The Pantry Challenge--Final Week

The 31 Day Pantry Challenge: Final Report

I confess that I am a week late in delivering my final report on the Pantry Challenge, but my life outside of cyberspace has been a bit crazy.   Here’s my summary for the final week of my pantry challenge. 

Our Meals:


Sausage Gravy on Toast

Avocado Toast


Pancakes, eggs, and bacon


Waffles with Peanut butter



Leftovers–Buffalo chicken pasta, hot dogs, nachos

Mason Jar Antipasto Salad with a small jar of mixed fruit

Leftover Sausage and Peppers, Penne, and Brussel Sprouts

Club Sandwich





Dinner out to celebrate a birthday

Tilapia Tacos with Spanish slaw and sautéed squash with onions and garlic.

Sausage and Peppers with Penne, Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Burgers, Fries, and Tacos from the Drive Thru

Chow Mein with rice, and crunchy chow mein noodles on top, with Asian Glazed Brussel Sprouts



Birthday Cake


Chocolate covered mango slices



Mangoes and Strawberries

Chocolate covered almonds


Money Spent on Groceries:

If you recall from my week 4 report, I began the final week of the 31 day pantry challenge with only $2.77, but I wasn’t concerned.  All I anticipated needing was a gallon of milk which, the previous week, cost $2.49.   I wasn’t worried.  We had everything that we needed.  Unfortunately, Baker’s Man went to the store and bought milk on the same day that I stopped on my way home from work to buy milk.  So, we both bought milk for $2.69 per gallon.   This miscommunication took us over budget by $2.61.  All in all, that wasn’t too bad, but my overspending didn’t stop there.  On Thursday, February 2, I met a friend at the Farmer’s Market.  I had told myself that I wouldn’t buy anything, and I was being good until she stopped to talk to someone.  I wandered away, and ended up at the table of a citrus grower.  He was giving away samples of blood oranges.  They were sweet and juicy, and I couldn’t help myself.  Did I mention that I love blood oranges?  I bought a bag of blood oranges for $3.00.    I ended the week over budget by $5.61.    I plan on punishing myself by only allocating $60.00 for groceries next week instead of the full amount.  Actually, Baker’s Man is concerned that I may have a nervous breakdown if I get to go to the store and spend our full budget on food.  Have you seen Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson?  Do you remember the coffee scene?   He doesn’t want to get that call.  I’m fine with this amount of money.  I actually get to spend nearly 3 times as much money as I have been.  I think I’ll stock up on meat.

Reflections on the Pantry Challenge:

I believe that this challenge was good for our family on several levels.

  1. We significantly cut down on our spending in the month of January.   Even with my overspending, we saved $309.39 on groceries.  That’s a significant amount of money.
  2. Being on such a tight budget made me carefully consider every purchase.  I frequently decided to put impulse items back on the shelf.
  3. I found that because I wasn’t spending much on groceries, I didn’t spend as much money in other places, either.    It was as if the strict grocery budget changed my mind set in the other areas of spending.
  4. After going without sodas for most of the month, we have decided that we don’t need to have them in the house.  Instead, we are drinking iced tea, homemade vitamin water, and other drinks we mix up at home.  Sodas are now a special occasion item.
  5. I used up a lot of my stored food, but I still have what Baker’s Man referred to as “too much” stockpiled food.    This challenge has encouraged me to fully inventory what we have, make a list, and use it.  This will help us to better rotate through the food stored in our pantry and prevent waste due to food spoilage.
  6. The restrictions on dining out were a good thing.  They allowed for a lunch meeting at work or to meet up with a friend.  It also ensured that the family could go out together.    No one felt deprived.  Maybe Food Critic felt deprived.  He loves fast food, and kept hoping that I would stop and buy fast food.
  7. Did I mention that I lost 5 pounds during the month of January?   I wasn’t even dieting.  I think that perhaps my weight loss was due to the fact that I wasn’t buying as many snack foods, and we were didn’t eat as much fast food.

That’s about all I have to say regarding the 31 day pantry challenge.  (I think I just sounded like Forrest, Forrest Gump.)

Have you undertaken a pantry challenge like this before?  Did you have similar experiences?  I would love to hear from you.  Please leave a comment below.

Thanks for Visiting Patty Cake’s Pantry.

Click HERE to learn more about our 31 day Pantry Challenge

Click HERE for our Pantry Challenge Week One Report

Click HERE for our Pantry Challenge Week Two Report

Click HERE for our Pantry Challenge  Week Three Report

Click HERE for our Pantry Challenge Week Four Report

5 thoughts on “The 31 Day Pantry Challenge: Final Report

  1. You are doing awesome at budgeting your groceries. However, why not just learn from your overspending mistake rather than punish yourself with the -$60 next week.
    Where did you find chocolate-covered mangoes? I would love some. Naturally, I was mostly drawn to your breakfast choices. This week nearly all I have wanted is breakfast!!

    1. There’s another reason to limit my spending to $60. I wouldnt know how to act if I had my full budget. Besides, $60 is almost three times as much as I’ve been spending to feed our family, so it will be more than enough.

      The chocolate covered mangoes were at Costco. Dried mango pieces dipped in dark chocolate. They were delicious. They had also been sitting in our pantry for over a month.

  2. I enjoyed this January challenge since I was off to Mexico on 2/1. I used items in my pantry that I forgot I had. In addition, I created new recipes to try and write on my blog, mostly with pasta. By the time I left my cupboard was almost bare, and I saved
    money for Mexican treats, which cost very little. Thank you Patty, for this unique and practical idea. It worked.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the challenge, too. It’s amazing to me how many times we thing we have nothing to eat in our houses when, in fact, we have a great deal of food. We certainly had fun, and we tried new recipes, too.

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