5 ways to stop food waste and save money. When you throw away food, you are actually throwing away money. I have been in the environmental sector for a long time, but I did not fully appreciate the words ‘you are throwing money in the bin’ until recently.
I have always tried to be a savvy shopper, but somehow, I would still end up putting something in the bin.
Recently though I started monitoring what I was throwing away. Turns out, uneaten food was the most commonly thrown away item in the house. As a result, I started to look at how I could stop food waste. After all, it was not just food waste, it was the money that I have spent on the food that was going in the bin.
I am sure that I am not alone when it comes to this dilemma, of how to reduce food waste at home. Therefore, below are 5 tips to help you stop food waste and save money in the long run.
How to Stop Food Waste and Save Money
The 2 Week Menu – Tip 1
The following will sound like a bit of a chore, but once you get started, you will find it easier to manage. You will always have your staples which you need day in and day out, such as cereals. Ignore your staples and build a menu of what you’d like to eat for dinner over the next 2 weeks.
It is much easier to maintain this menu system if you do not have to do it constantly. That is why I do a 2 week menu instead of a weekly menu. I tend to write down what the family would like to eat. It might be something we’ve seen on tv or come across on YouTube or Instagram, for example.
Create a Savvy Shopping List – Tip 2
One of the best ways to avoid food waste and save money is to create a savvy shopping list.
Once you have decided on the menu, make a list of the ingredients that you will need. Some ingredients will already be in the pantry, such as rice and pasta. Cross out the ones that you find in the kitchen. You will save a lot of money when you check your list against the pantry stock. Crossing out items will leave you with what you need to buy.
I always give myself a 10% leeway for those guilty pleasures, so when I deviate from my list, it’s only a small justifiable deviation.
How Can You Stop Food Waste and Save Money?
Stocking Up, Good or Bad? – Tip 3
A lot of people suggest we should stock our pantry as it is more economical, but I am not convinced that is the best way to stop food waste and save money. Only stock up on items that you use on a regular basis, such as rice, flour, oil, pasta and tomato tins. The rest can be bought as needed.
Steer clear on the special offer tricks often used by supermarkets to lure us into spending more. Buying extra takes up storage and you end up forgetting about them. Which means when you decide to do a declutter, you will find too many expired ingredients to get rid of. It is not the best use of your hard earned money or space.
So unless you will use an item regularly, avoid the temptation of stocking up especially items on special offers and reduced prices.
What About Lunch – Tip 4
Taking left over dinner for lunch is a great way to stop food waste and save money in the long run.
When I prepare dinner I cook what’s needed for the evening plus little bit extra at least 4 times of the week. The little bit extra is what hubby and I can take to work. Based on an average spend of £3.50 per person, taking a packed lunch to work saves us at least £25 per week on lunch. We then don’t feel guilty if we go out for lunch one day a week.
If you love to cook lots, such as soups and curries, make sure you freeze the leftovers, they will come in handy on days when you’re not in the mood to cook. I often fall ill during the winter months, so any leftovers in the freezer are really appreciated. Which takes me to the next tip, love your freezer.
Final Tip to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money
Love Your Freezer – Tip 5
I often found that at the end of the week I was throwing away a lot of fresh produce. I love shopping at the local market and in the summer take the kids to fruit farms.
Before I started the 2 week menu, I would end up buying ingredients for foods that I thought I would cook. This resulted in me spending a lot on groceries and then throwing at least 25% away.
Now that I tend to cook by the menu, if I know I won’t be requiring a vegetable until the end of the week or the week after, I give it a wash, chop it and freeze it. I tend to do this as soon as I get home as I know, I will get lazy and leave it.
I’ve started to keep potatoes and onions in the fridge, which make the vegetables last a lot longer. Fruits that we don’t get around to eating and have overripened, I wash, chop and freeze. Comes in handy when making smoothies.
Doing all of this is not easy and requires a lot of time and effort on my part, but it also means that my food waste has drastically reduced and so has my shopping bill. I spend about an hour a week shopping and then at least 2 hours doing the rest, so expect to spend at least half a day of your week in preparation.
Related Article: 6 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money
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Why should we stop food waste?
Benefits of Reducing Food Waste
1. When food rots, it produces gases that contribute to global warming.
2. Our food nowadays travels globally to get to us, therefore buying and using up what we buy, lowers the carbon footprint of the food.
3. Reducing food waste will save you money. Only buy what you will eat. Use up what you buy and throw away as little as possible.
How can I reduce food waste and save money?
1. Plan your meals by creating a menu.
2. Create a shopping list.
3. Check your kitchen for ingredients. Shop for what you do not have.
4. Cook small portions or take left overs for lunch.
5. Freeze the rest for another day.