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Dave Ramsey Soup

Dave Ramsey Frugal Soup

Guest Post by Tiffany from Another Texas Family

I have always been frugal, used coupons, and shopped with cash only, but lately I have been inspired to save more. Our family is in the midst of saving for an adoption, and we have a dream of paying off our home in three years, so every little penny counts as one step closer to our BHAG.

As with everyone else, our food budget is where we are able to save the most money; therefore, I plan menus without fail, cook from scratch, and shop sales fliers. We eat leftovers regularly for dinner and lunch; however, we still end up with a few odds and ends being thrown away after meals.

On my quest to save more money, I read about a brilliant idea in The Tightwad Gazette and put it into practice a few months ago. Stick a bowl into your freezer and any sort of leftover from a meal gets dumped into the bowl to make into a soup at a later date. (Note: this is not food leftover from someone’s plate, which can spread germs and bacteria). It may include a few carrots left in the pot or stock leftover from soup, but it all gets dumped into the “soup bowl”.

I kept my practice of doing this a secret from my dear hubby, afraid of how the soup would eventually turn out. After a few months of gathering “ingredients” and after our first cold front blew in I gave the soup a try.

I dug through my freezer and pulled out all the leftovers I had collected:

::Tomato soup broth– leftover from a beef stew

::4 cups pinto beans — I cook whole beans and then freeze them for later use.

::4 cups black beans

::2 yogurt containers full of chicken, noodles & veggies

::Bag of carrots

The only two things I added from my pantry were corn and a packet of taco seasoning.

After cooking the soup I ladled it into bowls, added a little cheese, and then waited for my husband to arrive home. When he walked in the door he said, “Dinner smells great! What are we having?”

Dave Ramsey Soup,” I replied, “Also know as ‘Get out of debt quickly soup’!”

He had a look of horror on his face when I told him what it was, but when we our first bites it was delicious! What I loved most is it cost me about $0.50 total and it lasted our family three nights plus lunch leftovers. I calculated it to cost about $.05 per serving with the cheese. Now that is what you call frugal!

Tiffany is a wife and mom to two preschoolers, where she is dipping her toe in the water as a first-year homeschooling mom. She lives in Texas where she blogs about all things family and shares her heart about adoption at Another Texas

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  • I think it needs rice to TRULY be dave ramsey soup!!



  • Nicole says:

    Love, Love this!!! It made me laugh and yet I am so proud of y’all at the same time. WAY TO GO!!! 🙂 This is such an inspiration.

  • Amy Lauren says:

    When I took FPU at my job, we had a potluck on the last night of it, and one couple actually made beans and rice because of how much Dave Ramsey talked about eating Beans and Rice during the course! That’s what this reminds me of!

  • Amanda says:

    My aunt actually suggested that I do this with my leftover veggies (she’s been doing this for years!) but my hubby is a veggie lover and when we’ve all had our fill he gorges himself on whatever is left LOL. I never have any to save!

    • Emily says:

      You’re lucky! I have to chop veggies up small enough so my husband can’t pick them out. And then he says I’m poisoning him when he finds a small piece of tomato or green pepper. My daughter is on track to be the same way. I WISH I had some veggie lovers in my house! 🙂

      • Amanda says:

        Soup is the one thing I can get them to eat without fail. My oldest will flip out if there is a tomato floating in hers though. She’s 5 and hates red things (even pizza!). We seriously went to Cici’s one night and she ate salad and soup.

        • Wendy says:

          Too funny! My 12 year old is a great eater who eats veggies, but also flips out if he sees a piece of tomato in his soup or spaghetti sauce. I thought he was the only one.

      • Lauren says:

        My husband and 4 year old are the same way. Someone gifted us an immersion blender (I looked it up, they are 20-30$) and it is a lifesaver. I can blend up all the veggies no one will eat into a delicious creamy broth that somehow everyone magically loves!

      • Andrea says:

        I would kindly ask DH to stop mentioning his disdain for vegetables it in front of the kids. If your daughter sees you eating veggies happily, she might decide that vegetables are okay.

        I’m not a fan of tuna or of broccoli, but I prepare both regularly without making negative comments. I eat a few bites of broccoli without comment. All of my kids eat broccoli (and enjoy it!) and one loves tuna.

      • Sara says:

        My youngest kid was that way. I would puree the veggies in my broth. They never could tell a difference.

  • I have heard this idea before, but never quite got on the ball to do it.

    Thank you for the inspiration — WHAT a success!

    Congratulations on your dedication. 🙂

  • RachaelP says:

    I grew up calling it ‘garbage soup’! I collect leftovers too small for a meal and put it in a ‘soup’ bag and when it gets full, we have it. It’s actually really good! That reminds me – the bags are full so I’d better include it on next week’s menu!

