Some people seem to have a problem finding ways to save. I however, am not one of them. Having spent a lot of time growing up with grandparents who lived through The Great Depression, and having parents who were masters of the “renew, reuse, recycle” mantra before it became en vogue, I have a natural knack for finding ways to maximize savings and minimize waste.
It’s not always a matter of saving money though that leads me to do such things. Sometimes it’s just a dislike of seeing things go to waste that pushes me to look for new ways to renew and reuse.
When it comes to leftovers, we don’t just eat them, we maximize them through extending them with cheap fillers. Using things like potatoes, onions, carrots (when on sale), rice, pastas, and similar low cost items or foods that might be on sale at the moment, and mixing them in or together with leftovers or higher priced items (like certain meats), we can stretch what might make one meal for many families into multiple meals for ours.
Stockpile Food…Especially Deals
For people who lived through The Great Depression, stockpiling food might have come in the form of drying or canning various homegrown foods and storing them in their root cellar. For our family, it consists of filling our pantry with various items that are canned, dried or packaged for us, but the result is largely the same. By preparing these items in advance or buying when on sale for the long term, we can ensure that we not only have a proper food stock on hand, but we can avoid having to buy when prices may be temporarily inflated or items aren’t on sale or in season.
No, we don’t Dumpster dive for food. However, we have made use of the option when it comes to various other items. From bookshelves, cabinetry, and chairs, to holiday decorations and outdoor toys, we have picked up a variety of useful items that are in quite good condition. In some instances, such reuse has not only provided home furnishings but has made us some money when we decide to sell these items in a garage sale.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against buying a container of salt at the store for 40 cents or so. It’s not like that’s going to break the family budget. More than anything, it comes down to a question of waste. I just don’t like throwing away an empty pretzel bag, the bottom of which is full of perfectly good salt. Therefore, lately I’ve been saving the salt remnants in a small plastic container. I find that it comes in handy for cooking – just throwing in a pinch when needed – putting it on baked potatoes, and yes, coming full circle when we make those big soft pretzels with my mother (she’s a great cook!).
Saving Bacon Grease
Some people might look at leftover bacon grease as the messy aftermath of a delicious breakfast. I look at it as a delicious opportunity.
I’ve used bacon grease to grease pans (rather than cooking grease, butter or oil) for making things like fried rice, eggs and omelets, fried biscuits, and a variety of other items. It may not be the healthiest option out there, but it can add some extra flavor to whatever I’m cooking, keeps waste and costs down, and we don’t use it all the time.
Reuse Tea Bags
While we’re not like those people you might see on those crazed cheapskate shows on television who use their tea bags like eight times, we typically use our tea bags more than once. I find that we can often get two good uses out of a single teabag, and maybe a third use if we combine two previously used teabags, cutting our costs in this area at least in half.
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The author is not a licensed financial, nutritional, dietary or medical professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or health advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.