What a waste!
Have a look at your weekly expenditure and I bet on average you spend 60 percent of your after-tax income on household expenses like food. What's worrying however, is that Australian's throw out up to 20 percent of the food that they purchase! Are you one of these 'typical families'? If so, you are virtually withdrawing $1000.00 from your bank account (or more!) and placing it in the rubbish bin every year.
The good news is much of this can be avoided. By altering shopping habits, improving food storage and preparing food for yourself (as opposed to purchasing even partially prepared food) you will save money. Try these habits to minimise your family's food waste and save your hard-earned dollars, but beware, the trade-off is time, because we all know when we save money by being more self-sufficient, it takes more time to practice these new habits.
- Make a note of the food you discard and why then buy less of this product.
- Decide on a weekly menu and list what you need. Look through the fridge and pantry before you go shopping so you know what you already have in stock.
- Cook your weekly menu from scratch. Purchase the ingredients you require, as many menus use the same ingredients and you will find purchasing 1 product can make several meals and most of these are every day food items anyway.
- Check your fridge is running at the right temperature so that food doesn't become so cold it freezes (this will save on your utility bill as well).
- Keen an eye on expiry dates. Use up items that are approaching their use by dates or before they start to wilt and spoil.
- Know the difference between your 'best before' and 'use by' dates and if you do find yourself having to discard an item, only do so if necessary.
- Carefully store fresh produce (tomatoes at room temperature, apples in the fridge). Don't separate bananas as they stay fresher together.
- Transfer dry goods like pasta and cereal into airtight containers.
- Freeze excess fresh herbs in zip lock backs for up to a month. Keep basil in a jar of water at room temperature.
- Place milk in the colder body of the fridge and not on the warmer door shelves.
- Invest in an indoor or outdoor composting bin and turn kitchen scraps into food for your soil and plants.
- Where possible be self-sustainable - group your own fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Have a think about what's important to you and start making some small changes to your food habits each and every week. When doing this, you will start to enjoy the time spent on these activities because they are saving you money and supporting your values.
The Money Edge | Bundaberg