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Money Leaks: Spoiling Food

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Here’s a scary statistic from 2008 – we waste about a pound of food per person per day. Certainly not all of that is traced back to a person actually tossing out a pound of food, much of it is attributed to grocery stores and restaurants, but we all know the feeling of discovering moldy food in the back corner of our refrigerators. It’s a classic case of a money leak… fortunately we discovered one solution that has worked for us.

This is the latest edition of our new series called Money Leaks.

The best thing we’ve done to combat spoiling food is using a leftover calendar. We write down what we put into our fridge on the calendar, then we use it to help us decide what we’re going to eat. As items are consumed, we cross them off the calendar. This leaves us with essentially a list of all the leftovers in our fridge, which means we don’t need to waste electricity rooting around in the back looking for something that might not even be there.

When we implemented the calendar, it drastically cut down how much food we were throwing out. While we do discover the occasional “bag of cheese” we forgot about (things like that don’t make the calendar), we haven’t discarded anything substantial in terms of food in a long time.

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13 Responses to “Money Leaks: Spoiling Food”

  1. echidnina says:

    A leftovers calendar – what a great idea! I haven’t heard of that before. The SO & I always end up chucking out our leftovers. It really pains me, but we always forget about them. It was easier in my single days, when I could just raid the fridge for what was there whenever I was hungry. These days, the two of us have more planned meals, so we don’t remember to eat the leftovers.

    • Strebkr says:

      If you have leftovers then you made too much food. You should adjust your planned meals. We plan for each dinner to get 4 meals out of it. Two for dinner, two for our packed lunches the next day. There just simply isn’t any left overs beyond that for us.

      Just a suggestion!

  2. Dave says:

    My solution to solving the “spoiling food” money leak is to just eat more and minimize leftovers. This has unfortunately impacted my waitline, so I now have an indirect money leak in the form of my gym membership (which I actually use, so at least I’m not leaking twice).

  3. Wilma says:

    I started taking left overs into work. There are a few single guys who love just about anything. I feel better that it isn’t wasted and they feel better cause they won’t be eating out of the machines.

  4. We desperately need a leftover calendar. We are always throwing out spoiled food, and it’s just 2 of us, so we throw out quite a bit.

  5. threadbndr says:

    I specify meals on the busy nights of the week (choir practice, class) that are just for using up leftovers. I also freeze extra servings and take leftovers to work for lunch sometimes.

    I like the idea of an inventory though. I’m pretty good about scouting the fridge (though I’ll admit to the cheese fail recently myself), but I forget what’s in the freezer. For good food safety, even frozen food needs to be rotated and used up in a timely manner.

  6. Shirley says:

    On unexpectedly busy days when the crockpot has not been set up, we do have “catch as catch can” dinners where everyone fends for themselves. I usually just put out any leftovers on the counter and each person chooses and warms up whatever they want. Those meals may not be very well balanced, but they are nutritious and do wonders for frig-clutter. ;-)

    • tbork84 says:

      My solution is very similar. I know there will be one night a week when I am not in the mood to cook and just scavenge through the fridge for leftovers to heat up or re-purpose.


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