Well my gloominess are lifting or at the very least, being postponed until April or May. Besides more and more unexpected projects keep coming in at work and home, so I really don't have time to be gloomy right now!
Pantry "Eat Down" Continues:
The great pantry "eat down" challenge is heating up. A few days ago our most picky eater Corrine was on the verge of a meltdown as her favorites started disappearing and she thought she was facing PBJ sandwiches for the rest of the month! Corrine was advocating cleaning out the cabinets by giving it to the food closet because (and I quote) "those people will appreciate this stuff, unlike us". So I have started posting the next couple days' menus in advance and everyone seems happier knowing what creative uses I've found for our supplies. I made a few costly errors in planning the use of the pantry surplus since I did not take a full inventory before starting the menu planning. For example, I used all the frozen hot dogs before finding the frozen hot dog buns so I had to go buy more hot dogs. However, I think we are on schedule of the "eat down" to end on or about February 4th. Tonight I made the last roast. Still ahead of us is orange roughy, tilapia, 3 packages of corn tortillas, 2 chickens, 1 turkey breast and a few beef ribs....plus lots of canned veggies and dry beans. We have a few things that I always buy in bulk so they are not part of the "eat down", but they are nice to help me fill out the menu.
Plans for After the "Eat Down":
When I teach business classes we encourage leaders of manufacturing businesses to consider JIT inventory management which views inventory as waste because it is money spent, but not in use. JIT or Just-In-Time was developed by Toyota in the 1950s and I'm going to be the nerdy housewife/adjunct business instructor who tries to put JIT to use in the area of my groceries and household goods. I already realize a set amount of inventory is needed to maximize the cost savings of bulk purchases and to be prepared for an emergency. However, these surplus items are going to be planned into the menu and grocery list so that last month's emergency supplies are the beginning of the following month's menu.
Using this JIT inspired method, I think I can achieve the following:
1. Fresher food and no waste due to expiration
2. Less clutter in the cabinets
3. Fewer trips to the grocery store. It should be 3 to 4 trips per month.
4. Greater variety of foods and dishes with more nutrition
5. Better use of coupons and sale items through planned meals
So I'm already working on February's menu and shopping list; I'm locating coupons and finding new ways to $ave! It is not my goal to reduce what we spend on household costs, but rather it is my goal to get more usable "stuff" and to get better usable "stuff" for the $1000 per month that I spend.
(If I can figure out how, then I'll post my February plan and costs as I go through the month. Plus unlike Dilbert's cartoon below, hopefully Wal-Mart and other retailers will keep doing what they do best so I won't need such an overstocked pantry.)