Save. Spend. Splurge.

How to tell if someone has grown up rich and wasteful

As the title says, sometimes people reveal the littlest things to show you how they were raised and whether they grew up “rich” or not, and I see it the most in how people conserve or waste food.

For some reason, food is the one area people spend a lot of money on, yet don’t take care to gain maximum efficiency and minimum waste.


My first story is with a couple that has 3 kids. The mother, goes shopping at a fancy, organic grocery store every single week, loads up her cart with stuff she finds interesting, and then during the week because she is so busy with her job (the father too), she ends up throwing most of it in the garbage.

It literally breaks my heart each time I see a pint of perfectly fine organic raspberries in the garbage because she felt as though one of them was a little too soft and mushy, and therefore overripe to be eaten.

This wastefulness has to be costing them more than $200 a week by my estimates especially since organic fruit like raspberries or strawberries don’t come cheap.


She doesn’t meal plan at all, even with my best efforts to suggest doing so, and buys odd items that don’t match with each other in a meal (or at least, she can’t think of a recipe that uses them), and/or she is missing key ingredients to make a meal come together during the week.

Most of the time, she has admitted to me that they spend about $1000 a month eating out. They get a lot of takeaway and the kids all have their favourite restaurants and menu items “Oh mom, not shawarma from THAT place. I want it from THIS place. The #6!”

I gnash my teeth, but I mostly try not to think about it.


When in Europe, we cooked a very VERY lovely meal for hosts (family members, really) in Paris consisting of expensive wild mushrooms. To give you an idea of how expensive, 100 grams of these mushrooms cost us $35.


We used 4 packs of the mushrooms, spending well over $100 just for the wild mushrooms in a single meal for 4 people.

When the meal was served, I guzzled down and cleaned my entire plate. There was no question in the slightest that the meal was well-received by all because it was freakin’ DELICIOUS.

Then I looked around and saw that another person had basically gorged on eating appetizers before and had no room left to finish eating the meal, and left a treasure trove of mushrooms on his plate.

I assumed because he left so many expensive, yummy mushrooms he was going to pack it up and eat it some other time as leftovers. Perhaps for lunch at work.

When his wife cleared the table, I went to the bathroom and on the way back, dropped by the kitchen to refresh my drink, only to see in the garbage can, the entire meal he had on his plate, sitting on top of the garbage heap.

(To tell you the truth, I had a quick flashback of George Costanza in his girlfriend’s mothers’ kitchen, looking at this perfectly fine, half bitten eclair sitting on top of the garbage can, wondering if he could finish that eclair because it would otherwise be a waste.)

I can tell you that although I had no urge to reach into the garbage can and pick out those mushrooms (yuck), I did have an overwhelming urge to cry from the sheer wastefulness of it all.


He was a cousin for goodness sake!

Even I would have eaten his plate if he had said: “I don’t really want to keep this as a leftover, does anyone want it?

(BF said the same thing, but as the wife never offered or said anything about her intentions to toss the food, we had assumed she would keep the dish as a leftover for her husband.)

For at least 2 weeks afterwards, I (mentally) cried at the cost of literally $40 of mushrooms sitting in the garbage because his wife didn’t think that anyone would want to eat off the plate of someone else because it is “just not done” in France such as in very fancy, rich households.

Maybe it’s a sign of looking poor or starving, but … frankly, I paid for those goddamn mushrooms and he barely even touched his plate.

I worked for that half of $40, and $20 to me, is not chump change in the slightest.

I was so vexed by the whole situation that I complained for 2 weeks internally and expressed my opinion to BF, and now I am finally writing about it, it has bothered me so much, even to this day.

I have the greatest of all inklings that she grew up in a very rich household. Rich enough that leftover food is not kept, and no one would think of touching food on each other’s plates, even though they’re related by blood.


She probably has never even bothered to buy such mushrooms before in her life, which is why she MAY NOT (in her weak defense) have known that she literally chucked $40 in the garbage without thinking twice.

I should also mention that she is ridiculously skinny.

Like Skeletor skinny, because she, like the stereotype of French women, are in constant fear of getting fat, so they eat like birds, and throw away tempting, delicious, creamy meals with expensive wild mushrooms.