  • Holli says:

    We call it garbage soup too. I keep stuff in my freezer until ready. This works for a “catch all casserole” at the end of the week as well.

  • denise says:

    I love that – I do that!! about once every 2-3 wks we have freezer soup. And, Amy from the Tightwad Gazette, lives about 1/2 hr from me. Sadly, I’ve not met her, but I’ve found all her books at yard sales (LOL, she would love knowing that!!) I also have a separate container for things that might be more appropriate for chili. 😀 VERY cheap meals for a family of 7!!

    • Rachel says:

      I’ve been doing the “leftovers for soup” container for a few years already, but I LOVE the idea of having one for chili too! I’ve had too many strange combinations when I just put everything into one container, so I’ve been keeping it to just veggies, meats & juices. But now I know what to do with the leftover beans & rice! We eat a lot of those, so having a chili container really makes sense. Thanks for the tip!

  • Maria says:

    We do this also, but like someone mentioned, we always add rice to it to make real “Dave Ramsey” soup! Congratulations on your price point – you can’t get much more frugal than that!

  • Dave Ramsey would probably smile if he heard about this. I’ve heard him jokingly complain about how people always name the ‘cheap’ things or clunker vehicles after him! Because he’s not doing or driving those things…since he lived like noone else for awhile so later he could live like noone else! 😉

    Great idea though! I might have to start doing that!

  • Mariah says:

    Ive actually done this with leftover veggies…. i got the idea from the ‘Americas Cheapest Family’ book…. always turns out great!

  • Marian says:

    Way to go! Better in your tummy than in the garbage disposal. At this rate, you will achieve your goal in record time!!!

  • DonnaJ says:

    We’ve done this same thing for years…and everyone loves the soup. My husband likes meat in the soup, so I use either leftover roast from a dinner or browned ground beef. Both make a great vegetable beef soup. We’ve got a tall tupperware container in the freezer and just add bits and pieces to it as we have a little leftover (but like you said, never from anyones plate). Thaw everything out – dump it in the pot (even the liquid from the freezing and thawing), add the meat, and some tomato sauce, water and beef bullion. You can freeze leftovers in meal size containers or last time I made it I pressure canned the leftovers in quarts. My mom started this years ago when we were growing up – she called her freezer containers her soup pots. She gave them to me last year, so now I have the “official” soup pots.

  • Alison says:

    a restaurant I used to work at did this for their famous vegetable soup. I through anything that will work for veg soup in a freezer bag. When it is full I just add some V8 and I have a ginormous pot of soup. Then what we don’t eat that meal I freeze into other meals. I too get about 4 meals out of 1 pot. I also started doing this with left over beans and meat for chili. Like if there is left over meatloaf it goes in the chili bag. Works great and even makes making soup easier!

  • Becky says:

    LOVE this idea.. I throw away too many leftovers (even though we take them for lunch the next day there is always some stuff left).. I will start my bowl tonight! thanks for sharing

  • Sara says:

    Funny, my mom used to call this “Whether you like it or not, you will never have it again,” soup.

  • Jennifer says:

    Great idea! I already have a soup like this planned for next week! My grandmother would make soup like this, too, for all the family with freezer leftovers! It was always the best soup!

  • Ann says:

    My friend from Doulos (OM ship) says they have such soup all the time and they call it YMCA: Yesterday Meals Cook Again. 😉

  • amber says:

    I also do this with leftover veggies to make veggie soup. If there is a few spoonfuls of corn, beans ect leftover I put them in a container that I keep in the freezer. Once the container is full I will make veggie soup. I just add tomato sauce, water and seasoning. It works well in the slow cooker. Just add your frozen veggies, water, tomato sauce and seasoning in the morning. Let it cook on low all day for it to be ready at supper time.

  • JulieJ says:

    This soup is a great idea! You just have to be careful about how many times you heat and reheat food from a food safety perspective. Once food is cooked, you can usually reheat it safely once. But especially with meat, you should really discard anything left after you have reheated it once. For this reason, when I do what I call ‘leftover soup’ I only reheat in small batches.

  • Angie says:

    My aunt does this and calls it “Blessing Soup”

  • Nicole says:

    Although this is a bit on the scary side for me, it is totally brilliant. How rewarding it is to feed your family for 50 cents for three days! Great job!

  • That is a great idea. There is quite a few times that I chop up to many carrots for onions or whatever for what I am making. I usually just throw the extra in the compost but I love this idea too. I just might have to start this.

  • Heather says:

    I have heard of this before, but I never have implemented it. I think it’s about time I do so! Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  • Carrie says:

    My grandmother used to do this at the end of every week. She’d throw every small bit left over from each night’s meal into the crockpot and see what came out. Sometimes my uncle loved it so much he would ask her, “Aw mom, did you write it down this time?”
    Beats my method of standing at the kitchen counter and eating any small bits left over, “to keep them from going to waste.”

