Has anyone else, besides me, ever started cleaning out your refrigerator and think to yourself, instead of taking the lid off that bowl of what the heck is this!! I should just throw it away, No Really!! I never liked that bowl anyway, it’s kind of….ugly, old, and yeah I think it might be cracked, you stare at the trash then back at the bowl. Why? Because you have no idea what’s in it, why it’s that color, and for sure you know it’s going to smell. I pulled out a package of block cheddar cheese that had never been opened, it had shriveled to a fourth of its normal size was hard as a brick, and was thirty shades of industrial grey and green, that I hope to never encounter again. Sometimes I think there is a hidden vortex that sucks my food out the back of the refrigerator and returns it all funkyfied! I decided that day I was going to change my shopping and wasting habits. It hurts my feelings to throw things out that my family could have used or given away. It’s the same as throwing money in the trash. I like to make our money stretch and go far, so I got some paper and inventoried all my pantry, refrigerated, and frozen items, down to spices and oils. I wrote it all down and put the list on the fridge. From that day forward, every time I use something I mark it off the list. It so helps me plan meals I know everything I have at a glance. To make it super easy, every time I go to the store, I place the receipt on the fridge and mark off each item we use. This works threefold, not only does it let you keep up with your inventory and plan meals, it also helps keep the reality of what you are spending in front of you and the whole family. Hopefully this means not so many trips to the restaurant. The money you save can be put away. Talk with your family and set goals for what to do with your savings, such as new bikes, a night at the movies, a new board game, or a family vacation. It is great when the whole family is learning about finances, set small and big goals you experience the benefits of savings. These days I find I have a lot more storage bowls. Every three meals I cook, the fourth meal is a left over night. I heat it all up and everyone finds something. P.S. Since we started doing this we have bought a new treadmill, gone to Holiday World and are getting ready to take a trip to Gatlinburg soon all paid for with our savings!