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Wasteful Frugalist?

February 4th, 2007 at 11:58 am

I know that I'm frugal, but lately I've been noticing how much I actually waste, too. Take for instance my refridgerator. When I clean it out, I end up throwing out a lot of food that I bought but never ate, cooked or finished. My dogs are in hog heaven, literally, as they get to eat just about anything that comes out of the fridge. I mean well when I purchase the food. It just seems like my eyes are bigger than my stomach, or that I just don't get around to doing what I wanted to do with the food I buy. Living alone, I only have myself to blame.

This is not the only area where I waste. I've been cleaning out my closet, finding clothes I hardly wear and others that still have tags on them. I'm not much of a clothes hound, as I hate shopping. Seems I have an idea of what I want to do with a piece when I buy it, just (again) never get around to using it. Either it has to be ironed and I don't have time or it doesn't work with what I wanted to do with it (like complete an outfit).

The list goes on: books I collect but never read, junk mail that should be recycled as soon as it comes in the door, my mom's furniture that is just taking up space in my house as I ponder what do to with it, crafts that I start and never finish. Maybe it has to do with being a procrastinator? My intentions are always good, but making it to finishing the actual initial concept is what is most difficult.

Being wasteful costs me money, so how can I be frugal if I waste so much? Saving $$ doesn't seem to be much of a problem, but how much more could I save if I didn't spend money on things that go unused? Now that I'm more aware of this waste, will I cut back on buying things I won't use or bringing things into my house that take up space and make everything feel cluttered? Stay tuned...we'll see. Smile

18 Responses to “Wasteful Frugalist?”

  1. boomeyers Says:

    Good luck! It sounds like you know exactly what you need to do.... now you just have to put it into action! Maybe sticking to a grocery list would help, with an allowance for one or two extras?

  2. Ima saver Says:

    Good luck. When i was single, I just did not feel like cooking for just one, so I didn't.

  3. tinapbeana Says:

    ack, this is me!!! part of it's procrastination, but for me at least the procrastination comes from a need for perfection. weird, but true. if a project wasn't coming out exactly like i wanted, or the outfit didn't turn out exactly like i'd expected, i'd shove it out of the way and get started on something better.

    menu planning will help you get around this when it comes to groceries. i make myself take back clothes that don't "work" by the next weekend, otherwise they languish. if i'm looking for something to go with a specific piece, i wear it when i go shopping so i can make sure i find something that'll work the first time.

    as for the projects... well, i'm still working on that one Frown good luck!

  4. chocolate-brownies Says:

    That's me, too! I've been trying to buy only what I believe I'll be able to eat. I keep a mental note of what I have, and try to use what I have or freeze it before it spoils. Even so, I see that I throw away quite a lot of food, and feel bad about it. The same (though not so much) with clothes. I was looking for a sweater the other day, and found a blouse I didn't remember I had!

  5. JanH Says:

    I'm in the club. Like tina, part of my problem is perfectionism. I've found that if I concentrate on one problem area at a time and take a good while working on it (like a week or so, one thing at a time), I can focus and get that more under control. Also, I have to buy in small quantities. With food and toiletries, I have to use up as much as I can before getting more or I totally forget it is there. Same with clothes. I see some inexpensive things and I want them, not realizing I don't wear half of what I have. I forget I have them. Same with books and projects. I think we have many interests and our brains are actively moving everywhere. Proscrastinating is a big problem for me and focusing. I am working on it, but I have a long way to go. We'll have to encourage each other!

  6. living_in_oz Says:

    Sounds like me(blushing and hanging my head)....

  7. KEALINA Says:

    that's ok... i'm sure we all have our moments... i love projects and while i can finish them i find it difficult to move on right after i've finished them... i don't know what to do will all the extra stuff i gathered for my project and i'm not sure what i want to do next... argh... so the "extras" languish and get forgotten until i clean them out..

  8. disneysteve Says:

    We're the same way. Just this week, I started a new system. I have a magnetic note pad on the fridge. Whenever we put leftovers in, I wrote it on the list so that at a glance, we could tell what was waiting to be used up. For example, 2 nites ago I made a big batch of grilled veggies for a pasta casserole. The extra veggies are in the fridge and I'm about to warm them up and make a grilled veggie wrap for dinner. Without the note on the door, I probably wouldn't have thought of them (until it was time to trash them).

    I don't buy many clothes, though my wife definitely has stuff in her closet with the tags still on. She's even given away stuff that still had the tags. Need to work on that.

