According to the National Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) 2012 report, “Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill,” the average family of four in the United States tosses out between $1,300 and $2,200 worth of food every year — that’s a staggering 25 percent of all the foods and beverages we buy. Even more eye opening is the fact that 40 percent of all edible food in this country goes uneaten. Needless to say, it’s too much. If we reduced food waste by even 15 percent, says the NRDC research, we’d have enough to keep 25 million Americans well-fed every year. And according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, if we saved all the food discarded by retailers and consumers in the most developed countries in the world, we’d have more than enough to feed all the planet’s 870 million hungry.
What’s more, our current food system also wastes a tremendous amount of our precious natural resources. Converting what’s grown on farms into the foods that go into our mouths — or garbage cans — eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, requires 50 percent of U.S. land and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States.
As the NRDC report explains, food accounts for the single largest component of municipal solid waste reaching landfills. The New York Times estimates that approximately 32 million metric tons of food waste ends up in landfills. And the cost of that processing to municipal governments? $1.5 billion per year. Given that those buried edibles convert to methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 25 times more powerful in terms of global warming than carbon dioxide, according to the NRDC, we all really ought to think harder about how we can stop trashing so much of our food.
So, what can you do to help? Our list of simple steps for reducing waste is a great place to start.
And then there is Glad. From ClingWrap — which seals easily and is safe in the microwave — to reusable, BPA-free GladWare containers, to sturdy zipper bags, Glad wants to be part of the solution — the storage solution, that is. Glad offers all sorts of containers, wraps, and bags that keeps food fresher longer by sealing out the air that causes decomposition. Which means fewer moldy vegetables in the crisper, less methane for the atmosphere and more money in your pocket.
On glad.com, you’ll find all kinds of clever tips for how to wrap, bag, and freeze your food, including a host of protection pointers for everything from poultry to pineapple. You’ll also find details about Glad’s #SaveItSunday campaign. Join the movement by pledging to properly wrap, bag, or store your food the day you buy it. You, and the planet, will be Glad you did.
10 ways to reduce food waste (and save money)
Australians throw away $8 billion worth of edible food (up to 20 per cent of our groceries) every year, often because we buy too much or aren’t sure what to do with leftovers. Try these simple ways to reduce your household food waste – including practical tips from OzHarvest Chef for a Cause Travis Harvey – and you’ll also save time and money.
1. Take a shopping list
It seems like a no-brainer, but planning meals in advance is the easiest way to avoid buying items you don’t need and won’t use. Take a look in your fridge and pantry before leaving home and write a shopping list so you don’t end up with three cabbages in the crisper. The best tip to avoid impulse purchases? Don’t go shopping on an empty stomach!
2. Buy less groceries more frequently
If you can, try to replenish fresh produce and other perishables every few days rather than buying a week’s worth in the hope that you’ll use everything. The fruit and veggies will be fresher and you won’t be tempted to make enormous portions that will be binned later. Choose quality (fresh, organic, fair trade, unprocessed) over quantity and your meals will be tastier for it.
3. Cook only what you need
An effective way to reduce food waste (and the waistline) is to reduce portion sizes, so cook only what is required rather than pouring enough pasta to feed an army. Wait 15 minutes to see if you are still hungry before heading back to the kitchen – you might be surprised at how full you feel.
4. Store food better
Correct storage can add days, weeks and even months to your food. Make sure dry goods are stored in air-tight containers to avoid moisture and weevils, freeze leftovers and remember that not all fruit and veg should be stored in the fridge – sometimes it will make them go off quicker. “Herbs will last for weeks if you get some damp paper towelling and wrap them up before storing in a sealed container,” says Travis. “Spinach and lettuce should always be stored in a bag or container, with any wilting leaves removed before storage.“
5. Understand expiration dates
Knowing what is meant by ‘best-before’ and ‘use-by’ could mean the difference between emptying the contents of your fridge to make a delicious dinner and throwing away a fridge full of perfectly edible food. Check whether food looks, smells and tastes ok – if it does then it’s usually fine to eat – and rotate older ingredients to the front so that it’s not forgotten.
Save Money by Working With Others
Hoxton / Tom Merton / Getty Images
One way you can save money on food is by working with others to reduce your food bill. You can set up a food exchange where you trade off nights to cook with friends. This scheduling gives you the chance to socialize, plus you'll save money since it's cheaper to buy and cook one meal for a larger crowd each week than to cook several smaller meals for yourself.
