Personal Finance

Pantry Challenge or not…

Supposedly I am completing a pantry challenge. I set this goal simply as: complete a pantry challenge – reduce my grocery bill by cooking and eating what we have. Here and there I’ve been making a few meals with random ingredients, but overall the items in my pantry have not influenced my meals. This weekend, I spent $331.99 in groceries. Does that seem like reduced grocery spending to you? Well, its not! Our typical budget for each bimonthly paycheck is $350 for two adults and two kids, one who eats a mostly vegan, gluten-free diet due to allergies. We typically try for natural and organic items if we can afford it.

After I spent what seemed like an enormous amount on groceries, I realized I forgot to buy sugar. I tried to convince myself that I didn’t “need” sugar, but I failed to convince myself. I decided to return some items to the grocery store and pick up sugar and baking power. This would also give me a little more wiggle room if I need to pick up some additional items later in the month. As I went through all my purchases, I realized I brought more groceries that I really needed! I even meal planned! Not sure where I went wrong, but I still have much to learn in this area. It is definitely awkward to return groceries but most stores allow for it. I got a few odd looks as I held up the line (not my fault that customer services closed at 7pm and it was 7:16pm). The cashier examined my receipt very closely for what seemed like 5 minutes. But in the end I received $22.81 back. With that money, I brought the items I needed. My husband got four sweet potatoes free that were leftovers from a camping trip he attended this weekend. I was able to make this delicious southern sweet potato bread adapted from this recipe!

Since I didn’t use any additional money, I am counting this as a “no spending day”. 9 down, 6 to go!



12 thoughts on “Pantry Challenge or not…

  1. I’m also vegan gluten free, finding cheap meals that go a long way is difficult. My go to of late has been 3 bean chili- perfect for fall weather. 🙂

    I also wanted to mention (because this was a new find that brought me to tears) that you can get vegan gluten free hot dogs at Walmart in the fresh produce section. At my Walmart, it’s $2.69 for 8 dogs, which is insanely good, and you can get 6 gluten free hot dog buns for $3.50 in the frozen food aisle. I don’t know if your boy likes hot dogs, but if he does, these taste like the real deal- they’re sooooo good! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes! It’s so difficult. Three bean chili is on my list to try to create this month. If you have a good recipes, please share. I actually didn’t mention he has a soy allergy too! Do you know if the hot dogs have soy? If they don’t, I’ll be in tears too!!


      1. I usually dump in 2 cans chili beans, 1 can kidney beans, 1 can (drained) black beans, 1 canful water, chili seasoning to taste (usually 4-5 tbsps for me because I love the stuff), 1 half diced yellow onion, 3 whole diced roma tomatos. That’s about it. I let it simmer until it’s thickened up some then eat with corn chips.. Yum!!

        I don’t know if the hot dogs are soy free, I’m going to guess they probably aren’t. Unfortunately, vegan stuff tends to rely heavily on soy, as I’m sure you know. I have a case of the dogs in the freezer at home, so I will check when I get off work. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Check the frozen food aisle! That’s where I find all kinds of GF food! And also, ironically, in the baking supplies aisle. Walmart has a sick sense of humor. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m really going to try this pantry challenge. I also need some guidance on the best way to meal plan. It’s just me and my baby but I’m trying to pack her healthy lunches as well. She only likes pizza and pasta.

    Liked by 1 person

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