Frugal Francine’s Domestic Challenge #1

I was struck by a comment my dad made on THIS post.

He mentioned not buying food until everything in the fridge is used.

So, I got to thinking.

How many times do I give in and go to the store to “stock up”, when my pantry and shelves have tons of food sitting there, waiting for me?  Basically, its laziness getting the best of me.  Wastefulness.  Laziness.  Pick one of them.  Or both.

Mary (my friend) and I were talking the other night and decided to do something about this domestic epidemic. We are going to create a challenge of sorts for anyone who wants to join us.

We are going to use what we have on our shelves BEFORE we go and buy more food.  CONCEPT!


There are a few exceptions.  We will buy veggies for the week (I have a limit of $10.00 a week for produce), and will also buy dairy and poultry (my limit is $15.00 for the week).  I know that doesn’t seem like enough, but you’d be surprised how inexpensive produce can be–and GOOD too!  I will use coupons for the cheese, eggs, milk and meat.

Other than that, we are going to see how long our pantries will take us.

Here is a picture of Mary’s pantry:



And here is mine:



(hmmm…..who do you think has the nicer camera and knows how to work it?!  haha!)

If you want to play along, leave a comment or email me and we can exchange recipes and tips for making it happen.  It will be a great way to use what we have, reduce waste and save our families money!


I’m thinking that Frugal Francine will bring new and fancy DOMESTIC CHALLENGES from time to time.  Join me (I mean, her).



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21 responses to “Frugal Francine’s Domestic Challenge #1

  1. Mary L

    Let the fun begin! I am already trying to figure out what to do with the 3 different kinds of oatmeal in my pantry. Perhaps it is time to clean/organize it as well??

  2. I totally need to join in on this challenge. My pantry is overflowing. Count me in…I wonder how long this will take me!!

  3. Elma

    Oh I am so with you!! I go to the store way to much to buy milk or whatever and come home with ten bags. It seems that since the kids have no school they want to eat every two minutes.Our thing is every time I go to the store I say thats it ,I am not going back till the end of the week. Then I go the next morning. I need to plan my meals.

  4. Heidi

    I’m guilty! With the boys away, I went through the pantry and you would not believe how much I had to throw away because of expiration dates (some were pretty old!). Complete waste. I’ll be interested to see how you gals do on this.

  5. Shanna

    Since we’re working on getting away from processed stuff and “eating cleaner”, I’ve been trying to use up the stuff we have stockpiled. My pantry looks so empty. Have fun with your challenge and don’t be afraid to make me some oatmeal cookies! 😉

  6. My husband and I are doing the same thing this month–originally inspired by Small Notebook. I keep a whiteboard on the fridge and every week I write out all the meals we can make with what we have–I’m too spontaneous to stick to a Meatball Monday kind of meal plan but all I have to do is look at the fridge to find something easy for dinner.

    Next I find the most difficult things I’ve had sitting around my pantry the longest and list them under “Challenge Ingredients.” Then its off to or to find what other people do with things that I’ve picked up on a whim! Can you believe I didn’t know that hummus was made with garbanzo beans until it was my challenge ingredient???

  7. Michelle Eastman

    love it!

    i never fill my fridge/freezer until it is empty …. pantry the same though you often need several ingredients for any one recipe so it never actually “empties”.

    have fun and enjoy being a good steward!

  8. noelle

    funny that you wrote this post…this past weekend Jake & I were trying to figure out ways to save money on groceries and came up with this as well. we have tons of food in our pantry – and freezer – yet out of convenience or craving we still shop. so we also decided to start going through our freezer & pantry and not buy food until our cupboards are bare! we will still by the standards – produce, eggs, milk etc – but that’s it! now we just have to stick with it!

  9. I might play.. I have SO MUCH food in my pantry. I really need to try this.

  10. i want to play!!!!!
    damon and I are all about using whats in the pantry before we go shopping and I will not buy any new type of crackers or something if we already have stuff at home. He is great at cleaning out the pantry and making sure the only things we have in there are things we USE. I usually do pretty well on the coupons but we need to get better at planning meals for the week. Any suggestions? it seems like since Sweet Pea’s been out of school its been harder to do.
    and that it’s so hot that I don’t even want to cook half the time! We want to get down to cooking homemade 2-3 days a week and then having our usual Friday/ Saturday night dinner out. I just need help in better organizing my meal planning. I think if we can get that done – it will be smooth sailing not too mention much better economically!

  11. so great! i started doing this at the beginning of this year to save money, stop being wasteful and throwing things away and to see what things i could make up that would use all the ingredients i have! so i will definitely be joining you on this challenge!!

  12. Sheri

    I was so excited when I found your posting today. I was talking with a coworker and we had just spoken about doing this very thing. Thanks for the encouragement!

  13. If I posted a picture of my pantry, I think the world would be disgusted, there is so much food in there! I could feed a small army. We are so lazy and often just go out to grab something, this would be an awesome challenge…

  14. if this works I’m SO going to try this!

  15. Count me in! I’m guilty of planning meals and then deciding I don’t feel like what I’ve planned and going out to buy ingredients for something different – I’ve got so many cans of fruit for planned desserts that I decide at the last minute I don’t want!

    There’s only two of us; we shouldn’t be spending so much money on groceries – it’s my goal to be spending our money more wisely.

  16. Having been living primarily from my pantry and garden for the last 2 1/2 years, I know how long it will last us. I have no desire to empty it all anytime soon, as we’ve been living on a pantry challenge of our own through neccesity the last few years.

    Today we had grapes and peaches from our garden for lunch. Tonight we’ll have tomatoes and zucchini.

    My goal with my garden is to not have to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. I want to have what I need from what is growing in my garden. Eventually, my fruit trees will be large enough to give me enough to can fruit for the rest of the year.

    Our income varies a great deal. I don’t know when I will be ABLE to go to the store again, but I know it won’t be before September at the very least, and even then I might only be able to buy eggs.

    I wrote seasonal meals for our family that combine pantry ingredients with what is growing in our garden. I also wrote 2 weeks worth of meals for us that ONLY use items from our pantry (nothing from our fridge and freezer).

    Mary, I have a great chicken fried steak recipe (see my meatless meals section) that is made with oats. The seasoning is key–and it’s good!

  17. Pingback: Frugal Francine Domestic Challenge Reminder « no. 17 cherry tree lane

  18. Pingback: to be {organic} or not to be…..that is the question. « no. 17 cherry tree lane

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