Families order out less, eat leftovers to save cash, says survey

As credit card debt and decreased finances continue to be an unfortunate reality for many families in the wake of the recession, an increasing amount of Americans are saving money by cooking at home and using leftovers more than they had previously.

According to a survey released Tuesday by the Plastics Make it Possible initiative from the plastic industries in the American Chemistry Council, 94 percent of Americans said they felt good when able to save food instead of throwing it out and using the leftovers for subsequent meals.

The survey also found that 80 percent of Americans said their families had made it a priority to eat leftovers in order to save money, while 72 percent said they packed lunches for themselves and their children instead of getting take-out during the week.

"I think what we’re seeing today is very much a ‘back to basics’ approach when it comes to meal time," said Steve Russell, vice president of the Plastics Division for the American Chemistry Council. "Times are tougher so Americans are taking home leftovers from restaurants and cooking more meals themselves.

Saving money by cutting down on food costs is not a new idea for consumers during the recession. A Harris Interactive poll taken in December 2009 found that 62 percent of Americans said they had limited their spending on getting food at restaurants and would continue to do so into 2010.