This is something I’ve never understood. If you’re going to buy food, why throw it away? If you go out to a restaurant, why not take leftovers home? For those of us who need to make every dollar count, food spending is critical. Why? We all gotta eat. But that doesn’t mean load up the fridge and then let half your food go rotten. That’s just silly. Yet people do it anyway. That’s like saying “Well I gotta pay the electric bill so I might as well just leave these lights on all the time”. And who does that? No one. “I gotta pay the water bill so I’m just gonna turn this faucet on and let it run until I feel like cutting it off.” Who does that? Once again. No one.
So why do people think it’s ok to do the same with food?
According to this article, Americans throw away 16% of the food they buy. Households across the country throw out over $600 dollars worth of food every year and only 42% feel that it’s a “major source of wasted money”.
One in eight Americans go hungry. Twenty percent are children. That means that chances are you know someone who is part of a food-insecure household.
If you’re buying too much food anyway, then maybe you should feed someone that you think might be hungry. Why not? It’s better than being wasteful. Or donate canned or other long shelf-life items to food pantries if you’re not going to use them.
If you do realize what you’re doing and you are looking to make cuts in food spending, here’s a few tips:
– Before going to the store, take an inventory of what you have and what might be in danger of spoiling. Eat/cook it first or make sure to pick something up that will help you utilize those items quickly. If your bread is going stale, for instance, grab things to make samiches. Got potatoes fixin’ to go south? Bake them off or mash them.
– Recycle your leftovers. Yesterday’s supper is today’s soup. How do you think restaurants decide on the soup du jour? 😉 Keeping food costs low isn’t just for the pros anymore!
– Quit eating junk food. It’s bad for you and a waste of your hard earned money. Chips, candy, and the like aren’t providing the nutrients that other foods will. If you don’t need it, then don’t buy it.
– Cut back on restaurants and fast food. Once again, unhealthy (I don’t care what the menu says) and to be honest, the food at chain restaurants is gross. It’s all pre-packaged crap, half of which just gets thrown into a microwave. Sure, there’s plenty of non-chain/fast food places out there that have delicious food, but the mark up is bonkers. If you eat out, make sure to keep it infrequent and always take leftovers home. If you really aren’t in the mood to care about healthy eating then hit an all you can eat spot. Get your money’s worth. Just don’t make it a daily, or even weekly, habit.
– Put the money where it matters. Nutrient dense foods. Buy fresh fruits and veggies and eat those before opening frozen or canned products. Cook meat before it turns. It’ll stay edible for a few more days once it has been cooked. Speaking of which, many Americans could stand to cut back on meat consumption. The USDA recommends 4 oz. a day and I know I’m not the only one guilty of eating (a lot) more than that.
– When all else fails, call me. I will come to your house, eat your food, and then leave.
Only a fool turns down free food. And like a wise man once told me: “You ain’t gotta be hungry to eat.”
I wouldn’t be a proper pf blogger if I didn’t remind you guys what that $600 a year turns in to in the long run. So many people could stand to cut back on not just spending, but on consumption of unnecessary foods. We, as a society, have been ruined by things like Food Network, which places chefs and food on to ridiculous pedastals. Not to mention you will undoubtedly find yourself getting hungry from watching it.
Food, above all other pieces of your budget, is about being resourceful. Modern day cuisines from around the world have their roots in peasant cookery. If these people were able to feed entire families back then on next to nothing, why can’t we do it now? I don’t care what Bobby Flay is making on his show this week, you don’t have to make the same. You think he’s going to the store and paying for all that shit? He isn’t. You, my dear reader, are paying for every morsel that goes in to your mouth and in to your garbage can.
Make it count.