Rule #1: Expand your culinary abilities. Rule #2: Don't waste anything. (Rule #3: Cheap booze!)
Keeping in mind Rule #2, this last weekend I cleaned up all the produce I bought, made a giant salad and divided it up into lunch portions, made celery and carrot sticks for lunches, washed like two dozen sandwich bags and bread bags and hung them from an ever-evolving and ever-more ridiculous binder clip contraption held in place with various bagged foodstuffs. And in the best interests of frugality, and to stifle the guilt I feel every time I throw away peelings (no, I don't have a compost heap; don't judge), I tried my hand at vegetable broth.
Stick with me on this.
Into your artful-looking pot of floppy celery stalks, leaves, broccoli stalks, carrot peels, add water to cover, any onion bits you might have, a dozen black peppercorns, a dozen Szechuan peppercorns and a bay leaf. Boil gently for 2-3 hours until the liquid is colored and reduced. I reduce it at this pre-strained step because I don't figure I can do any harm to the vegetables by cooking them more.
Strain the vegetable scraps out. At this point, I am giving both of us permission to not feel bad about not using these for any other food-related purpose. (You may still feel badly about not using them for composting. Don't blame me for your guilt!)
Get in the habit of cleaning your produce before you peel it.
Save your peels in a container in the freezer until you have enough to fill half a pot with.
Boil with your favorite herbs until the broth is richly colored.
Freeze in useful portions.
Hope your parents appreciate that you can set up their Twitter accounts AND be mad frugal like their parents were.