6 easy ways to reduce food waste and save money
If you have ever experienced being handed a final grocery bill that is double your expected spend, then you will understand why reducing food waste is important to saving money.
There were times when I underestimated how much my shopping bill will come up to and then had a shock when I got to the check out. Ironically, those shocking weeks were also the weeks when food waste in my household was high.
I was easily spending over £100 per week on food shopping. I have to be honest; at least 25 percent worth of food was wasted because we simply did not need it.
In order to reduce food waste and save money that I was literally putting in the bin, I implemented a few easy ways that helped to drastically cut down our food waste and save money at the same time. I have found that reducing food waste has been a good way to save money.
If you are trying to save money, then below are 6 easy money saving tips that will reduce food waste. The tips are also some of the best ways to save cash in the home. Implementing a simple mindset to improve your relationship with how you shop will save you £100s every year.
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Tip 1: Adapt a Digital Shopping Mindset to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money
In order to start saving money quickly on food bills, the first step you should take is to have a written shopping list before you shop. Keeping a list and crossing off the items as you buy them will help you keep track of what you are purchasing. Shopping planners are an easy way of controlling your grocery bills to save money fast.
One of the best way to save money whilst reducing food waste is to do it digitally. However, before you decide to do a shop, make sure you have a written shopping list and a budget in mind.
I recently created a weekly shopping planner because it visually helps me see what I am buying week by week. On the same sheet, I also track how much I spend every week so that I can reduce my overall spending by the end of the month.
I also use a weekly meal planner to organise the week in advance. A written meal planner is a great way to save money fast, because you can write your shopping list based on the meals you plan to cook.
Tracking expenses on paper has helped me reduce my weekly food bill by almost £40 each week. My printable planners are available on Etsy for a nominal price. Be sure to have a peek for planner ideas.
The next step is to try out a digital way of shopping, such as, signing up to a scan and go system that is available in most supermarkets, or carry out an online shop. You should consider shopping digitally because it will:
- Reduce your shopping time in half.
- Track your expenditure as you add items to your trolley. Therefore, when you notice that you have reached your budget, you can decide whether to continue shopping or remove items from your trolley. This will help you keep on top of your food waste, as well as, your money saving mindset.
Bonus Tip: to save even more money and reduce food waste, uncheck the ‘substitute button’ when shopping online so that the supermarket does not send you a replacement item if yours is not in stock.
Tip 2: Sign up to Food Shopping Apps
Do you fancy earning a few pennies on your grocery shopping? Most people use Quidco because of the cashback offers from high street retailers and suppliers. However, did you know that Quidco also offer cashback on groceries? Quidco’s ClickSnap app offers cashback on selected items from most supermarkets in the UK, such as, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl.
Although the items on offer are limited, you can steadily save money once you have signed up to Quidco and earn cashback. Simply load the receipt directly online or download the ClickSnap app within 7 days when you buy an item that is on offer.
What I like about Quidco is that the money can be withdraw at any time and paid directly into your bank account within days of requesting the withdrawal. Quidco also offer payment via PayPal. Alternatively, you can choose from a variety of gift cards including Amazon Gift Card.
Did you know that you can save £100s if you sign up to the right cashback sites?
Signing up to apps such as Quidco will earn you money when you purchase via Quidco.
To receive your first cashback bonus from Quidco, use the referral link below to sign up to their site. Once you start using their site to make purchases, you’ll see the money quickly adding up.
If interested, click on my Quidco Referral link to sign up and earn your initial bonus.
Related Article: Can A Minimalist Lifestyle Help With Becoming Debt Free?
Tip 3: Invest in Cook Books to Reduce Food Waste and Cost of Ingredients
Most food waste occurs when we do not know what we intend to eat that week. Therefore, getting into the habit of creating a meal plan will bring some form of order into your shopping habits.
If you find that creating a meal plan with the exact dishes is too cumbersome, then try creating a themed menu for the week.
For example, I have a pretty set theme for most weeks. I often use recipe books and online recipes websites to find what to make on that particular day. Whilst, I do not know exactly which dish I will make, I do know the types of dishes, Which means that I know the types of ingredients I will need. A typical themed menu, from example:
- Monday is meat free – any dish that is meat free
- Tuesday is Indian curry – any curry, veg or non veg with roti and rice.
- Wednesday is an Italian meal – i.e. pasta, lasagne, homemade pizza.
