Unless you’ve followed all the tips learned here at Life and My Finances and are ultra rich now, I’m going to assume you aren’t looking for ways to throw away money. If this is the case though, I’ll gladly volunteer myself to take it off your hands.
I’m a registered dietitian, so food is my language. I know a few tips and tricks about eating healthy and doing so on a budget. You may not even realize this, but it’s possible you’re throwing away $10-$20 a week into the garbage or your garbage disposal. If you’ve been trying to cut back on your grocery budget I suggest reviewing these 5 ways to throw away money and take action if any of them apply to you.
“Egg yolks have a lot of cholesterol and cholesterol is bad for me.” NO. Stop right there. That myth has long been disproven. If you like eggs, enjoy the whole egg. Have a few in the morning and dice up a couple for your lunchtime salad. Any breakfast-for-dinner fans out there? Eggs are one of the cheapest sources of protein so you’ll do your grocery bill a favor by incorporating them into your weekly menu. You can forget about buying Eggbeaters too – no more throwing money away on really expensive egg whites.
Fun & crazy fact- my husband and I each eat 3-5 eggs per day on average. That comes out to 180-300 eggs a month or 15-25 dozen for two people!
Tossing the carcass
Let’s say you’re roasting a chicken. You paid for the bones so you might as well get your money out of them, right? Once you’re done removing the meat, put everything back in the crockpot- bones, skin, and leftover juices. Add a couple carrots, celery stalks, a quartered onion, and any herbs you have on hand (thyme, parsley, bay leaf). Fill the crockpot with water, leaving a half inch from the top. Cook on low while you sleep and you’ll have homemade chicken stock ready in the morning. Strain everything out and use it in soups or freeze for later use. I find mason jars are helpful for freezing 2 cup portions or fill a Ziploc bag and lay it flat to freeze to take up less space. Just don’t forget to leave room for expansion when freezing liquids! A new healthy & budget-friendly recipe I’ve loved this fall that calls for chicken broth is a veggie corn chowder. I make a big batch of this and freeze it flat in Ziploc bags as well.
Buying small serving sizes
I know it’s really convenient to pack an individual serving of yogurt or string cheese in your lunch (you are saving $2-3k per year by packing your lunch, right?). Have you ever compared unit prices on products? Unless there is a sale going on you’ll notice that bigger containers cost less per portion than individual-serving containers. It’s called “value added” because they take out some of the work for you. A block of cheese may cost less than individual string cheese portions because you have to cut the cheese (haha) yourself. A 32-ounce container of yogurt may cost less per ounce than a 6-ounce container because you have to spoon out your own serving. I scoop out my plain, full fat Greek yogurt, and add some frozen berries on top. I’ve found that we save quite a bit of money by buying berries and peaches in season and freezing them to enjoy all winter long. The juice from the berries thaws overnight and oozes out so when I stir my yogurt it tastes like blueberry or peach yogurt (a great tip for those of you who aren’t fond of plain yogurt but also don’t want to consume 23g of sugar from the pre-flavored yogurt).
‘Tis the season for pumpkin carving and squash recipes. Rather than tossing the seeds, eat them! Add roasted seeds to your trail mix, yogurt, oatmeal, salad, or enjoy roasted seeds with a bit of flavor like cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, or some salt and pepper. The fat and protein in the seeds can help hold you over so you don’t reach for a Snickers bar when 2pm rolls around at work. Roasting for 20-25 minutes at 300 degrees should do the trick.
Eating trees and not the trunks
Did anyone call broccoli “trees” when you were a kid? The flowers on top make up the tree and the stalk would be the trunk. I remember biting off the tree part and leaving the trunk on my plate as a kid. Say broccoli costs $2 per pound. Broccoli has an average percent yield of 61% unless you’re buying broccoli crowns (only the “tree” part, no trunk) and getting a 95% yield. That means for every $2 you spend on broccoli you are throwing away $0.78 if you toss the stalk! The solution: shred or finely chop the stalk to use in a slaw or saute it with your (whole) eggs.
Many of us are mindful of our grocery budget and do our best to stay within our monthly or weekly budget. While meal planning and buying in bulk are a couple ways to save on costs, take a look at your shopping and cooking habits to see if you’re wasting money by wasting food. Sure, spooning out yogurt takes more time than tossing an individual serving in your lunch bag, but it’s only a few seconds more; I’m not asking you to make your yogurt and everything else from scratch. Start small and implement a few changes. Over time they’ll become habits and you can incorporate other money-saving tips into your routine.
What other tips have you learned to prevent food waste?
This post has been written by Jessica from BudgetForHealth.com.
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.