  • Jenny says:

    We also did something like this growing up…My mom was super frugal and sometimes instead of a soup she made the leftovers in to a casserole and then added the crumbs of a bag of chips on top and called it MUSTGO. It’s everything left in the fridge that Must Go!

  • Sarah says:

    This is great! We do something similar to this too. 🙂

  • Carrie J says:

    This is such a fantastic idea for meal leftovers, I am definitely going to try this! I do something similar for making homemade vegetable stock… Saves so much over buying the cartons!

  • sona says:

    A worthy throw-back from the depression and war years. There is knowledge to gain even from the hardest of times.

  • amy peca says:

    I do this for pizza night in out house–you know–a leftover chicken breast, few pieces of pepperoni, bell pepper slices, hamburger meat, last slice of ham in the package–etc–I throw everything into a recloseable shredded cheese bag (along with those few tablespoons of leftover cheese at the bottom) and WALA–in no time you have everything you need to “doctor” up a homemade pizza…Definetly gonna start doing this for soup!

  • Annie Kate says:

    Yes! 🙂
    And to follow Adele Davis, an old nutrition writer, save and freeze all the vegetable cooking water as well. And debone meat before serving it so you can make broth from the bones.
    It’s not only frugal, but also healthy.


    Annie Kate

  • Denise C. says:

    Awesome idea! Just curious how the noodles/pasta were after they had been frozen. Were they mushy or gummy at all?

  • Happy to hear the unanimous approval of leftovers soup. I used to worry that the mixture of random ingredients would come out strange but have yet to taste a bad bowl. Love the idea of doing the same with a pizza. Genius!

  • Faith says:

    I do this, but use the leftovers for pizza toppings.

  • Jessica says:

    I like to save veggies and use them in a crock pot or casserole later on. Very similar to a mixed bag of frozen vegs

  • Plain Graces says:

    This is great! Who doesn’t like soup? I am glad she splurged a little on the cheese. : )

  • Carrie says:

    Ha! I love it! My mom did this for years, and her soups are famous. We called it “Refrigerator Stew”. Trouble is, she can’t ever recreate the recipe. 😉

  • Meredith says:

    This would be yummy for the fantastic croutons I made with some stale bread!

  • Pamela says:

    I just started doing this myself! I did get a little “fussy” though and I have separate bins for meat scraps, veggie scraps, starch scraps. I also have a bin for onion tops and other “waste” that can go into my homemade chicken stock.

    We also do leftover omelette on most Saturday mornings. I make omelette and fill it with whatever leftover veggies, meat and cheese we have knocking around the fridge. Yet another way to make the food stretch!

    • Chris says:

      We do something similar to this, but ours are leftovers breakfast burritoes. We just mix whatever (taco meat, veggies, etc.) with some eggs, scramble them up, and spoon the mixture into tortilla wraps with maybe a little cheese, sour cream, or a taco bell packet.

  • Loving this and laughing at the same time–genius!

  • Kimberly says:

    I first learned about doing this when I studied abroad in Mexico. My house mom made us soup every other week with the leftovers. I loved it!

    I didn’t know what it was until the last time she made it while I was there. I asked her for the recipe and she said “lo que no comer” meaning, what you don’t eat.

    I call it “lo que” in our house, makes it sound like something exotic! 😀

  • Marsha says:

    I do this, too. Veggie scraps go into one freezer bag to make broth and actual leftovers get their own bags (meat or veg, accordingly). Most of the time the result is really excellent. Sometimes, not so much! We had one that was so bad even my super-cheap (as opposed to *frugal*) husband suggested we order in Chinese food!

  • Patrice says:

    Aw! Hey, Tiffany! I was wondering if that was you when I read the description. Hope y’all are doing well. We miss you!

  • Rae G says:

    Tiffany — I’m currently taking a Dave Ramsey class and learning a lot — may I please share this blog with my classmates? They will love it and probably get some laughs along with it.

  • Amanda says:

    I do this all the time but stopped using leftover rice. It seemed to get mushy, so I use a handful of rice that has not been cooked yet.

  • Rae G says:

    I’m currently taking a Dave Ramsey course and I’d love to share your blog with the class if you don’t mind. Great idea to share!

  • Beth says:

    My mom in law has been doing this forever! She learned it from her mom! Depression mentality- don’t waste anything. Our family calls it Garbage Soup! Lol nit very appealing name.

  • Love this idea!! Thanks so much for sharing! I’d heard it before, but it’s so much more inspiring hearing a real life success story and seeing the yummy pictures!
    I do this with some veggies for making chicken broth, but don’t usually do it for soup, I’m gonna give it a try!

