Editor’s note: This is a transcript of the audio file.

Waste not — WANT NOT! That’s easier said than done when it comes to preserving your groceries. I’m Kristin Arnold with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

In a tight economy, everyone’s doing what they can to stretch what they’ve got, including what’s in the fridge or cupboards.

Vegetables are a staple in every healthy diet — too bad they don’t last very long! To stretch the life of your veggies, add one or two teaspoons of baking soda to simmering water before cooking. Unfortunately, the soda’s alkaline content only restores color … not nutrients.

Buying a whole chicken instead of just parts saves money and allows you section of pieces for whatever leftover recipe you have in mind. You can also make stock from leftover chicken carcass the next day.

Purchase ground beef and chicken in bulk when it’s on sale. Then cook the meat in bulk before freezing suggests Mary Ann Kelley of Menus4Moms.com, a website offering weekly dinner menus and cooking resources.

You can boost cheese longevity with special, “breathable” cheese wrap paper (available at any cheese shop) or wax paper. Plastic actually suffocates cheese – making it moldy or slimy much faster.

Looking for more ways to extend your food — log on to Bankrate.com. I’m Kristin Arnold.