See how wasting less food can save a lot of money and go a long way toward getting your finances in order and eliminate debt!
Small Cuts Save Big Money! – How It Adds Up II
None of us would dream of going to the store, buying two loaves of bread, bringing them home and throwing them in the trash but that is exactly what we do. We just do it with small amounts daily.
Most of you have seen our original How It Adds Up article, where we looked at how small purchases add up and how cutting various small things from our daily spending can add up to a lot of money each year. Today, I’ll look at how wasting a little here and a little there can cost you big money over time.
I keep saying you can save on groceries before you even leave to go to the store and one of the ways you can do it is to stop wasting the food you do buy. Today I’m going to share are a few examples to illustrate how those little things that our families don’t eat and end up throwing away add up. These are estimates and whe the price of an item varies, I generally estimated using the less expensive amount.
Here are a few examples of commonly wasted items in a typical home:
- Juice – If each member of a family of 4 leaves half a glass of juice in the glass a day, that family wastes 10 cans of juice per month. That works out to $20 per month or $240 per year that gets thrown away.
- Peanut Butter – If 2 kids leave half a sandwich uneaten, it adds up to 2 jars of peanut butter a month. At $3.50 per jar, this works out to $7.00 per month or $84 per year. This doesn’t factor in the wasted bread.
- Apples – If 2 kids leave half an apple a day uneaten, it works out to 3 bags of apples a month. At about $3 per bag, that works out to $9 per month or $108 per year.
- Milk – If 2 kids leave half a cup of milk in a glass or a cereal bowl twice a day, 1 gallon of milk gets wasted per week. This works out to $3 per week, $13 per month or $156 per year of wasted milk.
When we total the waste on just these four items, it works out to $49 per month or $588 per year that is wasted and simply gets thrown away.
Note that these figures only consider families where 2 children leave just half a sandwich per day or leave half a glass of juice or milk per day. The reality is that most kids toss that much per meal, 3 times or more per day so in most cases those figures could be easily doubled, bringing the total to $1176 per year.
I calculated these numbers based on a family with two children, but if you have more, then these numbers would be higher.
Note that I used just 4 food items as examples. How many other things are thrown away, like wasted veggies, potatoes, meat, cookies and more? Not only that, there are the stale chips and other things that get wasted because they’re not stored properly or they get lost in a disorganized pantry until they go bad.
Think of your food in this way: If my kids leave half a sandwich a day, not only am I throwing out that much peanut butter but I am also throwing out a couple of loaves of bread each month.
You can save $49 or more per month preventing waste with just the four items listed above. If you start counting bread from the uneaten sandwiches, cereal left in the bowls each morning, stale chips and cookies, you could instantly increase your savings to $100 a month (and probably a lot more) without changing one thing about your spending (coupons, clearance items, sale items) at the store.
Open your eyes and really notice what is happening with your food in your home.
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There was a time in my life when I got a real good idea of how much food I was throwing out and wasting. It was when I cleaned my refrigerator. When you think about it, there should be no reason to have to “clean out” your refrigerator, except for washing it, if you are careful not to waste food. To throw away celery, lettuce, or any unused vegetables, or leftovers, is a real shame and a sin, when you think about all that wasted money. At different jobs I had they would clean out the refrigerator every couple of weeks too, and there was so much food waste. People would bring in foods for “snacks” etc, but when it came time to eat the food, they didn’t “feel” like eating that particular food at the moment, so would go to the vending machines and get food they “felt” like eating at the time. So much waste. I have tryed to be more conscious of food waste since I’ve seen how much food is thrown out.
Please don’t force your kids to eat more than their tummies can hold… instead prepare a half of sandwich and if they are still hungry make them another half.
Great thought there! If we start w/smaller portions we can always serve more if they’re still hungry. Less waste, and possibly helping avoid obesity in the future.
We’ve done that since our oldest was a toddler. We also never let them get their own meals when we eat out (since we noticed that they tend to waste more food when we eat out than they do at home). A lot less food gets thrown out that way, and the added benefit of the children learning to eat portion controlled amounts, so they are not becoming tiny gluttons.
I really dislike food waste, so these things tend not to happen in our house. I’ve found that putting smaller portions on my children’s plates helps them anyway. They seem overwhelmed with a large amount of broccoli, for example, though both of them enjoy it and will eat a good bit. If you’re throwing away 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich a day, then it seems you’d notice that and stop fixing peanut butter sandwiches!
I use the same idea with juice. You get only a small amount at a time – and only one refill. Then we drink water. It costs less and is healthier.
I believe it was this site that gave me a great idea that I past on this weekend. Store small amounts of leftover veggies in a container in the freezer. Add them as you have them leftover from dinner. When the container is full, use them to make a pot of veggie soup. I also add leftover gravies and broths to it as well.
Oral bacteria/backwash will contaminate your whole juice container. Not recommended. Best to leave it in the individual glass.
Yep. I have been fighting this waste for many years…my solution: I pour half drank juice/milk back into the original container. Wasted sandwiches and bowls of cereal I feed to the animals, apples I save and cut up and use to cook with the evening dinner. I cook one serving per person – no one goes hungry – there are no left overs and body weight is kept in check.
What I have done to prevent waste is, if you don’t finish your meal, it is wrapped up for later/next meal. In order to get the next meal the previous meal has to be eaten. Also to get children to eat what is served, (veggies and things they may not like) in order to get seconds on what they like, they have to clean their plate. There have many a days that something they look at and “don’t” like has been, later, hey that’s pretty good.
