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Frugal Find: Leftovers

   Posted On: August 16, 2013  |    Posted In: Saving  |     Posted by: Broke Millennial®

In the past year, I’ve developed a certain reputation in my office. My name is Erin (what?! You didn’t know?!) and I am a scavenger. Oh, and I also will handle annihilating cockroaches. It’s not the classiest reputation to have, but it does net me a decent amount of leftovers. Before you get grossed out, I do have my sanitation limits and only take things that haven’t been contaminated with someone’s germs. Once, I even scored three days worth of meals from a fancy New York City restaurant after a client dinner. We had ordered family style and without shame I had the waiter wrap it all up, okay maybe there was a little shame but it was worth it! For days I feasted on duck, spring rolls, fried rice and salad with chunks of tuna sashimi. I couldn’t believe it when no one even considered taking home the leftovers. But, I have started to notice that leftovers really aren’t for everyone.

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Peach is the ultimate nemesis to leftovers. He can finish his meal and then start eyeballing mine. At least it doesn’t go to waste!

It causes me undue angst to see food tossed away. Perhaps it’s from being raised in a home that encouraged leftovers and frequently had dinners inspired from the remains of our meals throughout the week. Another justification could be the heart-wrenching poverty I witnessed growing up in Asia. Maybe it’s just simply watching the wasted dollars get tossed in the trash. Regardless of the reason, I embrace the simplicity of leftovers and the money-saver they can be. Plus, they’re quite the creativity booster. Throwing together a variety of leftovers or even just some strange ingredients can yield some inspiring meals. Even better, they are a gift to the lazy cook!

So next time you’re out to dinner, consider taking home a doggie-bag of leftovers and maybe even scooping up your friend’s too!

*Impassioned Plea* As some of you may know, the nominations for the Plutus Awards have begun. I’d be ever so grateful if you’d consider nominating me! My blog qualifies for best new personal finance blog, best personal finance blog for young adults and if you find me witty perhaps throw in most humorous personal finance blog. The super quick process can be completed here. Thank you kind reader!  

Favorite posts (and one video) from this week:

And just for fun…A Chinese Zoo Tried To Pass Off This Huge, Fluffy Dog As A Lion

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32 responses to “Frugal Find: Leftovers

  1. I always take leftovers home from restaurants. It’s almost guaranteed I won’t finish my meal, and I would regret paying for something I didn’t finish. I really don’t like seeing food go to waste, either, and it’s great when I can make two meals out of one. My boyfriend can also eat quite a lot, which makes me happy – I don’t have to feel too guilty about not finishing something. My family also had leftovers frequently, and I’ve taken food home from work that didn’t get finished before. Free food is the best!

    1. Free food just has a magical taste! When I moved to NYC I started to train myself to only eat half my meal so I could take the second half home and justify the cost by making it into two meals. Plus, it helps the waistline to combat huge American portions!

    1. And weddings! I always want to sneak into the kitchen and take food home. And you’re welcome. It was a great post!

  2. Hey thanks for sharing! I hate throwing away food as well, we’re pretty good in my house hold about not letting leftovers go to waste, and fortunately it’s a cultural thing to give away leftover food at family gatherings, so we’re always on hand to take a plate or two!

    1. Yeah, seeing that first hand really made an impact on me at a young age. I’m glad my parents always value saving food.

    1. Eating out is pretty rare for me too. I view it as a big treat and then usually only eat half so I’ll have leftovers and can justify the cost. Have a great weekend too!

  3. I hate food waste too and at the same time, I’m not a huge fan of leftovers. I know – #firstworldproblems. When I’m doing the cooking, which is most nights, I only cook what we will eat. While eating leftovers the next day would make my life easier, I end throwing too much of it away, so I’ve just come to accept cooking a fresh meal every night. 😀 Restaurants are harder. My husband will eat some leftovers for lunch, otherwise if we know the portion sizes are huge, we just order less food.

    1. Because cooking for one can be kind of tricky. Plus, I like to just cook in bulk for the week so I guess I’m essentially always eating leftovers!

  4. Hey now! That Young Adult category is MINE!!!! Just kidding 😛 Lots of young adult / millennial blogs out there I don’t know how someone could pick a favorite.

    I always bring home leftovers (if possible, some food does go bad before you can get it home safely) and during the week my wife and I often make a little extra to bring to work for lunch the next day. It’s easy and avoids waste.

    Thanks so much for the mention and I hope you have an awesome weekend!

    1. Don’t worry, people can vote for more than one!!

      It is pretty awesome to have leftovers to brown bag to work, especially because it means less cooking.

  5. Yes! Being known as the “frugal one” or “the scavenger” definitely has its benefits. People always offer me their extras and leftovers first. LOVE it!

    1. Me too! One other woman in my office is the same way, and funnily enough we sit next to each other. She has a 2 year (maybe more) streak of never buying lunch at work. It’s really impressive. I buy sometimes just as a little treat to myself.

  6. Leftovers are the best ever! When we first got together my fiance wouldn’t even box up leftovers from a restaurant to take home, nonetheless save what we had cooked to be reheated. His ways are starting to change! Our wallets are thankful.

    1. Sounds like you’re a good influence then! I think lots of meals taste just as good (maybe even better) the next day. I love cold pizza for breakfast!

  7. I always take home leftovers. Growing up in a working class family we took home everything we didn’t eat (I meant we paid for it, why not?). I had no idea that some people didn’t take leftovers home and considered it faux pas (particularly in NYC). Shame on them for perpetuating food waste.

  8. I totally know where you’re coming from. The last few jobs that I have worked (as part of my degree) I’ve seen such huge wastes of food after big meetings etc. I’ve always been the one grabbing up leftovers and being like “well I’m a starving student”. Even more food is wasted at buffets, it’s crazy. Glad I’m not the only one.

    1. The office manager at my work sometimes emails me to go grab food before it gets tossed. As a whole though, my office is pretty great about eating up leftovers from meetings. I’m grateful that mentality exists or it would really bother me.

  9. I am a huge leftovers fan. My brother is a lawyer here in the city and all big firm jobs give you free dinner if you stay past 8pm (which is sadly most days). My brother will often order his $30 worth of food from places where he can get two meals or more to try to cut on future food costs. He doesn’t always eat the food though, and I’ve been known to scout his fridge for his leftovers and have gone home with great food!

    1. My friend’s boyfriend has that happen too. Then he gets to expensive it on his credit card and rack up reward points. Minus the staying late part, it’s a pretty sweet deal!

  10. This. Is. Hilarious! I just shared it with a friend who is starting her first professional job tomorrow. I figure if she just does better than these fools she’ll be in a great place. I’m also about to post it on the Broke Millennial FB page. Thanks so much for sharing this (and of course for reading)!

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