My Favorite Cost-Saving Kitchen Tip

Don’t you hate it when you learn a new tip that is so incredibly simple and obvious (and helpful!), but you just never thought of it before? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me when I first implemented a very simple system in our kitchen that has saved us SO much money on what would have been wasted food.

(Sorry, I can’t remember who originally gave me this cost-saving idea—probably a smart commenter somewhere!)

My Favorite Cost-Saving Kitchen Tip

Throwing away food is basically throwing money down the drain. Every year, the average family tosses out between $1,365 and $2,275 worth of uneaten food. Some of this can be blamed on expiration date confusion, but in some cases, you just aren’t sure how old something is in your fridge, so you throw it out to be on the safe side. 

If this sounds like something that happens at your house, please let me introduce a super simple system that could potentially be life-changing (haha #kiddingnotkidding) …

Anytime you open a new food package/jar/etc., simply write the date that you opened it before putting it into your fridge!

My Favorite Cost-Saving Kitchen Tip
I see one item here that I think is ready for the trash. Capers opened 15 months ago, anyone?

No more mystery jars of jam or sketchy looking packages of cheese that you aren’t so sure about eating! You no longer have to throw out anything just to be on the safe side; you can clearly see it was just opened a week ago (or who knows, maybe a year ago—in that case, I do encourage you to throw it out LOL).

When you are part of a busy family, where many different people open and add new items to the fridge, this can really be life-changing. And it’s especially true for someone like me who always wants to be on the safe side before eating anything mysterious, unlike my husband who has a stomach of steel and survived eating pizza for breakfast in college that sat out on the counter all. night. long! YUCK.

Supplies Needed

A simple Sharpie near the fridge will do, but for things that go in your own Tupperware containers or lids that are dark in color, I LOVE these dissolvable jar labels that wash right off in the dishwasher. We use them all the time for all sorts of labeling and organization in our kitchen. A great stocking stuffer idea!

More Budget-Friendly Ideas

Please check out my newest cookbook if you haven’t already! I bet you could squeeze this into a loved one’s stocking this holiday season as well. :)

100 Days of Real Food: On a Budget

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8 thoughts on “My Favorite Cost-Saving Kitchen Tip”

  1. I keep a whiteboard on the fridge/freezer and write the meal leftovers I’m putting in there (ex: spaghetti 11/26). That way I know what to eat up first, and don’t have to guess on when to toss. It works well for when the fridge is full and I might have otherwise forgotten something is in there!

  2. I label mason jars in the freezer like this, very handy! Masking tape + sharpie are a good match. Also pasta boxes – I make big “X”‘s on them so I can easily see that it’s already been opened (and so isn’t a full box). Some of our fridge jars could stand to be labeled like this, good idea.

  3. Blue painter’s tape also works really well for labeling plastic containers. Removes easily but still sticks to the lids.

  4. Hi Lisa. I have been using a label method, on most items by date I buy and or open them, for years. I was excited when I read that you
    aren’t a big veggie person. I love veggies but I don’t invest the time to prepare them for easy use. We end up throwing out lots of food because we make too much and get tired of it after a couple meals.

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