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Super Savings Saturday: The final day of our Eating From the Pantry Challenge

It was our final day of our official Eating From The Pantry Challenge and here's what we ate today:

Breakfast: Grape-Nuts and milk (We made some extra powdered milk up last night and stuck in in the refrigerator overnight. I couldn't really even tell the difference on cereal this morning!)

Lunch: Baked potatoes with butter and cheese

Snacks: Tortilla chips, organic toaster pastries, no bake cookies

Dinner: Chicken noodle soup, tuna sandwiches and fried egg sandwiches, carrot sticks

(Um and yep, nevermind the fact that we're sorely lacking in the fruit and veggie eating department today! I had plans to incorporate the last of what we had on hand, but time and energy slipped away from me.)

Well, I made it–15 days without stepping foot into a grocery store! I do believe that's almost a record for me and it was a nice change of pace. I've often skipped a week of grocery shopping, but usually that was when we were very well stocked. It's not very often that we go this long and let things get this bare. However, we had plenty to eat every day and we certainly didn't go hungry!

We didn't have as much of a variety in our meals, we didn't eat as much protein as we usually do, we ate more of fewer things, and we certainly didn't eat as healthfully as we usually do, but we made it through the Eating From The Pantry Challenge just fine.

In fact, I found it rather invigorating to concoct new recipes, ideas, and meal creations with what we had on hand. And it was also nice to take a complete break from using coupons or snagging deals. I'm anxious to jump back in now!

The best news is that we didn't touch any of the After-The-Baby Stash either, so we're plenty stocked for the coming months! We also used up a number of odds and ends of foods which would be going bad soon, too.

All in all, it was a great challenge and I'm so glad we did it! I'm especially glad that so many of you participated, too! That made it much more enjoyable. Maybe we'll have to do it again sometime soon, eh?

We took the $120 we'd usually allot to groceries for the past two weeks and split it–$60 is going into savings and $60 is staying in our grocery envelope to give me a little more wiggle room for buying items to replace our rather-depleted stock.

So it looks like not only was this challenge a great exercise in creativity and ingenuity, but we were able to save a nice little amount of extra cash while still having plenty left over to pay for groceries for next week. I'm hopeful that after a good shopping trip or two and our cupboards, refrigerator, and pantry will be well-stocked again. We'll see!

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  • Meagan says:

    I think that you did pretty darn good!! Congrats for making it the 15 days. I think that I should try that a good way like you said to try new things. 😀

  • Alexis says:

    I have had the challenge of feeding my family and keeping myself entertained without leaving the house at all because of a recent wreck I was in. It’s amazing what you can do when you have to! It was a great reminder of how blessed I am at home, with no outside distractions to get in the way!

  • Karrie says:

    I love what you did..15 days without shopping/couponing! I definately need to try that..thanks for such wonderful inspiration!!

  • Sarah says:

    It was fun reading about your pantry challenge. I do pantry challenges every few weeks too. Our incentive system to spend under our grocery budget is that whatever is left over in my grocery envelope at the end of the month goes into our “date bag.” I have been under budget every month now for well over a year. It is amazing how you can feed your family well on a small budget with just a little desire and creativity.

  • Kristine says:

    Congratulations! ( c :

  • Michelle Z. says:

    I’m totally impressed that your No Bake cookies lasted 3 days. At my house, those cookies only last a few hours.

  • Jennifer says:

    I didn’t shop last week either, so I did a rather large grocery run yesterday. I spent $130, but that’s less than our usual $70-75 per week. Plus, that should include most of our meals for the next 2 weeks. So I definitely saved by shopping.

    Crystal – I would recommend stopping by your Kroger/Ralph’s store before the cheese sale is over. It’s only $1 for 8 oz. packs of the Kroger brand cheese (shred, slices, bars) this week. You could really stock your freezer with some of your extra grocery money. 🙂

  • marilyn says:

    great post! Loved reading about all of the challenges, your family will be just fine without the extras for a few days.

