Reduce Food Waste to Keep More Money in Your Pocket

May 23, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Grocery 

Stop for a moment and think about all the food that you waste.  Leftover food on dishes, leftovers in the refrigerator that aren’t consumed on time, and produce that spoils.  The list could go on and on. Think about how much money all of that food is worth.  How much would you have saved on your last grocery bill if you didn’t have to pay for the food you wasted?

According to this recent AP article, Americans waste 14 to 40 percent of all food prepared for consumption (from fields to grocery stores to the kitchen).  The article also claims that consumers waste about 25% of the food they buy.  (That estimate seems a little high.  What do you think?)

Let’s assume a family spends $400 a month on groceries (i.e. $4,800 per year). Now let’s be conservative and assume just 5% of their grocery bill is wasted.  That equates to $240 per year!

Here are a few tips and tricks that you can implement to stop wasting food and put more money in your pocket:

  • Jennifer at Green Bay Consumer cuts down on food waste by placing a container of leftovers in the freezer the day she serves a meal.  She says she has found that feeding leftovers to her family a couple of days after the initial meal doesn’t go over well, but pulling out a container of already-made dinner on a hectic night one month later does.  Plus, it’s just too easy for leftovers to get lost or forgotten in the fridge.
  • Spend more time planning meals in advance.  By planning carefully you’ll increase the probability that you’ll have unused food that you’ll have to throw away.  In addition, plan meals that make it easy to use leftover food. Stir fries, tacos, soups, or chilies are all great examples.
  • Julia at Eau Claire Consumer tries to avoid food waste by finding ways to preserve her own food such as canning, freezing, dehydrating, and even making her own wine. Julia says these techniques are a great way to preserve inexpensive produce from the Farmer’s Market or your own garden.
  • If you go out to eat, consider sharing a meal.  Not only do you reduce the chance of wasting food, but you’ll save money – even if the restaurant charges a few extra dollars for splitting your entree.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of all the creative tips you can implement to save money in this area.  What do you do to minimize the amount of food you waste?  Please leave a comment to let us know!