Another option is to buy items in bulk through a local food co-op, farmers market, or big-box store. Worth noting: some farmer's markets have a section where they sell in wholesale to restaurants, but you have to make larger minimum purchases. Additionally, co-ops often require membership. But going in as a group on either of these can save you money, as well.
Plan Your Menu
Dan Dalton / Caiaimage / Getty Images
Planning is the most important step if you are trying to stop eating out. If you do not know what you are having for dinner that night, the temptation is much greater to simply stop at a restaurant on the way home. Menu planning also cuts down on the number of times you need to go to a grocery store during the week, saving you money at the grocery store and giving you more time to prepare food.
Plan your menu for the month and break it down by week for your grocery list. You can repeat your menu each month with minimum planning, but ensure you've worked in enough variety to avoid getting bored with the meals. If you plan carefully, you can plan to use similar ingredients in different meals each week, saving even more money.
Another option is to use a menu planning service. There are several reasonably priced options available online. You can also save even more money by couponing and planning your meals around the deals you find.
Retailers are sending you emails and catalogs all the time. They want you to open them so that you will be mesmerized by their latest deals. Don&rsquot open them! Unsubscribe from these emails (usually there is a link to opt-out right at the bottom of the email). Call retailers that send you catalogs and ask them to remove your name from their mailing lists. In these ways, you can allay your temptation to check out the latest deals (saving you some hard-earned cash!).
Your credit cards can be your worst enemy when you are striving to save money. Therefore, place them in a spot that isn&rsquot readily available to you. A safe is a good place to start: the credit card won&rsquot be readily accessible, and it takes time to enter the combination. Safes aren&rsquot the only way to stop spending with your credit card. You can try anything that will slow you down when you want to pull out the card.
There are more drastic measures that you can take (especially, if you don&rsquot have a safe). Try wrapping your cards in plastic and burying them in the backyard. Or you can freeze them. Just place the card in a bowl of water and stick it in the ice box. (Put a coin atop the card to keep it from floating.) Next time you need to use your credit card, you will need to thaw it out or dig it back up &ndash very effective deterrents, indeed.
Pick the right tools
If you’re saving for short-term goals, consider using these FDIC-insured deposit accounts:
- Savings account , which locks in your money for a fixed period of time at a rate that is typically higher than savings accounts
For long-term goals consider:
- FDIC-insured individual retirement accounts (IRAs), which are tax-efficient savings accounts
- Securities, such as stocks or mutual funds. These investment products are available through investment accounts with a broker-dealer. Remember that securities are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or other obligations of a bank and are not guaranteed by a bank. They are subject to investment risks, including the possible loss of your principal.
Tip: You don’t have to pick just one account. Look carefully at all of your options and consider things like balance minimums, fees and interest rates so you can choose the mix that will help you best save for your goals.
64 Insanely Easy Ways to Save Money Around the House
There are people that will always say “there’s just no money to save!” (I know because I used to be one of those people!). Luckily, there are actually A TON of ways to get some cash back into your pockets by doing a few simple things around the house. We all know there is no better time than right now to start saving more money!
I’ve compiled a massive list for you, and I’d love to hear what you do to save money around the house. Let me know in the comments, and tell me if I missed anything! I always love hearing what you all do to save because y’all are always coming up with clever ways to save money that just blow my mind.
64 Ways to Save Money Around the House…
1. Keep an Active Shopping List
One of the biggest money wasters is at the grocery store. How often do you buy things you think you may need, and not things you actually do need? Keep a magnetic shopping list on the refrigerator and when you run out of something, write it down. Aaron and I started using a free app called Wunderlist and we just recently made a shared grocery list that we can each update and it syncs the lists together so if either of us is out we can stop by the grocery store, and not worry that we’re missing something that we need. Also, rather than shopping for a little bit each day, make the most efficient use of your time (and gas!) by going to the grocery store once a week.
2. Make Pantry-Compatible Recipes
When learning about the latest recipes featured on Pinterest, actively search for the ones that have all the ingredients already in your pantry. There are even websites that allow you to input what you have and offer recipes for what you can make, like Recipe Puppy. Fetch Boo Boo, Fetch. Good dog.
People complain about the cost of eating organic. The truth is if you buy weekly lots of fresh veggies and fruit and skip all of the processed, expensive stuff, you’ll end up with serious savings at the grocery store and you’ll learn to eat healthier overall. (Be sure to check out: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Organic on a Budget for tips on this subject.)