I loveloveLOVE this article! It is SO me! I’m sure there are many people who think I am positively obsessive about not wasting things, but I am convinced that this is why we manage to live on a lot less than most people we know. We almost never throw out food. The children were taught to take small portions and eat it all. If we have leftovers, we save them, even the little dabs. They are wonderful for lunch the next day. And dabs of veggies that don’t get eaten get put in the “soup box” that I keep in the freezer, which I then throw in the next time I make soup. Another thing that irritates me to pieces is when people throw out a jar that still has three sandwiches’ worth of mayo in it, but they’re too lazy to get out a spatula and clean it out properly.
I am often quite appalled at the amount of food other people leave on plates and pitch in the garbage. Your calculations were an eye-opener and I thank you for giving me some solid figures that I can share with people who make fun of my saving ways! :)
My mom got me a set of really a neat set of spatulas. The tiny one fits my salad dressing bottles. I’ve also cut the bottles one inch from the bottom and used the remainder for dipping. Very little wasted here either. When we clean off the table it goes into a storage container meal for work. Esp. handy as I work 7P-7A. In the summer the boys fix their own lunches when I’m sleeping and like to grab them. Learned to label “Mom’s” really fast after they ate my work lunch a few times. :) Much as I hate to be bothered~ Menus work great.
Same goes for shampoo, laundry detergent, and practically everything else, btw! Use it UP, folks! Bar soap, for instance…never throw away little bits of soap, just “weld” them on to the next bar and you can use every bit.
We also put a little water in our shampoo/conditioner bottles to use every bit of it, and the toothpaste tube is scraped flat with a butter knife. Expensive moisturizers are really bad about leaving product in the container… I take scissors and cut it open and put it in a Ziploc bag until I use it all, usually at least a weeks worth and sometimes two!
Jewel, I do the same thing with hair gel, moisturizers and conditioners. There is a lot left in the tube that will not squeeze out. I keep snipping from the bottom up to get the last of the product. After I once cut the tube I too put it in a Ziploc bag to prevent drying out.
I make my three kids 1/2 of a sandwich at a time. If they want more, they can have more. Usually they don’t, but sometimes they do, and I have no problem dragging out the stuff and making another 1/2 sandwich.
Great article!! This can be applied to other areas of our life as well. Some of my friends are really struggling financially…….but yet laugh at me when I suggest things like this……they think small things are small things and do not add up. I have proof in my life that they do!! Thanks for letting me comment.
Food waste is a pet peeve of mine. When I used to go to the mall (as a reformed shopper that doesn’t happen any more)I was appalled by the amount of food that was thrown away. I would watch as people would dump whole plates of food, 3/4 leftover pizzas, half-eaten hamburgers, etc. If this is going on in all mall food courts, the waste must be astronomical. There is just my husband and me, and I prepare enough for our meal and one lunch for work. I used to buy more fresh vegetables than we would eat, and now only buy enough for planned meals. As in all things, a little planning saves a lot of money.
I made the oatmeal cookies out of Dining On A Dime this morning and they are delicious. We like raisens and walnuts so added those.
Enjoy the day. Diane
This gets into the whole huge question of how to or whether to make kids eat stuff they don’t exactly want. I do want to encourage my kids to recognize and stop eating when they’re full. I myself cannot always judge what is the right serving size for them at any given meal… sometimes they’re more hungry, and sometimes less, just like me.
Here’s my solution: for my 7 (mostly young) kids, I will make about 5 sandwiches and cut them all up into fourths, and serve them all on one plate. They only take one at a time. The bigger kids eat more and the littler ones are happy with one or two, plus carrots, cukes, etc. If more is wanted I can make one more sandwich at a time, cut into pieces. works great!
Regarding vegetables or less-desired foods, and left-overs: serve them first! When everyone comes to the table hungry, they’re more likely to eat less-favorite foods right away. I have explained the concept of eating in courses (“like they do in fancy restaurants” I tell them). So the first course may be cooked veggies, and everyone gets an age-appropriate serving. When that’s gone, the next course is a very small serving (because that’s all there is!) of the left-over tuna casserole from last night – thereby cleaning out the fridge. Then maybe 3 crackers with cheese slices per person. Then a bowl of grapes or apple slices. You get the idea! They rarely refuse because they want to see what’s coming next, and it’s usually something better!
We have another article on portion control which helps you to figure out how much to give the kids and ways to help with portion control if you want more info.
Of course in the article on portion control we aren’t saying not to feed you children enough or to make them always clean their plates. It’s up to you to start with small portions and then give them more as they need it.
What happens often is we give children adult portions without thinking and then either force them to eat it or throw what is left away.
This is a lovely article. One thing I do is try to plan the meals for the week around the same ingredients (especially produce). For example, tomatoes and spinach can be in a casserole tonight, in a pasta salad the next, on a homemade pizza, in a salad or sandwich, or even as toppings on a taco. I write down what ingredients I have and try to use them up in this way.
Also in terms of waste, cut open your tubes of lotions, makeup, etc. There is usually enough remaining for a few more uses. It surprising how much doesn’t come out.
Yes Elizabeth I like using up all my lotions and make up too. I even cut the tubes open that they come in and can often use just what I get from that for a couple of weeks. I have gotten bad to about looking at the packaging for make up or cream or something and thinking that tube is made so that I can’t get every last drop out of it so I sometimes won’t buy it.
Great Article! My mom always told us that kids in China and Africa would love to have our left overs and we should be ashamed of ourselves! I on the other hand just don’t fix as much or give them as much. Doesn’t eliminate all waste because I have very picky eaters that I refuse to cook to just their “likes” and a picky husband so somethings go un eaten but they don’t get seconds on others! I have not managed to completely curtail this problem but I’m always working on it!
