Smart Savings

Smart Saving: Eat What You Buy

Watch the Love Your Leftovers Video (YouTube; video displayed above). Be aware of ingredients and leftovers you need to use up. You’ll waste less and may even find a new favorite dish in the process.

Plan ahead

  • Make a list each week of what needs to be used up and plan upcoming meals around it.
  • Designate an “eat soon” area in your fridge by moving food that's likely to spoil soon to the front of a shelf. Print and attach this label (PDF, 30 K) to the shelf, on a shoebox or other container to corral food that needs to be eaten soon.
  • Are you likely to have leftovers from any of your meals? Plan on an “eat the leftovers” night each week.

Use it up

  • Leftover greens or veggie tops can be blended and frozen for winter soups or kept whole and turned into broth (which you can also freeze).
  • Casseroles, frittatas, soups and smoothies are great ways to use leftovers, and odds and ends. For ideas on cooking with leftovers, visit our Recipe box.
  • Share food you won’t get around to eating with friends or neighbors before heading out of town.

Wondering about the shelf life of a particular food or drink? Check out these resources for shelf life information about specific foods (external links): USDA Food Product Dating Guide, or

A special thank you to King County, Washington for developing and sharing the content of "Food: Too Good To Waste” on the pages devoted to the topic.