frugal

Save money & keep greens fresher, longer

Nothing seems like a bigger waste of money than buying vegetables only to watch them wilt in your fridge. Thankfully, one of our readers discovered an easy way to keep lettuce and spinach fresh and crisp longer. Now if only there was a way to remember to eat those leftovers before they grow mold.

This month's Frugal $ense winner: Russene Miller-Horansky
Russene Miller-HoranskyRussene Miller-Horansky won $100 for submitting the following tip:

"When you store lettuce and spinach in the refrigerator, always include one or two paper towels with the vegetables. The paper towels will absorb moisture and prevent lettuce and spinach from losing their life too soon." -- Russene Miller-Horansky, of Greensburg, Pa.

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Bankrate: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Miller-Horansky: I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor's degree in social science and concentrations in economics and sociology. I work part time and volunteer for the American Association For Lost Children Inc. For several years, I operated my own business dealing with healthy, life-changing products, including nutritional, pharmaceutical and natural household products. I have been married to "Mr. Wonderful" for 22 years, and we live in Greensburg, Pa.

Bankrate: How did you figure out this money-saving tip?

Miller-Horansky: My husband and I eat a lot of salads, and we noticed we were wasting more lettuce and spinach than we were eating. The spinach was not lasting as long as it should. After evaluating the situation, we found out the lettuce and spinach we would buy held too much moisture, which would cause them to wilt too soon. By storing the lettuce and spinach with the paper towels, the excess moisture would be absorbed, which extended the life and freshness. We stopped the waste and were able to finish eating the food before it went bad.

Bankrate: How long does this extend the life of lettuce and spinach?

Miller-Horansky: With the paper towels, the veggies would last three to four days longer.

Bankrate: How much money does this save you a week?

Miller-Horansky: By not having our lettuce and spinach go bad within a few days, we are saving at least $6 a week.

Bankrate: Can you use this method to save other vegetables from going bad?

Miller-Horansky: Lettuce and spinach have the best results. We haven't had issues with other vegetables going bad, but if someone would have an issue with excess moisture, I can't see why this wouldn't work as well.

Bankrate: Do you also try to save on the paper towels you're buying so you aren't wasting money with that?

Miller-Horansky: We definitely go with the cheaper brands of paper towels. The off-brand works just as well as the name brand and costs less.

Bankrate: Do you have any other money-saving tips when it comes to food?

Miller-Horansky: When red and yellow peppers are on sale, I advise people to buy a lot of them, cut them and then freeze them. They're not going to go bad by freezing them, and they taste just as good as if they were fresh. This saves money by buying them on sale and in bulk. Then when you want to use them, they're already cut and washed. They especially taste delicious when you saute them with meat and put it on a pizza.

Bankrate: What about money-saving tips in general?

Miller-Horansky: Evaluate everything you spend money on, and see if there is a prudent way to save on it. For example, before going out to eat, you can search for coupons online or do price comparisons between grocery stores in your area. For bigger money-saving tips, you can search Bankrate.com and find the lowest rates to refinance your mortgage and the highest rates on CDs and savings accounts. The more you are involved with your finances, the better off you are.

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