    • KimH says:

      We’ve done this all my, my moms, & grandma’s life & her mothers too.. And my grandma always called it PoorDo… Cuz thats what the poor do. 😉
      She wasnt poor after she married my Papa, but she didnt change her ways and she taught us all how to be frugal.. That lady could find the blood in a turnip! 😉

  • Evelyn Shay says:

    This sounds like a wonderful idea for all those extras that are left at the end of a meal. This is one that I will be putting into practice. Thanks for sharing this with us. I look forward to seeing what happens. God bless you and I will be saying a prayer for your intent on adoption.

  • Amber Cullum says:

    Great idea!! This Dave Ramsey girl loves the name too!

  • lindsey says:

    If you throw in cabbage or Brussels sprouts remains the entire batch will be rank, so keep those seperate until the last minute and then add them. The immersion blender method for making it all into a “cream” soup hides the vegetables and makes it very hearty, but even with that cabbage and sprout remains can ruin it.

    We also keep a bag with all the apple cores and skins and when we have several freezer bags full I boil them with just enough water to cover them. When they are total mush, strain them through cheese cloth and you have apple juice or the basis for apple syrup or jelly. It also adds great flavor to apple pie, as long as you don’t add too much and make the pie runny.

  • Chris says:

    I can’t believe I haven’t seen one comment yet calling this “Stone Soup”. 🙂 I used to teach preschool to some pretty finicky eaters, but after we read the book Stone Soup and made some in class from ‘a little of this and a little of that’ and made a big production of adding the (clean of course) stone at the end EVERYONE wanted to have some! The kids had a blast helping to make it too.

  • Jackie says:

    We have done this for years in our family. Our youngest calls if “freezer soup”. It is never quite the same but always good!

    • Jan R. says:

      We have always called this CORD (Clean Out Refrigerator Day) Soup! Usually a Monday staple because that is the day the fridge got cleaned out. With 5 kids it sure helped to save on food for that day! Thanks for the new name, though, love Dave Ramsey!

  • Rebecca says:

    Wow! I have never heard of this idea before, but I think you just won me over to trying this out. Great article, and thank you for inspiring me.

  • Elias says:

    We save all of our veggies too and add the following in a crockpot in the morning:

    2 boxes of chicken broth
    2 or 3 small cubes of vegetable boullion
    2 tsp sage
    1 potatato peeled and cubed (optional)

    Cook on low all day in crockpot and add a cup of 1/2 and 1/2 to soup right before serving. It makes it really creamy and we get rave reviews.

    If you want to spend a little more, add a frozen chicken breast to the mix in the morning and pull apart (and stir in) before serving.

    • Elias says:

      I guess this isn’t as cheap as the “Dave” version but it’s still only a few dollars and it tastes great. 🙂

    • Patti says:

      To make your version cheaper, make your own chicken stock and your own vegetable stock. I do this by cooking my chicken breasts with a few pieces of celery and carrots and water ( I do mine in the pressure cooker but I am sure you could adapt this to any method of cooking chicken in water such as in your crockpot). To make the vegetable broth, I save all of my vegetable juices from the cans or from the water that I cooked the veggies in. I put these in freezer containers for use in later cooking such as the leftover soup.

  • I wrote a guest post that was published today, and I advised people to do the same thing!

  • Di says:

    All my veggie ends and peels, onion skins, etc. go into a bag in the freezer. When it’s full; it’s time to make veggie broth. My family loves it.

  • Maryl says:

    When I was a little girl our family called it ” the soup bank”. All the leftover vegetable cooking water (where a lot of vitamins go) was kept to flavor, vitamin boost and be the next soup base.

  • Lois says:

    We call this “Must Go” soup. You open the refrigerator (or freezer in your case) and everything must go!!!

  • Lorie says:

    I’ve been doing this for a few years now except I call it “kitchen sink soup”. Everything goes in it except the kitchen sink. It’s always fun to clean out the freezer and a surprise as to how the soup will turn out. Suddenly I have more room in my freezer and I find all my leftover bowls. Most of what we throw out is whatever is left on my kids plates. Most everything else either gets eaten or gets put into the soup bowl in the freezer.

  • Nora says:

    My lovably frugal father-in-law made that recipe all of his cookin years and passed it on to us. He called it Garbage Soup. He taught us the same thing, to save the wee bits of left overs and make a pot of soup every week or so. Miss him so much.

  • I love this!!!! Going to try it, thank you for sharing!!

  • Stephanie Scheer says:

    I picked up this lovely trick from my Grandma Rustermier. I call it hodge podge soup. The hubby loves it!!!

  • Donna says:

    We call this MAGIC SOUP. I have been making it for most of my 28 years of marriage. No two pots of soup ate the same but we have never had to throw a pot away.

  • Sara says:

    My youngest kid was that way. I would puree the veggies in my broth. They never could tell a difference.

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