Monday, January 11, 2010

Eating from the Pantry-Week Two

I already lost track of where I left off. We are doing fairly well. I have been creating meals from the pantry and, other than the in-laws treating us to breakfast after church Sunday, everything we have had originated from the pantry shelves or freezers.

I also finished inventory on the one shelf in the basement. The reason this is taking me so long is one, I am extremely busy and two, I am cleaning and rearranging as I go. I now have a shelf designated for each type of commercial food product I bring into the stocks and separated the home canned things onto their own shelf. This is the older home canned stuff. I still need to inventory it. I do know what I have in commercial goods now and can use it up and replace (if we are planning to continue to use it), donate what we don't want, or use it up and never bring it in again. The weirdest part of finishing this portion of my inventory project is that I have a lot less than I thought (the shelves are really deep, but the products were stacked only 1-3 cans deep and scattered).

Here is a sampling of the meals I created based on pantry/freezer items:

Homemade pepperoni pizza (I had an Arrow Mill Gluten Free Crust Mix to use up) and two packages of pepperoni in the upstairs pantry. I also still have home canned pizza sauce from 2006!)

BBQ pork and corn chowder (pork was from pigs we raised in 2008 and the corn was neighbor's sweet corn that I froze this past summer. We should have used '08's corn, but Sr grabbed the '09 and I didn't feel like digging for the other.)

Applesauce (from farmer's market apples)with all meals and for snacks

Whole wheat penne (pantry-we are out of spaghetti and I refuse to buy any until we use up at least 4/8 boxes of penne I have stored away) with home canned sp sauce

Marble Brownies (another commercial mix I wanted to use up)

Chicken enchiladas (breasts from inside freezer, enchilada sauce-com, cheese)


I need to post some pictures, but I hung an old chalkboard I thrifted years ago (it has cartoon Wizard of Oz characters on it) and I have been writing not only menus on it, but also the family members' chores. I love it and cannot believe I let it sit in storage all these years!

I have found one bad side-effect from following other's partaking in this challenge. These women (and probably men) are "couponers" or professional frugal shoppers. I am not one of these. I grow a good portion of our food or buy it from area farmers and preserve it. I also shop the bulk and grocery liquidation type stores (that was how I ended up with the commercial shelf in the first place), but I do occasionally (and this past year was particularly bad and busy for me) shop at the big stores and I try to buy sell items, but I have been known to pay full price. So, reading all of these blogs about using coupons and store ads to save money (or gain stockpile items for cheap) has intrigued me a bit. See, most RL folks that know me, know I am a numbers geek. I love manipulating numbers and reading posts showing how someone was able to buy Bayer aspirin for free moved that geeky part of my brain. Of course, I have no reason for buying Bayer aspirin, but that did not matter. I needed a new project and this one jumped right out at me.

I tried this shopping game this weekend at Walgreens and CVS and I was able to snag a couple of deals (I actually needed an OTC medicine I take and I had a coupon and it gave some of those register rewards. I hate to confess, but I have thrown those away because of not returning to the store before the date on them or not understanding what they were good, cough, yes, like throwing money away. I see that now). I obtained conditioner for my hair which badly needs it (this is a topic for another post), coffee, toothpaste and toothbrushes, my medicine, dish washer detergent, and some clearance Christmas chocolates. All in all I spent about $35 out of pocket (oop) and this was partly because the medicine I needed is expensive. I received $14 in drugstore dollars to spend on another occasion. This means I "spent" $21 for all the items (my medicine was at least 19.00 of that exchange after the coupon). The part I cannot get my mind around is how gathering these "store dollars" in exchange for real money helps. Yes, I can spend $14 dollars at the store this week (and hopefully roll some of that into more virtual dollars), but I would have rather saved $14 on sale items in the long run (I noticed some of the items were priced the same without all the drugstore dollar stuff if I was willing to drive to the city). In other words, wouldn't it just be better to deduct $5 from the cost of the medicine then give me "store dollars"? It would be the same thing.

I will say it was a fun experiment and perhaps I just need to play it longer to understand the reasoning. I have enjoyed reading all the blogs that center around this type of shopping.

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