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Eating From The Pantry


This summer we are trying to have fun without breaking the bank. Yes, we added a line for the summer for Summer Fun, but $150 doesn’t get that far. Just one day at the amusement park can rake you that very amount. One way we are hoping to come up with new money is by preventing food waste, eating from our pantry in particular.

If you look back at the last few months of my budget posts, that I was allotting $350 for my groceries and I have been actually using about $150-$200 less than this each month. Well I have been doing great on saving money on actual groceries. But I haven’t been able to actually put this money aside for this occasion. In May, it was because we were taking many trips to the hospital and having to eat out more than normal. Last month, it was for car repairs. I am hoping that I can save the money this month to offset some of the planned activities at the beginning of August. We get our daughter for two weeks during that time. And we typically do mini stay-cations, where we go somewhere for the day and be back to sleep in our beds at night.

Now this isn’t a sustainable way to consistently save money, we will eventually run out of most of our pantry. And we will be most likely back up to the $350/month on groceries. But for now it has saved us on going way off budget and helped us avoid food waste.

Here are my ways I have been able to avoid food waste.

  • Cook From Your Pantry. If you already have a full pantry, look at all you already have and base a menu off that.
  • Organize Your Food. Put food away so that you can see it easily. If it is not easily accessible, it might not ever get eaten. Also pay attention to expiration dates, putting the food expiring the soonest in front so it will get used first. This is a given, but still has to be said.
  • Keep A List of What You Have. Having this list is good for two reasons. You will know what you already have and actually use it. And you will not buy something you already have.
  • Left-overs Have To Be Eaten. This is pretty easy for us, since most of us are home every day, so it usually gets eaten up for lunch. But this could help you out one night a week by not having to cook.

I would say I can keep eating from my pantry till beginning to mid August maybe even end of August. But I am not really worried about that, I am pretty decent at using coupons and finding the best deals locally. I could probably fill the pantry up again in three months. If this does happen, I might be able to do this “purge” twice a year and the next time it could all go to debt!


  • Reply Jackie |

    Excellent post Jim! These are the type of things I want to hear more about and I feel like it helps me understand you better. It also has some good tips!

  • Reply Christine |

    We are doing this as well this month as we are moving into our house next month. So instead of continuing to buy groceries, we’re only buying perishables we need (milk, eggs, deli meat, etc) and eating out of our pantry. It’s actually been really eye-opening to see how much food we have in our freezer, pantry and cupboards – it’s almost like you just forget what you have and it becomes part of the scenery!

    • Reply Jim |

      Not just that Christine… there are plenty of times we have said “We have nothing to eat” or “I don’t want to eat that” It really makes you HAVE to eat this stuff. Another eye opener to us, has been to see just how much of the perishables we go through. I can say we go through a gallon and a half of milk and around 18 eggs every week.

  • Reply Tania |

    I think the problem at my parents’ is the lack of a decent pantry. There is always rice, there is often beans, there is rarely any meat unless bought. But that’s it; that’s all they eat. Building up a pantry can be very expensive. Perhaps I should budget JUST for building up the pantry, and go from there. Right now, we’re on the very expensive day-by-day menu.

    • Reply Helene |

      I think building up the pantry is an investment in smarter cooking. Don’t forget to experiment with store brands (which routinely beat name brands in blind tests, even the walmart house brand!) and also look in unusual places for your staples. I found my favorite brand of canned tomatoes for just 60 cents a can at Big Lots once and I bought like 10 of them. It’s normally $2.50 a can. Obviously you have to check the expiration dates before buying. Big Lots also once had DeCecco pasta, which is the most expensive brand my store carries but it’s one of my faves — it was 99 cents a box vs like $3.50 in the store. Sold!

      I am still not to the point where I can plan a week’s worth of meals, etc. I think if I was a SAHM I might be more inclined to do that, and play the match game with store sales and all that. But I do try very hard not to buy anything that isn’t on sale or, my favorite, reduced for quick sale, like rotisserie chickens marked down later at night! 😉

  • Reply Helene |

    I need to get better at staying on top of expiration dates for things — although I try hard to remember that frequently the ‘sell by’ / ‘use by’ dates are just suggestions and most stuff is good for quite a while afterward. Nothing makes me madder than coming across an unopened package or bottle of something that’s way past its date. :-/

    Luckily right now is a GREAT time to eat fresh, local foods, which in my area at least cost SO much less at the farmer’s market. So many tomatoes and bell peppers and cucumbers and corn for dirt cheap!

