Many of us are constantly trying to make ends meet at the end of each month, and although there are great surviving hacks out there, we still can’t do it. It’s really hard having to buy all the groceries and feed your family, but also save for your favorite holiday destination. Australian woman 34, Mel Humphreys, was desperate to put a deposit down on her own place. This made her realize that her biggest expenses were food and groceries. Although this may seem obvious, she decided to change her life completely. She began raiding bins outside of supermarkets, bakeries and caterers several times a week to see what people were throwing out. Eventually, she made the most important decision in her life, and managed to buy a flat!
For many people, it seems almost impossible to save money to buy something big, but this woman has found the answer, and that is bin raiding.
“I first heard of dumpster diving four years ago and started looking out of the back of shops for the bins and going out to see what was there,” Mel told Caters. “When I started doing it I couldn’t believe I could get all this food for free from a bin – it was amazing.
“The more and more places I found, the bigger the hauls and the more stable it could be as a lifestyle – now I’d say 75 per cent of what I eat comes from a bin. I never have to shop and am really reticent to buy things now, because I know if I wait long enough I will just find it in a bin.”
Amazingly, Mel’s plan has worked. The nurse used to spend around $AU200 ($158) per week on buying food. However, after she found her new hobby, she only shops for the essentials. This costs her about $AU40 ($31) per week. Her diet includes fresh bakery goods, meat, veg, soft drinks and more.
Mel had been bin raiding for four years now and has saved over $20,000. This allowed her to put a deposit down on a two-bedroom flat in Sydney.
“I like nice food as much as the next person and it’s really nice to be able to share good food with people,” said Mel.
“My freezer is absolutely chock full of meat, so now I take it over to my mum’s place.
“When you see all these beautiful meats and fish shrink wrapped and still cold going into the bin – it does make me feel disgusted. Food will just be wrapped in plastic and chucked in the garbage.”
Sadly, dumpster diving is actually illegal in the UK, because that food is basically the shop’s property. Alyson Walsh from FareShare, the UK’s largest food redistribution charity, told Cosmopolitan there are other things you can do to stop food waste. She adds: “Although it’s illegal to take food from supermarket bins in the UK there are plenty of ways you can get food for very little money, or even for free.”
“The app TooGoodToGo finds restaurants that are getting rid of unsold food, and you can usually pick up a box to go for a few pounds. There’s also an app called Olio which lets people offer food they might otherwise have wasted with their neighbours. All you have to do is collect it.”
The topic is certainly debatable, but it is definitely a good way to save money!