Thinking back on those two stories, I just get the feeling that we might be a little too concerned with “cleanliness” as a society, and furthermore, those of us who have been raised in uber rich households that see food waste as a necessity, have never had to go hungry or pay for anything out of their own pockets to really appreciate what food waste costs.


Update: Kara got angry in the comments that I “skinny shamed” because she has been “fat shamed” her entire life.

Firstly, let it be known that I am also close to Skeletor Skinny (105 pounds, 5’5″ which is the very low end on the BMI scale), so I feel like you should all at least know that about me.

Secondly, I think her being skinny and French-style skinny in particular (which is supermodel skinny), explains a lot about her and the way she treats food.

She throws food in the garbage to avoid temptation just so she can stay skinny. It’s also another reason why she didn’t want to have children because she’d get “fat”.

To me, it explains her actions perfectly — she grew up so rich, so wasteful and in French fear of gaining weight from tempting creamy pasta leftovers, that she tossed it all in the garbage rather than saving it for later.


  • Kylie

    I don’t know what the event was for, but I grew up dirt poor and I was blown away by the fact that you spent so much on mushrooms. I couldn’t imagine doing that unless I really wanted to impress someone, and even then I am not so sure.

  • dunny

    New follower. Love your blog — money and fashion and travel combo is magic. Also, you dare to express your obsessions which most people hide.
    Your friends’ behaviour was very rude at best, and probably passive-aggressive.
    As for not eating/liking great food, I have had this happen to me with guests. Now I do not buy or cook with special ingredients for people who are not known to be foodies. They get ordinary plain food and they can eat, not eat, throw it in the garbage or throw it up, I don’t care. I find this is not a rich, wasteful trait, but rather a lazy, unadventurous trait, and they are often poor too because of the waste and unwillingness to change, control, or plan behaviour in any way.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @dunny: Welcome!!

      Yes that would pretty much describe my blog — money + fashion + travel, although the travel thing is not as prominent as the spending bit.

      Hmm good point. I guess it’s because we had spent so much money and TIME on this meal (they were foodies) that I felt so.. gar…ghh!

      • dunny

        @save. spend. splurge.:
        Agree, so maddening when you have gone to so much trouble. No excuse for this behaviour and disgraceful for friends and foodies.
        I can remember some relatives coming to BC and thought they might like some BC spot prawns for a treat, checked to see if they liked seafood and was told yes, went to trouble and expense to get live prawns, beheaded them, cooked them, only to have the woman of the couple take them on to her plate, push them around, and eventually admit she didn’t like prawns. So the special treat dinner turned out to be a big disappointment for me and them, leaving me to either cook her another meal or let her go hungry. GRR

  • Michelle

    I wish I ate that mushroom meal of yours… mushrooms are my favorite! 😛

    Could you do a post on French fashion? I am very interested in that topic!

  • SarahN

    GOsh I always eat everything, cause otherwise I have to deal with composting it, or it getting stuck in the drains, or turning mushy in a bin and dripping on my leg – the worst and least likely of the options for me. I eat leftovers. I won’t often take from a restaurant, but I will eat everything I’m served usually, which is sometimes overeating, but I hate the plastic single use stuff more!

  • Emily @ Urban Departures

    I know I am guilty of wasting food because I can overestimate how much I eat (the amount seems to vary from day to day without rhyme or reason). However, I would never throw out good food just because I didn’t finish it. Why bother making such sized portions if she doesn’t intend to eat it or if she doesn’t want to be tempted by it?

    I love leftovers, by the way, and am drooling at the thought of my leftover beef stew lunch packed for tomorrow; stew is always best as a leftover.

  • Tracy

    Perhaps the person didn’t even like mushrooms to begin with? Yes it’s a waste of food to throw away a perfectly good plate, but if it were me, the mushrooms being expensive doesn’t really matter if I don’t like the taste/was already full.

  • Tania

    Dear skinnies, no one ever got fat eating a bunch of mushrooms. Btw, that comment was not intended to skinny shame anyone 😉

    I LOVE leftovers. I rarely eat my whole plate when dining out and I’m practically skipping out of the restaurant with my doggy bag with happy anticipation of eating that yummy meal AGAIN. My mother hates leftovers and she did not grow up rich or wasteful. In fact, she grew up poor and hates to throw anything away, upcycles and is a creative reuser of almost everything. I noticed this leftover aversion is recent (she’s in her 70s now), not something I noticed before. Needless to say I benefit, because they often give me their leftovers (I live next door on the same property) and I take it to work for lunch the next day.