You are so right. We Americans waste way to much food! Even though I am old and retired now, I still pratice what I did when my daughter was small I simply used smaller plates! I know that kids eyes are bigger than their stomachs and by using those “lunch Plates” (which I still have today) she got a little of everything and I found out not only did eat better she also ate everything on her plate because I used portion control. She could always have more if she wanted but most of the time her little tummy was full!
I would have never thought of it this way! Thanks!
Years ago when I was a teen I took a class on how to put on makeup. Great class and a couple of tips I remember were.
Mix your foundation with some moisturizer that you use under the foundation. This saves time and the foundation goes farther and applies easier.
Use a lipstick brush, it goes on smoother and the brush gets right down into the tube so you don’t toss it out when it gets short.
When making sandwiches for children I always used to cut them into strips. Cut them across then into 4 strips the opposite way. Less crust on each sandwich and children like the numbers to see who gets more not the amount they see. You can mix and match the strips so they get more of the ones they love and less of the so so likes. But they eat the serving amount so they get the full nutrition.
you are never too old to learn new tricks either.
after 34 years of cooking for the same man he got his teeth pulled and had false teeth so for about 3 weeks I was cutting the crust off his sandwiches for work. 4 sandwiches each day and I didn’t want to toss the crusts so I stuck them into small bags and put them in the freezer. One morning he asked for french toast and I was almost out of bread. I looked in the freezer and saw those bags of crusts. Made them into french toast and was able to flip the entire pan instead of each piece. Easier for me and less time consuming. Now that used up the crusts and made life easier for about 6 different meals of french toast.
Little ones do not need to drink a lot of milk. It is used in and added to many of the things they eat normally. Brocolli is loaded with calcium and other vegetables as well. One small glass a day is sufficient and if you feel they need more multi vitamins fill in the gaps.
Many nationalities and people are lactose intolerant so check on the internet and find out what they use instead. There are a lot of recipes for calcium loaded meals.
here is a way to save on medicine. My two sons every winter would get bronchitis and the dr. would give them the prescription. One bottle was banana flavoured and one was grape. That came to %50 a month. One day the pharmacist said that they were identical medicines just the amount to be given were different and the flavours. He said to buy one bottle at a time and if I needed the second bottle then get it. But since I was throwing out a bit from each bottle why waste it. So check with the pharmacist to see if you can do the same thing. Don’t change it on your own until you do the research though. The dr. was being nice to the boys but the pharmacist was being nice to our budget.
Talk to your pharmacist he can save you a lot of money and give advice on what will work just as well for a better price. Maybe it is just the schedule or the name brand versus something else.
Good advice grandma. Get to know your pharmacist. When I first got sick with my cfs and had done the whole gamut of doctors it was a pharmacist who put me on to some over the counter stuff to help me control my cfs. I don’t know what I would have done without her.
I live in Brazil. One of the things I noticed when I first moved here is that the dishes, cups and glasses were all much smaller. A very common thing to do here is to wash out the cups that cream cheese comes in (which are about the size of a juice cup in the States) and use them for glasses. At first I thought, wow, this isn’t going to be enough liquid for the meal. But if I wanted more, the container was on the table and I could serve myself more. Just naturally, I began to drink less. This and the use of fresh produce (very little is in cans) is part of the reason (I think) that Brazilians in general, are not as overweight as Americans. You can kill two birds with one stone, eat and drink less and save on the food bill!
Good way to put a price on food waste…but as I was reading I thought that the key is serving less, not eating it all (that avoids the food waste but doesn’t save money). We leave nothing on our plates, and it really annoys me when my daughter has a friend or two over and they waste food! I really like Lisa’s idea of serving a pile of sandwiches cut in quarters. I admit I am careless sometimes about fresh vegetables…letting them ruin in the fridge before I get around to cooking them. They are an expensive addition to my compost pile.
I too get frustrated when I have company and see the amount of food they sometimes waste. When people are hungry they tend to give themselves larger servings then they really will be able to eat or even need. One thing which was hard for me to do but I know helps and that is always keeping things like veggies cleaned and ready for my family to eat.
I also found out if I wanted them to eat something they need to see it so clear containers work so good for this. Try it sometime place something on the table or counter which they can’t see in and the next day place something in a clear container and see how long it takes for each of them to get eaten.
This works 2 ways if you don’t want them to eat all the cookies put them in a container they can’t see in and if you want them to eat up some carrot sticks try a clear container. It doesn’t work with everything but does help a little.
I have stopped using my crisper drawer for vegetables that should be used quickly.
I put them on an open shelf where I can see them.
Put them in the crisper and they die there. If I can see what is there they wind up in the salad not the garbage.
Onions, squash celery and cabbage go in the drawers since they have a longer shelf life.
Carrots cucumber slices pepper strips go in a container beside the cheese cut up for eating and a container of chips are in a plastic container with about 3 boxes in there since everyone likes different types of crackers. They stay fresher and all get eaten. In the morning I take out fresh vegetables snacks put them in a bowl with ice cubes and water and they stay crisp and the fridge is not being opened all the time.
For those of you who make lunches for your school age children. Please teach your kids to repack what they don’t eat after their lunch. I know this sounds nasty and stinky, but I work in an elementary school (K-5) and it is AMAZING how much good not eaten or opened food is thrown away. Whole apples, bags of cut up carrots, sandwiches, fruit cups, yogurt, packaged crackers,……the list goes on and on. As a parent you will NEVER know if the food has been eaten or thrown away. The amount of money and waste that goes in the trash is so sad. It didn’t matter the child’s age all kinds of food was waisted. Talk with your children and make sure it’s something they want or will eat. But always tell them to put back any”leftovers” so you can see what’s happening. In addition the amount of baggies thrown away is also scary. Baggies that only had carrots for crackers. In the trash, that could have been used again. If you have 3 kids all taking their lunch and each child has 3 baggies in their lunch box (sometimesbaggies of multiple sizes) and all get thrown away that’s 9 bags a day x5 days is 45 bags a week. Depending on the size of the bag you may only be getting 40 – 50 bags in a box. Reduce, and reuse those bags. Sorry for the “soapbox”.
