Keep These Things in Your Car; Save Money

By Andrea Karim on 19 April 2007 (Updated 10 June 2007) 4 comments

As I fall deeper and deeper into veggie-eating, plastic-eschewing hippiedom, I thought I'd share some of my ideas for reducing, reusing, or recycling. There's nothing here you haven't heard before, but that doesn't mean it isn't valuable information!

Here are things that I've started keeping in my car to keep me from overspending or wasting.

Pack a lunch that packs a punch

Not only is packing your own lunch a very frugal option, but it can be fun, sassy, and will cause you to waste less. Think about how much you throw away if you get a sandwich, chips, and drink at Subway. Even the cafeteria where I grab work puts half a sandwich in a big styrofoam container, rather than on a paper plate or even a reusable plate. Even if you decide to eat lunch out on the town, having your own containers on hand can help you avoid bringing home paltry leftovers on a stryofoam shell. Keep some reusable plastic containers in your car or at your desk, and use them for leftovers or take-out as necessary.

Lots of people brown-bag it, but if you want a stylish lunch box in which to transport your Spamwich, there are lots and lots and lots to chose from. The Bruce Less lunchbox pictured above can be purchased at Wow Shopper.

Just for kicks, you can use this web page to calculate how much money you can spend or save between dining out and brown-baggin'.

Get a hold of your hunger

Very often, I will find myself driving home, stuck on the freeway, and my blood sugar drops. Or I'm so hungry that I get incredibly cranky. The traffic is bad enough as it is - I don't really need to be hungry on top of it all.

So, I'll pull into the nearest fast food chain and get some fries. Great. That's not a lot of money, but I just spent my calories for the evening.

How to keep from losing your cool to a growling stomach?

Make, bake, and bring. Here are some recipes that I really like to use to create Road Food. They'll hold me over until I get home, satiate my noisy gut, and help me keep from gorging on a fries-and-blizzard combo at Wendy's.

Also consider keeping something really simple in your glove compartment, like dried fruit or nuts, or both. Change them out every week (either eat them, compost them, or let the dog have them).

There is an intial expenditure with these items, and the swankier you get with them, the more the upfront cost. But the cost is usually balanced out very quickly in the savings.

(Photo by MURAT BAYRAL)

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Guest

That's not very frugal, taking a product that's designed to keep for months and throwing it away after a week! I keep a resealable tin of peanuts (just finished a Hot N Spicy; Butter Toffee is there now) in the car for just the reason you say ... if you're driving home starving, the last thing you should do is fries from the drive thru. Even in the dead of my local winter (-40 overnight more than once) the nuts keep fine until I finish them. Highly recommend for saving money, calories, or that truly unpleasant hour driving while your blood sugar falls. The tin is probably 3 cups of nuts and cost $3.50 at the supermarket.

Andrea Karim's picture

Even dried fruit, in a warm car, can grow bacteria. If it's still safe to eat, eat it. If not, I say dump it. But chances are that it will be consumed during the week anyway.

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Jasileet

The title suggests more than the article delivers. Really not useful. FAIL.

Andrea Karim's picture

Your comment, however, is so awesome that I might actually have to nominate it for the AWESOMEST TROLL BLOG COMMENT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD Awards.