According to the National Resources Defense Council, the average American household of four disposes of up to $2,275 worth of food each year. Wow is right!
Now, if you are a SavingsAngel member, you probably spent quite a bit less but chances are you too have found yourself tossing expired and unused food in the trash.
Fortunately, there a few simple ways to significantly reduce the amount of food wasted in your home.
Only buy what you’ll use
This is a common pitfall among couponers and bargain shoppers. You find an incredible deal – such as the 33 cent coffee creamer deal that was available at Meijer last week – and you buy out the store. The problem is you prefer your coffee black.
Remember, it’s only a bargain if you’ll use it so have a plan before making a purchase. Ask yourself:
· Does my family like this food?
· Do I know how to prepare this food?
· Can I find appealing recipes for this food?
If an item is new to your family, buy one or two at the start of a sale to try it out. Then, if it’s a hit, then you can head back to the store and buy more before the sale ends.
Store food properly
Spoilage is a major cause of food waste, but you can help your food last longer by storing it properly.
Dried goods such as rice, flour and pasta should be transferred to airtight plastic or glass containers to prevent bug infestation while fruits and vegetables should be stored at the right temperature and humidity to keep them fresh longer.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation (nchfp.uga.edu/how/store.html) is a great resource for learning how to store food of all types.
Rotate your pantry stock
Just like the stores do, you should stock your newest purchases in the back of the pantry, fridge or freezer and pull older items forward. It may take more time unloading groceries, but it reduces the risk of one day pulling a five year old jar of mayonnaise from the shelf.
Plan meals around what you have on-hand
What is the best way to avoid throwing out food? Eat it!
Our SavingsAngel members can boast of some impressive food stockpiles, and seasoned shoppers know the best way to save money at the supermarket is to plan meals from their pantry.
If you have spaghetti and rigatoni on the shelf, plan for one or two pasta meals this week. Or if lettuce is in the fridge, it is time to whip up a salad.
As a bonus, your shopping list will be shorter and you can focus on only buying the best deals at the stores each week which is the secret to shrinking your grocery budget.
Freeze food for a future use
Finally, despite our best efforts, there will be times when we can’t eat all the food we have on-hand before it goes bad. This is where your freezer becomes your new best friend. Almost all foods can be frozen to extend their lifespan.
For example, soft bananas can be frozen in their skins (which will turn black upon freezing – don’t be alarmed!) and later thawed for smoothies or used in recipes. Another option would be to make banana bread or muffins and freeze those instead.
Likewise, a food processor takes seconds to turn bread into breadcrumbs which can be frozen. Or you could make French toast with the bread, freeze that and have a breakfast option that can be microwaved on a moment’s notice when needed.
Saving money on your grocery budget is about more than just combining coupons with sales. It is also about using what you buy rather than throwing $2,275 in the trash each year.
The best couponers save hundreds of dollars every month at the grocery store. However, couponers can end up living very extreme lifestyles to get those savings. For over five years, SavingsAngel.com has equalized the playing field – giving extreme savings to busy families who don’t have the time or ability to be an full-time couponer. Each week, SavingsAngel.com’s team of more than 70 angels combines over 2,000 products on sale at local grocery and drug stores with an enormous database of over 2,000 different manufacturer coupons. These combinations result in our members getting access to over 300 products each week for 50% off or better. Simply log in, choose the deals you want, print or clip only the coupons you need, and save hundreds of dollars a month at regional and national stores. Our angels will personally work with you to craft a plan that will help you buy healthier food at lower prices – helping you keep $200 to $400 in savings each month.
Written by: Josh Elledge, Chief Executive Angel - SavingsAngel.com on February 11, 2013.