Micheal, I was just wondering; you said you pour half drank milk and juice back into the original container. That would indeed save on waste, but might it not also spread germs? Suppose a child has a cold that hasn’t yet shown many symptoms. I guess I’ve been in the medical field too long! :)
Yes, that could be a problem but we aren’t germaphobic around here. With 4 kids you just can’t be! :-)
Regarding pouring liquids back in the original jar…Yuck…Use small covered plastic containers or glasses covered with foil mor saran. Masking tape could identify the child’s name. This also teaches your children good hygiene. I’m a mother of three also.
Right now each kids have their own colored cup. Then they just drink from it all day. We don’t pour much back now as they drink it all. As for germs… like I said we aren’t worried about them here. They will get more germs off the computer keyboard and phone anyway.
My son for the first time wanted to start packing a lunch. The first week I made a lot of food for him and most of the time half of it came home. I was so tired of wasting food, I started packing him smaller amounts. He hasn’t noticed but I have; most of the food is gone. Also, for those that cut the crust on bread, put it in a dehydrator and then grind it up and add spices for making breaded chicken or make croutons.
Im an Australian mother of two girls under 3 and like most toddlers, they hate crusts. To avoid wastage, I cut the crust off BEFORE I place them into a freezer bag and once a month I take them all out, place in the processor and make fresh breadcrumbs. Perfect for chicken, burgers, meatballs… Dont be afraid to try different mixes of grain bread, white, rye ect. It works perfectly and saves a bundle!
I would think also would be great croutons!
Hmm I apologise for the above comment.. I ment to say ‘BEFORE I place the fillings on the sandwich’. But it WAS 11 something pm here at the time lol please excuse my error! Thats what I get running around a 1 and 2 yo all day :P
Lauren another thing you could do with the crust is make french toast. It is now finger food and can be dipped into the syrup or jam.
My DIL buys it frozen this way but when my grandchildren were here for a visit the store didn’t carry it.
So I made it and I found the crusts held up better and they liked them more. Yes they do not like the crusts on bread but they sure like the crusts of french toast.
here is a crafters way to save money.
look at the websites of yarn companies. They usually have a list of free patterns for any shape of person, age and style.
You just look it up and you can download them at no charge.
I subscribe to one and twice in the past year I have filled out a survey for them and have received 6 books downloaded to my computer.
Each book was worth $7. at the store.
I constantly look down at the floor while i am shopping especially in the supermarket. You’ll all think im crazy but i pick up the pennies, dimes quarters. I found a dollar the other day in the parking lot. If its alot i would turn it in , if not its fair game… .I didn’t count it last year but i should. Little bits add up!
Yeah, as I was walking out of the library the other day some guy just dropped and nickel on the ground because he was to lazy to put it in his pocket!
I go to the thrift stores nearby (don’t waste the gas) and buy their used magazines for a dollar. Inside they have coupons I use or share with friends. I use the web site lovefoodhatewaste.com and it tell you how to fix the freezer/leftovers. You cna also get coupons at the library since they buy many magazines and newspapers just ask at the research desk. I took my budget down 31% in one year since the money isn’t there to live the old lifestyle. I made it fun looking up web sites like this one and found so many friends enjoy sharing the info.
our thrift store has a box of magazines marked take what you want. The friend I go with always finds at least 3 magazines that she likes. While I go to the book section with another free box and find kids books for free along with a few sci fi ones so we are both happy.
books though are $1. for 4 unfortunately most readers seem to be into romance which I rarely buy except for christmas ones. This is the only season I read romances or any type of christmas books.
I serve my son less than I think he will eat. If he wants more he eats off my plate or my husbands.
A friend of mine has a rule in her house — nothing new is cooked until all the leftovers from the previous meal are gone. She is a single mom so a pot of chili, for example, will feed her and her daughter for at lest a week. She admits sometimes she gets sick of eating the same thing for a week but is saves a ton of money. Sometimes, when she just can’t bear to look at one more spaghetti noodle, she’ll bring me her leftovers and in return I’ll share the meal I made for my family that night with her and her daughter. The next night I won’t have to cook and she’ll get to have something new.
We have also “pooled our resources.” Towards the end of the two weeks before our next check we’ll call each other and see what we have between the two of us to make a meal. What a blessing to have such a close friend!
Putting milk/juice back in the original container can have several back lashes.
1. germs/cross contamination
2. back wash contains enzymes from the mouth to break down food. Ever put half eaten food in the fridge and later it is watery. It is because the saliva from your spoon carries the enzymes. Remember the half eaten baby food that you feed from the jar and later it was runny. yuck.
3. just thinking of #2, I wouldn’t want to drink the milk or juice again. Not to mention my guest.
I have 5 children, each had their own color cup & bowl. If they had leftovers they stayed in the cup/bowl and I put it in the fridge for them to eat later.
Food that’s been eaten out of and drinks that have been drunk out of will mold far more quickly. If it’s going to be consumed soon, it would be okay.
