The “Use It, Don’t Waste It” Challenge and Info on How You Can Win $100 in Gardening Supplies!

March 27, 2012

One of the ways to save money on your grocery budget is to make sure that you don’t waste the food that you buy each week. Every time you have to throw away leftovers or spoiled food, it’s savings and hard work that is being lost.

So for the month of April, I am encouraging my readers to join my “Use It, Don’t Waste It Challenge.” It’s really simple. Each week you do all you can to make sure that you don’t end up throwing away food. This will probably involve some meal planning on your part, some creativity on using leftovers for an additional meal and just being conscious of how much you are buying at the grocery store each week.

I am going to be doing this challenge right along with you. I have a habit of over-buying in the produce department and then trying to figure out how to use everything before it spoils.

So the first part of the challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to clean out your refrigerators this week, take inventory of what you have that’s left and make sure that you only buy what you truly need for the next week. I really believe that this is going to help you save money throughout the month on your grocery budget. I’ll also be sharing ways that you might be able to use some produce that might be a little past its prime, like the bananas above.

On Monday, April 2nd, I’m going to put up a posting for you to leave a comment that you are participating in the challenge. Anyone who comments will be entered in a giveaway I’m hosting for $100 in Gardening supplies. This could be just what you might need to grow your own produce and herbs and save even more money!

I’m hoping that you’ll all join me in this simple challenge of not wasting food. So clean out your refrigerators, get your meal plans set and make sure you look for the posting on Monday, April 2, 2012 to join the challenge and giveaway!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not the giveaway posting. It won’t be posted until 4/2/12 so look for it then!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cindy Hughes March 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

What are you doing with those bananas? I made muffins last night and still have two left. :)

2 coupongeek March 27, 2012 at 9:11 am

Those will probably turn into banana bread. Muffins sound good, too! :)

3 Traci Z March 27, 2012 at 9:22 am

I sliced my bananas up and put into the freezer so they are ready for smoothies. :)

4 Kat March 27, 2012 at 9:26 am

I have been using bananas like this in Greek yogurt smoothies with other fruits. Since they are super sweet, they make a good replacement for other sweeteners. Any smoothie that is left over goes into the Popsicle molds for smoothies pops -or- into ice cube trays to “cool” down other smoothies later in the summer.

5 Emily March 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

Good challenge! I try to always be aware of it, but it’s a nice reminder. Especially when planting/growing season on the way!

6 Marcia L March 27, 2012 at 9:41 am

Don’t forget about compost! We use all of the waste from fruits and veggies (banana peels, lettuce stumps, rinds, rinsed egg shells, fruit skins, or anything else that is not edible) and put it in a huge compost bin. By the spring, we have this beautiful, rich compost that makes our garden grow like crazy! Just make sure you don’t put cooked foods or meat in it. :)

7 Stacey March 27, 2012 at 9:41 am

You can freeze the bananas and use them in smoothies! :)

8 coupongeek March 27, 2012 at 9:46 am

Yes, such another wonderful use! I love to freeze bananas and strawberries (when those are on discount) for homemade smoothies!

9 coupongeek March 27, 2012 at 9:47 am

I’m learning all I can on composting this year. I started some last year and I’m loving how it’s turning out. Great way to not waste scraps, like you said!

Thanks for sharing, Marcia!

Blessings,
Jaycie

10 coupongeek March 27, 2012 at 9:48 am

I love making smoothies for my kids. They think it’s a special treat and I love that they can be fairly healthy.

Great use of the bananas, Traci!

Blessings,
Jaycie

11 coupongeek March 27, 2012 at 9:49 am

Ah, I love the idea of leftover smoothies going into Popsicle molds. I usually just try to drink what’s left. Thank you for saving me some extra calories and getting the kids a great treat, Kat! :)

Blessings,
Jaycie

12 coupongeek March 27, 2012 at 9:52 am

I agree, Emily. We all could probably use a reminder now and then. I try to keep away of from waste too but some weeks are just worse than others. I’d love to blame the stores for too many produce sales but it’s just me over-buying. (Keep on discounting produce, right!) :)

I’m very excited for the upcoming gardening season. It’s by far my favorite hobby!

