This summer we are trying to have fun without breaking the bank. Yes, we added a line for the summer for Summer Fun, but $150 doesn’t get that far. Just one day at the amusement park can rake you that very amount. One way we are hoping to come up with new money is by preventing food waste, eating from our pantry in particular.
If you look back at the last few months of my budget posts, that I was allotting $350 for my groceries and I have been actually using about $150-$200 less than this each month. Well I have been doing great on saving money on actual groceries. But I haven’t been able to actually put this money aside for this occasion. In May, it was because we were taking many trips to the hospital and having to eat out more than normal. Last month, it was for car repairs. I am hoping that I can save the money this month to offset some of the planned activities at the beginning of August. We get our daughter for two weeks during that time. And we typically do mini stay-cations, where we go somewhere for the day and be back to sleep in our beds at night.
Now this isn’t a sustainable way to consistently save money, we will eventually run out of most of our pantry. And we will be most likely back up to the $350/month on groceries. But for now it has saved us on going way off budget and helped us avoid food waste.
Here are my ways I have been able to avoid food waste.
- Cook From Your Pantry. If you already have a full pantry, look at all you already have and base a menu off that.
- Organize Your Food. Put food away so that you can see it easily. If it is not easily accessible, it might not ever get eaten. Also pay attention to expiration dates, putting the food expiring the soonest in front so it will get used first. This is a given, but still has to be said.
- Keep A List of What You Have. Having this list is good for two reasons. You will know what you already have and actually use it. And you will not buy something you already have.
- Left-overs Have To Be Eaten. This is pretty easy for us, since most of us are home every day, so it usually gets eaten up for lunch. But this could help you out one night a week by not having to cook.
I would say I can keep eating from my pantry till beginning to mid August maybe even end of August. But I am not really worried about that, I am pretty decent at using coupons and finding the best deals locally. I could probably fill the pantry up again in three months. If this does happen, I might be able to do this “purge” twice a year and the next time it could all go to debt!