A few days ago we had T-bone steaks (a rare treat, but they were on sale). The three of us cut off the meat we wanted from the two steaks, and the bones, fat, and gristle were left on the serving plate. Brainstorm! Leftover steak soup. I put those in the crockpot with plenty of water to cover, and left it on all day. After cooling overnight in the fridge, I skimmed the fat off, pulled out the bones, and cut up the bits of meat that were in there. It made a very dark and rich broth. Then I added onions, carrots, beans I had cooked from dried, then added in some wilted cilantro and a mashed up leftover baked potato. Like stone soup, it was very rich and delicios, and used up several leftovers.
My favorite way to avoid wasting food with seven kids is to have a flock of chickens! I tell everyone I turn my leftovers into eggs! I find creative ways to use up what I can, but most of what can’t be used that doesn’t contain meat can go to our chickens and save on feed costs. It’s nearly impossible to avoid the occasional half-eaten sandwich or cereal spilled on the floor with lots of little ones, so I get to avoid the “mommy-guilt” of wasted food!
A few other favorite ideas:
Chop up leftover apples that are turning brown and add cinnamon sugar–uneaten snacks turn into yummy dessert!
Peel and pop overripe bananas into the freezer. Kids think they’re popsicles, and they’re also great for smoothies or muffins.
I tend to eat last when the family is served, so I avoid taking seconds until I see what the kids have eaten. I encourage them to eat it, but if it’s not eaten up fast, it’s fair game for whoever wants more!
I reward my kids with dessert if they empty a certain number of leftover containers on leftover day. They’ll work together to eat it all to make sure they get their treat, and I avoid little bits of leftovers no one wants.
I had to laugh Tanya. When I eat with the grandkids I more often then not don’t fill my plate or if we go out to eat I order very little because usually I get more then full on the leftovers from the kids. Even when my kids were young I never fixed me a piece of chicken because even though they ate their piece there was always so much left on the bones I would have plenty.
Lol! I can remember when I just had my first two kids and we would go to McDonalds with $5.00. Two happy meals would feed all three of us and the girls could play on the playground–what a treat! Now I have to order plenty for myself because my teenagers and 9yo will be scrounging for everyone’s leftovers. At least they have the dollar menu now!
i’ve done that too jill . esp with the breast’s of chicken .. and some of them are so huge, 2 or 3 people can share 1 ..
Love all these tips…
The chicken are a great help. My neighbour has four of them and they rid me of guilt when there are leftovers.
They also work their way through all the peels of veggies and fruit that I buy at Sunday Market. I come home and peel everything and pop it in clear containers in the fridge. It doesn’t last very long. If I do not peel and prepare the fruit, it stays and rots away and gets tossed (to the chooks). This way, it is eaten within 3 days.
Keep the good tips coming, I enjoy them here in Europe.
One family member has a finicky husband. She doesn’t cook food to his liking, but he complains about everything else, including how things are placed in the refrigerator. He will move things so that the leftovers we’re trying to use up are pushed to the side.
I would put that husband on fridge duty! He would be in charge of cleaning the fridge every-week. Maybe when he sees how much leftovers are being tossed and how much money is being wasted he would change his tune real fast…but that’s just me! :)
I think she’d love to put him on fridge duty–but she’s concerned about what he WOULD throw out.
I suspect she’d rather do it herself or have me do it. I really don’t mind leftovers or a few meatless meals (he has to have meat every day).
I would ban him from the kitchen and the grocery store.
Had to do the banning in the store because I would pick up a generic item which was what I used for years and he would put it back and get the name brand. Or he would pick up stuff we never used because it looked interesting. Then it would sit on the shelf till I made up a box for the food bank.
Now when we go I make sure he has a book and a drink and he sits in the van reading or napping. we get groceries afte he works a full day.
It really is a win win for both of us. He relaxes while I work and then he carries in all the groceries when we get home. I relax for a bit and then put everything away.
He doesn’t really like leftovers but then neither do I so I have to change the meal completely for the next day.
He was also a meat and potatoes guy and the meat had to be fish we caught or beef.
Had his teeth pulled and beef was off the menu for about 6 months until he got used to his new ones.
Now meals are fish and chicken and one day a week approximately beef.
I am not saying go and knock his teeth out tempting as that may be but make changes gradually.
It has taken me 36 years.
LOL, Grandma! That’s about how it works for my parents, too: he stays in the truck with the Cbihuahua. He doesn’t want a book, as he doesn’t read much (only car mags).
I went shopping this past week and one of the stores I went in to had what I think was a good solution and very smart marketing on their part. They had a big screen tv in the center of the store with a couch and chairs where the husbands could sit and watch games or what ever they wanted while their wives shopped.
adult version of the ball rooms for little ones.
Don would hate that. he likes the vehicle so he can sit and smoke and ignore the world of people.
sometimes he has one of the cats for company though.
My family member has the Chihuahua for company.
This is the only place I feel comfortable saying that I have to throw away ALL my Thanksgiving leftovers. First, let me say that the only things my husband sees in the fridge is the things on the door, his kool-aid (sugar-free) and his lunch fixings. Everything else belongs to me. I severely hurt my right shoulder a few days after Thanksgiving and am in a sling with no movement of my right arm. I am typing this with my left hand. All the plans I had for my leftovers – down the drain. Nothing in the fridge has been touched and he has not even thought to ask what to do with it. I am normally very frugal and hate this situation but the pain in my arm prevents much activity. Don’t mean to complain but am feeling very sad after reading all these hints for saving food.We did have a few days when we ate the leftovers before my injury. Thanks everyone for reading my story.
One thing Maggie don’t be too hard on yourself. We push all these frugal ideas and recipes but one thing I push too and that is life happens. You do these things when you can and the best you can then when something happens (like illness, loss of a loved one, divorce) you just do what you can at the moment and don’t stress over it too much.
