Save money: Don’t waste food - MoneySense

Save money: Don’t waste food

Other than the fresh stuff: eggs, bread, milk, fruits and veggies, could you go the whole month just using up the stuff you already have at home?

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It’s a sad reality that we throw out tons of food every year. While so much of the world in accelerating towards a food crisis, Toronto tosses out 17.5 million kilograms of food every month. A U.K. study estimates that the Brits dump about ten billion pounds (sterling) of food a year. And it’s been estimated that more than a quarter of all edible food in the U.S. doesn’t get eaten.

Some people eschew leftovers completely. They’re the people with more money than imagination. You can take leftover chicken and make a chicken-Caesar, or pair it with a taco shell, some cheese and some salsa. You can take left over roast and make it into beef pies with a few veggies and a pie-shell. Don’t treat leftovers like a red-headed step-child. Find a way to use those ingredients in something that is delicious and heartwarming and save some money.

It may mean you have to take up a new skill: meal planning. But that’s not such a bad thing. Meal planning will not only save you money, it can save you time because you don’t have to stand in front of the open fridge door musing, “Hmm, what shall we have for dinner tonight?” And it’ll save you from ordering in and driving-thru, which will keep even more money in your pocket.

This month, plan to use up your reserves. Dig through the freezer. Empty the pantry. Use up what you’ve got. Of the money you end up not spending, put 1/3 back into your budget to restock essentials you’ve used up, and use the rest to give your emergency fund a boost (or a kick-start as the case may be.)

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