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Pooling Your Pantry

Money Saving Tip of the Month (featured column)
submitted by Emilie Newkirk of Minnesota

I cook for enjoyment and necessity as do most of my neighbors. A discussion over the food and money we waste while cooking and putting together various recipes led to a great money saving idea.

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For example someone may make a bread recipe that calls for two eggs when at the very least you can purchase six at a time. I could recall buying condiments, cooking oils or spices that I could only buy in larger containers and would never use.

We realized that with some advanced planning and pooling of resources we could all save some money. We created an e-mail list. If someone has something in excess or needs something they send out an e-mail to the group and see if anyone has the item before going to the grocery store to buy it.

For example, I needed a tablespoon of olive oil for a recipe. Instead of spending $5 or more, I was able to ask my neighbor who had a bottle she was trying to use up. On the flip side, after only using a few pieces of celery for a recipe,  I had almost an entire package of celery to donate to a neighbor to make "ants on a log" for her kids.

We have actually been able to expand our project to sharing things such as supplies for craft projects, household supplies or even clothing. I needed a pair of silver shoes for a wedding and was able to borrow the perfect, once worn pair from my neighbor.

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