Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Use It Up!

My family recently set a new budget for ourselves.  It's working great and we haven't had to change much to meet it.  The one thing that has changed is that I'm now in charge of tracking how much we spend in different categories.  Yikes!  I actually enjoy it, but it can also be stressful, too.  The next couple months we're trying to scale back a bit  so we can do our Christmas shopping without taking a hit.  Babygirl is already causing a big enough hit this year!

So, I'm announcing a new project that will turn into a series on this blog - For at least the next 2 weeks (maybe more) I won't be going grocery shopping.  I'll use up all the stuff I have in my cabinets, fridge, and freezers and save money as a result.  I'm super-duper excited, and we started a couple days ago!  I'm going to chronicle what we eat each night and post recipes where I think they'd be cool - I have a feeling it might get kind of funny near the end.  The first two days we hardly noticed a difference.  We'll see how that changes.  

Now, to all great rules there are exceptions.  The first is my 80% off exception.  If it's something I need or frequently use, and it's 80% off or more, I will still buy it.  Case in point: clearance bin at Kroger.  I got 5 cans of stuff we use on a regular basis for $1.18 yesterday just because they were dented.  That, to me, makes more sense than not buying them and having to pay full price when we go shopping and need them again.  My other exception comes in the form of a hungry, running toddler.  Because of him, and because I am not willing to compromise my family's health, I will still be buying milk, juice, eggs, 1/2 and 1/2 (IknowIknowIknow, but I chose 1/2 and 1/2 and Jeremy chose orange juice), and fruits and veggies.  It does kind of seem like a lot, even to me, but I will be using up all the fruits and veggies we already have in the house before I start buying new ones.  Which leads me to . . . 

What I Have to Work With / What I Want to Get Rid Of

Lots and lots and lots of canned goods!  Seriously, wow.  Things in this cabinet I am most excited to get rid of:
  • pineapple slices we bought by accident instead of pineapple chunks
  • long-cooking rice that I've had forever, because I always forget about it until it's too late, and then I reach for my minute rice
  • barbecue sauce!  I seriously have 6 or 7 bottles of it.  It was free!

Pantry items!  Though our pantry is a little sparse, things I am most excited to use up are:
  • those stupid leftover lasagna noodles
  • the 8 boxes of noodles I have hanging out upstairs in the stock pile
  • snacks we never eat
  • boatloads of popcorn
  • CHIPS.  See here.
  • Jeremy's soda collection

Freezer junk!  I have a LOT of freezer junk.  Stuff I'm most excited to use up:
  • Frozen leftovers ohmyword.  Including, but not limited to: leftover Asian chicken broth from this, 4 pounds of chicken parmesan Jeremy brought home from work, a nasty casserole that Jeremy wouldn't let me throw out (enjoy, babe!), brunswick stew, spaghetti sauce, Asian pesto.... I'm sure there's more.
  • Lots of bread.
  • LOTS of breadcrumbs.  Probably 15 cups or so.
  • MEAT.
  • Random mostly-empty bags of vegetables that were leftover from recipes that didn't call for the whole bag.
  • And lots of stuff from my deep freezer, which I forgot to take a picture of, but which includes:
    • Catfish nuggets.  Stupid pains-in-the-butt to cook.
    • Frozen pizza
    • Enough ice-cream and ice-cream products to last a long while
    • Things yet to be discovered....dun dun dun

Other random stuff, which includes:
  • Corn products.  I don't usually like them, unless they are a chip.  I bought the corn meal to make polenta, which Jeremy didn't like, and the corn starch gets used almost never and probably should be replaced.
  • Apples!  I love apples, and I bought a heckuvalot at an apple festival a couple weekends ago.  Confession:  I broke my rule and bought white cheddar cheese today to make these.  I couldn't resist. But none of my other apple recipes call for stuff I don't already have.
  • Lunch meat!  I will have to freeze it, but then use it eventually.  We way overbought when Jeremy's parents were visiting, and now it's all chillin' in the fridge.
    And that's it!  Just remember this is a money-saving activity.  I won't use up all the bread crumbs just to use them up, since those are something I already use to save money.  The idea is to use up all the things that I could use instead of buying something else.  Ready to get started? 


    1. Sounds like a fun adventure. I think I might be inspired. Wonder how long Pop could exist on all the veggies I have in my freezer. He just might loose weight!

    2. Go for it!
      As far as the sandwich meats, for myself, I just split it up and freeze in small amounts for like a weeks worth of sandwiches or for whatever else I might use it for during the week. I use the ham pieces sometimes in scrambled eggs or omelets. I guess I should hunker down and try using up what I have also before buying more as my pantry is pretty full and overflowing too.