Waste Not, Want Not

Sometimes those old sayings are based on a very wise sentiment. This morning on Yahoo, I found this little statistic:

“Prepare for shock and awe (and national embarrassment): According to government sources, roughly 25% of the food Americans buy goes to waste. That’s about one pound of food, per American, per day — thrown in the trash. Sadly we’ve crossed the line from Land of Plenty to Land of Waste.” http://green.yahoo.com/blog/daily_green_cheapskate/5/learn-to-cut-your-food-bill-25.html

Wow. I didn’t know there were official numbers and that they were so big. It illustrates so well the “cottage mentality” of our grandmothers – simply use what you have and you will start living well on less!

This article looked only at food, but there are many little ways to use what you have and save money while you’re doing it:

1. Those old t-shirts you are going to throw away or give away? Tear them up and use them for rags. Put a little bucket if them in different parts of the house and throw them in the washer when you’re done. Watch your paper towel usage drop.

2. Cut items in half, like sponges and dryer sheets (if you use these) and they last twice as long = save money and buy less for the landfill.

3. Use cloth napkins. Use a different napkin ring for each family member and reuse them for a couple of meals, then throw them in the washer.

4. And of course – food: eat your leftovers for lunches, creatively remake them into another meal (one of our favorite ways to use up rice is to make Parmesan Rice Cakes – yummy), and buy only what your family will eat for a 1 to 2 week period.

Let me know if you have any great tips!






  1. says

    Great tips! We’ve been doing variations of these things for years, before frugality became a necessity for so many people. I just hate the thought of waste and never throw anything away before trying to think of another use for it.

    And I’d love the recipe for the Parmesan Cheese Cakes if you’d like to share.

  2. jeanne says

    Thanks for all the inspiration. For 19 years I have been pretty much a cook from scratch kind of wife/ mother. There would be periods where convience foods and household products slowly snuck in to our daily life. Then we had a full year of unemployment and really buckled down — line drying, homemade soap, fabric softener, homemade hand soap, rags in the kitchen. Everything made from scratch, everything used up, etc. My dh has been employeed for 4 months now and I have been spending needless $ just because I can. THanks for the inspiration to get back in the thrifty/ furgal groove.

  3. says

    Jeanne- wow, sounds like you could inspire me with a few things, too! I’m glad to know your family is employed again, and good for you for making it through – we all hope we don’t have to use these frugal skills for that. :-)

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