One of the ways I like to start off a New Year is bringing my budget (which is stretched out of shape in December) back into alignment in January. And it seems to me a good old fashioned pantry/freezer challenge is a nice way to do just that. I like to sprinkle these challenges to myself all throughout the year, but most especially in January. So for our first challenge of the year, here are my 'rules':
#1 All meal planning starts with pantry/freezer items first. I try to plan meals that will use only what is on hand. If a recipe calls for an ingredient I don't have I have two choices: substitute or use another recipe.
#2 Try to limit purchases to fresh fruit/produce/dairy products (bread too if you're not a baker) but truly try to use only items you already have on hand to make meals.
#3 Other purchases may include really good sales on items you are out of, or ridiculously low prices on standard pantry/freezer foods.
My pantry includes paper products, laundry/dish items and pet foods too. Yours may not. But we won't be buying new items of anything except necessities.
This is not a NO SPEND challenge, but you can certainly make it one if you choose. My goal is to save as much of the grocery money I normally would spend as I can to use for future stocking up.
And that's it. Just those simple rules....So who wants to join in? We'll start January 1, 2012...