Stop Wasting a Ridiculous Amount of Money on Food


The food we eat is one of those expenses which we simply can’t cut out of our budget completely. Having said that, it is true millions of dollars is wasted every single day on this. So how can you stop wasting so much money on what you eat?

Don’t Throw Out So Much

I read a statistic recently that said that families in the US throw out a quarter of the food and drink they buy. This adds up to well over $2,000 a year each. A good way to get started on controlling the food you buy is to keep track of what you need to purchase and when the products at home are going to expire. You can do this very easily on a spreadsheet but you could also download a specific phone app to help you as well. With this sorted out we now need to think about the leftovers. It can be difficult to work out exactly how much to cook each day but that doesn’t mean that you should see throwing out leftovers with the trash as being the only way. With a bit of creativity most leftovers can be reused as part of a sandwich, on a pizza, in a soup or in some other way. You can also use a lot of products which have just passed their expiry date without any health risks. A quick look online for the specific product in question will let you check whether it is safe enough.

Shop Wisely

The previous point covered some of the points to do with shopping but there is more to it than that. For example, do you always buy expensive branded products? When it comes to most products, cheaper brands are often just as good. A lot of the time you are paying for the name and the image when you choose the most high profile brand, rather than a noticeable increase in quality. It can be especially hard to avoid buying expensive brands when you go shopping with the kids, as many of them are cleverly marketed at them. You might need to make an effort to move onto cheaper brands but just switching one product a week could let you move over to cheaper shopping trips without any hassle or complaints. Another good idea is to not go shopping when you are hungry or thirsty, as this have been shown to cause shoppers to buy more than they really need. You will want to buy in bulk but not so much that you run the risk of some products going to waste. Try to get into the habit of checking expiry dates and mentally working out whether you are going to have time to use everything before it goes off.

Don’t Eat Out So Much

One of the biggest ways of wasting money on food is by eating out a lot. This can be fun a lot of the time but the cost adds up enormously over a month or a year. Maybe you could make the effort and cook at home a few times a week at least. If a lack of time is the problem then you could cook at the weekend and store the meals for use later on in the week. Supermarket ready meals are another bad idea if you rely upon them too often. As well as usually being more expensive that home cooked meals they are usually less healthy as well and won’t fill you up as much. Once you get into the habit of eating home cooked meals you should find that it is something you never want to lose from your diet.

How do you save money on your food bills? 

On another note here are some great blog posts from other bloggers last week:

Spiritus Financial ~ 5 Reasons Why Playing Catch-Up Risks Your Retirement Security 

Debt Blag ~ Second opinions from readers on renting vs. buying, the Roth IRA and first dates while in debt

The Chicago Financial Planner ~ Mutual Funds and The Rolling Stones: Time is on Their Side

Frugal Confessions ~ 5 Things You Can Do While Watching Television to Help Your Bottom Line

Get Rich Slowly ~ When is your financial relaxation due date?

14 Responses to Stop Wasting a Ridiculous Amount of Money on Food

  1. One of our biggest UK supermarkets released their wastage figures today showing that a third of fruit and veg gets thrown away! Us western cultures are far too comfortable with wasting food.
    We plan out big meals in the week that we can use for leftover lunches at work, a sure way to make your colleagues jealous!
    Great article!

  2. It’s crazy how we actually eat a lot of our money. I do enjoy restaurants, but try to limit them to once per week.

  3. moneystepper says:

    The money people spend on eating out is ridiculous. It especially annoys me when people justify it saying “yeah, we spend a lot when we eat out, but this is our treat”. No, its not. Not if you spend $100 per meal and you eat out 3 times a week. That’s not a treat. That’s just eating out a lot!!

  4. I used to go for the more expensive brands when it comes to some of my household needs especially laundry soap, bath soap, etc. But experience has taught me to become more practical and have now become a wiser shopper and I realized, brands don’t always define quality.

    • Robert Bell says:

      You are absolutely right Jen. However, the power of modern brand advertising makes it difficult to see this at times

  5. There are certain things where the generic brand is just nasty, but those are pretty rare. But it’s so funny that we spend so much money on food, something that has no long-lasting value. You need it to live, but you can get delicious and nutritious food for a lot cheaper than what we generally spend.

  6. dojo says:

    We used to throw a lot of food at home (bad planning), but now even my folks have started being smarter about it. It’s a pity to throw away all this money, when, with little planning, you can really use it all properly

    • Robert Bell says:

      That’s good to hear Dojo. Just thinking about it is a great start and leads to some sort of improvement for most people

  7. I treat my family every Sunday in a restaurant or in a fast food chain. I think once a week is just fine. And good for us we don’t waste our foods.

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