6 Ways To Eliminate Food Waste

Eliminating food waste is a big way to save money.  Every piece of food you throw in the garbage can or down the disposal cost you money and is a waste.  Figuring out ways to reduce waste can be key in reducing your grocery bill.

There are a few tips you can use to reduce your food waste:

  1. Make a list of what you’re throwing out – If you start seeing a pattern in that you’re pouring half a gallon of milk down the drain, then it’s time to start buying smaller quantities.  Seeing patterns will help you eliminate them.
  2. FIFO – This stands for ‘first in, first out’.  Whether it be with fresh fruit and vegetables, yogurt containers, or even canned goods, make sure you move the oldest stuff to the front so that you are increasing the chance of buying before the expiration date
  3. Keep fridge items in clear container – What you can’t see you will often forget about.  Put leftovers, cut up fruit, and similar items in clear containers so that you will increase your likelihood of seeing them when you’re in the fridge.
  4. Keep items in the same place – This works for your pantry and fridge.  Keep your fruit in one drawer, veggies in the other.  Keep all your dressings and condiments together.  Put milk and juice on the same shelf every time.  Leftovers all go in one area.  When things get spread around, they get forgotten about or lost in the shuffle.
  5. Clean out your freezer regularly – Our freezer is the spot where we find things going to waste more often.  It’s easier than anywhere else to push something to the back and forget about it, only to find it a frostbitten mess months later.  Re-organize your freezer every few months to keep space clear (avoiding future cluttering and cramming) and to bring things to the front that might have gotten lost in the shuffle but maybe can be saved.
  6.  Buy good containers…and burp them – A good food storage container will keep something fresh for much longer than keeping it uncovered or in a poorly designed container.  A good container should allow you to slightly raise the lid while subsequently pressing down to ‘burp’ the air out of them, slowing the process that causes many foods to break down.

By and large, we don’t throw out too much food.  We’ll find the very occasional ‘ewww, gross’ item or stuff that’s been pushed to the back of the freezer to die a slow death, but I think we do much better than we used to.


How much food do you find yourself throwing away?  Do you have any other tips and tricks to eliminate waste?  Please leave a comment and let me know what works (and what doesn’t) in your household.

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The Perfect Baked Bean Recipe

I’m not one for baked beans.  In fact, normally I avoid them.  I don’t know why that is.  I like beans.  I like baked things.  But, for the most part, baked beans don’t do it for me.

My wife found a recipe that so far has been a big hit.  Everyone we’ve served it to who does like baked beans loves this recipe.  And even me, who doesn’t like baked beans….loves it!

Courtesy of the Food Network:

Note: The original recipe is posted below.  My wife doesn’t like bacon so we make it without.  My mom actually made this as well and cut the molasses down to somewhere between 1/2 cup and 3/4 cup and it was awesome.  Lessons learned: Tweak to your liking!

Ingredients

  • 4 (16-ounce) cans baked beans
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoon yellow or brown mustard
  • 5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1 (6-ounce) can french-fried onions, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, mix together beans, pineapple, molasses, BBQ sauce, mustard, 1/4 of the bacon, and 1/4 of the onions. Add some salt and pepper, to taste. Pour beans in 9 by 13-inch casserole dish and sprinkle remaining crushed onions and bacon on top. Cook in oven for 1 hour or until beans brown and bubble. Serve warm.

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Price Increase Alert: Costco / Kirkland Baby Formula

At one of our recent trips to Costco, we passed by the baby formula section.  We were big fans of the Kirkland formula during Little Boy Beagle’s formula needing days.

(Side note: To those who will point out that breast feeding is the best and cheapest option: We know.  We tried.  Eventually, formula became the necessary option.)

mb-201101babyhandHaving looked around and settled on the Costco / Kirkland brand, both the price and the packaging were etched into my memory.

So, while walking around the section, a new method of packaging jumped out at me as I passed by.

Uh-oh.

Anytime a package changes, I immediately jump to the conclusion that the company packaging the product in question is changing something in some way to present a price increase, most often by giving less product at a price that works out to a higher unit price.

Once again, I was right.

With the old packaging, you received two canisters, each containing 25.7 ounces of formula.  The price for the total 51.4 ounces was $19.79.

With the new packaging, you get a single 36 ounce container of formula which costs $16.49.

I have to say that Costco was as creative as can be in presenting this.  At first glance, the consumer sees a taller container than they got before, which offsets the fact that they used to get two.  They also see a lower price, which makes them think they’re getting a pretty good deal.  In fact, I bet some shoppers probably think they’re getting a better deal.

Not so fast.

By cutting 15.4 ounces from what you get, they cut 30% of the product you receive.  Yet the price went down by a mere 17%.

Hmmm…

What this works out to is a price per ounce increase from $0.385/oz to $0.458/oz.

This results in a 19% price increase for Costco / Kirkland Baby Formula!

Look, I get the fact that prices go up.  This doesn’t bother me.  But, very few products have gone up by 19% in cost over the past year.  The fact that Costco is sneaking this in by way of attempting to confuse the customer disappoints me.

My wife raised a good point; They’re still cheap.  Before, they were about half the cost of the name brand formulas such as Similac and Enfamil.  Now, assuming those companies haven’t likewise raised their cost by 19%, they’ll be 35-40% cheaper.

Still a pretty good deal.  But you know what?  Other stores (such as Target and Wal-Mart) have lower priced formula as well.  In the past, it was cheaper than the name brand but still not as cheap as Costco.  If they are now more competitive in price, Costco could end up losing customers altogether if enough customers realize the big jump that just took place.

Here’s the rant portion of this post:

I love Costco, but I have realized that you really have to keep an eye on them.  I am certain that one of their strategies is to bring customers in with ultra-low prices, get them hooked, and then raise the prices.  This isn’t groundbreaking retail strategy, but I put Costco on a higher level of expectation than I do most retailers.  Why?  Because Costco is the only retailer I shop with for which I pay the privilege of shopping with.  When I hand over my $50 membership fee every year, I am saying, ‘Yes, I agree you are awesome enough to pay $50 to walk through your doors’ but you know what?  I’m also holding them to a higher standard.

The price increase of 19% is bad enough.  But, where they haven’t ‘earned’ their membership fee on this one is that they implemented it in what I consider a sneaky way.  I would have much rather seen them just raise the price on the stuff they used to sell from $20 to $24 and be done with it.  Now, you know darn well that there are customers walking out who aren’t paying attention and are ending up shorting themselves on formula, thinking they are getting the same amount they used to, or other customers who aren’t unit price shoppers who are going to have a hard time understanding why their formula costs spiked.

Costco has to make money.  I get that.  But sometimes companies go too far in their quest to make money.  I’m not saying Costco went too far, but a near 20% price increase and hiding behind ‘new packaging’, well that’s toeing the line into questionable territory.  In my opinion.

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