My Personal “Frugal Food February” Challenge!

February is the shortest month of year, and, as such, it’s easy to give yourself a challenge when a month is only 28 days long! I’m attempting to save some money for a down payment on a car, so wherever I can scrimp and save will be helpful, but here I’m just going to focus on food and food related items (like paper plates/paper towels, etc.). Technically I’ll be doing this February 3 through March 2 since Sundays are my shopping days.

A few years back I did a similar thing (Frugal May Days challenge) to see how much I could save on feeding two people for 4 weeks. I’m going to do this same thing this February, but for one. My rules are very similar to the original challenge, but I’m going to adapt them a bit. Here they are:

Just some of my pantry items.
  • Work the pantry/freezer. I’ve got a lot of things taking up space in my cabinets and freezer that I can use up and later replace with newer food. The goal at the end will be to scrub the inside of the freezer at the end of the month before filling it up again.
  • NO convenience purchases. I work within walking distance of a CVS Pharmacy and when I’m hungry and want a snack or a diet soda I usually just walk over there and buy something. A 20 oz. Diet Dr. Pepper is $2.09 at CVS! If I shop sales and buy 12 packs when they’re on sale at Shoprite then 12 oz. cans are less than 30 cents apiece. (If you do the math, that’s 4x more expensive per ounce!) This will be tough if I accidentally don’t plan well enough to bring snacks to work, but I’m going to work really hard at it.
  • Keep eating out to a minimum. I have two planned eating out experiences a month for the Meetups I’m in, and I’m starting to date now, so I’ll need to limit that too. (It doesn’t count if my date pays! 😉 )
I’ve got lists of all this stuff, too.

Here’s what I have to work with in my freezer and pantry:

  • 8 lbs picnic shoulder
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • Paulo’s chili
  • 4 Palestinian chicken legs
  • 2 homemade frozen meatballs in sauce
  • red pepper walnut dip
  • swedish meatballs
  • blueberry bbq sauce
  • 6 oz. andouille sausage
  • 2 pork roasts
  • 2 4-pks pork chops
  • bag of cranberries
  • wheat germ
  • wheat bran
  • rye flour
  • whole wheat flour
  • gingerbread cookie dough
  • 5 bananas
  • sofrito
  • 1 loaf sprouted protein bread
  • frozen mixed vegetables (3)
  • freekeh
  • maftoul
  • Israeli couscous
  • penne
  • spaghetti
  • elbows
  • rice noodles
  • rice paper wrappers
  • soba noodles
  • sticky rice
  • jasmine rice
  • a little masa
  • masarepa
  • a little yellow cornmeal
  • white cornmeal
  • grits
  • brown rice flour
  • bulgur
  • coconut flour
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • crushed pineapple
  • jello
  • marzipan
  • craisins
  • prunes
  • pumpkins seeds
  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • flaxseed meal
  • crepe mix
  • dried egg whites
  • Swedish meatball sauce mix (2)
  • PB2
  • Dominican hot chocolate mix
  • instant espresso
  • orange drink mix
  • sugar free Kool-Aid mix
  • Lingonberry Jam
  • A little steel cut oats
  • old fashioned oats
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 28 oz. can tomato sauce
  • pasta sauce
  • kombu
  • white flour
  • white sugar
  • granulated brown sugar
  • sucralose
  • honey
  • 100 calorie packs – almonds, cocoa almonds, cashews
About half of my spices.

I’m not including a list of my spices and condiments since I have a HUGE selection, but I’m sure you know I won’t need to buy any of those.

Right off the bat just looking at the list I can come up with some ideas that only involve purchasing one or two additional items to make a full meal. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Swedish Meatballs w/ Cream Sauce & Lingonberry Jam (Add potatoes and peas for a full meal)
  • Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork Roast (Add some vegetables for a full meal)
  • Coconut Shrimp w/ Jasmine Rice (Once again, some veggies make this a meal)
  • Chili Spaghetti w/ Cheddar (Add salad for a full meal)
  • Coconut Flour Banana Bread

Already sounds like a good start to me! Do you have any ideas as to meals I can make out of what’s listed here? Let me know in the comments!

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