Blessings,
Jaycie

13 Johanna March 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

so how do we sign up for the giveaway?

My favorite way of conserving effort and meal planning is have a few standard menu meal series. Example:
Sunday-pasta and meat sauce
Monday-homemade pizza with leftover sauce
Tuesday- if it was a REALLY big batch of sauce, meat sauce becomes base for chili.

Weekday- Baked whole chicken or Rotisserie chicken
Weekend- leftover chicken, layered with cajun seasoning goes into “foil packet dinners” with foil wrapped baked potatoes in the kids campfire in the fire pit.

(I hope that gets me entered in the drawing!!)

14 coupongeek March 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Johanna,

The giveaway doesn’t begin until 4/2/12. Look for the posting on that day to enter.

This posting is just info about the contest and giving my readers a chance to get their refrigerators cleaned out and ready to start the challenge.

I love your ideas for the menu planning! Come back on Monday 4/2/12 and be sure to enter!

Blessings,
Jaycie

15 Terri March 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm

This sounds great! Can’t wait to join!

16 Jessie A March 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I love these types of challenges, so interesting to learn what othes are doing to use more and waste less. I would be using those bananas for smoothies, banana bread, mixed into yogurt, or spread on crackers with Peanut butter.

17 coupongeek March 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I didn’t think of the crackers/peanut butter idea. Great one, Jessie! Thanks for sharing the tips! I hope you end up joining the challenge.

Blessings,
Jaycie

18 curls March 28, 2012 at 8:03 am

Looking forward to everyone’s ideas. Hopefully, there will be others with high school kids. Their plans constantly change, so meal planning is difficult. Can’t wait for our farmer’s market to reopen, local produce lasts 3 – 4 times longer than supermarket stuff (which often so to waste but does go in the compost).

19 coupongeek March 28, 2012 at 8:22 am

I agree, the produce at the farmer’s markets are much better. I quit buying produce at the stores as soon as ours opens, too.

I bet that meal planning can be difficult with high school kids. Especially if they are in a lot of activities/sports. The best thing I can suggest is to do a freezer cooking session and make small portions of healthier foods that they can microwave easily. Such as making up casseroles that freeze and putting them in little dishes. I’ve done well, so far, with the Lock n Lock containers. It’s quick and there’s no waste with the containers, as they are washable and reusable.

You can also make up pizza crust and freeze. By the time your oven heats up, you should have time to cut-up some veggies and things.

What I hear some doing is to make up a flexible weekly meal plan. This is just where you decide on 5-7 meals for the week and you don’t set a day for them but just pick what you think works best the night before (if frozen) or the day of. This way you can still be flexible but still have some kind of plan to stay within your budget. Just be sure you choose some quicker meals for the week.

Also, crockpot meals work great. Then everyone can eat whenever they are home. Freeze what’s left over or use the leftovers for lunches.

Hope some of these ideas help. I don’t have high school kids but maybe some of my readers will share what helps them.

20 Bridgette March 29, 2012 at 11:16 am

I love this challenge! I will do my best to participate. We are so busy we always end up wasting so much food. If we have left overs they tend to get pushed to the back of the fridge and it’s a sad story. Last week I pushed myself to make chicken salad and an amazing cabbage slaw that I put into containers (glass!) and took to work with me to eat throughout the week. It worked out so well and I felt proud of myself! We live in an apartment so composting is difficult. I tried worms last summer but they don’t work fast enough to keep up with our waste and they died over the winter:(
I’m trying to figure this all out so this challenge will be a good kick in the bottom!

21 coupongeek March 30, 2012 at 8:20 am

They need to invent a way to compost in apartments. It could be used for container gardening and growing your own veggies on a deck or something. I’ll have to look to see if there are any ideas. So glad you are joining us, Bridgette! I think it will be fun sharing ideas of how we are all using things every week to not be wasteful.

It was good to see your comment! Made my day!

Jaycie

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