Frugal Idea #5

Keep it real! This entry is dedicated to keeping it real….with yourself.  Let us take a moment to pay attention to our eating habits. Focus on what you are throwing away, what goes bad in your fridge, and what expires in your cabinets. Why did you buy it? Was it on sale and a deal too good to pass? You had to buy ten of those… just in case, right? Keep it Real: Buy what you need and buy what you know you will eat.

We are encouraged to buy loaves of breads on sale (and freeze them), buy heads of lettuces instead of instant salads, buy in bulk, etc to SAVE SAVE SAVE. But what does a single man in a small apartment with limited space do?  It was not working out for me. I found myself stricken with guilt as I took trash out half full of food gone bad.  Here are some habits I have done to keep it real for my lifestyle.

  • I buy pre-washed baggage lettuce. I use it for sandwiches and salads. I have limited amount of time and washing a head of lettuce takes time and is typically too much for me to eat before it turns a lighter shade of brown in a day or two.  
  • I buy individual packages of cheese sticks. Block cheese may be cheaper, but block cheese with a hint of mold is not a nice way to cut the cheese.
  • I buy large pieces of meat when on sale. I cut it in half or thirds and individually wrap them in saran wrap into 2 servings and freeze them right away.
  • I am not a huge milk drinker, but I do like it in my morning coffee. I always bought half gallons just in case I wanted that random bowl of cereal, but I found myself pouring out half or a fourth of it away in a week or so. I now buy a small container of milk for $1.00 at the local liquor store. No waste.
  • I like the occasional junk food like French Fries, so I buy frozen French Fries that I can bake in 15 minutes to kill the urge of fast food. I also enjoy making 3-4 patties from a pound of ground beef I grab at Trader Joes.  Homemade burgers.
  • I love ethnic foods, but it is pricey to order from the local restaurants, so I rotate my cravings by having available foods from my favorite cuisines. For example, I have frozen Naan from Trader Joe’s and frozen Saag Paneer.  When I crave Indian, I heat those up and my craving goes away. $20 vs. $8 or so makes it worth it! I also have Instant Miso soup packages, Tempura flakes, and Teriyaki sauce in case I want to whip up a Japanese inspired meal.  Whatever your favorite cuisine may be, have an alternate way to make it at home.
  • I love fruit, but it goes bad fast, so I avoid whole Pineapples, Melons, and large fruits. I now buy pre-cut fruits because I will eat it. I make up the cost by buying smaller fruits in season & on sale – apples, oranges, berries, etc.

Take a look into your fridge, cabinets, drawers, freezers, and office desks. Stop buying what you never open, never finish. Invest in foods that you will love and enjoy….alone or to share with someone special. 

 

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