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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.