Without meaning to dwell on grocery savings, I find many ways to eat well and spend nothing. Being frugal can be a fault, but I am willing to eat what others don't and actually prefer the "bad" stuff, the "beyond edible," especially in bananas.
One day, I went out to leave in my 10 year-old car and found several bags on the hood of the car. Not only had my friend left me egg cartons for sharing eggs, she had left about ten bananas in another bag. She had left a message on my cell phone, telling me the bananas were for my chickens. I called her and told her, "Chickens--nothing. I will eat those bananas!"
Sure, the bananas were mostly black spots, but that is how I love them. So, the chickens only got three of about ten bananas. I like a banana in a smoothie each day, a smoothie consisiting entirely of fruit with a bit of plain yogurt. Some I froze.
My friend's husband refuses to eat a banana with even one tiny brown spot, so this week I was recipient of another three bananas. I say, "Goody, goody, gum drops." Okay, so I am picky when I refuse to touch a banana with any hint of green.
Lest you think I eat just eat produce others will not touch to save money, let me dissuade you of that idea. Any banana that looks green or smells green is very distasteful to me. Yes, I can smell "green." If a banana is completely black, I still give it a chance. Usually the banana is entirely unblemished once it is peeled.
Banana sound test
If I can hear the peel come off the banana, I cringe. That banana will taste green!
The only time I refuse to peel a banana is when the banana goes limp in my hand. THAT banana is chicken food. They even get the peels and bruises that are discarded. Eating a bruise is very distasteful to me.
People know I love over-ripe bananas, so they offer theirs to me. I don't think they just save them to give me out a purely charitable emotion. Otherwise, bananas would come my way more often.
Itty-bitty financial scheme
Okay, here goes my financial schemes on my micro-level figuring. Bananas are about $0.59 per pound x 52 weeks. That is a $31 year profit/saving, whichever way you want to figure it. (Sometimes bananas are $.69 and sometimes $.39, but usually $.59.)
While I don't receive a regular supply of bananas, and sometimes receive more than I can consume before that even I will not eat them, I freeze the remainder. As I peel them, I cut away bruises, making a meal of peels and bruises for the hens. I peel each banana, break it in half and wrap in waxed paper. A pint freezer bag stores them nicely until smoothie time. Allow the banana to thaw until the waxed paper will come off easily and drop the banana pieces into a blender. (I do reuse the bag for more frozen bananas.)
Trading inedible produce
Getting old produce from friends or whomever does not have to be a one-way street. Once, when visiting my elderly neighbor, I noticed she had about 6 bananas that had become spotty since I visited her the day before. She was complaining that she would end up throwing them away. At my home I was impatiently waiting for the greenish bananas to become edible. I suggested she take some of my green ones for later. I would love to have spotty bananas because I was hungry for a banana. She thought I was just trying to do her a favor and I did not really like spotty bananas.
When she was convinced I was sincerely WANTING spotty bananas, I ran home and got three of my gaggy green ones to trade for three of her perfect ones.
I know some blogs have grand plans to help people stay out of debt or get out of debt. My schemes and habits do the same thing. My figures are just smaller amounts.
$39 onion savings (previous post)
$31 banana savings
$70 each year
My friend who gives me bananas is losing weight, needs clothing, and does not want to keep buying new work wardrobes. On the trunk of my car is a pair of nice pants that might fit her. If not, she has a daughter, dil, and probably knows someone else who can use them if the pants don't work for her!
Can you see it?
Maybe you are focused on the big issues? Mortgage? Gasoline? Children's needs? Maybe you don't have time to give away what you don't want? Maybe you don't want to insult someone with your old, spotty bananas? Just rethink how you might save money on groceries, how you might use up the bounty in front of your nose. This goes beyond garden produce or found fruit. But, those are ways to consume what will be wasted and save money at the same time. Tell me your silly little scheme so my silly little scheme won't be lonely.