Waste Not, Want Not

With food and gas prices rising, it's time for a new spin on an old idea.

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Waste not, want not. That was a favorite saying of my father when I was growing up. He also liked to remind my sisters and me that when he was a young boy in England in the 1950s, no amount of food was ever wasted. My grandparents, who experienced strict rationing during World War II, made sure of that.

Many of us aren't so good at following that dictum today. In fact, the Washington Post reported this morning that according to a University of Arizona study, on average Americans waste about 14 percent of food purchases.

The recent spikes in gas and food prices make it a good time to reconsider our prodigal ways. The blogger at Clever Dude recently posted some great tips on how to cut waste, including using less shampoo and toothpaste (I know I'm guilty of globbing on way more than necessary), using cloth dish towels instead of paper ones (you'll be helping the environment, too!), and using natural light (it can also be a mood booster).

Here's a few more to get you in a thrifty mood:

• Bring a refillable water bottle with you in the morning so you're not tempted to buy plastic ones throughout the day. (Add a lemon on your way out the door to make it even more appealing.)

• Bike to work.

• Rent movies instead of going out to see the new ones—it can be more romantic anyway.

What are your favorite techniques?