What I Spent, What We Ate: Pantry Challenge

I’ve been thinking about how I want to track grocery spending and meal planning this year and really like this “what I spent, what we ate…” format that The Frugal Girl uses on her blog. It’s a mish-mash of my two favorite things, and streamlined, which is good. I don’t think I want to do crazy long grocery posts this year, although I do want to track spending and purchases and blogging helps me do that. Plus we all know that retroactive meal planning is the best fit for me; there’s something about writing down a meal plan ahead of time that just makes me want to break it. I’m going to try this for a little while and hopefully it’s a good fit!


This week I spent $26.06 on groceries. I shopped primarily at Aldi, and used a gift card so that brought the price down by about half. My preference is to get eggs at BJs (I’m trying to buy cage free) but I didn’t have time to get to two stores, so I just bought them at Aldi. Otherwise it’s mostly dairy, fresh produce (I have been focusing on using up things before I buy new, which meant I actually needed quite a bit), cream cheese for a birthday cheesecake and a few things for New Years (the chips, cranberry cheese, sauerkraut and hot dogs). I also ran into Publix for squeezable ginger, which is very important to me (seriously).

Our meals for the week have included:

  • Roast Beef with Creamy Horseradish Sauce, Steamed Green Beans, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding (Christmas Dinner)
  • Leftovers (twice)
  • Capellini Pomodoro, Sauteed Green Beans and Zucchini
  • “Steak” Salads (using leftover roast beef), French Bread
  • Black Beans and Rice, Fried Plantains, Fruit Salad
  •  Salami, Cheese & Crackers; Assorted Frozen Appetizers; Fruit Salad (New Year’s Eve)

In January I’m planning on doing a pantry challenge. The (bad, fuzzy) picture below shows just why such a challenge might be helpful around here:


My freezer is also very full, despite having worked diligently all fall to consume its contents. I really need to adjust my expectations regarding how much we eat. I also really need to stick to cooking at home. For January, my goal is to spend $100 or less on groceries and those groceries will ONLY be fresh produce, dairy and eggs. I’m going to limit myself to one grocery trip per week, maybe even every other week, in the hope that this will consequently limit what I bring home. As you can probably tell from the photo, we have plenty of food to live on even if I don’t make it to the store. But I do consider half & half for my coffee a non-negotiable. Do you have a non-essential non-negotiable on your grocery list?


5 thoughts on “What I Spent, What We Ate: Pantry Challenge

  1. Good luck with the pantry challenge, I start every Jan this way, eating down what we have, uncovering lurkers, etc. would you consider turning off the snow fall on the blog? I am finding it a read distraction in reading, reminds me of the floaters in my eyes. Thanks.

    1. Hi Carol — “lurkers” — that’s a great name for some of the things I know are hiding out in the freezer especially. Thank you for letting me know about the snow — I didn’t even consider that it might be a problem. I’ll fix that asap.

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