Frugal Living

It’s that time of year again! Shelftember is coming!

Shelftember is a month-long Pantry Challenge, where we buy as little as possible and use up everything in the pantry. Started by Jordan Page, I have been doing this Pantry challenge every year for the last 5 years. Every year I cut our grocery budget by at least half for one whole month a year, we eat up whatever we have, rotate, and eat down the cupboards. Each year I Start getting ready in August, preparing my baskets and cleaning my fridge.

We use this month to make frugal meals and make them stretch. It is excellent to flex that frugal muscle and create creative meals for our family of five.

This year I’m doing $60/week for groceries the same as last year, this will include milk, bread, and fresh fruits and vegetables for my family of 5, this will be hard with the price increases but I am willing to give it a go. If I can’t do it I will reassess my budget halfway through the challenge.

If you are joining in you choose your own budget for your family, depending on where you live and the prices this is completely up to you. I would love to see what you are making so be sure to tag me on the Facebook group or on Instagram @aussiedebtfreegirl and subscribe to my Youtube channel to see lots of content.

I’ll be cooking lots of food and posting all about it so I sure hope you are ready for lots of frugal food content.

To start I do a stocktake,

We are cleaning out the fridge, freezer, and pantry and making a list of everything we have on hand.

This is a good chance to wipe out all of these for a fresh start for the month. I will post a freezer/ tour and show you everything I have on hand.

From there I prep my Pantry Challenge Baskets,

These are baskets I leave on my counter all month long, filled with every half full, an open packet of pantry food, Things getting close to their use by dates, and anything else I want to get gone over the month. 

This is where I shop first, leaving this on my counter annoys me because it looks cluttered and messy but it means I am more unmotivated to use it all up and not cheat. I will refill these several times over the month as needed.

Rather than making a meal plan for the entire month, I like to make a meal guide, with some ideas of meals I could make with what I have on hand and minimum shopping. This might be as specific as Bacon and Corn risotto or as vague as Mexican night, this could be tacos, chili, burritos, etc because it means I have the basic ingredients to make a Mexican-inspired meal on hand.

This gives me a cheat sheet to work with for the whole month and as I use up ingredients this list will change. Each week I will make a meal plan for the week, then a shopping list, and I will share these with you.

You would think this might get boring after 4 weeks but honestly, it becomes pretty fun to see what you can come up with, some of our families’ favorite meals have come about this way.

That is Shelftember, Are you in?