It’s the same way when I say try to have dinner ready every night or keep your house clean. On a normal day you do that but there are always times like when you have a new baby or are ill you can’t always keep up and that’s ok. Brow beating yourself or your husband and stressing over it doesn’t change the way things are.
Also your husband is being a typical husband. When the normal routine changes he doesn’t have a clue he is suppose to change too so don’t be to hard on him. Yes it would help if he was a little more observant maybe but one thing that happens when we are in pain and our world is upset we get frustrated and angry (this too is normal) and we strike out at those closest to us and those we love the most. Usually we get upset with or blame them because we know they will (or should) love us any way when we are down so they are easy targets.
That all being said try to relax and just do the best you can for the moment. In a few weeks hopefully you will be out of the sling and then you can put these things into practice. Spend the time reading (our blog hopefully) and learning as much as you can then when you are healed you can put it into practice.
One last thing. Biggest thing I learned when I got sick was stress and anger just stalled my healing so except it as best as you can and take it easy so you can heal faster. Oh and be sure to tell hubby what you need. Sometimes our husbands are more then willing to help or take care of us we just aren’t specific in what we need and verbally telling them. We think they should know. Bottom line is (no offense guys) they often just don’t have a clue. : ) : )
completely understand your feelings.
a couple years ago I had ulnar nerve surgery on my right elbow. In a cast for 2 weeks and another 6 in a sling and told not to use my arm for as long as possible after that.
I am right handed and my husband is really not helpless but not co-ordinated for cooking.
We had a lot of frozen entree’s from the freezer like chicken fingers, baked fish, steaks or chicken baked in the oven covered with mushroom soup with potatoes added.
I could open cans because I have a battery operated can opener that only takes one hand. I could get the pan into the oven most times without spilling it but he was always there to get it out, which is harder.
No leftovers it went from the pan to the plate and what was left went into the garbage because I knew the leftovers I could change so he would eat them another night were beyond my cooking skills.
I tried to make the correct amount but when I wasn’t I didn’t care.
Everything possible went into the dish washer and what didn’t fit got put in the sink soaking until I could just wipe it out without having to scour it.
So I guess what I am saying is take care of you until you are better and let the leftovers go to wherever they go when not used.
It is not a big deal in the big picture.
My biggest problem was the guilt of using store bought things when I mostly cooked from scratch.
But heck highliner fish is pretty good and so is kraft dinner in a pinch.
Grandma, Thank you for your kind response. We are eating canned things but I do have meats in the freezer and canned gravy in the pantry that I can use. Other notes you have sent are almost word for word what I would do and thought we must be from the same generation. I am 65 and still working fulltime, now from home, due to my shoulder. I’ll just have to follow the dr’s instructions so I can heal and worry about food and housekeeping another day. My husband wants to get our tree today (how will I decorate it)because he has errands to do tomorrow. It is his job to put on the lights and icicles and I do the main decorations. If we just have lights, it’s fine with me. Merry Christmas to everyone and thanks for being there.
Hi Maggie, I am 56 so close enough. I have been a stay at home mom except just after my first son was born. Don got his lay off notice the day after. So I went back to work really early at the nursing home. I loved it there and when Don would pick me up he brought Raymond in to wait and would show him off to the residents. They loved it because they rarely saw 2 month old babies. I loved it because they told me how beautiful he was. What was not to like about being there.
I would have loved to go to work in my field but health and location were the deciding factors. So I stayed at home and was quite happy until my children grew up and left home.
I have been suffering empty nest syndrome for a number of years. It is getting better but christmas is the worst. My family was never that close so I outdid myself making christmas wonderful and strictly for children. Kind of hard to get 2 56 year olds to change but we are trying.
hope you get a good response from your dr. remember listen to him.
Jill, You are so right. Stress does aggravate the pain. This week seems so long because I am anxious for the dr’s report tomorrow and everything seems worse. I will try to take care of me first and let everything else take a backseat for now. My friend recently had back surgery and her husband brought the clean clothes to her to fold. She was lying on the sofa at that time and he left the room. She called him back and asked him to fold them since she couldn’t. He said “men are dumb as dirt”. If you don’t tell them what to do they will never think of it (for household chores). Guess I’d better start asking. Thank you, Jill.
I believe the advice you gave Maggie is the best I have ever heard. All I can say is “amen” and thank you!
Jill is just so wise. As I’ve said before, I’m polar opposites to most of what’s presented here–a working woman, from New York, liberal, fairly well off and kind of spendthrifty–but the common sense advice and comforting wisdom I get here I cannot find anywhere else. Jill really, really helps me. I don’t know what it is about her, but she puts it so plainly and practically, unlike anyone else.
I agree with you on Jill. I do a lot of the things she does to save money not because of need but because of how I was raised. My mom and dad were raised during the depression so cooking was always serve good meals for as little as possible in price. But most of them were great tasting so they didn’t feel frugal or cheap.
I think what sets Jill apart from the norm, is that she has the nerve to tell people (nicely of course) that what they are doing is costing them a fortune they don’t have and what they can do instead.
MIL’s and mothers tell us but they do it in a condesending manner and we regect it. Jill tells us and we stop and think about it because she is a stranger, and a lot of times people come away with a different attitude.
So Jill continue to do what you do. It helps people even if they don’t do all your suggestions. They can and will save money if they truly want to.
I live in a different country and even if I have to come and ask what an ingredient is or what a store sells a lot of the advice is so generic anyone can adapt it to their situation.
Like you I am in a very comfortable income range even if it is just my husband bringing in a pay cheque. I like to save so we can go out before Christmas and donate to the less fortunate. That is our Christmas present to people in town. It gets us into the spirit of Christmas which is hope, and respect.
