Save Money: Catering Leftovers Are My Life

I mention occasionally that bringing home catering leftovers is a big way for me to save money. My nickname with my catering company is ‘zero waste’. I don’t like to see food thrown away in general and I capitalize on every event as a chance to eat for free. I love the amount of money I have saved over the months. My grocery budget last month was $60. My spending on food is way down. I also hate cooking, so having food that’s already prepared but not stuffed with weird preservatives is a huge perk for me!

I thought today I would share some photos of the types of things I bring home and eat each week. I always take as much as I can carry as my roommates and boyfriend also eat this food. #providing #literallybringinghomethebacon

Here’s my haul from last Saturday night:


I carry all this food in one grocery bag.

 The loot for this week, left to right:

-two bags of mixed greens                                  -one bag of rolls

-one bag of asparagus cooked in oil                 -one stick of butter

-two containers of mashed potatoes                -two containers salmon with pesto sauce

-one container bacon wrapped chicken          -two containers red grapes

-one container asiago cheese                            -one container beef cooked with Mexican flavoring

-one container cooked brussels sprouts

As you can see, I try and go for an even spread of veggies, fruits and proteins. I didn’t keep all this food. I gave one bag of greens, the bag of rolls, the asiago cheese, the butter and one container of grapes to my boyfriend. We already have so much butter at my house (from previous events) and none of my roomies are big white carb eaters, so the rolls would have gone uneaten here.


Salmon with pesto!

I will live off of these items, plus things like brown rice, whole wheat pasta, peanut butter and soup, for the next week. I consider catering a blessing on three levels: 1) It literally pays me in dollaz. 2) It literally pays me in food. 3) It pays me in food I would NEVER buy for myself.

I would never buy salmon at the grocery store or order it at a restaurant. At restaurants it’s too expensive and to bring home salmon would mean I’d have to cook it- hell no. I might buy asparagus but I always just roast it in the oven with some salt and pepper. Spinach and mesclun greens get pricey real quick at the grocery store and having a gallon size bag of free greens means salads and smoothies for a week. All that equals dollars saved.

Bringing home a variety of foods (fruits, carbs, proteins and veggies) also means a balanced diet. While I am into healthy eating much more so than the average American, I too fall prey to buying the same foods over and over again. I can wander pretty much the same route at the grocery store and pick out my yogurt, tuna, soup and peanut butter with my eyes closed. Going to these events with food other people have picked out means that my diet varies at least a little week to week.


 Mashed potatoes for days!

These leftovers also save me time. Most of the food is already cooked and all I have to do is zap it in the microwave. I dislike cooking and only make myself basic meals like stir-frys and homemade pizza. Having cooked salmon, prepared mashed potatoes and sautéed asparagus just waiting for me in my fridge means I can spend more time doing other things. Mostly that’s watching ‘Reign’ on Netflix right now, but still! Time you enjoyed wasting isn’t time wasted, amirite? I just pick and choose from my refrigerator buffet, pop it in the microwave and presto! Instant meal.

While I do dream of leaving the food service business permanently sooner rather than later, I will probably cater for at least a few months after I pay off all my debt. I make a good hourly wage and I save money on food. My hope is all earnings from this job will be a great way to buff up my savings after I’m debt free. Right now I feel guilty for not saving or investing more, but I firmly believe that paying off debt has to be my priority and so it is for now.

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13 Replies to “Save Money: Catering Leftovers Are My Life”

  1. I was really excited until I saw that what I thought were two containers of kalmata (sp?) olives were really grapes. I love grapes, but good olives are on another level entirely.

    I am envious that you have access to all of that pre-cooked, time saving, and nutritious food.

    (Looks at his measly lunch in disgust)

  2. It is a huge blessing. I personally don’t like olives so I’m happier with my grapes. Salmon and asparagus are my lunch today!

  3. Sweet gig! I catered for a summer and it was awesome – a couple times I even got to bring home nearly-full bottles of wine that was way nicer than I’d ever buy. Yum.

  4. It’s a great gig. I am always thankful for it. The money I make is a big part of the reason I’m making such headway on my loans and the food is the best perk I could ask for!

  5. […] I found myself stalking personal finance websites, reading everything that talked about debt pay off plans. I became familiar with payment ideas like the snowball and avalanche methods. My google history showed searches like “How to pay off student loans” or “debt reduction ideas.” I was reading multiple stories a day of people paying off large sums like $75,000 in credit card or student loan debt. I stopped going out for drinks, I stopped browsing clothing websites in my spare time and I got serious about my catering leftovers. […]

  6. […] my student loan debt. That’s money I earned catering until 1am. That’s money I saved by not buying food. That is money that I worked damn hard for and poof! It’s just gone. I paid thousands of […]

  7. […] Only Leftovers: I don’t consider it a hardship to eat catering leftovers. It doesn’t feel like I’m missing out on anything or that I’m limited by it. In […]

  8. […] afternoon beers, traveling, and being indifferent towards my finances. I work really hard to keep my expenses low and to find frugal ways to have fun, on top of the hard work I do between my five jobs. Sometimes […]

  9. […] paying off my debt. Every decision I make has that goal in mind, from my shopping habits to my eating habits. And the reason I live my life that way is because my goal is so […]

  10. […] I got more savvy about how to pay back my debt and became a convert to living frugally. However frugally I lived or however smart I was about my debt payoff strategy though, the fact […]

  11. […] I am a personal finance blogger and I’ve only been debt free for a few months. I mean, I lived and breathed extreme debt pay off for 10 months. I didn’t spend any money in February! Debt is just the thing that […]

  12. […] mentioned periodically throughout this blog that I eat a lot of catering leftovers. I wrote a post on just how much I depend on them almost exactly a year ago! Today I’m going to take you more in depth through a catering […]

  13. […] -Snacks. Catering once again comes to the rescue. I’ve got roasted almonds, craisins, brownies, sunflower seeds, olive oil, and a bunch of other things. I started snagging things a few weeks ago, and it’s added up! (What would my life be like if I didn’t have catering leftovers?) […]

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