    On Saturday I bulk-cooked for the week since it was just too hot to do anything outdoors. I halved all three of my beautiful farmer’s market peppers (one red, one yellow, one green) to make stuffed peppers for the week. Other than the peppers and the meat, it’s all pantry!

    My favorite filling is 1.25 lb of 85% lean ground beef + a few cloves of garlic and a shopped onion — ‘stretched’ with a can of drained/rinsed store-brand black beans, some petite-diced canned tomatoes and a box of Near East Roasted Red Pepper and Feta flavored Brown Rice & Quinoa blend (found cheapest at Walmart)… which I further stretched with the addition of another 1/2 cup of instant brown rice. Can add some cheese in or on, whatever you have around, and also some spaghetti sauce, whatever you have on hand or already open. Mix some sauce and cheese into the mixture before filling the peppers and then put some in a baking dish & cook ’em up to your liking.

    I’ll eat them every day this week but I don’t mind! I had leftover filling, which I sometimes freeze, but I tend to forget it’s in there. So this time I ate the leftovers first in a bowl. 🙂

    • Reply Walnut |

      Adding regular rice to a splurgy flavored package one is my favorite way to stretch one box into several. There’s always more than enough seasoning to go around.

      • Reply Helene |

        Yes indeed, Walnut. With this combo I experience no less flavor for sure. If I have extra already-cooked quinoa, I will throw that in too. I’m a big believer in stretching just about anything with the addition of rice and beans, lol.

        I almost fell over when I saw this particular product was about $1.50 cheaper at walmart than at my local store. The word must be out, because almost every time I check, the spot is empty on the shelf. So when I see it, I buy 2 or more. So little of it comes in the box that I couldn’t stand to not stretch it in some way!

  • Reply adam |

    it always shocks me how much food we throw away. this is a good place to focus.

  • Reply Jasmine |

    Just a note on the summer fun, I find that kids that young are perfectly content just being with their family and having their full attention and devotion. Maybe things like picnics, boardgame days, movie marathons, etc. can be worked in to help stretch your fun budget.

  • Reply xingcat |

    There’s a way of budgeting where you spend from last month’s pay. You can do very much the same thing with your food, or at least the staples. Stock up on things that will last (frozen foods, flour, rice, etc.) and know your food “budget” going into the next month, so the only expenditures are for the fresh things you’ll add to each meal. Making meal plans is as much a budgeting exercise as anything else you do.

  • Reply Halle |

    Is there a reason why when you give an explanation on how you save money with your groceries and food budget, you put it in terms of how “you” can do it? AKA like you’re giving us tips?

    I find your posts so arrogant and self promoting– it drives me insane. If I wanted to read tips on how I can save money on groceries or food budgeting, I’d read an expert’s advice. You, on the other hand, are not an expert. You are the same as the readers of this blog…just individuals working their way out of a debt situation and sharing the experience. I figured SOMEONE needed to remind you this is your role, as it seems you have lost your way.

    • Reply Halle |


      YOU ARE RIGHT! I cannot even believe it! This is his SECOND TIME PLAGIARIZING! I’ve emailed Jeffrey comparing the two paragraphs and begging for his discharge from this position. The reader’s deserve better!

      • Reply Devin |

        It’s actually the third as far as I can tell, Halle! His blog on parents attitudes towards money copies from an article on the five cent nickel site. My wife and I have been trying to alert others to this but our blog posts have mysteriously not been posting until today.

        • Reply Devin |

          Sorry- I meant our comments to his blogs haven’t been posting. Also sent messages to Jeffrey with no response.

          • Halle |

            That exact same this just happened to me on Ashley’s post! I had posted re: this plagiarism on her newest post, since it is the newest on the blog with potentially the most traffic, and it was promptly removed (but not until two readers were able to comment). Someone is definitely removing our posts about Jim’s plagiarism…the question is just who?

          • Adam |

            When I was blogging here I had the ability to delete comments as well as delete comments pending moderation.

      • Reply Candice |

        While I understand your desire to make others aware of this unfortunate occurrence, I think the decision to remove your comments about this from Ashley’s new post was the correct one. She is an awesome blogger and this unfortunate business really should not distract from the hard work and effort she consistently demonstrates. I like Hope and Stephanie, but I come to BAD to read Ashley’s blog entries.

