A post on Sitting Pretty reminded me of an old post on saving on groceries by avoiding wastage. To recap, many studies have shown the American households waste an average of 14% of their food purchases, worth about $590 every year. I am guessing that Canadians waste a similar amount of food and our household was no exception.

I am happy to report that a few simple steps like making a shopping list, planning a menu, shopping for produce once every weekend and just checking the fridge before shopping has drastically cut down the amount of food we used to throw away. It is amazing how when something becomes a habit, we tend to just keep doing it without a second thought.

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  1. Wasted groceries and food is something that I’ve noticed is eating into my budget. I think the 14% number is accurate if not a bit on the low side. The biggest problem (at least for me) is that preparing a menu for a week or more in advance is a challenge. The list idea definitely works.

  2. Someone somewhere (can’t remember where I read it) had an idea to post a list on the fridge of the leftover food items, including the date that it was put in the fridge, just as a reminder. Sometimes there are things hidden waaayy in the back, or in the veggie compartment.

    I found that I had more waste when I was single, because I couldn’t eat it all before going bad. Single-size and “convenience” packaging is very expensive–buying the regular size is cheaper, but you get more than you can do with. However, now that I cook for two, there’s less waste.

  3. One tip I find works for me is shopping for groceries by myself. I’m not sure what is, but whenever a friend or family member (especially one of my parents) is in the store with me, I always end up buying more stuff that I never actually eat. In fact, I will go out of my way to make sure I don’t have any grocery shopping to do while company is in town.

  4. See, when you take the fact that you’re cooking for one, plus waste, plus the cost of groceries in urban centers, it’s only slightly more expensive to eat out. I’m not saying i’m eating anywhere fancy but I am eating good food.

  5. Also, those food saver things really do work. If I find a large sale and stock up on items, I will freeze them and if they are sealed, they last a really long time. That seems to be a good balance between my need for sale shopping and what we actually use.

  6. Me and my partner avoid the “big” weekly shop and try to go buy groceries 2-3 times a week. This means we have less food in the house and it’s a lot fresher. Also, we try to buy locally grown produce which can cost a little more but we very rarely throw food away. We are lucky that we have good stores a short walk away.

  7. What we’ve started is ‘shopping’ before we go shopping. In essence we check our menu list vs what we currently have in our cupboards and viola, a BIG savings in not needed groceries