How Much Food Do You Think You Waste?

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A little bit of food waste may be a natural casualty of a busy family’s fridge, right? It’s easy to overlook how quickly leafy greens turn moldy, not mention all the other perishable foods that make up a healthy diet. And sometimes, you just can’t stomach leftovers for the third day in a row.

So, if you had to guess, just how much of your food goes into the garbage? Whatever number you’re thinking of, it’s likely not high enough.

Americans Waste More Than One-Third of Their Food

According to the American Journal of Agricultural Economics (AJAE), the average U.S. household throws out 31.9 percent of its food. Researchers calculated this food waste came with a $240 billion bill. Split between households, that’s $1,886 per family thrown in the trash each year.

How Do You Know You’re Wasting Food?

Besides the obvious — that is, scraping spoiled food into the trash every day — you might see the signs in your budget. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you may notice how things are tighter than they should be.

You might even be siphoning money from other areas of your budget to be able to put food on the table. While you shouldn’t feel ashamed for feeding your family, you shouldn’t use money you’ve promised to other bills either.

This bad habit could get you into trouble should you run into an unexpected emergency. What if you tapped your emergency fund to cover groceries only for your car to break down and you need cash before payday?

If this happens to you, you may be able to receive payday installment loans online. These online installment loans are available even if you don’t have the greatest credit.

You may have access to loans with poor credit to cover unexpected emergency expenses, like surprising car trouble, unexpected household repairs, or medical bills. But think twice about using bad credit installment loans to pay for groceries. You shouldn’t borrow money to cover this essential expense that occurs regularly.

Can You Cut Your Food Bill in Half?

Just because most people throw roughly one-third of their food doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. With a critical eye towards your eating and shopping habits, you’ll be able to keep more of your food until you’re ready to eat it.

Here are some tips to help you do that.

  • Make a Meal Plan. Planning your meals may help you avoid buying food you won’t use before it goes bad. A plan also encourages you to choose several recipes that play off each other, using the same inexpensive ingredients that incorporate the leftovers.
  • Find coupons. These apps provide a quick and convenient way to load up on coupons at your local store. For the best results, look into coupon stacking. This saving technique reduces the price until you only have to pay pennies for an item.
  • Look at the Price-Per-Unit: Buying in bulk is usually a cheaper way to shop for groceries, provided your family can eat everything before it goes bad. But not always. Sometimes these bulk food stores sneak in slightly higher prices. The only way you can catch them is by examining the price-per-unit to ensure you aren’t overbuying.

When you’re eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, groceries may seem like they’ll always be a big part of your budget. But if you’re careful with the way you eat, you may be able to limit how much you spend on food.

Keep an eye on how much food you waste; it could hold the secret to keeping your fridge and bank account full.