Ask yourself what your biggest monthly expense might be. I bet your first thought is that it might be your mortgage payment or perhaps your savings. I ask you to sit back and think again. Is there a chance that your grocery budget might be the biggest expense you have each month? I have a family of six and as the twins get older and eat more of the same foods we like to have, I’ve noticed that our grocery bill is a bit on the insane side. It happens; but not everyone spends thousands of dollars each month at Publix like we do. We have a big family, and we have no idea how to eat in a manner that allows our budget to drop.
It might also be an issue that both my husband and I work from home, so we have to have meals all day long here. We only just sent our big kids back to school last week, too, so the fact that they were home all summer eating everything during their every 58-second snack time wasn’t helpful. Either way, though, most of us spend entirely too much at the supermarket. Perhaps you’re like me and can’t find a sale to save your life; or perhaps you face the same issues the rest of us face.
Those issues might include food waste. I cannot tell you how often I throw food away during the week because it’s no longer good. We are healthy eaters, and it’s a pain for me to have to throw away fruits and vegetables during the week because they didn’t last long enough. Food waste is a huge problem, and it’s a huge expense. I’ve done a little bit of research to find out how we can avoid food waste to the extent so many of us see it occurring at the moment, and I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised how well we can make it happen for us. It might be easier said than done, but we can all save hundreds of dollars each year working out some of our food waste issues.
I am really bad about this, and I’m the last person you should ever take meal planning advice from. I have such good intentions, but I’m awful at it. I don’t ever want what I think I want, and I’m more of a “what can I make with this chicken tonight that sounds delicious” kind of person each day. If we meal plan, however, we can plan our meals based around what will go bad first so we can use it and not lose it. Pretty simple, right?
Buy Less Fruit & Veggies
The good news about fruits and vegetables is that you don’t have to buy more than you need. That’s the best way to avoid wasting these things. If you buy less than you need, you can have more than you want. The other good thing about this is that you can buy these items at local produce stands and farmer’s markets, which are usually far easier to deal with than the supermarket when it’s time to buy new ones. It’s faster, less likely you will spend a ton of money and it’s easier.
Freeze Unused Fruit & Vegetables
I did not know you could freeze vegetables, but I guess you can buy them frozen so it’s all pretty relative and easy, right? Frozen fresh vegetables might sound a bit like an oxymoron, but it turns out you can actually make them yourself and you can save a lot of the food you might otherwise waste when you do it. By sticking them in freezer safe bags and putting them in, you guessed it, the freezer, you can actually find a way to save vegetables for months at a time. Just be sure to give them plenty of time to thaw before it’s time to use them.
Store Fruit & Vegetables Properly
One thing that really surprised me recently is knowing that I’m always storing my stuff incorrectly and causing it to go bad. Think of it this way; if you go into the supermarket and pick up a few tomatoes, where do you get them? Oh, right, in a bin in the middle of the produce section where they are not kept cold. So if they’re being kept in room temperature storage in the store, why are we sticking them in the fridge when we get home?
The simple way to know where your produce is stored is to think about where you get it in the store. If it’s kept cold, keep it cold. If it’s kept out, keep it out. It’s a pretty nice concept and idea, and it works well to keep it fresh as long as possible when you are working hard to save on your waste food.
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