Break the addiction to sodas, teas, and other beverages by sticking to water. Get yourself a BPA free plastic water from Craigslist so you can eliminate the on-going cost of purchasing bottled water. (Ack. That’s SUCH a waste of money!)
5. Have Potluck Gatherings
Don’t miss out on qualify time with friends. Invite them over but request a potluck-style gathering where everyone brings something to share to cut down on your costs hosting the gathering. (Be sure to take a look at: 56 Things to do Instead of Spending Money for a lot more ideas about how to save money with friends.)
6. Cook in Bulk, Skip the Drive-Thru
Meal plan then designate a day of the week, like a Sunday afternoon (or even better, a weekday night to skip the grocery store crowds), to do a bunch of bulk cooking. Put a few dishes in the refrigerator to easily reheat for dinner and freeze a few other dishes for later in the week. Casseroles and other simple recipes freeze well and reheat in no time so you can skip the expense of fast-food. (A post on meal planning that you might like: Let’s Plan Some Meals!)
7. Subscribe to Sunday’s Paper
If you subscribe to the daily paper, consider cancelling and read the local news online instead. However, keep or sign up for a subscription to the Sunday edition of the paper so you’ll get the coupons, and sales fliers. Or, even better? Ask a friend who subscribes to the paper if you can just have the coupons, if they’re not going to use them.
8. Make Snacks, Don’t Buy Them
The cost of a pre-packaged snack or desert is can way more expensive than if you make it at home. You can make a whole pan of brownies for less than $3 but may pay $2.50 or more for one pre-packaged brownie at a coffee shop.
9. Drop Your Bad Habits
If you keep cigarettes in the house, beer in the fridge, and liquor in the cabinet, you may want to consider making some changes in your lifestyle. These bad habits are not only costing you cash now, they could eventually hit you in the wallet when it comes to your health. (Related relevant post: Your Habits are Making You Broke.)
10. Borrow What You Rarely Need
Forget buying the newfangled appliances to make smoothies or a rotisserie chicken. If you have a special recipe that calls for such a device, find a neighbor or friend that has one you can borrow. (This is also true of lawn equipment, tools, and other very expensive things you may only use once in a blue moon).
Admittedly, not all things generic taste the same when it comes to prepared foods. But there is so much money to be saved buying the store brand in pantry staples, medications, breakfast cereals, and more. My rule: always go for generic unless you have a super good reason not to.
Around the House, in General:
12. Launder in Cold Temps
The costly part of washing your dirty laundry is heating up all that wash water. Most clothing will was just fine in cold water. You don’t even need to spend extra on the “special” detergent recommended for cold washes. I save money by always only washing in COLD, and since the colors don’t bleed with the cold water I don’t sort the clothes into different loads based on color so this method saves time too! (Try out this super easy DIY: How to Make Liquid Laundry Detergent for Under 5¢ Per Load)
If you have the space in your house or yard, devise a system for hanging up the majority of your clothing to dry. Not only will you save on the cost of electricity, your clothes will also last longer than if routinely dried with direct heat. We have a little bit of space where we’ve rigged up a small retractable clothesline and it’s so nice to have available. We got it for a few bucks, and it’s been surprisingly durable. I’ve noticed hotels will sometimes have retractable clothes lines above the shower rods so consider that placement if you’re low on space.
14. Eliminate Phantom Electricity
It’s a hassle, I know, but unplug unused electronics and appliances to avoid using excess electricity unnecessarily. Only plug in things when you need to use them.
15. Get Back to Cleaning Basics
While there are many products on the market supposedly made to clean anything, they can certainly cost you a bundle. In reality, basic cleaning supplies of the olden days work just as effectively now as they did when your great-grandmother used them. Vinegar and baking soda are just two cheap but very effective products to use throughout the whole house to clean and disinfect. Try these recipes: Cheap Green Cleaning.
Everyone likes their home to smell good. Candles and room sprays can get very costly especially if you have to buy them multiple times a month. Again, basic items like baking soda can reduce odors in carpets and fabrics. A small pot of cinnamon and vanilla extra simmering on the stove can make the house inviting to visitors.
17. Learn Basic House Maintenance
A home gets a lot of living done inside it throughout a year. It is important to know how to properly maintain it on your own such as cleaning filters, re-caulking bathtubs, and the other tasks around your home that need yearly care.
18. Rent a Steam Cleaner
Carpets can get dirty from foot traffic, kids, and pets. Rent a quality steam cleaner from the grocery or hardware store. Every few months, steam clean the rugs in the rooms most used to restore them and bring them back to life rather than replacing them.
