Well, we've done it! We spent $50.04 on groceries in January! Whoo hoo! Only 4 cents over my goal of $50 for the month! I'm excited about that! Yes, I can do this!
We didn't put much into savings (only $30) because the camera's been down at John's work which has meant unscheduled time off (at least he had plenty of time to study!) and a very low paycheck. We have "bare bones" budget and a "regular" budget and his last paycheck was about $100 below the "bare bones" version. Being able to just eliminate the $80 I had budgeted for groceries and planned to put into savings was nice. It meant I didn't have to 'tweak' things as much and borrow from here or there to make ends meet. Yes, it meant that that $80 didn't get put into savings either, but at least we didn't have a stretch and scrimp to get to balanced.
It's actually a little embarrassing because even though my 'stockpile' isn't very large (especially compared to some), I still have a ton of food in my house that I can eat from. I think my chest freezer holds more than I think it does!
I'm extending the challenge into February.
I am bumping up my monthly amount to $80 - half of what we usually spend - since I am running low on a few staples (like flour and sugar and oil) and there are a couple of killer deals on meat this week so we can restock our 'variety' of meat (fish and chicken is the plan). We have plenty of frozen vegetables, beef, pasta, and rice. This dollar amount gives me an average of $20 a week to spend, rather than the $12.50 I had in January, so more 'wiggle room' if you will!
I also have some recipes I'd like to try - pumpkin soup and spicy chicken salad for sandwiches for example - that I didn't get to in January. I'm hoping to 'mix things up' a bit, so to speak, with recipes in February. I have a list from my Cooking Light Magazines and we'll see how many of them we can work into the menus!
How did you do with the pantry challenge? Are you going to continue?