You may have heard the term “pantry challenge” come up a lot on frugal websites and forums. But what exactly is a pantry challenge?
A pantry challenge is using your existing food stores and resources, your pantry, to make all of your meals. It is a challenge to not buy anything new from the grocery store to complete dinner.
A pantry challenge can be anything you want it to be. You can do the challenge by yourself or as part of a group. A group challenge can be a lot of fun. The members tend to keep each other motivated, inspire each other and share tips and ideas.
A pantry challenge can vary in its “rules.” You first set the time length for the challenge. Most challenges last for a week or two, but you might try three days if it is your first challenge, or a month if you are an experienced pantry challenge participant.
Other rules to set for the challenge have to do with what is allowed. Can you purchase milk and fresh produce, for example? Are non-food items included in the challenge, such as no paper products? Can you use up some freezer meals or does everything need to be made from pantry items? It is really up to you and the group to decide how strict to go.
Why should you have a pantry challenge? There are a few good reasons. A pantry challenge can come in handy when the budget is running low, and it is better to make do with what you have for the week or other time frame. A pantry challenge can also help you use up older items in your pantry that you tend not to grab when it comes to dinner time. Remember that great sale on black olives? Well, those four cans have been sitting on the shelf forever. Now is the time to get creative with them.
Have you ever participating in a pantry challenge? I would love to know your pantry challenge tips!