Food is a precious commodity. Wasting food is wasting the money spent on it. All the world over people spend a fortune on food that they use for necessities and luxury indulgences. 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.
To ensure optimum savings, go zero waste. As much as you can, do it from shopping to after you eat the food. Zero waste food doesn’t begin at a zero waste store. Rather, it starts with you.
Before Consuming Food:
Check your pantry and fridge.
Take an inventory of your food supply. This will enable you to see your needs and prevent overstocking. Also work on consuming the contents of your pantry and fridge before shopping. Know the #PantryChallenge? Do it monthly, if possible, to buy less and pocket more savings.
Work around your pantry contents then see recipes which you can use with them. Then buy ingredients based on what you choose to cook. If possible, plan for ingredients that you can use in many different ways. Cook in big batches to save time, money and effort. Include a day wherein you use your leftovers for new meals.
Buy only what you can consume.
Based on your meal plan, shop only for what you need and plan to eat. Don’t buy too much of something you might not be able to use. Check also your own eating habits. Don’t buy on impulse. Don’t be led by flashy advertising. In fact, let your biological needs decide your food. 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. Just use what you have around the house. Upcycle old clothes into cloth bags. For meat products, bring reusable containers.
Shop in bulk bins and farmer’s markets.
To avoid plastic packaging, go to places that sell food in its original form – no frills, no wraps and all. There you will also get the best deals since you will food that is not body-shamed. In these places, buy 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.
Instead of processed food, buy fresh as much as possible.
This avoids unnecessary packaging waste. Fresh wholesome food like veggies, fruits, and meat betters your health also. Less worries about the chemicals and preservatives in processed goods that will be bad for your kidneys.
Buy less meat.
Not only will this be better for your body to seek more plant-based proteins, you will also save money since meat production costs more than plants. You’ll also help the environment since you’re lessening dependence on an industry that is built upon clearing forests for agriculture.
Forgo dining out for home cooking.
Reserve restaurant and fast food experiences for special occasions. A fried chicken meal at McDonalds 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. Maintain a proper temperature when cooking so you prevent undercooking or overcooking. This also ensures the best quality of your meal. So you won’t be tempted to throw away your efforts and just call for your favorite fast food.
Eat only what you can.
Finish everything on your plate. Whatever you put on your plate during meals, put it because you will be able to eat. Don’t just do it for the sake of curiosity. Remember that every grain wasted is 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 saved 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 soup stock.
Place 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 take out containers with Styrofoam or plastic. You’ll save quite a bit of money since many restaurants and establishments sell take out containers as an extra charge on your bill.
Food is just one category in the list of necessities within every family’s budget. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Plan ahead and go zero waste to avoid as much unnecessary packaging as possible. You can save money through zero waste living. By going zero waste, you are doing good for both your finances and the environment.