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Sunday, March 8, 2009

7 Ways to Cut Food Costs and Waste

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of food has increased by 8% in the past year. For a family of four that spends an average of $745/month for food, that’s an additional $60 per month, or $720 per year. For many, that’s enough to pay an additional mortgage payment, one month’s rent, two car notes or a great start to that savings account they’ve been putting off. Since most of us don’t have that kind of money to burn, here are 7 ways to decrease your monthly grocery bill by at least 25% and reduce food waste:

1. Make a list and stick to it!
Take stock of what you already have in your refrigerator, so that you won’t buy things that you already have. It sounds like a no-brainer, but there have been many times that I’ve returned home from an hours-long expedition in Wally World, only to find out that I didn’t need half of what I’d bought.
2. Check your fridge.
Trash expired products and check the temperature, too. For optimum freshness, food should be stored between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.
3. Only buy what you need.
Buying from the deli is great, because you can get a variety of meat and cheese in the exact quantities that you need. You can also prevent a lot of waste by buying loose fruits and vegetable instead of the prepackaged ones.
4. Rethink (and reuse) leftovers.
Try thinking of leftovers as ready-made ingredients for the next meal, instead of waste. Small amounts of cooked vegetables can be the base of a soup or stew (crock pot, anyone?)
5. Use your freezer!
Buy ground beef or turkey in the large value packs. You can make several dishes at one time (spaghetti, pasta bakes, meatloaf, etc.) and then freeze them to use as needed.
6. Swap out!
When putting away your new grocery items, put all of the new stuff towards the back of the fridge, pantry, cabinets, etc. and bring all the older items up front. That way you won’t forget about things that have an expiration date.
7. Hold that tomato!
Don’t throw away fruit or vegetables that are going soft. You can use the fruit to make smoothies or pies/cobbler. The veggies can be put into soup.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Also cutting coupons can help. In some states like NC, grocery stores double your coupons up to .99. That's free money!