My #1 Rule For The Frugal Kitchen (& How I Just Broke It!)

September 19, 2014 by


I’m sick to my stomach.

I just broke my #1 rule for my frugal kitchen.

I let 1/2 of a bottle of grapeseed oil go bad. Like really bad. It’s September and it expired in March. I don’t usually worry too much about expiration dates. (The chili that I am eating as I type this used a can of tomatoes that expired a few months ago.) But this smells rancid. It’s definitely bad. Healthy oils are one of the most expensive food items I purchase to feed my family. This would have been one of the last things I would have wanted to waste.

I purchased this oil for making homemade mayo, salad dressings, and skincare. Somehow, it got pushed to the very back of a deep cabinet and forgotten about. Ugh! Waste makes me unhappy because I simply cannot afford to throw away food. When I think of the millions of starving people around the world, it makes me feel even worse.

We don’t always think of it like this, but throwing away food is the same thing as throwing cash into the trash can. We would never think to do that, yet throwing food away isn’t any different.

So what are me and my aching stomach to do now?

I have 2 tips I’d like to share with you.

1. Grace. It’s all about grace. Since fretting over my wasted oil isn’t going to bring it back, I need to let it go. One way I do that is to think about all of the good I do to maintain a frugal kitchen. For every mistake like this one, there are 1,000 things I did that were frugal. I remind myself that I am doing the best that I can and that I will make mistakes. We need to show each other grace in this life, and sometimes the one we need to show the most grace to can be ourselves.

2. I always do an internet search to find out if there is an alternate use for my ruined food. A 2 1/2 second search brought up this post – Don’t Throw Out That Rancid Oil! Make Soap! You can read that article here, if you are interested. Sometimes, all is not lost.

*Update 9/25/2014: If you decide to use rancid oil to make soap, please see reader Amie’s comment below for more information. Thank you, again, Amie!



You might be interested in:

Grace, Not Perfection


Shared on Graced SimplicityCounting My BlessingsPint Size Farm, Soul Survival, Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth, & The Deliberate Mom.

Also at A Little R & RNew Life on a HomesteadLife With GarnishThe Pin It PartyThrifty ThursdayCornerstone Confessions, & I Choose Joy!

What do you think? Is food waste an issue in your home? What is your #1 frugal kitchen rule?

30 Responses to My #1 Rule For The Frugal Kitchen (& How I Just Broke It!)

  1. blessingcounterdeb

    Heather, I hate waste too! What a great idea to use it for making soap. You’re right we are given grace in some surprising places. Thanks for linking this at CMB.

  2. Kristia @ Family Balance Sheet

    I’ve done this before with oils too and I even buy the smallest bottle because of it turning rancid before I can use it. And one of my frugal rules is to buy the product with the best per unit price, but it never makes sense when the food goes bad so quickly.

    Let us know how the soap turns out!

    • Heather

      I do the same thing you do regarding unit pricing, Kristia. Usually, I don’t have a problem using up oil because I cook so much. Things do have a way of getting lost in the cabinets, though. I will post about soap making in the future. Thanks for reading.

  3. Amie

    I am an avid soap maker and I will give a little advice….If the oil smells really bad, your soap will smell like it too 🙁 Soap recipes can be really expensive so I thought I would warn you and save you a second heartbreak! If you make soap with that oil, I would just use the single oil so that you don’t put a lot of other really good oils to waste 🙂 I would infuse it with some garlic and use it to spray the ground around my plants in the garden to keep away pests 🙂

    • Heather

      Thank you so much for that information, Amie. I did wonder how the soap would smell. I think that using it for garden pests is an excellent idea. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your advice with us. I really appreciate it. 🙂

      • Amie

        No problem! There are so many other good suggestions – i bet that oil doesnt go to waste after all…i just love the mother of invention..necessity 🙂 it really brings out the best of our creativity..blessings to all !

  4. Melissa @ Simply Sweets by Honeybee

    I think the fact that you feel so bad about the oil going bad is testament to the fact that you care about how food is used in your home and getting your money’s worth out of everything. This is a place that I truly need to improve on in my life. Far too many times my husband & I are throwing out food that has gone bad. When you use the analogy of throwing cash in the trash it makes it all that more real that it is horrible. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s helps people like me that can be wasteful to open our eyes and try to be more frugal.

    • Heather

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Melissa. I am so glad that I helped you see things in a different light. I hope that I was able to do it in a loving way, not a condemning one. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to share your thoughts.

  5. JES

    I hear you!! It kills me to throw away food, especially expensive oils! I am thinking it can be made into a furniture polish with the addition of some lemon essential oil and vinegar maybe?

    • Heather

      Taking steps to improve in the areas where we are weak is what counts. And, yes, it is all about grace. Grace, not perfection. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, NJ.

  6. adrian@lifewithgarnish.com

    I too hate having to throw away food that has gone bad! We have a leftover night just so we can eat what’s in the refrigerator. That’s it, eat anything you want as long as it’s leftover from another meal:) Thanks for sharing it with us at the Teach Me Tuesday Linky Party:)

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