I’ve thrown out $85 in spoiled food. Crazy, I know. I’m ashamed to admit that I end up throwing out rotten produce once in a while, but till now I didn’t know how much it was costing me. To stop wasting money and food I’m challenging myself to make changes in the kitchen. (More on that below.)
So what went wrong? After a couple weeks of being sick and not having an appetite (or the energy to cook), I finally got around to cleaning the fridge. I was sneakily disposing of items when my dad walked up behind me.
“How much money are you throwing away?”
Yikes! I had been caught. I knew he was right, as he always tends to be. I just didn’t want to face reality. In my defense, the cost would have been lower if I wouldn’t have been sick for two weeks.
“Add it up,” he said.
I did just that before tossing things in the trash and taking others to my community garden compost. I also included items I remembered tossing in the last three months. The staggering amount pushed me to reform my ways. This is how I’m combating the food waste in my home:
- Take inventory – I now have a running list of everything in my pantry, not just my fridge. This keeps me from stocking up on items I already have. Don’t have time to make lists? Use your grocery receipt as a reference.
- Freeze it – My ice cube trays are handling one more task. I’m using them to freeze stocks for later use. Cookie sheets are used to freeze fresh fruit and then they go into baggies for smoothies.
- Skip the coupons – I know this seems counter intuitive, but many coupons ask you to purchase multiple quantities to get a discount. This doesn’t work for me, especially with yogurt which tends to go bad before I can enjoy it.
- Shop more often – My mother suggested I shop more often for perishables like produce. I know, it’s been beaten into our heads that we should shop once a week at most, but shopping more often has helped me cut down on food waste as my produce doesn’t sit around and spoil — and yes, it’s saved me money! I’m pretty good at fighting temptation at the farmers market as I have to pay with cash.
- Donate and share – If you have extra food to share check out Bobbi’s post about food swapping. I’m pushing myself to share food before it expires and not have it be an afterthought.
Have you added up the cost of the food waste in your home? How do you fight food waste?
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