We have college students who meet here several times a week. They often stop by and pick up their dinner at some fast-food restaurant, unless I'm cooking for the study groups. Their bags often contain packets of ketchup, salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese, sweet and sour, or duck sauce, soy sauce, hot mustard, taco sauces, etc. So much of that was being thrown in the garbage along with the sacks they came in.
I started saving them and store them in a large empty oatmeal box which I covered with plain white paper and labeled. Now if the young people don't have enough of something, they know to go to that box and help themselves.
I can't tell you how many times I've raided that box myself to find ketchup when I'm making chili, and need a bit of sweet for my tomatoes instead of using sugar, or soy for stir-fried rice. It might not save me all that much money, unless you count the gas it'd take to get to a store to buy something.
I also save the extra napkins and wrapped straws the students being in. They all know where to find them if they forget to pick them up at the take-out counters.
By Julia from Boca Raton, FL
Great tip! I think 9 times out of 10, these places give out way too much in condiments & napkins - use it, don't waste it. I've seen people who just throw it away & when you ask them why, they say it's because they got more than they needed-not realizing that they can use it for other meals! They can also be thrown into lunchboxes for school kids & people who take lunch to work, or used when you go on a picnic or camp out so you don't have to cart the big bottles. Or even use them at home, as you suggested.
I once went for an entire YEAR (I counted) without buying catsup or napkins because of the excess we get with our fast food. And no, I don't ask for it or take too much - they give it to me even when I tell them no! BIG pet peeve of mine! Taco Bell once gave us 35 packets of sauce, another place gives us 8-20 containers of their salsa every time, even though we tell them no (my husband has been known to put it back on their to-go window & drive off). Sonic regularly gives us at least 15 packets of catsup, sometimes more-in fact just yesterday I ordered a small onion ring from them & ended up giving the server back a double handful of catsup that was in the bag. Another burger place that advertises right on their window that they only give condiments on request always gives condiments even when we say no, one time they gave me 34 packets of catsup & another time 31! And napkins? Either we don't get any, or we get 15-30 at a time! I've called management & even the corporations to complain, but they don't care. Seems to me they'd save a bundle of money if their employees stopped handing so much of this stuff out! Sorry, I'll step down from my soapbox now. :)
Kudos to you Julia both for saving th packets and all but also for having the study group at your home. You are such an interesting person the study group must enjoy meeting there emensely. Love to hear from you some time. Take care.
I hope you never run out of tips to share with us.I for one have learned so much from your tips,recipes and crafts.
I used to toss those little packets that didn't get used quickly, shame on me! Now I pass them on to others who are worse off than we are. Even the little condiments cost can be too much when your budget is about one strand of a shoestring! Julia, God bless your generous heart!
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