Want to know a good way to cut your grocery bill? One really good way is to just quit wasting food! A staggering 25% of food purchased by American households gets wasted. This number is staggering to me because this much waste in food means a lot of wasted money too! You are literally just throwing your money away when you waste food!
According to the USDA, the average amount a family of 4 spends to eat healthy is between $657-$1305 per month. Since that is a such a wide range, we’ll pick a nice round number near the center of that range – let’s say $1000 per month. For frugal people, this probably seems really high, but it is a real amount that some families spend.
Given that the hypothetical family spends $1000/month on food and wastes 25% of it, they could literally be throwing away $250/month! This number could be even higher if they’re throwing away high priced items like seafood or fancy cheese.
It might not be completely realistic to cut out every bit of waste – I certainly haven’t. However, cutting down below 10% waste is a very achievable goal! Think – that could save some families over $150/month and also create less waste in the process!
You could do all types of things with that money. For example – investing it in a retirement account. If you were to invest that $150/month into a retirement fund with stocks, you could have nearly $80,000 in 20 years! Wouldn’t you want to have that money, rather than just throw it away?
Here are just a few quick tips to help you save that money!
Plan your meals
When you plan out your meals, you can know exactly what to purchase from the grocery store. If you plan out meals for a week, you should only need to go to the store once a week too!
Also, when you make your plan, check the pantry, fridge, and freezer for items you may want to use up. Make up your list of the new groceries needed based on your plan and stick to the list! I find it easier to stick to the list if I’m not hungry when I’m shopping.
You’ve already put in the work to make the food, so why wouldn’t you eat it? It makes sense to save both time and money. You can eat leftovers another night for dinner and/or bring them to work for lunch.
By bringing your leftovers to work for lunch, you could save double the money. You can avoid spending money to purchase food at work and you’ll have less food waste!
Use your freezer
Sometimes your meal plans could change or you end up making more food than you can eat before it goes bad, but that doesn’t always mean the food needs to go to waste. A lot of food lasts longer in the freezer than it does in the refrigerator, so freeze that meat if it is going to go bad!
If you have an excess amount of leftovers, freeze those too! Most leftovers will keep for a little while in the refrigerator, but they’ll keep even longer in the freezer. By the way, if something comes up and you don’t have time to cook, these frozen meals could save you from eating out.
Use smaller plates
Not only is this good for your money, it could be good for your belly size too! Dinner plates have gotten larger over the last century and so have our belt sizes. You will take smaller portions if you use a smaller plate. If you still want more food, just go back for a little more after you’ve finished the first plate!
With smaller plates, you’ll also end up throwing away less food too. You won’t be able to put as much food on the plate, so you’ll be more likely to finish the food on the plate instead of scraping it into the trash. Just remember not to get too much if you go back for seconds!
Clean up shortly after finished
Once you are finished eating and the food has cooled enough to store, put it away. Once you’re done with ingredients, put them away too. The longer something sits out in the open, the less likely that you’ll want to save it. Things go bad or stale if they are left out for long periods of time, so once you’re finished with food, seal it up before you forget about it!
No matter what whether you’re digging out of debt or approaching retirement, it is good to waste a little less. If you’re wasting a lot of food, these simple actions can help you onto your goal of financial freedom!