Small Steps, Big Change: Pantry, Fridge & Freezer Challenge {Week 2}

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It’s been a whole week since I issued the Small Steps, Big Change: Pantry, Fridge & Freezer Challenge so now it’s time to check in and see how everyone did. My first week went pretty well. I spent about $45 at the grocery store and then another $5 when I made a stop later in the week for an extra gallon of milk (we buy organic so that’s why it might be pricier than what you pay). Since my Weekly Menu Plan from last week focused on using up ingredients I mostly had on hand it worked out well!

For the Slowcooker Lasagna Soup, I subbed sausage from the freezer for the beef it called for, used pasta I had on hand in the pantry as well as all of the other ingredients. I topped it with fresh mozzarella slices that I had frozen into discs (I need to take some pictures and show you all how to do that–so easy!). And I had leftover lettuce and cucumber from last week for the salad. First meal was a win!

Tuesday, I used tuna I had already on hand and instead of using celery that it normally calls for, I substituted diced green pepper and we actually liked it better! I made the cream of mushroom sauce from scratch but had all the ingredients on hand except the mushrooms that I purchased. I took pictures of this meal so that I can blog about it and share it with you all. It is a pretty budget friendly meal in general. Second win!

Wednesday was our Pub Style chicken which was a freezer meal from Dream Dinners so all I had to do was thaw, cook and add some steamed corn and we were good to go!

For our lunches we had leftovers and the kids took leftover pizza from Sunday’s meal most every day this week. My husband does go out for lunch more often but he’s a bargain hunter so often will use a coupon when he’s going out.

On Thursday, we had so many leftovers from the previous meals that I scratched the plan for Thursday and we had leftovers. We’ve got a busy weekend coming up that will mean eating out a bit more than usual so I was glad to clear out the fridge a bit.

Afterschool snacks included popcorn or fruit–some of which we already had on hand like oranges and some of which I bought this week like apples and bananas. Bonus: the organic gala apples were $.99 per pound last week at Kroger–the same prices as conventionally grown apples so I stocked up. Super bonus!

I’m pretty excited about how our week turned out. This week I’m planning to make a few of the eMeals meals including some breakfasts so we’ll see how that goes!

So how did your week go? Let us know in the comments below! If you’re a blogger and are joining the challenge and blogging about it, be sure to link up your post in the linky below so that we can all learn more ways to save on our grocery budgets! If you’re new to the challenge this week, see details to follow about how it works and how you can join in!

Here’s The Challenge:

Challenge runs February 11th through March 11, try to use up what you’ve got and buy a little less than normal at the grocery store. I’m not going to put a value on what your goal should be because everyone’s family size is different as are your budgets and appetites. Even where you live can make a difference on how much groceries will cost. But what I’m going to do for myself is figure out a dollar amount that I want to save and that works for us. So that might mean $5 less one week, maybe $15 the next and maybe $35 the final week. I know those may sound like small amounts to some of you, but it’s about taking small steps toward big change. Not only will you have more change in your pockets (yes, pun intended!), but I bet you’ll find that those small steps will make a difference towards the changes you can make in your overall meal planning and future grocery shopping.

How To Join The Challenge:

1. Decide how much money you want to save and how long you think you’ll want to do the challenge. I’ll be doing it all four weeks so you can join in every week or just as your schedule allows.
2. Make an inventory of your freezer, fridge and pantry. You can find some tips on how to get started by reading ideas from this blog post.
3. Make a meal plan for each week you plan to do the challenge. You can find tips on how to get started meal planning by reading this blog post.
4. Make your grocery list and focus on trying to buy just fresh ingredients (like milk, fruits, vegetables, eggs, etc.)
5. Each week I’ll be posting my progress and I encourage you all to leave your comments on how you’re doing. We can all learn something from each other! And if you’re a blogger, you can link up your blog post about the Challenge so that we can all get more ideas of how to save money on our grocery bill!

So who’s with me? How do you think you’ll accomplish this task? Share your ideas in the comments below because if you’re thinking it, someone else probably can benefit from hearing it!