Sewing is an age-old skill that everyone should learn on a basic level. Rather than throw away things that have torn including clothing, coats, curtains, and other household items, a few simple stitches can repair them for continued use.
20. Repair Small Things ASAP
When you notice something in your home is beginning to break or wear out, don’t delay repairs. A simple leak in the bathroom faucet can turn into a major repair project that drains your bank account. The same is true of your car.
21. Seek Out Thrifty Décor
Being thrifty and cash-conscious doesn’t mean you need to live in a boring, undecorated house. There are many opportunities for you to get quality, attractive items without spending a fortune. Hit up real estate auctions, yard sales, and consignment stores to find treasures other people have given up or left behind OR swap home decorating items with friends.
22. DIY Only Within Your Limits
Doing home repairs and construction on your own is a great way to save money on labor costs but you should only DIY the things you know how to do. If you make major construction or repair mistakes, it may end up costing you more than you can afford. 8 Home Projects You Should Just Pay Someone to Do.
If you have handy friends and family members that can do the work you need done in and around the home, suggest a barter system. You can use your skills (cleaning, babysitting) to benefit them in some way while you rely on their handyman expertise, with no money changing hands.
24. Do a House Sweep to Organize Your Stuff
While time pressures usually prevent this from happening on a regular basis, make a point to schedule one weekend a year to do a clean sweep of the house. In Spring or Fall, a thorough cleaning will allow you to identify potential problem areas that need repair and it will likely produce a lot of stuff you’ve bought time and again because you couldn’t find it in the first place. Have a goal of making a place for everything so you can find it easily and spend less on repeat purchases. Do the ultimate de-clutter by trying out The Minimalist Challenge.
25. Repurpose What You’ve Got
Our homes can get boring over time so if you feel the need for change, try rearranging the furniture. Use items you already have in a new way. Dig things out of storage you haven’t seen in a while to bring subtle changes to your overall home’s interior.
Stop letting your money blow out of the window each day. You need to inspect windows and door ways for air leaks. Plugging up the drafts will help you save money on heating and air conditioning costs.
27. Invest in Warm Blankets
During the cold months heating costs can skyrocket just trying to keep the family warm. Invest in a few space heaters and warm blankets for the nights when everyone is hanging out together in one area and turn heat down in other parts of the house. (Note: don’t sleep with space heaters on or leave them unattended. They can cause fires!)
With so many electronics in our homes, you may be spending more than you realize on batteries. Invest in a quality set of rechargeable batteries rather than constantly buying new ones.
29. Downsize Collectibles
When cleaning out your home in the grand sweep, take note of the specific items you have been collecting over the years. Some may be personally valuable while others may be financially valuable. Perhaps it’s a good time to sell or auction a collection that is no longer active. If you spend a lot of cash in a year supplementing various collectibles, consider those priorities against your other financial goals. Related: How to Make Money Selling Your Crap.
30. Get Paid to Recycle
There are locations around the country that pay you cash for recycling different kinds of items. You can earn money back and get rid of the clutter at the same time without additional expense of haul-a-ways to the dump.
31. Landscape with Transplanted Plants
To freshen up the exterior of your home, don’t spend a fortune at the local nursery. Instead ask family and friends for trimmings of their plants. Many perennial plants and bulbs can easily be divided and shared. Transplant the ones you like best into your own yard.
32. Clean Out the Garage (and Get Rid of the Storage Unit!)
In addition to reducing the clutter in your home, your clean garage can also save you money by protecting one of your bigger investments – your vehicle. Garage-kept vehicles likely won’t be stolen and they will be protected from the elements of nature that can shorten their lifespan and cause damage to the exterior. (See: Cleaning Out the Storage Unit to Save Money)
While not technically a part of the house, a fully weighted down vehicle will cost more in gas money and take away cash from other household needs. Remove unnecessary things in your backseat and trunk while you are cleaning out your garage.
34. Keep a ‘Pass Along’ Closet
Designate a space in your home (basement, closet, cubbyhole) where you put items you can reuse. This includes items that you receive but can’t use which could be a nice re-gift down the line or clothing you plan to hand down to younger siblings. Whenever there is a need, you’ll have a go-to place without spending money or worrying about the item being misplaced.
