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Cooking is one of my favorite ways to execute a frugal lifestyle. Home cooked meals can save a household hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year. However, one caution is to make sure everything you purchase is actually turned into a meal, and that entire meal is consumed. When packages expire and are tossed into the garbage or leftovers go bad, it is the equivalent of tossing money into the trash.
This is a principal I know, and one I preach to my kids. And yet, after the weekly trip to Trader Joe's this week I could not help but notice the pantry doors bulging. And so when my kids wanted to play "clean the cabinet" (yes, I am lucky in many ways), I followed their lead. As they pulled out boxes and bags, I set certain ones aside for immediate use this weekend. A meal for the table or freezer will occur in the next 48 hours. As a result, the cabinet is much cleaner, allowing me to note its contents. That makes meal planning a bit easier, and prevents me from purchasing duplicates. Thanks to my kids digging, I now know that I do not need to purchase canned cat food or maple syrup for a long time -- way too many back-ups were found.
And so I am resisting squirrel like behavior to store away endless amounts of food. For the next seven to ten days that plan is to turn as much of the food in my fridge, fridge freezer, and pantry into a breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. The chest freezer in the garage is off limits as it serves as the storage place for the local farmers' market buys slatted for winter consumption.
So, if you have tips for using any of the following, I'd love some suggestions. Variety is wonderful:
- animal crackers; and
- almond smooth non-dairy beverage (a Trader Joe's impulse buy).
Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.