GOING FRUGAL

As many of you know I’m currently unemployed but enjoying my time off. The freedom to sleep in and have lots of free time is tempered by the fact that I have no money coming in. That’s ok though as I’m not about to lose my home and I’m not digging through the garbage for scraps. For the most part, I lived well within my means during the nine months of my last job contract and that’s allowed me to take some time off.

So while I’m not about to be living on the streets, it doesn’t mean I can’t be smart about my spending while on this little break of mine. One of the things I’m striving to keep in check is how much I spend on food. It’d be easy to spend as little as possible and just eat junk (and delicious fried carbs) for all my meals but that’s not the way to go. One of the things I’m doing is trying to eat all the food that I already have.

I have a cupboard and freezer with food that needs to be eaten. I’ve already paid for this stuff, so let’s eat it! Unfortunately, I’ve discovered I’ve probably waited too long for some of this stuff. There are two cans of Chunky Beef Soup that expired in 2010. I have about four cans of green beans that I remember buying when I moved into my apartment in early 2010. There are no best before dates on those cans so it’s difficult to know if there are still safe to eat. I also have two cans of corned beef that are from the same time as the green beans. They too do not have a best before date on the cans. The corned beef contains a significant amount of sodium nitrite though so does that make it better or worse? As many of you know, I don’t take risks when it comes to food safety, so the soup, green beans, and the corned beef will have their cans recycled. I feel bad for wasting that food but I’m not going to take chances.

I also discovered a few cups of microwave Kraft Cheese and Macaroni. They expired in 2011 but I think if I still wanted to eat it I’d be fine. It’s just dry pasta and the packet of chemical cheese probably hasn’t gone bad yet. I used to love eating these things but I realized the stuff they put into the cheese powder probably isn’t good for you. Things like MSG just didn’t appeal to me after a while. Again, it’s unfortunate but I think I’ll have to toss these.

The good news is that the rest of the cupboard is looking fine. I have lots of pasta in there, things like lasagna noodles and orzo that’s years away from expiring. I have two cups of microwave basmati rice that technically expired last month but that’s totally ok. I have an unopened package of generic Shake’n Bake that expired two years ago but I think that stuff keeps pretty well so I’m going to use that very soon.

In the freezer department, I think I’m gonna need to toss a few frozen chicken wings I have lying around. Not sure why I decided to leave three wings in there. There’s also a box of terrible fish sticks I need to toss. I bought them from Shopper’s Drug Mart and if you’re thinking a drug store is a bad place to buy frozen fish sticks then you’d be correct. I also have a large supply of frozen dumplings in there and those are fine. In fact, that’s what my dinner consisted of tonight, some dumplings.

So there’s my strategy to at least keep some of my costs down, eat what I already have. When that runs out, then it’ll be time to hit those dumpsters!

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