- Thursday is Chinese – i.e. noodles, stir fried rice and a side dish.
- Friday and Saturday – homemade take out – i.e. burgers and chips, spicy lamb chops with naan, home made tandoori chicken, aubergine steaks with rice etc or a barbeque in the summer.
- Sunday is a rice based dish – pilau, biryani, risotto etc.
Benefits of having a broad themed menu plan:
- Saves preparation time.
- Makes shopping for ingredients quicker.
- Reduces food waste when you refer to cook books.
- You can experiment by making a variety of different dishes every week.
- Saves you money when you use choose recipes with similar ingredients.
- You can be creative with ingredients that you already have.
Tip 4: Veggies Save Money
Incorporate as much vegetable in your everyday meal as you can. Bulking up your daily meals with vegetables will save you plenty of money and add to your 5 a day healthy portions.
For example, when I am preparing a chicken curry, I will add spinach, kale and even finely chopped broccoli to the curry. The vegetables add a lot of substance, texture and fibre to the curry. It also means that I do not need to add too many pieces of chicken to the dish.
Have you heard of wonky vegetables? Supermarkets such as Morrison’s offer a wonky vegetable box for as little as £2 per box. The box contains fruits and vegetables that did not make the ‘cut’ to be included in the vegetable aisles mainly because of how they grew – wonky.
The nutrition value of these fruits and vegetables is no different to that of another produce; it is just the shape that is wonky. Using a wonky vegetable box will provide you with your vegetables at a much cheaper rate than usual. However, only pick up a wonky box if it contains the fruit and vegetables that you will eat – remember our aim is to reduce food waste, as well as, save money.
Tip 5: Increase the Shelf Life of your fruits and vegetables to Reduce Food Waste
Below are a few tips to make your fruit and vegetables last longer:
- Keep mushrooms in paper bags.
- Potatoes love cool, dry and dark places therefore keep them in the fridge, which will slow them from sprouting.
- Keep fruits separate to prevent them from over ripening
- Keep all fruits such as nectarines, apples, pears, plums, avocados in the fridge. Only take out a few out at a time. This will ensure that the fruit does not ripen all at once.
- Eat fruits that go off quickly, such as bananas, oranges and tangerines.
Tip 6: Invest in a Freezer
If you have not done so, invest in an upright, energy efficient freezer, instead of a chest freezer. The problem with chest freezers is that when you start to fill it, you will not know what is at the bottom of the freezer. Upright freezers on the other hand, have drawers which will enable you to compartmentalise your freezing by type of food. Therefore, when you run out of a particular type of food, you will know straight away.
Bulk buying and freezing food is a great way to reduce food waste, as well as, save money. For example, if I find ripened fruit in the reduced section, I will buy it, wash it and then freeze it. The frozen fruit is used to make homemade smoothies. I also buy a month’s worth of meat and chicken, portion it out and then freeze it. This saves me the time and hassle of continually travelling to the butchers. The fuel saved here is the money saved.
Related Article: 5 Frugal Tips to Save Money
Food waste is a global problem. Here is the irony, whilst almost a third of the food that is produced is thrown away, more than a third of the world’s population goes hungry every single day. Why? Because most of the produced is exported to us in developed countries. Therefore, not only is reducing food waste a great way of saving your money, it is equally good for the environment and also for the world’s population.
Getting into the habit of buying less food will mean that food will become available and accessible to people in poorer regions of the world.
Which money saving, food reducing tips do you use? Please leave a comment below to help other readers reduce their food waste and save money at the same time.
Save Money while Saving the Planet
Do you want to engage with a community of beginners learning about how to achieve a sustainable lifestyle whilst saving money? Join our Eco Home and Garden Ideas for Beginners Facebook Group.
It is a group to help you save money whilst on your journey to natural and eco-friendly living.
*Information and prices correct at time of post publication. Please refer to Quidco‘s site for terms and conditions.
How can I reduce food waste?
Plan your meals, make a shopping list, only buy portions you will eat.
Will reducing food waste save me money?
When we throw away food that has not been eaten, we are throwing away money that we spent on buying the uneaten food. Therefore, when we buy less, we are spending less and saving more.
How can I spend less money on food?
Here are a few ideas to spend less on food shopping: make a meal plan, shop online to track your spend as you add items to the trolley, always have a written shopping list and a spending budget in mind.