35. Consider a Stay-Cation
A stay-cation is where you take time off of work like you would for a vacation but you don’t actually go anywhere far from home. Take a week’s stay-cation and spend the first few days reorganizing your entire house, using the ideas from this post. Then treat yourself and your family to the next few days of quality time having fun and relaxing. Once your physical and financial houses are in order, you’ll truly be able to enjoy the time spent together.
Around the House, Bills and Expenses:
36. Reduce Unused Expenses
If you are paying for things you don’t even use, take time to find out what those things are and cancel them. This includes gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and online automatic account renewals.
37. Use Online Bill Pay
Banks offer online bill pay where your creditors are paid on the date you designate each month without your having to do a thing after the initial set up. Avoid late fees and other penalties by automating your payments but PLEASE, you’ve still gotta monitor what they are charging you so you don’t get ripped off if they bill you incorrectly.
38. Go Through Mail Daily
People tend to set daily mail aside and go through a big pile all at once. This practice will make it easy to miss bills with no grace periods and incur extra charges. You may also miss out on correspondence that requires your timely reply to avoid additional charges.
39. Stay on Task with a To-Do Calendar
To avoid missing out on due dates and renewal notices, keep a regular calendar just for your financial life. One quick glance and you know what to expect and how to plan your budget for the whole month.
40. Collect Spare Change (and $5 Bills)
Set up spare change collection jars in different locations around the house where change is likely to land including the bathroom, laundry room, bedrooms, and kitchen. Keep saving up all the change you find with a goal in mind such as vacation, rainy day fund, or other savings plan. Even better? Try the $5 Dollar Savings Plan that I recently ran across on Pinterest. Here’s how it works: Simply set aside every single $5 bill that’s in your possession to quickly (and painlessly) watch your savings grow!
41. Lock On Heating Oil Prices When Low
If you rely on oil for heating your home in the winter, check with your oil company to find out the details about locking in low rates by pre-paying seasonally for oil. You won’t have to worry about rising prices when temperatures drop and you may get a discount if you pay in cash.
42. Pay a Double Mortgage in December
If you can swing it, may an extra mortgage payment in December to take advantage of the tax deduction on the interest for the year. You can save a couple hundred dollars by planning ahead for this double payment.
43. Pay Auto Insurance Annually in Full
Auto insurance companies often give discounts for paying for a full six months or a year for insurance coverage instead of paying month to month.
44. Coordinate Cash Back Rewards
If you have a credit card that offers cash back rewards, capitalize on this to get back as much cash as you can. For every purchase made on the card, set the same amount of cash aside in an envelope so you’ll be assured you can deposit the full amount of the credit card balance into the bank at the end of the billing cycle. (Note: PLEASE DO NOT GET – OR USE – A CREDIT CARD, ANY CREDIT CARD, IF YOU ARE IN DEBT.)
Much like automated bill payments, you can automate your savings plan. Have your payroll department deposit the majority of your paycheck into one main bank account and allocate a percentage to go directly into a savings account you never touch. This makes it more likely that you’ll keep saving. You’ll never even miss the percentage diverted elsewhere.
46. Do Once-a-Year Comparison Shopping
If you get complacent about the services you pay for, you may find you are paying way more than you should. Once a year, take a good look at the accounts you have open and make sure they are still in line with your financial goals. Bank fees too high? Find a new one. Mortgage too high? Consider refinancing.
47. Complain About Costs
When you have a good grasp of what you are paying for in services, make a call into the customer service line to find out what can be done to lower costs. Many service providers will try to keep your business by reducing your bill without reducing services. The worst that can happen is they say no and you’ll take your business elsewhere.
Any time you see an “As Seen on TV” product, your instincts should tell you to look the other way. Don’t invest your money in fad products that make promises that sound too good to be true.
49. Avoid the Latest Technology – For Now
While the hype over the latest computer or phone can be intoxicating, keep more money in your wallet by practicing patience. Wait several months for the prices to drop to an affordable level before investing in the latest technology that is likely to be outdated in a few months’ time anyway.
50. Become a Consignor Aficionado
Consignment shops tend to offer higher-quality merchandise than a typical thrift store. You can get brand name gear with the tags still on for a fraction of the retail cost. Same goes for furniture, books, housewares, and the like. To save on shopping costs, take your own stuff in to consign once you’ve de-cluttered your own living space.
51. Buy Big for Quality, Not Cost
When it comes time to make a big ticket purchase, go for quality over price every time. It is important to read reviews and research the products you will have to spend money like refrigerators, stoves, lawn mowers, and furniture. You may pay a bit more upfront but you could save yourself a crapload by not having to do costly repairs or replace the appliance all together in a few years.