  • Christine says:

    I don’t know how many people you have to feed (we have 3 and one nibbler). But i look for recipes that serve double what we are, then i double the recipe and buy for that much. I make double when i cook for the night and then freeze the second whole meal. The first one lasts us several days. I will go to the grocery store for super deals or basics, but other than that the last time i went grocery shopping was the first of November. I only used 15 recipes and did this to them and they’ve lasted us this long. I finally gave the last one away to my folks last night. I spent 400 when i did that back in November so 400 has fed us for 5 months. Might be worth a shot?

  • Way to go, Crystal! Your challenge has inspired me to eat out or our pantry next week.

  • Lisa says:

    We love popcorn…. Yummy…

  • Kim says:

    Great job on the pantry challenge and the popcorn baskets look wonderful!

  • Great job with your challenge! Thanks for hosting!

  • Barb says:

    really liked reading about your pantry challenge and the popcorn baskets are always a nice treat

  • Carol says:

    Sorry, mine posted 4 times. Only the last link is correct.

  • Melanie Wood says:

    I love the Popcorn Basket hope I win Thanks! Melanie

  • Toby says:

    That is so super cute!!!

  • Liz says:

    Inspiring challenge, Thanks for sharing!

  • Megan says:

    We are trying to pay off our final credit card debt and we’re going to do this for the entire month of April (minus a few things like milk and some fresh fruit). You’ve really motivated me to make this work! Not only will we save grocery money, we won’t go out to eat and we’ll save on gas from the several trips we make weekly! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • FishMama says:

    You have, once again, inspired me. Now, if I could summon up some self-control from the GREAT deals I’ve been seeing, maybe I could do it, too. Maybe a lull in sales is coming? 😉 Happy shoppping today!

  • linda says:

    Also one other thing to consider is ethnic cuisine.Most Indian folks can easily live off on $20 a week or even less because they eat curries most of the time and even one pot can last for a couple of days.It is inexpensive(once you have the supplies),flavorful and you can create a lot of variation with stuff like rice,pita bread etc.

  • Lorrie says:

    I hope you have enough food left to last until this snow lets up. I know we are getting low. I am not sure it will be worth trying to make it the 1 mile to Dillons. Maybe all the ice will melt tomorrow. I am impresses with your creative meals. I decided last week to try and make it 2 weeks on what we had. I ended up making brownies with black beans. They were actually pretty good.

  • Cheryl S. says:

    I just discovered your site and I absolutely love it. I also love absolutely love popcorn. I eat it every day as my afternoon snack and save a lot of money by buying it at Costco when they have their $4 off coupons making month worth of snacks cost only $6.

  • julie worthy says:

    Just wanted to say I love your blog. Thanks for all you do for us.

  • Joni says:

    The baskets look tasty!!

  • Glenda Eason says:

    Yummy, POPCORN! Can you pray to win such things 🙂 Of course, you can! Just discovered “Money Saving Mom” and I am inspired, already out there shopping w/the tips & coupons and have been up late at least two or three nights this last week learning MORE [w/the lights out, kids in bed, just me and computer screen on thinking this could be addictive :)]

  • Carol Brockman says:

    I would love popcorn

  • Lynn says:

    I would love to win this basket. My children and I love popcorn as a mid day snack.

  • zsera says:

    That is awesome! Good for you.

  • Jessica says:

    It was fun to read your challenge! I’d like to maybe try that sometime, too. Of course it makes things easier when you’ve shopped by stockpiling! 🙂 The lack of milk would bother me…I like my kids to have at least 2 glasses of milk a day…but maybe that could be my one exception? I’ll have to think about it and talk to my husband about what he things. Thanks for the idea!

  • bessie bennett says:

    wow..that was really cool how you fed your family from the pantry for 15 days …that popcorn basket looks so wonderful. we could really appreciate some of that good stuff,

  • Awesome! I wish that my family could do that. I think that I am going to bring it up and see if they are up for the challenge. thanks for sharing

  • April says:

    Sounds yummy.

  • ADollarSaved says:

    Greatt post! Really impressive!!

  • Audrey says:

    that looks yummy!

  • Sue Vail says:

    I was at about 98% on the challenge, baskets look wonderful.

  • Stephanie says:

    I love your site! You do a great job! Thank you so very much for all your helpful tips.

    Love those baskets!

    ~Have a great day~

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