    That said, I am very wasteful with food. It’s not because I grew up rich, it’s because I don’t plan well, impulse buy at the grocery store and haven’t ever gotten properly organized with meal planning while working a busy schedule. I have been trying to change though and now when I shop, I have a mantra – “you can have it all, just not all at once”. This keeps from buying every lovely cheese, every fruit and other delectable that look good to me. I pretty much limit myself to quantities I can eat by reminding myself I can always try that other variety the next time. I also make a point of peeking in my fridge midway through the week to see if there is anything I better gobble up before it goes bad. I have a long way to go though with a pantry full of things like quinoa that are calling my name. This is an area I’m working on this month actually, to make an effort to use that quinoa and also plan my meals better. It leads to a healthier diet as well.

  • Untemplater

    I am a leftover queen. I’ll take home even just three spoonfulls of food just to eat it later if I can’t finish it at a restaurant. I usually don’t have much time to cook so I buy minimal produce from the grocery store b/c I don’t want to have to throw it out. Sorry to hear about what happened with your cousin. I would have been totally bummed out too.

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses

    Ugh I just can’t even imagine being so wasteful! I make sure that everything we buy we eat (unless it’s just gone bad) so we minimize our waste as much as we can.

  • Heather H

    I am often wasteful of food despite my best efforts, I always just buy too much. However, I did not grow up rich at all. I think current financial status plays more into it then how affluent you may have been growing up.

    I do not like mushrooms so I rarely eat them. Other than truffles I had no idea they could be expensive so if it were me throwing them out it would be in ignorance of their cost.

  • Leslie Beslie

    Honest question, have you not seen these same behaviors in people with less money? Because I sure have.

    One of my friends is an average American body size and will throw away chocolate/candy/snacks just so she isn’t tempted to eat it. Her weight has always fluctuated, even though she works out. At the time of this, she had 3 roommates and always “didn’t have the money” to go the bar (in nyc, which is understandable). I knew her salary, it wasn’t the best. Yet she still threw away food just so she wouldn’t be tempted to eat it. (he absolutely did not grow up rich at all.

    I also remember growing up there were several family friends/acquaintances who refused to eat leftovers for whatever reason, and would regularly throw away food. These people were definitely not rich at all. I always attributed it to either the fact the food was paid for by government assistance so it wasn’t “their” money being wasted. Or, since they regularly wasted money on food, that’s why they remained in their poor financial situation.

  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    I know lots of people who will not eat left overs. They think left overs are gross. I don’t understand but I must guess that that is how they were raised.

    I am lazy so leftovers mean that I don’t have to cook the next day.

  • Kandice @The Simple Year

    I hate throwing away food. We eat leftovers a lot in our house. But we can do better because will still do end up throwing away uneaten food or spoiled produce each week. Not a ton, mind you, but we shouldn’t be throwing away anything. My mom hates leftovers and won’t eat them. Probably because she grew up way poor but isn’t now. She’ll throw them away. Kind of crazy, really.

  • ArianaAuburn

    This post is making me hungry.

    Why don’t they turn it all into compost, then use that to help grow stuff?

    I luv Mushrooms..and did not know there were many exotic varieties.

    Man I would have traded places and volunteered to clean off everyone’s plates!

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @ArianaAuburn: They were in an apartment without compost. They don’t really have a program like here in Toronto where you can chuck that stuff to compost..

      Even so, I was willing to eat everyone’s food without a second thought. AT LEAST, to take it as leftovers.

  • Kara

    I was kind of with you until at the very end you body-shamed the woman. Seriously? I’ve suffered from fat shaming all my life. Is it necessary to “skinny shame” others because you don’t like their actions?

    Either kind of shaming is WRONG. IMO.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      @Kara: True.. but I am also Skeletor skinny, which I think gives me a little more leeway to body shame someone equally as skinny.

      I think her being skinny and French-style skinny in particular (which is supermodel skinny), explains a lot about her.

      She throws food in the garbage to avoid temptation just so she can stay skinny. It’s also another reason why she didn’t want children because she’d get “fat”.

      To me, it explains her actions perfectly.

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