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Coming Soon: A Pantry Challenge

Are you looking to buy some wiggle room in your grocery budget? Time for a pantry challenge! I hope you’ll join us as we use it or lose it.

bowl of broccoli cheese soup with plate of crackers

Hey Hey Hey! It’s time for another Pantry Challenge. I can’t believe it, but the year is coming to a close. It’s been a good one for us as a family, overall, particularly in the kitchen.

We’ve made some progress with our updated budget, learned to get more organized with meal prep, and my personal accomplishment…. I’m rocking the homemade sourdough bread.

Artisan sourdough bread with natural yeast (no commercial instant yeast) was something I got interested in last winter. I’m pleased to say that a year later, I can make some really good bread — as well as sourdough crumpets and pizza! I’ll be sharing recipes and methods later this month.

It’s only fitting to do so during our annual Pantry Challenge, the time when we focus on using what we have in order to save money, avoid waste, and get our acts together in the kitchen.

Why do a Pantry Challenge?

A Pantry Challenge is akin to decluttering your house. You find all the stuff you’ve hidden in the nooks and crannies of your kitchen and you use it up. Not only that, you get to decide whether it’s worth buying again.

I’ve learned so much over the years by doing a Pantry Challenge. Do these ingredients “spark joy” in my life or are they a pain in the rear to use up?

Yep, I learn what not to buy as well as what items are winners to keep on hand.

Years ago when we were deep in debt and struggling to get out, I did a pantry challenge out of necessity. The cupboards got really bare as we diverted the grocery money we would have spent to pay for other more pressing needs.

Guess what? It wasn’t so bad. I learned that hoarding food doesn’t get the bills paid!

Every year I’m reminded anew how blessed we are and how a few ingredients really can stretch to feed a small army of children.

markdown groceries on kitchen table

My goals for this year’s challenge:

My goals for this year’s challenge are pretty similar to past years’. I have a lot of excess in the cupboards and freezer that I can stretch to last us several weeks. We’re rich on baking ingredients as well as frozen proteins so I hope to use a lot of that up and save money on our grocery bill in January.

This year we averaged $1100/month on groceries for our family of 8 to eat most meals at home. I’d like to see if I can lower that to $1000 in the new year.

Our general budget has gotten pretty tight in the last few months as we anticipate a possible rent increase (up to $1000/month). We’re trying to accustom ourselves to those numbers now as well as sock away that extra money for a possible down payment on a house. A mortgage in our neighborhood would be more than the rent increase, so we’ll have to be pretty strategic in our spending to make that happen, but at least we’ll be in a better place to handle an increase in rent.

I’d like this year’s Pantry Challenge to set the tone for the rest of the year and for me to see how low I can get our regular grocery spending. Practicing my frugal chops during a pantry challenge will help me do just that.

What can you expect from this year’s Pantry Challenge?

I’m doing the Pantry Challenge a little bit differently than in years past. So that I can focus my best efforts on the members of the Kitchen Winners Circle, I’ll be sharing my daily menus and strategies in the community chat forum and helping members maximize what they have on hand so that they can see real success this month. I hope you’ll join us there!

I’ll also be posting here on Good Cheap Eats a weekly recap of what we eat and how I win (or learn) in the kitchen. Watch for those posts every Saturday in January.

Stay tuned for upcoming recipe round ups as well as more tips to make your pantry challenge a success.

How you can join in:

Here are some of the ways you can participate in the Good Cheap Eats Pantry Challenge for 2019:

  • Get the Pantry Challenge ebook. I’ve put together a quick and easy guide to help you do a Pantry Challenge on your own. You can purchase the instant download here.
  • Sign up for my emails. During January, I’ll be sending out specific tips and tricks to help you make the most of the food you already have in your cupboards. Sign up for the emails here.
  • Follow me on Instagram. I’ll be sharing my pantry challenge adventures on Instagram stories, @jessicagfisher.
  • Watch Kitchen Winning. I’ll also be chatting about the challenge in this month’s episodes of Kitchen Winning.
  • Join the Kitchen Winners Circle. January’s focus in the Kitchen Winners Circle will be the Pantry Challenge. Naturally. I’ll be offering personalized coaching to folks in the circle and sharing my daily menues from our family’s Pantry Challenge. We’ll also be chatting in our private chat forum about what we’re making each day and getting help and inspiration from each other. On Monday, January 7, 2018, I’ll also be teaching a master class on how to make the Pantry Challenge work for you so that you can make the most of what you have. The class is free to all members of the Kitchen Winners Circle.

I hope you’ll join us!

The Pantry Challenge has always been great fun as well as a great way to save money on groceries. I’d love to have you join us!

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