Small Pantry

It’s Time For a Pantry Challenge!

By Melissa Tosetti

By taking on the Pantry Challenge, you see how long you can eat using only the food you already have in your kitchen – with the exception of purchasing fresh products like milk, eggs and produce.

The Pantry Challenge, which we do quarterly, was started as a way to encourage you to rotate through everything in your pantry and freezer within a three month period. The food in your kitchen should be consumed. Often, we get into the mode that a well-stocked pantry needs to be static. If you see an item sitting there for three months, either eat it or donate it to a shelter and don’t buy it again.

In addition to saving money, an added benefit of the pantry challenge is that it forces you to get creative. You’ll look at canned soup and dried pasta a little differently as you figure out how to make a meal from what you have on hand. Over the years I’ve received feedback from readers who have come up with new family favorites based on the need to get imaginative during the Challenge.

The longest any Savvy Life reader has gone without having to buy groceries (outside of milk, eggs and fresh produce) was three months!

Let me know how your Pantry Challenge goes. Drop me an email at

Note: The Challenge does not include the food in your emergency kit. You should always have enough non-perishable food and water set aside to sustain you for 3 – 7 days. Keep your emergency food and water supply in a waterproof bin along with your other emergency items.