September Grocery Challenge

I decided I'm doing a finances and grocery related challenge for the month of September.  It's going to involve and fridge and pantry clean-out and a drastic reduction in what I plan on spending on groceries for the month, if anything.  Want to join in?

Okay first, let me be honest about what prompted this challenge idea: drunk John left a can of coke in the freezer.  In case you've never done that and are unaware of what happens - it explodes.  So it covered everything in there in frozen coke and although I've cleaned it as best as possible, it will be so much easier to get in there and remove the wire drawer to really get everything cleaned once we eat all the stuff in there (pop is still on the packaging of some things, best as I tried, so I'm not putting dirty packaging back into a clean freezer.)  Thus the idea of eat all the things was born and the timing works with it being a new month and all.  Plus you know how I'm always on board for a good financial freeze.

My current plan is sort of a hybrid of a pantry challenge and a grocery budget challenge.  I have a couple of goals this month:
  • Clean out the fridge and freezer.  I want to eat everything in there possible, coming up with some crazy ways to make ingredients work for new meals, whatever it takes to get everything out of there.  And then I plan on removing all the shelves and drawers and deep cleaning it, obviously.
  • Clean out the pantry.  Just like the fridge and freezer, I'm going to work on clearing out our pantry items as well.  We actually don't store that much there, so that part should go quickly.  I almost never eat pantry goods (I buy fresh or I cook stuff immediately to consume that week) so it's mostly John's things and this will give me a chance to make sure nothing is expired.
  • Spend max $100 on any other groceries we desperately need.  I would say we don't spend more than $300 a month on groceries, which I include household goods like dog food and toilet paper in that number.  This month, I'm capping it at $100.  I'm not including John's budget for the firehouse - he has to pay $20 at the start of every shift for lunch and dinner.  (It's a lot, I know, but you have to do it.  I think leftover money is saved for holiday feasts.)  I anticipate only buying fresh, but also on-sale, produce.

This actually will increase our grocery budget in October most likely, because we may need to stock up on new essentials.  I don't mind that though - the stuff we currently have can last awhile, sure, but not forever.  It's meant to be eaten.  I'm hoping this will make us both shop more mindfully though going forward - I think John's about to realize that he doesn't actually ever eat the canned corn and green beans that he keeps buying.

I was planning on doing this for the month of September anyway, but then it occurred to me that some people might want to join in.  So on the last week day of this month, Friday, September 29, I'll have a link up here if you'd like to participate.  Feel free to link up any progress reports or a final status on what kind of challenge you did (spend less? coupon? eat only from the pantry?) and how it worked.  Also, if you have any dirt cheap recipes on your blog, link those up as well!  I should have my own post on that front sometime in the middle of the month.

Are you in?  Have you ever done a month long grocery challenge?

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