On Saturday, my daughter had to work at a funereal lunch at her function hall. they prepared for 200 people and only 30 showed up. she was able to take ziti,meatballs, salad, chicken marsala, sandwich and desert trays to the homeless shelter. How happy they were and how great she felt!, and how nice of her employer to allow — that’s Christmas spirit!
Glad to see that someone is willing to do that.
Some will let their own employees take the food home (which works, if they need it).
Does anyone have a ‘small-cut’ way to deal with a slow shower drain?
You can try pouring baking soda down and then follow with vinegar. If that doesn’t work then take a wire and manually pull out the hair that’s clogging it.
Thanks, Tawra! Did exactly that, and it worked wonders. It did take a few tries, but it works great. Another good reason to keep several boxes of baking soda and several bottles of white vinegar around.
BTW, my mom says she once tried this with lemon juice (the kind that comes in those plastic lemon bottles). Works just as well.
If you have a vacume cleaner with a blower put the hose on blow and wrap a towel around the hose and drain to stop it blowing into the air.
run it for about 20 seconds. add water and then if it is still slow do it again.
Mr. Plumber that drain cleaner is basically doing the same thing for a lot more money.
I do this about once a month in my kitchen drain and it has worked for my mother for many years.
To make it even better my husband laughed at me when I told him how I clean drains.
So I proved it to him. That was such a sweet success and now he unclogs drains for me without the powerful chemicals which rot the pipes sooner than they should rot.
My son hates bread crust. We used to fight & fight about him not eating it. Now we don’t. I slice the crust off, dice them up and throw them in a bag. When I have enough crust cubes, I make croutons out of them. The really funny thing is my son LOVES croutons.
Brenda a wise parent picks their battles carefully. You are a wise parent. : )
i use dryer sheets. as soon as i bring them home, i cut them in half & place back into the box & use half a sheet with each load.
Why would you throw away the half eaten food or drink? Save it for that same child later as a snack.
Hi, I’m working on not over eating but eating only one average plateful per meal. That and not always eating a full week of the expensive foods but spacing them out between the less expensive ones will save $. My husband won’t eat the heal of the bread so I cut them up and freeze them for making poultry stuffing or eat them myself. I’m also labeling the leftovers in the fridge and dating them and trying to not forget about them. Occasionally the raccoon that comes to the porch in the night for our cats food and the neighbors chickens get the foods that were neglected. Rebecca-practicing better habits in Montana
As one author put it, it is a good time for me to start that diet I keep promising myself I’d go on. 8-)
I clean our church and I am always amazed at the things people leave behind and throw out…it’s incredible!We have pot luck dinners and I can’t believe the waste sometimes. I pick up kid’s bottles of those koolaid drinks and dump them out unwillingly…most of them only have a swallow or two out of them! I’ve thrown out slow cookers half full of food because people forget to take their slow cookers home and leave them out overnight! I have found half eaten cookies smashed into the carpet and dumped in wastebaskets…not only is it wasteful it draws mice. Yet if I mention these things to people (trying to be nice but get my point across) people look at me like I’ve just turned green. Yes it takes a bit more effort to pick up these things and I know they’ve been working all day and need to get the kids home, but I find it hard to be sympathetic when these same people complain about the high price of groceries. I admit I don’t always do as well as I know but I think I do try harder!
When I notice a lot of half-bags-of-whatever and leftovers I have a ‘snack buffet’ lunch. Pull it all out, set up a buffet at the table & make a fun plate. I usually let the kids watch tv while eating too (not the norm so it’s extra special). Works great & really clears out all those little leftovers. Hope that helps somebody :)
Christy I did something very similar when my girls were young. I had a round dish that was for chips and dip. But the there were 5 separate dishes the middle and 4 that went round it. What I did was take something like 1 left over egg or 2 and make them into devilled eggs, and slice celery and carrot sticks and they would go in another dish, and some left over fruit cut up in another dish crackers and spread in still another dish ( the spread would be small amount of meat or cheese mashed up with a little mayo, and pickle juice). Anyway I would have something in each dish, not much just left overs, and it would be brought out afterschool and set on the table. The girls were always hungry then and they would have their snack ( sometimes they had a freind with them). But I knew what they were eating, and rarely was there any cookies or cakes on that tray, but they looked forward to the “party tray”. We had supper late when their Dad got home from work, so this tided them over and they loved it.
Also they felt special, because their friends were impressed with all the work we went to for party food, just because they got out of school and came home!!!! LOL, The best days were when I had some pop corn to boot for them. Having one very picky small eater, this not only helped the budget, but got her to eat a greater variety of foods.
With my kids, if they didn’t finish something at a meal, then their plate got covered, and refirgerated and if they wanted a snack later, that was their snack. We didn’t have issues over their eating habits, just occasionally someone didn’t feel terribly hungry.
Afternoon snack time had a window of about 30 minutes. (And I don’t buy typical American snack foods — snacks are fruit, bread/butter, cheese, peanut butter, so their eating was really hunger-based). This insured they’d be hungry by dinner.
With my oldest, he never liked crust on his sandwiches. So I cut the crust off the bread and kept in the freezer for bread crumb casserole topping.
I think it has also helped that I never loaded up their plates. I
gave them small amounts, then if they were still hungry, they could have more. And for leftovers, we still have leftover night once a week. Sometimes it’s s’morgasbord style, where everyone gets to choose a bit of everything. Sometimes it’s very interesting soup.
As you can tell, I really don’t like waste, and have worked hard to prevent it in our house.
I am being very diligent in using leftovers and working on portion control so that food does not get wasted. I am bringing leftovers to work and doing all I can NOT to waste!!!!
