Friday, November 17, 2006

Use it up Challenge

Our finances are tight at the moment and I'm trying to learn ways to be frugal. Since I love being a stay at home mum and want to stay that way, I figure part of my job is finding ways to make my husbands income stretch further. I've found there are so many ideas out there to be had, from yahoo groups, message boards, websites and blogs. I've even read The Complete Tightwad Gazette. Sometimes though, it's more than simply "knowing" what to do and actually getting around to doing it.

With food items, there seems to be a fine line between saving money by keeping a well stocked pantry, buying up when on sale and so on and wasting food because you forgot you had it or it goes stale before it gets used. Given that I tend to be a little "organisationally challenged", it's more common for items to get wasted in our house. However, I'm determined to change all of that. One step at a time.

I've started by reorganising my pantry cupboard, fridge and freezer. Things that need using up now have their own special "spot" in each of these places. I've also made a list of what I need to make use of. For some of these things I have some ideas on what I'm going to do. Others I'm not so sure.

Here's my list:

* white choc chips
* dark choc chips
* various bits of leftover chocolate melts
* dark cooking chocolate

Hee, hee. Can you see a pattern emerging here. I do like eating chocolate but I like BUYING it even more. So we always seem to have chocolate around. I'm trying to be controlled about buying more - especially until I use up what I have. Stale chocolate isn't very nice!

On with my list:

* coconut
* brown sugar (I'm reluctant to admit how many open packets of brown sugar I found. A true sign of the "organisationally challenged". They are now all condensed in one container.)
* breadcrumbs (seem to have oodles and don't really use them for anything much)
* bread mix (got slack on making bread)
* bun mix (given to me from a friend - now to make use of it)
* condensed milk
* strawberry mousse sachet (the kids don't like it)
* drinking chocolate
* white rice (changing to a healthier kind)
* macaroni and cheese packet mix (don't use these anymore and just have 1 left which isn't enough for a meal but would be okay as a side dish)
* tinned soup (coming into summer so I'm trying to use up soup before it gets too hot)
* odd bits of pasta in assorted shapes
* plum jam (heaps)
* couple of jars of stewed fruit
* health shake mix - DH is in the process of using this up for breakfasts
* protein bars (am keeping one in my handbag for those times when I'm out and get hungry so they'll eventually get used that way and save me spending money on a snack as well)
* applesauce (open in the fridge so needs using ASAP - will use in my next cake)
* lemon spread
* honey & soy marinade sachets (samples) x3
* 2 minute noodles (chicken) x2
* stuffing mix
* maggi satay marinade
* sachet tomato soup
* 2 cake mixes that are almost out of date
* easiyo sachets that were hidden at the back of the cupboard and almost out of date
* discounted bread products in the freezer

Quite a list isn't it. At least by recording it I can remember what I'm trying to use up. The other day I used up 1 2-minute noodles packet in the rissoles I was making. Today I used up some of the choc chips and brown sugar in triple chocolate muffins.

So, we'll see how we go in getting this list diminished over the next few weeks. I will post my progress as I go.


Kez said...

Great idea - I'll make that my goal for this week to post a list of stuff I have to use up. Can I link to your post in my blog?

lightening said...

Sure can. How do I find your blog? I've been trying to figure that out. :-)

Kez said...

Click on my name in the comments and go to Kez's Blog. (Or the address is