  9. daylily Says:

    I have the problem of buying more fresh food than is needed and then end up wasting it. I have recently started to improve in this area. Just yesterday I was at the store. Normally I would buy five or six bananas and by the end of the week at least two of them would be bad. Yesterday, I limited myself to only buying three bananas. If it turns out that I need more I'll go back and buy more.

  10. disneysteve Says:

    Another thing that has helped cut food waste for us is freezing things as soon as we get them, particularly bread products. We buy whole wheat sandwich rolls and dinner rolls. Both come in bags of 6. Invariably, if we left them out, 2 would be green and fuzzy before we got to eat them. So I started slicing and freezing them as soon as I get home from the store. A quick zap in the microwave and they are fine. And none go to waste this way.

  11. Cheetahwoman7 Says:

    I freeze a lot of stuff...like breads and meats. Hate to say it, but much of it gets freezer burn before I ever get to it. Frown I also have the same problem that daylily has...buying fresh and having it go to waste before I can eat or cook it. My biggest "wastes", besides the freezer faire, are veggies/salads and lunch meat. Lunch meat, well, it doesn't freeze well and I can't peel off a couple of slices once it's frozen, so I can make a sandwich out of it. Guess I get tired of having the same type of lunch meat over and over. I buy small amounts of lunch meat, generally the 6 oz size. Dunno, really going to have to look at how to minimalize the waste.

    I like daylily's idea of buying less. Funny thing is, when I'm buying it, it doesn't seem like much. Shoot, if I had the time it would be to my advantage to just shop for exactly what I was hungry for that day. Seems what I want one day I don't want for the next several days.

  12. tinapbeana Says:

    re: deli meat. perhaps you'd be better off buying a quarter of a pound of thing sliced from the deli section. you pay the same price per pound as opposed to when you buy smaller packs of prepackaged deli meat.

  13. baselle Says:

    I have the same problem and with trying to lose weight, eating less, and portion control, my eyes are usually bigger than my stomach. I'm trying to remember that you can buy a ton of stuff for very cheap/unit price, but if you toss it, you actually can do better by buying stuff for cheap/unit price, but if you use it all, you've saved money.

    Two strategies I have right now are: eat vegetables and salad as the late night snack, play a game of survivor where if you buy an item you have to get rid of a similar item. Its slowing me down a little.

  14. boomeyers Says:

    Because of this conversation, I am going to start freezing 1/2 my swiss cheese when I buy it. I pulled out the fuzzy stuff this morning and thought about you! :-) Now, if I had put some in the freezer, I would'nt be without!

  15. miclason Says:

    ...I was going to suggest just that...cook larger amounts and freeze in individual portions....

  16. princessperky Says:

    sounds like a clutter/perfectionist problem..I have it to a degree. I started decluttering, and being honest about which projects are nice, but not going ot happen, and which are very important to me (doesn't mean they have happened yet!) after I got rid of half of the 'stuff' I found I had more time to do the rest...I still have three kids so the rest is not all done, and I am working on it.

    But anyway, just saying pick one bad habit at a time and turn it into a good one (junk mail was my easy habit to change, just rip it up and recycle now.)

  17. crazyliblady Says:

    I like tinapbeana's idea about getting lunchmeat from the deli. If you buy say a pound or so, you could divide it up into say 1/4 pound sections in freezer zip bags, put most of it in the freezer, and keep what you need now in the fridge. I have never had trouble freezing lunchmeat. I usually buy a couple of packages of lunchmeat (variety packs so DH doesn't eat the same thing day after day) and keep them in the freezer until one that's already thawed out has been used up, then I thaw another package. As for salads and lettuce, I have had the same problem with it rotting, so I only eat salads when we go out for dinner. Whenever we eat vegetables for dinner, they are frozen vegetables that we steam on top of the stove so there is no danger of rotting. If I saw a piece of meat was sitting in the fridge for a day with nothing being done with it, I would either make sure to cook it for dinner that night or cook a pot of soup or chili or something and freeze portions of the chili for a later time. This way, the stuff doesn't get wasted and you still have some good food you can eat on another day when you don't feel like cooking. As far as buying too much stuff, the way I do it is to really think about the typical kinds of meals DH and I eat on a regular basis and exactly what kind and how much stuff it takes to make them. I go through all the cabinets and fridge/freezer before going shopping and make an inventory of what we've actually got. Before buying something costly, ask yourself if you really need it and what will you do with it. For example, if it's an expensive leather jacket, what shirt, pants, etc. do you already have that will go with it?

  18. kylieb266 Says:

    I find that I somtimes waste vegies, as I may have a couple of days where I don't use ny, and then I might eat at my bf's house....

    So I need to try and use up whats in my fridge, maybe I need to do a stir-fry or something or a crockpot meal once a week with the left over vegies.

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