23-year-old Ashley Fields is just one of the thousands of New Yorkers who discovered dumpster-diving for food can really help them save serious cash. Ashley’s not homeless or poor, she’s just doing it because it’s easy.
Fields, a theater-major from Saint Louis, is still in school but also has a theater job that pays between $500 and $600 per week, so the money she saves by eating trash-can food really comes in handy. And she doesn’t even have to get her hands dirty since most of the left-over still packaged food is separated from the rest of the trash, in plastic bags. So while other people pay serious cash for an expensive Starbucks salad, Fields gets the same thing, only leftover, for free. Stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods simply can’t sell their food if it’s left over at the end of the day, so they throw it out, even if it’s not spoiled. A lot of these products have a three-day expiration date, so Ashley knows she can just take anything home and feast on it of fill her fridge. “You never know what’s going to be in these bags on any given night,” Fields says, “like tonight, I found a bunch of great, healthy breakfast sandwiches. They’re totally fine.”