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How Much Money Do You Throw Away?

By June Stoyer

The following kitchen hacks can help you save money with minimal effort but first, it’s important to understand your habits at home. Consider how much you waste as a consumer. Think about what you spend money on and how much you unnecessarily throw away. This could include anything from discarding cold morning coffee, handfuls of paper towels used to clean up a spill, stale chips due to an open bag, sour milk, rotten lettuce, to moldy blueberries in your fridge, etc. The list goes on and on. At some point, everyone has had spoiled food in their kitchen.

Next, consider the amount of money you willingly throw out in the garbage.  For example, add up the total cost of trash bags you purchase in one year. It is odd to think that we spend money for the purpose of discarding it in the garbage but we do! On average, did you know that you could save at least $50-$120 a year on trash bags by changing your habits? These simple hacks will help you save money immediately! This new level of mindfulness is not only good for your wallet but it’s also good for the environment!

1. Buy In Bulk

When you shop at stores like BJ’s, Shoprite, Stop & Shop, Costco, etc. opt to buy the things that you need when they are on sale and purchase them in bulk. If it is something that you need, it will save you at least up to 50% off the regular priced item.

Ticonderoga triangular pencils

Amazon offers a fixed usage subscription which offers discounts for repurchasing items that you use frequently. In the example below, for fans of Ticonderoga triangular pencils, customer can save 5% by subscribing for this item and an additional 4 more products to the next delivery!

2. Recycle Fruit

Most people will take the sweet part of the fruit and discard the rest. There are a myriad of recipes circulating all over the internet for recipes that will transform your citrus peels into Vitamin-C powder, take watermelon rinds to make delicious, pickled watermelon rinds, convert the husk from coconuts to make homemade facial and body scrubs, and so much more!

@creative_explained How to put those orange peels to use! 🤩🍊 #orangepeels #upcycling #selfcare #kitchenhacks #cookinghacks ♬ original sound – Armen Adamjan

3. Repurpose Plastic Produce Bags

Before you throw these out…renew, reuse & recycle! If you find that you have a few extra produce bags from your last shopping trip or don’t know what to do with the ones from your produce, there are a myriad of things you can do with these bags. Here are several suggestions:

  • Quickly wrap up leftovers and store overnight in the fridge.
  • Line your kitchen compost bucket with them or stow produce scraps until you empty it out in the compost bin.
  • Use to cover your hands to pick up garbage or touch a publicly used door.
  • When traveling, use them to wrap your feet or store your shoes.
  • Use the bags to line a small waste receptacle or use to hold waste in your car.
  • The bags are great for wrapping used paint brushes or holding rags that you need for your project.
  • Pick up dog waste!
  • Throw out your junk mail in them.
  • Wrap around your head when giving yourself a hair treatment.
  • When storing a store-bought rotisserie chicken, use the bag to store the container in to prevent grease from spreading onto other items inside the fridge.
  • Store used coffee grounds until you are ready to dispose of them.
  • Cover any small plates that are outside to keep bugs off the food.
  • Triple wrap your hands with them to pull out poison ivy.
  • Store other bags in them until you are ready to recycle them.

4. Wash Your Produce ASAP

Always, always, ALWAYS wash your produce once you bring it home. As soon as you get home,  always wash your produce; even the salad that claims to be triple washed! It does take a bit of time but will extend the freshness of your produce. Most people don’t realize it but this especially applies to organically grown foods because they are a breeding ground for insects!


Cleansing Directions For Berries:

The basic formula to wash your berries is very simple: 1 pinch of salt and 1 splash of vinegar. Add it to a gallon of water in a large bowl prior to adding your berries.

For all berries, grapes and cherries:

  1. In a large bowl, rinse the berries 3 times.

cleaned strawberries after triple washing them

2. Then let the berries sit in a large bowl of cold water that contains 1 pinch of salt and a splash of white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) for about one minute but not longer. You don’t want your fruit to break down. This process will kill any lingering insects clinging to the inside of the stems and force any other little critters to fall off the fruit.

Cleansing strawberries
 Cleansing strawberries in the salt vinegar bath cleans and prolongs freshness.

waste water from strawberry bath

This is how much dirt was found in the waste water from the strawberry bath!

3. Rinse 3 more times until the water runs clear.

4. Pat berries dry with a clean dry cloth. Enjoy!

Cleansing Directions For Lettuce, Spinach, Kale, Dandelion and other greens:

  1. Rinse all leaves 3 times, even the lettuce that claims to be “pre-washed”
  2. Place in a large bowl, submerged in cold water. Let it soak.  You can also do this for some herbs that appear to be wilting to bring them back to life.
  3. In a salad spinner, spin cherries, grapes, lettuce, spinach, kale and cabbage until dry.

5. Check The Weekly Sales

Typically, most supermarkets will run the same sale every few weeks and their local competition will also offer the same discounts. Try to buy in bulk during those sale days. Sign up for the store’s loyalty marketing program, if they have one. You can save even more on items that are featured in their customer loyalty programs.

Stew Leonard's weekly ad
Stew Leonard’s  Weekly Specials: Exclusive Long Island Only Specials














Enjoy exclusive member-only specials, promotions and sales. Supermarkets and other chains like BJ’s, Costco, Lidl, Stop & Shop, Publix, Wegman’s, Albertson’s, Stew Leonard, Piggly Wiggly, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Ralphs, Erewhon, Sprouts Farmers Market (providing you spend $100+), Whole Foods Market, Vons, Gelson’s and others offer savings as well as opportunities to save money on gas! Check with your local market.

Interestingly, big chains like Aldi, Trader Joe, Walmart and several other chains do NOT offer loyalty programs.

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Also check out: Is AirBnB Worse Than Staying With Family?



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