Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pantry Challenge

Last Saturday I went to the grocery store for the 5th time since the New Year. Last Saturday was 17th. That's a little sad. Before Christmas, funds were tight and we were leaving for 5 days at my parents' so we had some decently empty shelves in the pantry and fridge. So, I went to Walmart and filled us up. During that week we went two more times to fill in what I forgot, because I am forgetful. The next week I went to Aldi* and majorly stocked up. We are always out of snacky type things and "lunchbox helpers", as I call them, that are staples for Rylan's lunches and Rob and I's snacks, like raisins, turkey jerkey sticks, applesauce pouches, 100 calorie packs of nuts, chips, fruit snacks, and creackers. I got all the needed things, plus all the AMAZING Aldi deals*. (read:10 pounds of potatoes, bags of chicken, cheese, turkey, and bacon). Not one week later, I was back at Aldi reloading on the "lunchbox helpers" and snacks we were again out of, and buying all of Aldi's AMAZING deals (read: 9 bell peppers, a bag of apples, more bags of chicken, bacon and cheese).

I came home and loaded the needed snacks, cereal, and lunchbox helpers in the cabinet and then pushed, shoved, and rearranged the produce and meat into the deep freeze and fridge.

And then I decided I shouldn't be allowed at a grocery store for a while.

It doesn't help that we live (literally) walking distance to Walmart's front door right now. When we lived in Hensley, the closest grocery store was at least a ten minute drive and they were overpriced and always smelled strongly of fried chicken. Like not a "oooohhhhh yum we should grab fried chicken for dinner" smell, but a "did they just fry chicken in old grease inside my nose?" kind of smell. It was always there. So, we preferred the stores that were in Little Rock, which took 30+ minutes to get to. So, if I forgot something? Too bad. Wait till your next trip to town. And even then, the thought of unloading two little kids and answering "no" a hundred times to "can I go see the toys" "can I have fruit snacks" "can I have a donut" just made one or two items not worth it. Now its just RIGHT THERE.

-Sidenote: Aldi is magical and I love it. They have everyday low prices PLUS amazing specials. They have a lot of rules that you have to do. Its how they keep their prices low. Its weird the first time and then you are used to it and its normal. Like, they don't take checks or credit. Cash or debit only. They don't have cart pushers. Therefore, you put a quarter in a slot and it releases a cart for you and you don't get your quarter back unless you return your cart to the front of the store. They also don't have , you bring your own, or if you are like me my first two times, you bring home a trunk full of cucumbers rolling around back there. Its weird, but I'm used to it now.

So, Monday, I decided I'm not allowed back in a store for a while. And when I go, I can't spend over $20. At first I said only almond milk, peanut butter, eggs, and fresh produce. Then I ran out of spray oil and olive oil and flour. I can't really cook without those first two things, and having flour will help me use up other pantry items, PLUS we are once again running low on lunchbox helpers, so I changed it to $40. I was previously spending $150 or so a week, so That is almost a quarter of what we were spending.

So far so good. I'll fully admit, we ate out on Monday for lunch and Wednesday for dinner. I got off work late on Wednesday and it was eat out or skip church. We ate out. Monday, our landlord was replacing our garbage disposal. We were sure he was going to make us pay (cough, rock in the disposal, cough) so, getting out of the way and getting Chick Fil A so he could replace it for free (holla at being a renter!) was a small price to pay.

I am excited to use up some of this food and save some money in the process. By not having a birthday or Christmas this month and adding my new job which has more hours and better pay (Silver Linings!!!!), we are seeing a light at the end of the low funds tunnel and I love it.

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