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12 Ways To Save Money And Reduce Food Waste

March 27, 2014

There's nothing worse than tossing out perfectly good food because you've bought too much or have forgotten what's in the refrigerator.  I previously did exactly that, for too many years, mostly because I didn't have a plan.  Here's a few ideas for reducing your food waste as well as saving money.  Who doesn't want to save money?

  1. Use a Meal Plan - whether you make a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly food plan, this will absolutely cut down not only how much you spend every week at the grocery store but throwing out perishable items because you forgot about them or weren't able to use them.
  2. Buy What's On Your List - no impulse buys will help cut down on excess.  Stick to your list from your meal plan.
  3. Stock Up During Sales - only buy things you would typically use {so you use them}, and stock up on either non-perishable items or perishables that you can preserve in some way to use later on.  Although initially the cost will be higher, over time this will save you money.  If you get used to shopping this way you'll have a full pantry and will be shopping for weekly perishables and sale items only.
  4. Grow Your Own - grow what you can in any space you've got.  If you're limited on space and/or time, plant those items that cost you the most at the store or farmer's market.
  5. Learn How To Preserve - whether you've grown your own or found an amazing sale on perishable items, learning how to preserve them will allow you to buy in bulk and use later.  Even things you wouldn't think you could preserve - avocados, lemon and lime juice, pineapple, melon, etc.
  6. Keep A Soup Bin - keep a freezer-safe container to put veggie and/or meat tidbits in that will be used for soup stock.  Once a week or every couple of weeks, make stock with the goodies in the bin.
  7. Shop In-Season - covered above, shop in-season when the produce is at peak in taste and cheapest in price and learn how to preserve it, if needed.
  8. Donate Canned Goods/Non-Perishables - find a local food bank to donate to.  They may also be willing to take any garden excess you may have and/or eggs.
  9. Take Note Of What You Toss - this way you'll be able to think about how those items could have been preserved/used.  i.e. if you tossed bread, you could have made breadcrumbs from it and stored them in the freezer; if you tossed leftover broth, next time pour it into an ice cube tray, freeze, transfer cubes to a freezer-safe container and add them when you need a small amount of stock, etc.
  10. Left-Over Night - if you find you're tossing leftovers, write a left-over night into your weekly meal plan.
  11. Utilize Your Compost Bin - if you start a compost pile you'll be able to put rotting produce to good use.
  12. Understand Expiration Dates - just because the expiration date says today the item expires, many foods are good for days beyond the stamped date.  Use your smell and sight to determine if the item is still safe to eat prior to tossing.
What about you - what are some of the ways you reduce food waste and/or save money?

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