52. Read the Small Print – All of It
I know it’s painful but you must read the fine print before you sign a contract and agree to anything. By missing out on this hard-to-read information you may be agreeing to pay costs or commit yourself to something that will create a financial hardship.
Saving on Kids Things Around the House:
53. Mom Swap for Kid Stuff
If you are a parent of a young child, you know kids get bored of the same thing. Rather than give in to the demands of “buy me something!”, coordinate with other parents to trade off toys, games, books, and more through the years. This can drastically cut costs in just one year’s time.
54. Outfit Kids Frugally
Kids grow fast so include clothing in your mom-swap idea. You can also score great clothes, often ones with brand names at consignment stores or from hand-me-downs of older siblings and relatives.
55. Play Make-Believe with the Kids
Forget the gadgets and technology for the kids in your life, at least for the younger ones. There is no greater toy for a kid to play with than mom and dad. Plan time each day to get down on the floor and be present with your kids. Spend your hours playing in the land of make believe instead of spending money at the mall.
56. Be Selective about Fundraising for the Kids
Raising kids can get really expensive with school-aged offspring. Fundraisers through sports, clubs, and the school itself can cost a fortune especially if you feel guilty saying no. If there is a method for opting out of the fundraiser by paying an additional fee, consider this a good trade off.
57. Schedule Regular Doctor Visits
Health checkups can help prevent serious illnesses so get to the doctor at least once a year for a physical and necessary tests insurance covers.
58. Have Good Oral Hygiene
Even with dental insurance, the cost of pulling a tooth or having restorative dental work done can be very expensive. Prevent emergency root canals and other costly procedures by visiting the dentist every six months. Dentist schools need practice patients too (just like hair schools need people to work on) so while will likely time up more of your time to have work done by a dental student you’ll save a chunk of money.
59. Exercise Around the Block
Regular exercise is important to avoid healthcare costs but you don’t have to spend cash on a gym to stay active. Walk around the block, through the neighborhood, at the local high school track field. (Be sure to check out: “I Lost 84 Pounds Without a Gym Membership”)
60. Get Beautiful with Friends
Taking time for yourself is important but you can do it frugally among friends. Plan a fun day of pampering with your girlfriends giving each other pedicures, facials, and manicures rather than visiting a costly salon.
61. Seek Out the Services of Students
When you are in need of more professional assistance, seek out a trade school for a professional haircut, color, or a massage. While students may be performing the service, an instructor is close by to make sure the work is done right but at a fraction of the cost at a salon or spa.
62. Get Preventative Care for Pets
Like us, our pets need annual medical checkups to make sure things are all good. If a pet should develop a health problem, early detection and intervention can lessen the medical costs in the long run. (Got a pet? Read this one when you have a sec: 17 Ways to Save Money on Pet Expenses)
63. Unplug the Boob Tube
Not likely to be a popular tip but unplugging the television has many benefits, least of all eliminating an expensive cable bill each month Without a television distracting you, you may find your productivity and creativity levels rise significantly. When you need your lounging/zone-out fix there are, in our age of the internet, a bunch of ways to still enjoy screen time. Here are a few: 12 Ways to Watch Movies Without Breaking the Law.
64. Learn to Say No…and Mean It
People often spend money they don’t have because they feel uncomfortable telling people no. If you are not in a place where you can or want to spend money, learn to say so with confidence for the good of your family. It is not financially smart to chase other people’s financial goals and try to keep up with their spending habits. What do you do in this situation when everyone else had steaks and lobster and you had a dinner roll? Out to Eat and They Want to Split the Bill Equally.
What are your favorite ways to save money around the house?
How to Reduce Food Waste + Best Zero-Waste Recipes
1. Store Food Properly
This is an essential first step to reducing food waste at home. Refrigerators have different temperatures in different spots and because of this, some places are better to store your produce than others. As well, some things are better stored outside the fridge for maximum freshness.
Storing food properly will help your food remain fresh and last longer, which means you’re not going to end up with mouldy berries or limp carrots. We cover this in detail in How to Best Store Produce, which includes instructions for common fruits and veggies and has a free downloadable storage guide.
