This post is part one of a four-part series by SD Guy, the blogger behind Stretchydollar.com, a blog that focuses on the basics of personal finance and is geared towards those who don’t have much experience.
Family gatherings happen frequently at my grandparents’ house. My grandpa loves to host, and makes a big deal out of every meal whether there are two or 20 of us. My grandma is a great cook, and we’ve enjoyed many great meals there. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and many birthdays have been happily celebrated around their dining room table. My grandpa is famous for making sure that every last morsel of food gets eaten. He lives by the motto ‘waste not, want not’ and will often abandon his own meal and carry dishes of food around making sure we’ve all had our fill. His catch phrase is “ya wanna kill that?”
While it’s funny to watch my Grandpa push the food around and we’re always ensured of a full meal every time we visit their house, there is a valuable lesson that I’ve taken from my Grandpa’s habit.
Clean Your Plate!
It’s a simple idea, and one you’ve been hearing from your mother since the age of three, but it’s still true! If you’re throwing away food after meals, you’re basically throwing away cash. Correctly sizing your portions, only purchasing what you know you’ll eat, and saving leftover food will greatly expand your food budget. It takes a bit of practice (and some extra Tupperware containers) but learning to moderate your eating habits. You won’t need to purchase as much food, and any leftovers can conveniently become lunch for the next day.
Don’t Buy More Than You Need
With all the different advertising tricks grocery stores are using these days, it’s easy to get sucked into buying more food than you really need. If you spot a “Buy 3 for $5” deal for a product that is usually $4, you can get the same discount, even if you buy only one. There are quite a few food items my grandparents don’t buy unless they are having a party. Even then, my grandpa counts and recounts to ensure that he knows how many people are coming and plans accordingly.
If there are any leftovers after the meal, my grandpa packages them up on paper plates with tin foil and distributes them to everyone as they leave. He knows that he and my Grandma won’t eat it, so he wants to make sure that someone enjoys the food.
If you only buy what you need, you can store food much more effectively. Knowing when food will expire and how much you have left of certain necessities will make meal preparation easier, and will also make it easier on you when you shop.
The Point: Moderating your food purchasing to just things you’ll use will help you plan and prepare meals, store your food, and manage your expenses quite a bit easier.
This post is part of the “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without“ Series
- Part 1 – Bible Money Matters – “Use It Up”
- Part 2 – The Dough Roller – “Wear It Out”
- Part 3 – Pecuniarities – “Make It Do”
- Part 4 – StretchyDollar – “or Do Without”
Thank you for reading!
This is very good advice. We like to have food storage, however, just in case. But we are careful to check expiration dates, and to buy food that we regularly eat. That way we have an emergency stash (especially useful in the event of a natural disaster or financial disaster), but it’s stuff we rotate through eventually, so it doesn’t go bad.
Thanks for hosting the guest post and for everything else! :)
Jeff@StretchyDollars last blog post..Or Do Without – The Frugal Family
My pleasure, great set of posts! I wish more people had this mentality!
Corporate Barbarian says
We’ve gotten into a nice groove of only buying the stuff we normally eat, so there isn’t much wasted. Sticking to a shopping list and planning out meals ahead of time also helps. Rotating your stored foods so they don’t expire is a good tip. Nice post.
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