicken and left the leftovers. so i'm going to make a stock from the two carcasses and freeze it. i'm also going to use the meat left on the chicken from last night for enchilada filling.

here in austin we really only have 4-6 weeks of "cold" weather left. i love soup. love, love, love it! i eat it all year. but it's especially good when it's cold and rainy. so, i just can't pass up the opportunity to make lots of soup this month. i've got to have me some stock on hand!
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