How to Save Money with a Pantry Challenge

One of my goals with the no spend challenge month was to cut my grocery bill to only $100 for the month for our family of four and use items in the pantry and freezer. I often forget what I have on hand and then buy more, or stock up on a good deal, but then never use up what I have. {If you are curious about the details of a no spend challenge, start here.} The interesting thing about a no-spend challenge is that there really are no rules. Every family is different in how they go about tackling the challenge. 

Want to know our family rules for the no spend challenge? Check out this post

For me, I knew I had a stocked pantry and freezer that rarely get used up. I knew taking the pantry challenge would help me focus on using what I already had. Regardless if you are joining me on a no-spend challenge journey or not, you may want to try a pantry challenge. Here are some tips on how you can save money with a pantry challenge.
no spend challenge success tips

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Surprising Library Benefits that Will Save You Money!

I can't think about the library without remembering the song my kids' favorite little aardvark on PBS used to sing. It went something like this "having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card." And boy, ain't that the truth! I am a huge reader, and lately, I've been loving audiobooks {though sometimes I show my age and call them books on tape, who else is with me?} and never once have I strayed from my love of the library. But after talking to some of my local friends, I know they have forgotten to use the library as a resource because when I got on a little tangent about the surprising benefits and the offerings of the library, most people sat mouth agape saying "I didn't know that!".  
We are in the thick of a no-spend challenge {click the link to read more}, and I can't think of a better way to help encourage you to save money than at the library! Come check out the surprising library benefits that will save you money! Let me just tell you now, the library is more than just books!

the library has more than books
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The Real Cost of the Impulse Buy: 7 Ways to Stop Overspending on Impulse Buys

We are in the thick of the no spend February challenge, hands up if you are with me! It has made me start thinking about how I spend money during the month. For me, I spend the most each month at the grocery store. We all need food and we all need to eat, so it's easy for me to think that what I purchase at the grocery store is a necessity. But it's not. I know I'm not alone because a recent survey I read said that more than 70% of people said that food was their biggest impulse purchase. 

Regardless of what your weakness is or how you justify it, we all have unplanned purchases so how can we cut back on those purchases and use that money on things we have planned for {a new car without a car payment} or something that brings us joy {a bucket list vacation}

no spend month challenge
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The Biggest Loser Reboot: A Former Contestant Speaks Out

I have loved reality TV since the early days of  COPS and MTV's The Real World. I easily got sucked into season after season of The Biggest Loser, and I must confess, I was kind of surprised when I noticed that the show, after running for 17 seasons slowly disappeared from the television lineup. While there is no shortage of reality TV out there, it was a show my husband and I enjoyed watching together. After taking a four-year break, the show is back, this time on a new network with a reboot. I had the chance to sit down with season 2's runner up Suzy Hoover recently to ask her what she thought of the new show. Let's just say, she's not hopeful.

what a former biggest loser contestant wants you to know about the reboot
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No Spend Challenge Month: Saving Money on Utilities

When I started thinking about the details and the rules I was going to impose during my no spend challenge month, utilities were one thing that came up as a non-negotiable item that would be paid. Regardless if you own a home or are renting, there are monthly bills that come with living somewhere. These utility bills, we will call them, seem hard to budget for, and there is little wiggle room in paying for them. It almost feels like you can't lower your utility bills, but I'm going to help you take a look at a few ways you can lower those standard utility bills to save money.

saving money on utilities

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Why Travel Matters: Stories from Bangladesh

The thing I love about travel is how it can change people. And not only that, how two people traveling on the same trip can be impacted in different ways by the people that they meet. In 2018, I had the opportunity to travel with World Vision to the slums of Bangladesh. I will never forget the small group of street children {ages 8-14} that spent the bulk of their days working and their afternoons at a special school run by World Vision that was formed to help them keep up in the classes they were missing. I won't forget the eight-year-old child that told me that she gleans for work scraping up the tiny grains of rice that were thrown to the floor at a local market. Gleaning was something I didn't even know was still something being done outside of Bible times but this child was working 6-8 hours daily doing it to help provide food for her family. I also will never forget seeing for myself how very dangerous life in the slums can be and how children are literally slipping through the cracks and drowning.

Paula was with me on that trip. She is a faithful volunteer and is now a World Vision employee in Nashville, TN. I really got to know her on that trip to Bangladesh and have come to love her like a sister. Sometimes when we travel, it takes months or even years to process fully the experience, especially travel with an NGO to a hard place like Bangladesh. I've heard Paula talk about the impact of one of our security details, a man named Delowar, but when she typed up her story, I finally got a chance to really see how that "chance" encounter has changed her life.

Paula has graciously allowed me to share her story here.

Bangladesh indigenous tribe


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No Spend Challenge: Our Family Rules

Last week, I introduced you all to a no-spend challenge. A no-spend month or a no-spend challenge is where you don't spend money in a certain area for a designated period of time. The rules are different for everyone, but the goal is to cut back on overspending and reevaluate your spending habits. I can't set the rules for you because everyone's intention for the challenge will be different, but I can share the rules that our family has decided to use for this monthly challenge.
It's not too late to join us for the no spend February challenge! If you're curious, here are the rules our family will be following.
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