We've all faced that moment of terror where we look at our bank account and the number is ridiculously and astoundingly low. After phoning up our banks, demanding explanations for our behaviour from friends and resorting to crying fraud, we eventually have to take responsibility for our reckless financial decisions. After this, it's often necessary to go to desperate lengths to make ends meet and this often involves giving up some of the things we love most, including... food.
Food not only provides us with sustenance but is a gift that our tastebuds have got used to enjoying at least three times a day. Unfortunately, it also tends to be one of the easiest places in which we can save money. Think about it; if you were to give up your beloved afternoon snack of Ben & Jerries, replace your lunchtime Chipotle burrito with a sandwich and stopped eating out for dinner, you'd probably save a significant amount of cash.
But if that method makes your stomach turn, stay tuned, as one woman discovered a rather ingenious way to save money on food without skimping on enjoyment...
32-year-old blogger Amanda Holden recently faced the dilemma of being hopelessly and completely broke. And her solution for making ends meet was certainly novel as she didn't resort to switching to unbranded foods and living off ramen like the majority of us, but (cue nose wrinkle of disgust) ate other people's leftovers.
But before you cry disease, bacteria and germs at the woman, have a little listen to her story. The former finance manager recounted to the Metro that she was at a point in her life where she didn't enjoy her job any longer but could not leave as she didn't have anything substantial saved. She said that despite "having a lot of fun" and "going out every night" she realised that her actions were unsustainable.
‘It was no secret that I didn’t love my job. I hit a point I didn’t like what I was doing.’
To remedy her situation, the Portland native did what we all do when in dire financial straits: lessen expenditure. Whilst you or me would probably cut out online shopping and our morning latte, Holden went one step further and stopped buying lunch, instead relying on her colleagues' leftovers. She elaborated;
"I worked at an office with lots of dudes so there was always extra food – I ate their leftover.
I told my close friends at work. I talked about it openly and most people embraced it. There were some times when I couldn’t find any scraps to eat and I would have to buy food. I would never go hungry. It wasn’t about hurting myself, I was just doing everything I could.
If someone is going to eat half a pizza, I would just ask them to toss it over".
Amanda wasn't calling for handouts but just for the food that her employees couldn't finish. So she helped cut down on food waste whilst eating for free - sounds like a win-win.
And Holden's feat certainly paid off, within six months she was able to quit her job as she had saved a whopping $29,700 which was more than enough to allow her to go travelling all over Central and South America.
The savvy woman told the publication of the hilarious response her boss had to her resignation;
"When I gave my boss my two weeks' notice, he took a minute, then looked at me and asked if that was why I was eating trash and why I was called the 'dumpster dog',
"He said he'd seen me pull a half-eaten burrito from the trash."
Whilst we probably won't adopt that particular money-saving approach, we will most definitely be having a browse of Amanda's other er, unique money-saving hacks chronicled on her aptly titled blog, Dumpster Dog Blog. Guess we now have a place to go when the going gets really tough...