In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, food is one of the most basic necessities that a human should have. Food is precious, so wasting it also means wasting the money spent on it. Globally, people always separate a portion of their money to buy their food essentials or even their food cravings. Depending on your place and job, your food budget would probably eat up a big fraction of your income.
Depending on where you live, it could eat up from five to fifty percent of your monthly income. When looking to save money, go through this category first. You’ll find it a humbling but liberating experience.
In terms of saving money, you may check this guide out. It will be challenging, but when it works, it is truly rewarding.
First, go zero waste. From your shopping habits to after you eat foods, practice zero waste. It doesn’t just begin at a zero-waste store, it starts with you.
Before Consuming Food:
Check your pantry and fridge.
Check, check, check!
If that stomach grumbles, check your food supply. This will help you see what supplies are still available to avoid overstocking. Also, if necessary, consume first the contents of your pantry and fridge before shopping. Know the #PantryChallenge? Do it monthly, if possible, buy less and pocket more savings.
Be creative with your recipes. Make use of the ingredients available inside your pantry, or buy ingredients based on what you plan to cook. It would also be helpful if you will buy ingredients that can be used in many ways. Cook in big batches and divide portions according to your desire. This would save you the same time, money, and effort. Also, plan a day wherein you cook your leftovers for new meals.
Buy only what you can consume.
List all the ingredients or supplies that you need, and only buy what is on the list! Shop only for what you need. Don’t buy too much of something you might not be able to use. Also, check your eating habits and don’t be an impulsive buyer. Don’t be easily attracted by advertising and let your biological needs decide your food. Prioritize your needs! Buy and make food that benefits you health-wise and money-wise.
Avoid plastic bags.
Bring your own reusable bags to your regular grocery shopping. No need to buy new reusable bags, it would be a waste of money. Just use what is available inside your house. Upcycle that old clothes into cloth bags. For meat products, bring reusable containers.
Shop in bulk bins and farmer’s markets.
Avoiding plastics may seem difficult, but it is possible! Go to markets that sell food in its original form, original form as in no frills or wraps and all. You will also get the best deals since you will buy food that is not body-shamed. In these places, buy those produce that is not aesthetically perfect but still tastes fine and has the nutrients you need.
For things you use often, buy in bulk.
Think things like grains, pasta, spices, and meat. Store them well so they will last you long. Use containers that can properly seal.
Instead of processed food, buy fresh as much as possible.
Processed foods have the most unnecessary packaging waste. Buy fresh wholesome food like veggies, fruits, and meat, as these better your health also. Worry no more about the chemicals and preservatives in processed goods, which is undeniably bad for your body.
Buy less meat.
You can save more money since meat production costs more than plants, and, it is way better for your body to seek more plant-based proteins starting now. Not only that, but you’ll also helping the environment since you’re lessening dependence on an industry built upon clearing forests for agriculture.
Meat is also dangerous for human health. It can contribute to serious diseases, when consumed too much or cooked in a risky way. And worse, most animals bred for meat production do not live happily, often in nightmarish conditions.
Forgo dining out for home cooking.
Reserve restaurant and fast-food experiences for special occasions. Cook at home! A meal at a restaurant will cost more than four similar meals cooked at home.
Cook food properly.
To prevent spoilage, wash everything well – from the tools you use to the ingredients of your food. Be mindful about maintaining proper temperature to prevent undercooking or overcooking. This also brings out the best quality of your meal. With this, throwing away your efforts and calling for your favorite fast food will never be an option.
Eat only what you can.
Put only a portion of food on your plate that you can finish. Don’t just do it for the sake of curiosity, if unavoidable, try a small amount first to avoid regrets, that will eventually be turned into food waste. Remember that every grain wasted equates to money, efforts and resources wasted.
Be creative with leftovers.
Make tonight’s dinner fodder for a later breakfast.
Store food securely in the fridge.
Ensure that everything is properly kept for later consumption.
Keep seeds and plant fragments.
In fact, you can use them as starters for an indoor or lawn garden.
Store meat leftovers (bones, etc.).
You can boil and heat them up to create a flavorful soup stock, yum!
Always separate all food waste in a compost bin. Send it to a local garden. Or use it as fertilizing material for your own greenery.
Prepare containers in case you want to take home food from the restaurant.
Refuse to take out containers with Styrofoam or plastic. You’ll save a bit of money since many restaurants and establishments sell take-out containers as an extra charge on your bill. Always prep your own container!
Food is just one group in the list of necessities within every family’s budget. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Be clever, plan and go zero waste to avoid as much unnecessary packaging as possible. Not only you can save money, but you’re also contributing well to the environment.