When it comes to grocery shopping and saving money, coupons aren't the only way to save. In fact, one of the the best way to cut down your food bill is to actually use all the food that you buy instead of throwing it out.

This weekend I was reading “You're Broke Because You Want to Be: How to Stop Getting By and Start Getting Ahead” by Larry Winget. (A pretty good read, by the way. The advice is nothing groundbreaking, but his straight talk and no excuses approach is entertaining.) Anyway, in the book he states that most people who are financially secure don't eat out often, if ever. I agree. Eating out is expensive and easy to lose track of. The meals add up before you realize exactly how much you've spent. It's much cheaper to cook at home. We all know this already.

Thinking about it further, I came up with a corollary to that statement that perhaps Mr. Winget should include in his next edition. People who are financially secure eat leftovers. I realize that I'm potentially opening a can of worms here. I've met quite a few people in my life who adamantly defend the reasons why they won't eat leftovers. The kids won't eat it. It doesn't reheat well. It's a pain to store excess food. And on it goes.

As a leftover lover, I don't buy any of it. Since when do the kids get to dictate what's served at dinner? If they don't like it, send them to be without dinner. There are few things that won't reheat well, if you pay attention to the needs of the food and don't just blindly toss it in the microwave on high for five minutes and hope for the best.

I think a lot of these excuses are a cover-up for the real problem, which is that some people feel like leftovers are beneath them. It's not hard to understand, I guess. The USA is a country of plenty and we encourage people to go for the best. Leftovers, in a lot of people's eyes, are not the best. Why eat leftovers when you can have “new” food? Aren't leftovers only for people who have no other choice? Before you say that I'm reaching here, let me assure you that I have heard actual people utter statements just like these. Since I doubt they're alone, I'm willing to bet that a lot of the excuses people give for not eating leftovers are their PC versions of “It's just not good enough for me (or my kids).”

No matter the reason people give for refusing to eat leftovers, the end result is the same. Waste. It wastes money and resources to simply throw away food. I don't see how anyone who is comfortable with such waste can be comfortable financially, at least not long term. It would seem to me that those who blithely toss excess food are probably not that careful with their money, either.

Tossing perfectly good food in the trash is much the same as tossing money in the trash. You paid for that food. In order to get your money out of it, you need to eat it. If you pay $10 for an entree at a restaurant, eat half and then leave the rest behind, you've tossed five dollars into the trash can. Is that smart? Nope. Will this lead to long term financial security? No way. So with that said, what are some of the reasons to eat leftovers and how can you make them more appetizing if you or your kids really have a problem with them? next page

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