How To Save Money On Groceries: Use It Up!

The easiest way to save money on groceries is to not waste food.

Food costs money, so wasting food is wasting money. Simple enough.

I won’t waste food even when the waste is negligible. Case in point: mustard.

This is a job for Super Spatula, but of course you can’t use a spatula on a squeeze bottle. You can, however, make your palm sting like a bitch for an hour by smacking the bottom of said squeeze bottle until every last drop is squirted out and your entire counter is coated with a fine mustard mist.

Jameson goes through a bottle each of mustard and ketchup every two weeks so I always stock backups. “More in the back” is the enemy of frugality: I’m way more likely to waste food when I know a fresh bottle, bag, or container is in the pantry.¬†

I call this phenomenon “Costco Syndrome”.

Save Money On Groceries: Use It Up!

As you can see here, an “empty” mustard bottle gave Jefferson not one, but two BLTs worth of mustardy goodness. I probably didn’t even save a penny, but it did make me happy. And maybe some day I’ll forget to buy mustard and we’ll need it, and because I saved now it will be there. Maybe not. But I like to keep the Use It Up mindset all the time, so that I am constantly saving food and money. This Depression era chant [made popular by WWII propaganda posters] is a constant hum in my brain:

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, Or Do Without!

What grocery items do you use up completely?

5 thoughts on “How To Save Money On Groceries: Use It Up!

  1. Any bottle I can squirt some water in and give it a shake must be used up completely around here. Of course, I cannot deny or confirm how many half-full bottles of BBQ sauce are in my fridge right now but if we get down to barebones in there, the water goes in and they get the shake to get all the sauce out. I can remember my mom doing it. I do the same thing with shampoo and conditioner bottles.

  2. My big ones with the kids is toothpaste and sunscreen (not really groceries, I know). They always want to start a new tube of toothpaste and they haven’t even squeezed up the remnants from the bottom!

    We had one of those sardine-tin-roller type gizmos when we were a kid to ensure all the toothpaste got used. Wonder if they still sell those? As it is, they are under strict instructions not to throw away a toothpaste tube without my permission.

    Same rule for the sunscreen. This weekend, I cut open all of the “empty” bottles (except one) and got out enough to fill half of that other empty bottle. Not appreciated by anyone other than me, of course.

    Love your blog!

    • I want a sardine-tin-roller toothpaste saver too! Especially since the kids’ toothpaste costs $6 a tube. That’s such a good idea for the sunscreen – I never thought to cut the bottle – thank you for sharing your tips!

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