A few weeks ago a family of raccoons made the rounds in our neighborhood one night, laying waste to the garbage cans we'd all set out for collection the following morning. As I joined the impromptu cleanup posse (a "trash mob" as opposed to a "flash mob"), it was interesting to see the differences in each household's garbage.
Slideshow: Are You Throwing Money Away?
As I've written about before and as you'll see in the latest episode of my weekly web show "The Cheap Life", you can tell a lot about how people spend - and often waste - their money by the contents of their trash cans.
For example, if there's a plethora of plastic water bottles in your trash or recycling bin, you might be spending $1,000 or more per household member per year on bottled water (the estimated cost for bottled water if that's all you drink), as opposed to drinking just as healthy and almost free tap water instead.
If your trash can is festooned with fast food containers like most Americans, you may be spending half your family's food budget on foods prepared outside the home. Cook more meals at home and you'll likely trim that portion of your food budget by 80 percent or so.
Finally, if there's a load of dryer lint in your trash that could be a sign that you're laundering your clothes more often than necessary, increasing your electric and water bills while decreasing the life expectancy of your clothing.
So why not conduct a "Trash Can Autopsy" of your garbage this week to learn how you might be wasting money, rather than wait for a family of raccoons to do it for you?
Photo by purplepix via Flickr.
Check out "The Cheap Life's" trash can autopsy episode!