Frugality Spending Use It Up Challenge

Use It Up Challenge: The Breakfast Cereal Smack Down

breakfast challenge, frugal breakfast, using it up challenge


I opened the bathroom drawer to put away the new tube of toothpaste requested by my wife since she said she was out. Instead of finding a flat, empty tube as I would have expected, I found a twisted, mangled mess. After I straightened it out and pushed all the toothpaste to one end it was still one fourth full.  She was ready to throw it out, when there was still plenty left.

Drives me NUTS.

So I added it to the collection of almost empty shampoo and body wash products I have in the bathroom I commonly use in the early morning.

This is a common theme with several products in our house, the most frequent offender being breakfast cereal. She’ll request a certain kind of cereal, eat half of it and then have  her preferences change and require a different kind. Eventually we end up with a cupboard of half full cereal boxes where many of them sit in lonely isolation until they fail the stale test and I throw them out.

I recently read a post at The Daily Money Shot that addressed this exact topic. The post challenged readers to use up all their half empty products and not buy any new for the month of June. It really hit home, as I noticed that we currently have quite a collection of breakfast cereal hanging out in our cupboard. So I’m laying down a family ultimatum: No new cereal until we finish what we have.

It’s an all hands on deck, breakfast cereal smack down.

When I announced my intentions, I got the eye roll from my wife. I explained that throwing away half full boxes of stale cereal is wasting food and money and I don’t like doing it. Even though I’m not a breakfast cereal eater, I’m going to set an example by eating cereal every day. I told my family that whether they participate or not, there will absolutely, positively be NO new breakfast cereals until we’ve consumed what we currently have.

How about you?  Do you have any collections of half empty products that you could challenge yourself to use up?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I use the the last of cereal that has gotten stale or wasn’t very good to begin with, or just isn’t to my taste anymore in muffins. Google ‘leftover cereal muffins’ and you’ll find a bazillion options. 🙂

  • We just mix our cereal at the end of the box with the new cereal to avoid small partials. Actually, mixed cereal is pretty good and sometimes we’ll open two kinds and eat half of each then mix the remainder.

    I hate partials of products, but I also hate small amounts left. So if possible I’ll always top off the new with the old (like shampoo, sauces, dressings) to get rid of the container.

  • @frugalapolis: I doubt that the rest of my family would go for the mixing of cereals, but I’m game to try anything! Who knows though, I’ll suggest it and see if they surprise me. 🙂 I love the idea of topping off the new bottle with what’s left of the old one – we all know there’s plenty of empty space in a brand new container, right???

  • Yes I can relate to the toothpaste thing. Now I steal it when it gets near the end, replace it with a new one for her and then I finish the first one. So you and I are both lunatics.

  • My kids occasionally do the cereal thing. It infuriates me, but they’ll go on a multi-day food strike rather than eat what they have just decided they hate.


    At least they only pull it about twice a year.

    My husband is the toothpaste mangler. Except he never throws anything out, coming from a truly poor country, so if it were left up to him, we’d have a pile of mangled toothpaste tubes on the counter. 🙂 After I straighten them, he’ll keep using them, and if I straighten as we go, as I now habitually do, less mangling occurs.

    My husband is a paradox. He will open a can of soup, eat half, and let the rest rot int he fridge because he forgets about it, but if he notices that I have a pile of potato skins from baked potatoes for the kids (who won’t eat the skins), he’ll eat them for a snack. He doesn’t spend money, but carelessness causes a lot of waste.

  • @Michael- That’s an interesting idea….the thought of skipping an entire week of grocery shopping as a challenge catches my interest. I wonder if I could get the wife to go for it. It may even be a great blog post! Thanks for the idea!

  • @Jenny – I try to straighten out the toothpaste tubes as we go as well….but it only takes one day for them to end up all mangled again. I thought of sitting everyone down and showing them the “correct” way of pushing out toothpaste – but that just made me laugh at my own extreme anal retentiveness. lol.

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