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The pantry challenge is a popular way to save money. But how much do they really save? Learn why you can save so much more by skipping it.

Have you ever tried a pantry challenge?

If so, then you know the “fun” of creating a meal from a can of tuna, a bottle of mustard, and a wayward jar of jalapenos.

If not, you might be wondering What is a pantry challenge?

A pantry challenge is when you choose not to buy groceries for a set time.  (Often a month or so.)

Instead, you use up the food in your house until there isn’t much left to eat.

It’s a chance to dig out those foods in the back of the pantry.

The stuff lost in the pit of your deep freezer.

The leftovers that have lingered in the back of the fridge for far longer than they should have.

Pantry challenges can be a great way to encourage your family to appreciate food and discourage wasteful habits.  And many times, a pantry challenge can save you a decent chunk of money.

(For a little while, anyway…)

Yes, pantry challenges can be great.  Many frugal bloggers enjoy them.

But not me.  My pantry challenge days are over.

Should You Try the Pantry Challenge?

A no spend pantry challenge might help you learn to meal plan, but it's a great way to sabotage your most frugal work! Don't do it!

Mandatory Grocery Shopping Trip

Do you grocery shop regularly?  It’s not a fun chore, and most people put it off as long as possible.

But maybe you shouldn’t.

If you go on a regular basis, you’ll find that it actually saves you more money.

I try to shop every two weeks.

Now, once I decided to get really intentional about using up leftovers and cooking from scratch as often as possible, I began to notice something.

We’d hit the end of the two weeks, but there was still food in the house!

After doing this for a while, I had plenty of food.

Ah, a chance to skip grocery shopping. Right??


I continued to shop every 2 weeks.

Here’s why:

  1. Who likes to shop when you’re out of everything?  This usually puts you in a rush, which causes you to overbuy food.
  2. You can time things like milk, which means you’ll run out less often.  (Because how often do you really only get milk?)
  3. No more missing out on the best sales cycles!  If you have a routine, you’ll notice how often chicken goes on sale (for instance).
  4. If you line up your shopping trips with the frequency of your paychecks, you can budget better than ever.

Make sure you download the Fetch Rewards app for all those grocery store receipts!  Click this link, use referral code PEWR4, and you can start with 2,000 points right off the bat!

Where the Pantry Challenge Gets You

If you choose to skip grocery shopping for, say, a month (the most common pantry challenge time period), it’s true that you’ll use up some of those foods that have been sitting around for a while.

But you’ll also use up most of the stash you’d spent time building up, too.

The pile of pasta you found for 49 cents is a goner.

So is the extra pack of chicken you found for less than $1.99 a pound.

And while you’d pocket the money you would have spent at the grocery store, imagine what your grocery bill will look like when you go back.  Because now you have to restock everything!

Even worse, imagine draining your pantry only to find yourself too sick to shop, stormed in without food, or with some other emergency.

No, thank you.

Want To Save On Groceries?  Find A New Way to Shop (Every Time)

If you’re considering doing a pantry challenge, I’ll bet what you really want is to save more money more often.


If you could just find a way to lower your grocery budget month after month, that would be amazing.

Even better…if you could both spend less on groceries and have the food you need on hand most of the time.

There are 8 people in our family, and to me, finding a way to spend less on groceries and have food in the house is a must.

You never know when an emergency will keep you from the grocery store (a winter storm, a pay cut, an injury, or anything else).

It took me years to come up with a method for grocery shopping that allowed me to build up a stockpile of groceries without draining our bank account.

And my grocery budget has thanked me ever since.

Believe it or not, this method has not failed me through diet changes, price hikes, having more babies, or anything else life throws at me.

It’s not something I could describe in a blog post.  That’s why I built an extremely affordable course and workbook that will help you slash your grocery budget in no time.

Get the Benefits Without the Drain

Hey, pantry challenges aren’t all bad.  But you can get the good parts of a pantry challenge without emptying your pantry!

Do a mini-pantry challenge every week.  Use up leftovers throughout the week before they go bad.

Keep up with those bits of food that tend to get lost in the back of the pantry and the bottom of the freezer.  Make it a point to clean those places out once a month.

If you find 5 cans of olives that expire next month, check Pinterest for ways to use them up.

If you find bags of half empty produce in your freezer, make a soup or smoothies.

And if you find things that you know no one will eat, get rid of them!

Even if you don’t do the pantry challenge anymore, your grocery budget can be stronger than ever.

P.S. Your family never liked that tuna, mustard, jalapeno casserole, anyway.

Don’t leave without grabbing this simple meal planning tool that will make the job simpler than ever before.  It’s a freebie for subscribers:

What’s your opinion of the pantry challenge?  Has it saved you some big money, or do you prefer to keep a stocked pantry?

Is a pantry challenge the best money saving tip for your grocery budget? Probably not.

Learn why the no spend eat from the pantry challenge is a huge mistake that won't save your grocery budget moneyLearn why the no spend pantry challenge is a terrible idea. There are better ways to save money and do frugal living.