“Waste not, want not.” We’ve all heard the phrase, but are we following it? Purposing to not waste food is a simple thing, but it can make a big difference in our grocery budget. Here are a few ideas for eliminating waste:
1. Make the Most of What You Have
Back when my husband was in law school , we often only had $17 to $20 to spend on groceries for an entire week (all 21 meals). I quickly learned that creativity was a poor cook’s best friend.
I usually stocked up on mark-downs, loss-leaders and the rock-bottom deals and then concocted the best menu I could based upon these. I rarely ever followed a recipe exactly as written, because we usually didn’t have all the ingredients and couldn’t afford to buy them. But I discovered you don’t always have to follow a recipe perfectly in order to get a fabulous end result!
AllRecipes  is a great resource if you’re working with an odd assortment of ingredients. You can plug in what ingredients you have and don’t have and it will pull up recipes you can make. You also can find lots of great substitution ideas online, such as at these sites: Emergency Kitchen Substitutions  and Ingredient Substitutions .
2. Repurpose Leftovers
Instead of pitching those leftover mashed potatoes or vegetables, why not repurpose them? Once again, AllRecipes  is a great resource. There are also some excellent ideas in these articles: How to Turn Leftovers Into Scrumptious Meals , Creative Uses for Leftovers  and Leftover Recipe Ideas .
3. Use Up the Last of the Bottle
My mom taught me never to throw out a bottle of anything unless you’ve used up the last drop. When the bottle of ketchup or salad dressing or laundry detergent is almost empty, add some water, put the lid back on, and shake it up to get the last remains cleaned out of the bottle and stretch it just a wee bit longer. It’s a small little thing, but the little things can add up to make significant differences.
4. Use Half the Recommended Amount
Did you know that you can get by with using a whole lot less than the recommended amount of shampoo, laundry detergent and so forth? Challenge yourself to try it and see how little you can get by with using without noticing any difference.
Want to do something really radical and inexpensive? Try the No Shampoo Experiment . I’ve not gotten that brave yet, but I have friends who have done it with success.
Put a rubber band around the neck of pump-style soap dispensers to limit the amount of soap dispensed per pump. — 40 Practical Tips for an Ordinary Rubber Band 
What simple things have you implemented in your home to eliminate waste? I’d love to hear your ideas to possibly try!
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