For non-produce foods, here are some quick tips to reduce food waste:
- Store nuts and seeds in the fridge or freezer so they don’t go rancid
- Store omega-3 oils in the fridge to preserve freshness
- Store nut and seed flours in the fridge
- Keep grains and beans/legumes in clean, sealed containers
- Place meat in the bottom drawer of the fridge, where it won’t potentially leak onto other foods
- Freeze homemade nut milks and remove as you need them (homemade dairy-free milk can go rancid after only a couple of days)
- Keep eggs in the main part of the refrigerator, rather than in the door
2. Organize Your Fridge and Pantry
Take stock of your fridge and culinary nutrition pantry on a regular basis so you know what you have (so you don’t purchase duplicate items), as well as what needs to be used sooner rather than later. Clean your fridge regularly, as dirt, residues and shrivelled stems can affect the freshness of new items.
Generally, after grocery shopping, we like to put the older stuff up at the front so we’ll use it first. Also, it’s helpful to store prepped items or bulk ingredients in clear containers to actually see what’s in them. If you’re hyper-organized, you could keep an inventory of what’s in your fridge, freezer and pantry to optimize your cooking and reduce food (and economic waste).
3. Shop with a Plan
How many times have you been enticed by a bright, fragrant fruit or vegetable and ended up tossing it because you could never figure out what to do with it?
One of the fundamentals we teach our students right off the bat in the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program is how to create and execute a menu plan. Designing your meals and snacks at the beginning of the week can help ensure you stick to your healthy eating goals and actually use up all the food in your fridge.
Plan your meals, make a list and take it with you to the grocery store or market. If you’d like to leave some room for what’s locally available, you can make a skeletal menu plan that allows for variation, for example ‘hummus with vegetable of choice’ or ‘salmon patties with whatever dark leafy greens look the freshest’.
4. Buy Local
Purchase food that is in season and grown close to where you live. This is going to be cheaper and you’ll end up with less waste because food will be fresher, having travelled fewer days to get to your plate. If you shop at local farmers’ markets, items are often picked the day before or even the morning of market day, which means they will last longer in your fridge if stored properly.
5. Buy What You Need
If there is a sale on tomatoes, will you be able to eat all of them before they go off? Or prep and cook them into something that can be stored and frozen for later? Bulk shopping is only cost-effective and convenient if you actually end up using everything you buy. If you find that you’re throwing out food, even if it’s a small-ish amount, you’re losing cash.
6. Assess Best Before Dates
Very few foods have a true expiry date. Most labels will have a ‘best before’ this indicates the date after which a food may lose its freshness, nutritional value, or taste. You may also see voluntary terms like:
Best before dates don’t mean that a food is safe – I’m sure we’ve all opened packages of hummus or guacamole only to find they have bits of mould. However, people tend to view these dates as gospel and toss something when it’s still fine to eat. Of course, this leads to more food waste. You can learn more about date labelling here, and begin to use your senses – sight, taste, smell, touch – to assess your foods.
7. Be Smart When Buying in Bulk
A good deal is only a good deal if you’ll end up eating what you buy. Of course, there are certain times of the year when you’ll want to take advantage of an abundance of produce (oh hi berries and tomatoes), so make a plan to ensure you can enjoy your bounty without excess waste. For example, if you’re buying 10 pounds of blueberries from a farmer at the market, decide what you will freeze as-is for smoothies, how much jam you’ll cook, what you’ll bake, etc.
8. Creatively Repurpose Leftovers
We have no problems with leftovers and will happily eat bowls of chilli or creamy pumpkin noodles for three lunches in a row. If you’re not into leftovers, think of ways you can creatively repurpose and reuse leftover food, such as creating a recipe-free dinner bowl, using leftover turkey in potpie, crumbling a burger over a salad, or shoving chilli into a taco with salsa and guac.
If you can’t repurpose, then freeze your leftovers in a labelled container for your future self to enjoy.
9. Start a Cooking Cooperative
Enjoy the benefits of healthy meals with less cooking by starting a neighbourhood cooking cooperative. When cooking, you can reduce food waste by only buying what you need to make your recipe contribution for the week, then make a plan to consume what you collect on sharing day.
10. Explore ‘Root to Stem’ and ‘Nose to Tail’ Cooking
We have a habit in North America of throwing out parts of vegetables that we could easily use for another purpose. Animal production and consumption can be even more wasteful, as we view certain parts of the animal as ‘good’ to eat while other parts are ‘gross’. Many other cultures around the world use all parts of the animal and this not only reduces food waste, but adds nutrition and flavour.
The nose to tail movement has been gaining ground for a few years, and more recently cooks are beginning to explore how they can use all parts of plant-based foods (see more ideas of how to do this below).
