31 Days of Living Well Spending Zero – Day 3

Today’s goal was a month-long meal plan but first….
I set to doing a freezer inventory and boy was I shocked.

I went back to my folks house where we had been living and our “extra freezer” is still being stored. I thought my husband had emptied it, but thankfully he had not! I am so grateful. 🙂 But my freezer inventory is a bit crazy because of that. (Like who has 3 whole chickens?! Well we do. I had one in my freezer at our now “home” and two in the extra freezer they I didn’t know I had…)

 

Good news we won’t be lacking in proteins!

I also am worked out a month long meal plan – primarily dinners and a few “make ahead” breakfast ideas.

 
I started a year-long meal plan at the start of the year, but it got set aside when we moved in with my folks in April; since we were sharing a kitchen and cooking responsibilities. I did go back to it for ideas and recipes though. And I can’t wait to use it again when we are permanently in our own home! I am trying to do things like a whole chicken one day and then chicken pot pie or chicken noodle soup the next. Or for example I had some boiled chicken breasts in my fridge that I shredded and tossed in the freezer to use for enchiladas or chili next week.

 
I also found that this created a fairly decent variety from week to week. And I was able to take into consideration what won’t go bad at the beginning of the month and what I should do towards the end of the month that might be more pantry or freezer driven and less on the produce/fresh side.
 

View the list of meals with links to recipes here….

The other thing I did was, as I was writing a list of possible meals, I kept a list of things I know I didn’t have. Somehow I ended up with NO canned tomato products (except one jar of pizza sauce) in my pantry. That means things may look different. But I wrote a list of some of the gaps in my pantry inventory and shared it in my local Buy Nothing group. There are several ladies who are going to raid their pantries for me this week and another couple who offered me some fresh produce that they just couldn’t get to. I was THRILLED! I didn’t get to have my own garden this year which was heartbreaking but this made it just a bit easier. I’m telling you – look up your local group here and get connected! Even if you aren’t doing a challenge like this – being a part of these awesome communities can change your life.

So… while spending zero I was still able to fill in the gaps in some of my recipes. Plus since these groups are hyper local I did not have to drive an inordinate ways to pick them up. Almost as close as my 2 local grocery stores.

I’m feeling pretty good about my progress today.

Things I did not spend on today…

1. filling in gaps in my pantry for meals I hope to make this month – this is taking some will power but I can do it!

2. coffee – both hubby and I made our coffee at home this morning.

3. stayed local for errands and activities today and just visited our local farmer’s market – or as Cashel calls it the “food festival” and we made it out without spending any dollars! We just enjoyed the live music, walked around, and returned home for lunch. Hubby took care of that with food we had on hand.

Things I did spend on today…

1. I guess you’d have to say gas…

Things that have me stumped…

1. I’m hosting a get together this month and am committed to bringing a drink and appetizer at the least. Along with some other supplies. Going to try to keep costs low, use what I have on hand, ask in my Buy Nothing group, and put the rest on my “okay” list.

2. We have a meal with small group each week and each contribute a bit to the potluck. Started to think of things I could volunteer to bring that we have on hand.

3. Realized that next weekend I will be attending a women’s conference (it was my birthday gift back in April) but only one of 4 meals is covered. I’ll need to eat at home before I go, pack a lunch and figure something out for the last dinner….

4. The pumpkin patch. We go as a family tradition and this year may go to the one near my sister’s house. We’d have to take the ferry or drive a distance so we have to decide what to do about that quandary.

5. Hubby’s birthday is in October (on Halloween) and I want to do something for him. Maybe it will be a Buy Nothing gift I acquire from the group… We may be closing on our house the following weekend so his birthday party may just be a “work party” with friends and family. (If all goes as we think it might!)

 
The rest of the challenge so far.

Day 1

Pantry Inventory

Day 2

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