I almost forgot to post my update on the pantry challenge. Here is the result of last week's shopping. I spent a total of $26.14 which brings my grand total so far for January to: $140.67. There is $9.33 left in my budget of $150 for the rest of the month - being this week. I can do it easily.
Last week milk was on sale for only 88 cents per half gallon so I bought enough for this week. The $9.33 will go towards fresh produce. Since I already know of a day that one store marks the fresh produce down, I will shop there that day for any produce that we need. Cantaloupe is on sale this week and so are bananas which are in my budget. I have salad mixes on hand along with carrots and apples. We have plenty of orange juice in the freezer.
I have really enjoyed this challenge. At the beginning I knew that I could easily fall prey to overspending if I didn't have a plan prior to shopping. I went armed with a list and I told myself that I could not deviate from the list unless I came upon a sale that I knew would not happen for at least 6 months. Then and only then could I buy something extra and I still hoped that I would come in under budget. It has all worked out and I have a great sense of satisfaction in this accomplishment.
I still have quite a full freezer and pantry. Beginning in February I am going to have a grocery budget of $65 per week. This amount will allow me to buy what is needed along with getting some extra items for the pantry. My goal is to keep rotating my pantry by using what I have and adding more items as they go on sale. Thus I should be able to maintain a $65 a week budget and I would hope some weeks come in under budget.