Waste Not Want Not

by Merissa on October 6, 2010

in Uncategorized

As we "Fall into Savings" this fall I thought it would be appropriate to make a post about not wasting food. If you remember back I made a resolution this fall to take any free produce that was offered to me, and use it. I've been trying to put that rule to good practice. Taking free apples and making applesauce, taking free tomatoes and making a whole bunch of various canned tomato products.
  Remember that 9 pounds of onions I bought a few weeks back? Well today I peeled them all and stuck them in my dehydrator. $3 for a whole lot of dried onions(which I use ALOT) seemed like a good deal to me!

  What about leftovers? What do you do with your leftovers at the end of a meal. Do you eat them again another day? Do you turn them into a different meal altogether? Or do you throw them out? I knew a family when I was growing up that would never eat any kind of leftovers. They threw them out after every meal. I was shocked when I found this out, even though I was young. My mom would save all the leftovers from the week and we would have one night a week to eat them up(and we ate leftovers for lunch the next day). I just couldn't imagine throwing them out! At my house we try not to let any food go to waste. I try to clean out the fridge often so I know what's in there and what we need to eat up. And when I find something I can throw into another meal, like the hamburger I had browned for tacos usually ends up as the meat in my lasagna, I will use it.

   We don't have alot so when I do spend money on food I feel like it needs to be used and not carelessly thrown away after being in the fridge for a few weeks until it's grown mold the size of Texas(and I'm speaking from experience here) We aren't perfect when it comes to eating up every little thing but I feel better about us not eating it when I give something that was not good or on the edge of being bad to the outside animals or to the chickens. At least someone is eating it right?

  I think as couponers we have even more of a tendency to waste food than someone who just bargain shops. We get alot of items for free and when it comes to deciding whether or not to throw it out we often think about how much we paid for it. If we remember that we paid nothing, or even made money off it we may feel less guilty about throwing it out.

  I think that's our challenge and something we just need to be aware of. Did you know that Americans throw away almost 40% of the food they buy? My new food budget is $100 a month so that would be like tossing $40 of that into the garbage truck when it rolls by in the morning. And if I did that every month thats $480 I'm throwing in that garbage truck. Compared to my meager food budget that's alot! More than I can afford to just be tossing in a trash bag.

  I want to challange my readers to look at how much food they are buying each month and how much of it is going to waste. Can we cut back on these wastes? Maybe you are buying too many groceries to begin with and you need to cut back on your food budget if you are wasting food. Then you can use the extra money that was part of your food budget to do something constructive like pay down bills or buy something for your home that you need. Anyway you look at it, it's great to be putting the money towards something you need, instead of into the garbage truck.

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9:30 pm

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Valerie October 6, 2010 at 9:58 pm

I read an article like this a couple years ago about how much food we waste, then I decided to keep track of what we threw away. Which wasn't as bad as 40% since my hubby has been taking leftovers to work as lunch since we have been married.

But I did notice that we would throw away a good portion of the fresh produce. I think part of the problem is the amount that supermarkets sell items in, like the smallest bag of potatoes is 5lbs. 5lbs of potatoes is a good 3-4 meals for us, and let's be honest who really wants to eat potatoes 4 times in one week! Farmers markets have helped buy smaller portions during their open season but any ideas on how to work with that in the winter?

Not just potatoes… celery, carrots, anything that comes in those big bags!

And btw, thank you for taking the time to keep this blog, I saw the post about negative people =( I agree with other readers and I think they are just jealous!


2 Merissa October 6, 2010 at 10:04 pm

I agree, companies that sell the produce in the store should learn portion control, lol. I don't usually have a problem with using up potatoes. I store them in a cool place so they last a loooong time and if they do get rubbery I grate them up and make hashbrowns.

With other produce that I buy I only get around a pound, depending on what it is. And occasionally when I've gotten too much of something, like fruit, I just stick it in the freezer.

Not sure what you can do with carrots and celery. I'm allergic to carrots and I don't like celery so I never buy those!

I guess an idea is that you could split a bag of celery or carrots or something of the sort with a neighbor or friend. That way you both still get the fresh produce but you know you don't have too much.


3 cristina November 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm

you can cut carots and celery in small pices, and frize them, I use them for vegetable soups later


4 Valerie October 7, 2010 at 2:16 am

Haha yea the fruit was easy, I just started buying less. Perhaps finding a better place to store my potatoes may help.. I'll have to google that =)


5 Merissa October 7, 2010 at 2:41 am

Well, I don't have a basement in my house, just a crawlspace. So I asked my hubby if he would make me a special platform down there to put potatoes and winter squash one. That's what we came up with!


6 Cayci March 24, 2014 at 8:27 pm

It’s just my husband and me in our home and we aren’t great at eating leftovers but the best thing I’ve found to do is just cook less! However that’s a really hard thing to do because I always fear that we may be hungry afterwards, I think it’s a bit irrational because we would be just fine and if we are hungry we can just eat a salad along with the meal.

Per buying more than is necessary at the store, why not can it or freeze it? Save money, buy in bulk, and then can and freeze your goodies to use up later. I feel like that works.

Another tip is when canning, can in pint jars if it’s just two people and a quart for 3 or more.


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