Friday, March 1, 2013

Why a Pantry/Freezer Challenge?

Terri, I really enjoy reading your blog!! I was just reading that groceries are supposed to take a hike again in April due to the drought, which we are still in. I'm wondering why you do the freezer challenge instead of constantly stocking up? I've read of other gals who rotate their stock and keep stocking all 12 months of the year. It just seems to me that it would be smarter to keep stocking up while prices are as low as they are instead of waiting for them to climb higher. Just wondering, Pam

Pam, that is a great question. I have several reasons for doing a challenge.

#1.  I like to keep my stock orderly, but eventually during a quarter (which is about the average time frame between pantry/freezer challenges for me), I find myself pressed for time, forgetful or just plain slacking and I don't rotate, add or remove items from my inventory list, etc.  When the pantry and freezer are burgeoning with goods it's hard to see what we have.  This brief season of slowing down allows me to get my bearings, discover where we have failed to restock, what we need to use, etc.  For instance, just this week I discovered that I have no instant potatoes on hand.  While digging for milk in the back freezer, I found two Cornish Game Hens...That was meant to be a holiday meal which I'd forgotten and those items didn't make it to the inventory list. So you see this time of a challenge benefits me in keeping the rotation of goods.

#2.  If I'm taking a time out from our regular spending, I can take better advantage of sales or set money aside to stock up in other areas.  The purpose of the March challenge is to save money to put towards a bulk purchase of beef from the meat market.  We've found this beef to be superior to any at the stores where we shop and the prices are comparable to non-sales prices on most items.  Since the store is some distance from home we don't go there often.  We found it difficult to manage once a month as we'd originally planned, but the cost of a two or three month supply is a bit higher than we can manage on our usual budget.  So you see the savings the challenge will allow me to make a bulk purchase that I might not otherwise be able to make.  I hope to make this purchase at the end of this month, just prior to that expected price hike.

#3.  It's a good way of testing my supplies.  What I mean by that is that in doing a pantry freezer challenge I can see how well my stock holds up if I'm not actively adding to it.  That will give me a clearer idea of about how long my supplies will last.  I've said before that my pantry and freezer stock are an emergency fund.  My goal is to have at least six months and up to a year's worth of food.  The last time we did a pantry/freezer challenge, I realized that I really needed to push harder to build up my stock. That gave me the impetus to fill that small freezer, something I'd put off doing.

#4.  That small freezer is my final reason for this particular challenge.  There are several items in that freezer that I've hoarded for far too long.  Odds and ends I've kept with good intention.  It's time to empty it out and make space for edible foods.  And since I hate to waste, I can any of  those items that are still viable for use (like the buried Cornish Hens which I purchased in early December) and get rid of those  that have been kept for far far too long.

So long answer to a short and nicely put question.

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