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How I Found an Extra $100

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When I need an extra $100 or sometimes even $200, I look in my pantry.  Money hidden in the pantry?  Don’t be ridiculous.  If I hid money in the pantry, I certainly wouldn’t advertise the fact online.  I find money in my pantry by doing a month long pantry challenge!

Pantry Challenge—>intentionally limiting grocery spending in order to use items that are already on hand in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. 

You probably won’t find that definition in the dictionary since I just composed it myself for this blog post. The pantry challenge principle is quite simple, but it works because most of us tend to overspend a little at the grocery store from time to time.  We buy more than we need, and that excess piles up in our cabinets, pantries, and freezers.  Instead of using up all of the groceries that we buy each month, we add to it the next month.

I have found that I can trim $100 or even $200 from my grocery budget a couple times a year by committing to eat from our surplus rather than buying more food at the store.  During a pantry challenge month, I still buy some groceries.  I have found that the best way to do this is to budget a set amount that is about 50% less than what I would normally spend.  For instance, I might aim to spend $25-$50 a week instead of $100.

If you are different from the vast majority of people I know and you never overbuy, then a pantry challenge will not work for you.  You’ve got to eat, and you’ve got to feed your family.  If you have no excess in your pantry and freezer, then this method for freeing up a hundred dollars is not for you.

In the past, I’ve done a pantry challenge when Jack and I wanted a little extra money, and we didn’t want to take the money from any of our regular spending categories. We once paid for a weekend getaway using money from our grocery budget, and we certainly didn’t starve in the process!

This month is pantry challenge month at our house.  If you’d like to try a pantry challenge, here’s what you can do to prepare:
1.  Do a quick inventory of your pantry, fridge, and freezer.
2.  Make a meal plan using ingredients that you have on hand.
3.  Make a note of any ingredients you may need to purchase to round out your meal plan.
4.  Set a weekly grocery spending limit.
5.  Enjoy the challenge!

Who knows, you just may find some money in your pantry!  

What would you do with an extra $100 this month? 

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8 thoughts on “How I Found an Extra $100

  1. I need to stop eating out so much. That would free up about $20-$80 a month.

  2. Ooh, I will totally do this with you! I am in the middle of redoing our budget, as we have not been paying close attention lately. And I think everyone knows what our extra $100 is going towards… adoption fees and plane tickets to Haiti! 🙂

    1. That goal should be just the incentive you need to stick with the pantry challenge for the month, Bethany! I’m so glad you are joining in.

  3. It’s nice for you to have someone share the grocery shopping load, Mordine.

  4. We spend a fair amount eating out, too, Cindy, but I don’t take that money out of the grocery budget.

  5. […] Friend Elaine is also posting about her pantry challenge, she has even created a definition of pantry challenge that I support  […]

  6. Can’t wait to hear more about this and try it — our freezer is full too so shouldn’t be too hard for me to make meals from what I have on hand.

    Additionally, Eli, our dog, is going to participate. He has a cupboard full of treats and plenty of toys — so no new treats until we’re through with some existing bags we haven’t opened yet! (He was spoiled at Christmas.)

    1. That’s so funny about Eli! I know what you mean about the treats. It’s hard not to pick up a package of their favorite ones every time I go to the store. I’m glad you are joining in on the challenge!

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