11. Save Almond Pulp
When whipping up batches of homemade nut or seed milk, save the pulp in the freezer. When you’ve got a full jar, make a variety of almond pulp recipes.
12. Use Broccoli Stems/Stalks
Yep, they taste like broccoli too! Save them for stock, or chop them up for soups, stews or as a side dish. If you’re blending your stalks, you don’t need to peel them. If you’re eating them chopped into chunks, you may want to peel them as the outside of the stalk can be tough and fibrous.
Recipe to Try: Vegan Broccoli Stalk Soup by Sondi Bruner (*ACN Head Program Coach)
13. Use Beet Greens, Radish Greens, Turnip Greens and Carrot Tops
Don’t toss these nutritious greens into the compost or trash! Incorporate them into your cooking instead. Since they can be bitter, you may not want to eat them raw – but they work wonderfully when cooked, or when paired with acidity, salt and a pinch of sweetness in a pesto recipe.
14. Save Scraps for Broth
Keep a large bag or container in your freezer with veggie scraps for broth. Onion and garlic ends, carrot and celery ends, vegetable peelings, mushroom stems, leftover herbs, zucchini ends – use it all! When your bag is full, put the contents into a pot, slow cooker or Instant Pot with water to make broth.
15. Use Stems of Dark Leafy Greens
After you strip the leaves off of dark leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard or collards, use the stems for cooking or juice them.
16. Zest Lemons and Limes
Citrus zest is packed with flavour, along with Vitamin C and flavonoids that have anti-cancer properties. Zest your lemons and limes and freeze the zest for later, or dehydrate it for a fantastic condiment.
Recipe to Try: Homemade Dried Lemon Zest by Jaclyn Desforges (*Culinary Nutrition Expert)
17. Freeze Herbs in Olive Oil
Sometimes you simply can’t get through a bunch of parsley. Finely chop your herbs, place them in an ice cube tray and then pour olive oil over top. This would also be great with homemade ghee!
18. Roast Squash Seeds as a Snack
After you scoop out your winter squash, rinse the seeds and either dehydrate or roast them with spices for a tasty, homemade snack.
19. Use Carcasses for Broth
Roast a chicken last night for dinner? Use the rest of it to make a rich, health-promoting broth.
20. Leave Skins on Veggies and Fruits
Many veggies and fruits don’t need to be peeled – this reduces food waste and also saves you the trouble of peeling! Don’t bother peeling your carrots, potatoes, apples, plums, delicate squash, cucumbers, etc. If you’re eating the peel, we recommend buying organic as many peels can have pesticide residues.
21. Learn to Preserve
Canning, fermenting, freezing and dehydrating are just a few of the preservation methods that can help your food last longer and reduce food waste. Our go-to experts on all things preserving are Joel MacCharles and Dana Harris, who are behind the cookbook Batch and the blog Well Preserved, which delves into preserving types in detail.
Recipe to Try: How to Make Homemade Pickles by The Academy of Culinary Nutrition
22. When All Else Fails, Compost!
If you’re unable to use food or it spoils, toss it into the compost instead of the trash if possible. Many large cities have curbside composting, but you can easily get a compost bin for your yard, balcony or even underneath your kitchen counter. That way, your unused food can go towards growing new ingredients.
Transportation Savings Tips
53. Comparison shop for auto insurance. Before renewing your existing auto insurance policy each year, check out the rates of competing companies.
54. Check multiple sites for low airfares. Want to plan your dream vacation for cheap? Don't rely on a single airline search engine to show you all inexpensive fares. Some discount carriers do not allow their flights to be listed in these third-party searches, so you need to check their websites separately.
Looking for more tips, resources, and accountability to help you along your savings journey?
Let America Saves help you reach your savings goals! It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. Take the America Saves Pledge and commit to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time.
5. Know your moulds
If mould appears, whether we can still &lsquorescue&rsquo the food depends on what it is. The following general rules can help us know what to do.
Hard foods should be safe to consume once the mouldy part is removed along with the surrounding area. This includes hard cheeses, hard cured meats (such as salami and ham) and firm fruits and vegetables (such as cabbages bell peppers, root vegetables).
Soft foods should be thrown out once they start to mould. This includes cooked leftovers, soft cheeses, yoghurts and other dairy products, bread, jams and soft fruits and veggies (such as cucumbers, peaches, tomatoes, berries and so on). 3 This is because mould can spread in soft foods (and we might not even see it).