Battling the grocery budget is a puzzler for many families, ours included. We are always wondering if we are spending the right amount of money on food, what we can do to cut our costs, if we are feeding our family well enough given the money we have to spend.
One thing is for sure, whatever money we choose to spend and how we choose to spend it, we want the most bang for our buck. We want to be sure that nothing is going to waste.
I was reading this article over at Money Saving Mom and I realized that one kind of easy grocery budget tip that we can all use starts right at home. Starting right this minute, you can begin to keep track of your waste.
I noticed not so long ago that our family wastes a tremendous amount of food. The apple that someone begged me for 10 minutes ago I find with 2 bites out of it in the trash can (at least put it in the chicken bucket, kid!). The bowl of leftovers that got shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten until it was too late. The lettuce that never even had a bite taken from it before it went bad. The cans that were hidden in the back and expired before they were used.
It is estimated that every American family throws away around 500 pounds of food each year. Even if your number is half that, can you imagine what that stack of food looks like?
So I made a plan to begin to pay attention to what was being thrown out at home. Which items were most likely to go to waste? Then when I was at the store, I was more likely to pass up on buying things, even if they were a really great deal! Because I knew that no matter how good the deal was, I was basically throwing that amount of money right into the garbage can.
Another thing I have done is to not allow my children to eat an entire piece of fruit. I cut the pears, apples, etc. in half and they share. If someone is still hungry after eating all of their fruit, I can always give them more. We have wasted far less expensive fruit lately.
Each day when I decide what I will make for supper, first I check the fridge to see what leftovers are already there. If there is a lot of ham, for instance, but we are getting sick of ham, at least I can move it to the freezer before it goes bad. Otherwise I will just be sure to use it in that night’s meal.
Some of this is just a little more work, but it is starting to feel like we are getting free meals since not so long ago I would have been throwing those foods away (having forgotten about them or been careless with them). It is well worth the extra time, and before long it will be a new habit and we won’t have to think about it anymore.
The Frugal Girl posts weekly about the food that her family wastes to keep herself accountable. I think it’s a great (and brave!) thing to do. My challenge to you (and me, too) is to keep track this week of how much food your family has wasted. Next week we will revisit and see how it went. I have to admit that I’m a bit nervous about this, but accountability is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Let us know in the comment section if you plan on playing along, and feel free to leave a link if you have a blog!
What food items are the most likely to go to waste in your house?
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