I am not afraid to return unopened (non-food) items to the store. For example, my husband just serviced the lawn tractor. We purchased oil, not knowing how much we’d need. We ended up with 2 extra qts. thst we never opened. We will now return them (they probably won’t be good for the next service) for about $11 back. I did the same thing with a wallet I’d received as a gift but knew I wouldn’t use. I ended up getting something like $27 back that I could spend on things I would use. Another thing is just taking the time to ask for a price adjustment. We bought a playhouse for the kids after much research on the best price, free Shipping, etc. 2 Weeks later the same store had it on sale for $30 less! It was outside the time frame when they would normally adjust price but I nicely asked anyway. Guess what? They said yes! These are just a few examples but they add up to about $70 saved…
We agree Leslie. We always say it doesn’t hurt to ask. Even though we ask for price adjustments on almost every thing my grandson had a new one on me that I had never tried. He had read on the internet that if you ask at a gas station or a convenience store -especially like one on a highway (we were headed to Colorado) – if they have any out dated cans or bottles of pop for sell they will sometimes sell them to you reduced. He got a 20 oz. bottle of Coke for $.30.
What I was most impressed with was the fact he had asked 2 other places and they said no but he still kept asking. Many adults wouldn’t have the courage to do that and he is a 14 year old. I guess he is a chip off the old block. : )
We are rebuilding our garage and bought the wood for it here in town but went to the city to get the roofing felt and rolled shingles. Way less money for those items.
Well Don bought nails for the nail gun and when he got into the van he checked the receipt and they had over charged him $12. so he asked was it worth it and since I was reading a mystery book I said yes. He went into home depot and was gone for about 20 min. so I was going to go get him and tell him forget it it’s only $12.
He came out and smiled saying the policy is if we over charge you you get back double. So they had messed up on something else so he ended up getting back $97. on the visa card.
I like that policy and we will shop there for other things now.
So even if it is a small amount it is worth it to take it back. I say a small amount or only $12 because we had just spent $900 on the things we needed on top of the money for the lumber.
I’m looking for a plum sauce recipe I read this past week that didn’t contain plums. I was sure I had saved it and can’t find anything on it. Does anyone know the one I’m looking for?
This is my small cut that I’d like to use. Rather than have to pay a huge price at the store for a small bottle of sauce ( dh, loves it and the one I got is a pale yellow colour, not the red that seems to be the colour of the ones I read to make on line).
I just can’t remember where I read it ( thought it might be here). I have been making a fair number of stir frys and rice dishes that dh loves the sauce with. He also loves it on meatloaf, porkloin (roasted and sliced), and I made a curry with rice, peas, and a few shrimp and he put it on that and it was delish!
Tommie in Abilene, TX
A tip: leftover, cooked spaghetti is great to chop up and add to soups—-especially minestrone types. I always seem to cook too much. Now I chop and freeze– tastes great and saves money. Tommie
My daughter and I started making homemade drier sheets. Use dawn and water and then get spounges from $ store throw them in, take them out and squeeze and throw in drier,. Works awesome.
At my house, old heels, crusts and bits of bread are usually saved on the counter in an open bowl, and allowed to air dry until quite hard. Then I crush them with a rolling pin, or grind them in the blender. The crumbs are stored in an air tight container in the freezer, to be used to coat meat, or make dressing. I also make a sweet bread pudding and serve it warm for dessert or breakfast. Any leftover food that isn’t frozen for another day, or eaten up soon after the main meal, is usually served up to our dogs. They are scraps indeed and must be inedible or so small as to be of no benefit for another meal. Bones from meat and fat are also given to them, to help supplement their inexpensive, no name brand of dry dog food. I always laugh, because whenever I have had to take a dog to the vet for anything, I am congratulated on how healthy my dog appears to be, and then I am asked what I feed them. I say, “Bones, table scraps, and cheap dog food.” Too, late!!!They are horrified (all the things the vet preaches against), but they have already admitted that the dog is healthy and robust. I love to see the look of horror on their faces. If you don’t have a dog or chickens or pigs to feed your genuine waste or scraps to, consider having a compost heap, and add your food scraps to that. It isn’t as good as eating everything up, but it is better than just putting it in the trash to be hauled away. The finished compost can be added to flower beds or gardens to enrich plant growth.
Was telling my daughter the other day I find it so amusing how when I was young dogs were always feed people food and a few years before that there was no such thing as dog food they only got scraps. Then they came out with dog food which everyone said you had to feed dogs because people food was bad for them. Recently I was watching the dog food commercials and laughing thinking am I the only one who has noticed that the food they say your dog must have now is exactly like people food. Duhhh. I am so glad I don’t follow the latest fad foods for me or my pets. I would be so stressed out.
Apples: I suppose I am guilty of this, but, I adore my Cavies and rabbits. My cavies are an incognito meat supply, and my rabbits are. So, um, it goes directly to them. I have an apple corer and slicer, and if you toss apple slices with some citric acid, you can dole out 1-3 slices which aren’t brown at a time and even less is wasted. Thanks for the tip, and I suppose it really is a waste to spend that much feeding my rabbit buddies.
If you don’t have citric acid on hand or lemon juice I always use salt in my water to keep apples from turning brown. It works just as well plus it is cheaper and I find sometimes lemon juice will leave a slight coating and flavor.
Love these suggestions, it all makes so much sense and just need to actually think about what I am doing
I loved this article. I have two kids and starting to give less juice or milk in a cup. I just poured two cups with 1/ 4 juice down the drain. Lol every day really adds up
It does really add up after awhile doesn’t it Lacie. Good job.