  • Reply Jim |

    How is this even the same… Yes they might have the some of the same tips, but nothing is plagiarized. Ok I do see one sentence that has the same. These are tips I have learned!!! They are common sense. Don’t go blaming me for doing crap I didn’t do! Just because you want me gone.

    • Reply Halle |


      I would expect nothing less than this response judging from your response the last time you were caught. Let me guess how it’s going to go:

      Step 1: Deny (maybe with some variation of “I’ve never even seen that other blog!” Or “They’re completely different!”
      Step 2: After clear evidence is provided to the contrary, slowly start to admit that maybe they’re the same through some convoluted apology where you contradict yourself (i.e. “I never saw that post ever in my life….*10 sentences later* “I admit I copied and did wrong”)
      Step 3: Claim you’re going to quit.
      Step 4: Come back.
      Step 5: Promise to never do it again.
      Step 6: Do it again.

      Sound familiar?

      • Reply Jim |

        Funny i just got an anonymous email with screen captures. Seems like you go by like a dozen or so names. And at least 90% of your comments are negative toward me.

        • Reply Morgan |

          I fail to see how a commenter using a different user name has anything to do with you plagiarizing AGAIN!?!?! I’m beginning to think Jeffery keeps you around for the traffic increase your rip off posts stir up.

  • Reply Matt |

    Come on Jim. There’s coincidences and then there’s this. These two posts are just way too strikingly similar to chaulk it up to commen sense. Whole sentences are the same- word for word. It seems like you took the post, combined a couple of the tips (from 6 to 4) reworded it a bit, left some the same and hit send.

    • Reply Devin |

      Jim’s blog from April 15th is parents attitudes about finances and kids.

      Five cent nickel blog from April 14th is parents attitudes toward money and kids.

      Another coincidence?

      • Reply adam |

        Devin, I’m just curious how you found it. He changed the wording around enough that it seems a simple google search wouldn’t have turned it up.

  • Reply Candice |

    And, unfortunately, it also appears as if Devin is correct about the “Parent’s Attitudes About Finances & Kids” post as well.

    Jim of Blogging Away Debt, “Parent’s Attitudes About Finances & Kids”: https://www.bloggingawaydebt.com/2014/04/parents-attitudes-about-finances-kids/

    Richard Barrington of fivecentnickel, “Parents’ attitudes toward money and kids”: http://www.fivecentnickel.com/2014/04/14/parents-attitudes-toward-money-and-kids/

    There are entire sentences copied from this post as well. I liked this post on the pantry and really wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt, but even the examples are the same.

  • Reply Scooze |

    Well, this is very disappointing. Jim, if you are still reading, you really should know better by now than to recycle articles written by others. I think that the bigger issue is you just didn’t know what to write and you felt you had to rush articles out by a deadline. So you wrote about general personal finance topics that weren’t personal to your situation. And perhaps you looked through old blogs from others to find “inspiration”. And that inspiration became the basis for your article. But actually you were just recycling someone else’s article without giving them credit. That is not what we ever wanted! We wanted to help you! We have other blogs to read to find tips for raiding your own pantry.

    But why was this necessary? I get the feeling that you really never felt comfortable letting the readers into your own world. You could have written about your own budget (which I never really felt we saw the full picture of), your business income, your annual spending plan, etc. But all I really saw were just snippets here and there that never revealed your true financial big picture and issues. Sorry, but that is a requirement of this type of blog – you have to open up. You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable and you have to want to get out of debt more than you want to keep your privacy. I hope that this will serve as a caution to other bloggers if they want our help, they have to let us in.

    I just don’t think that you were really ever cut out for this blog. I wish you well.

  • Reply Monica |

    Thank you Halle for catching the plagerism. That can really hurt our site. It looks like someone has edited the article to make it more original content.

  • Reply Halle |

    Actually it wasn’t me that caught it…it was Devin. Apparently he had caught it a few other times in Jim’s posts, but the his comments were erased. I’m just glad were no longer subjected to Jim’s plagiarism and lies.

    • Reply Denise @ My House, My Rules |

      I’m beginning to think Jim didn’t have time for a traditional job or to write his own blog posts because he was too busy stalking the BAD blog comments so he could immediate delete any mention of his plagiarism.

So, what do you think ?