*This is the 15th day of the One Month Spending Freeze Challenge. Please click here to see all of the posts in this series.*
The other night I made a big pot of soup and wasted more than half of it.
© Elena Milevska / Dollar Photo Club
On purpose? Of course not.
We had finished eating dinner, so I put the rest of the soup in containers and left them on the table to cool. I was supposed to put them away after my girls went to bed, but I completely forgot.
I found them the next morning, just sitting there.
I felt dumb for letting myself forget. I could have put a timer on to remind me to put them away. Or I could have put them close to my computer so I would have seen them and remembered to put them away when I sat down to work.
Unfortunately, the soup is gone. What a waste of time I spent making it, money I spent on ingredients, and another meal or two this week when we could have eaten the rest.
11 Ways to Prevent Food Waste
For the most part that incident is rare around this house. We tend to use up almost all the food we have, but this hasn’t always been the case. I used to throw away plenty of food each week out of forgetfulness or lack of creativity. Since going on a spending freeze, though, I have tried numerous ways to get more use out of the food I buy. When you are in a tight spot, you really have no other choice.
These are all the ways I can think of to get more use out of your food, especially when that food might normally go bad before you get to it.
- Use fridge and freezer inventory sheets.
- Remember to put the food away after a meal.
- Put leftovers in the freezer.
- Cut up fruits and veggies that you know your family won’t eat unless they have been prepared.
- Regrow kitchen scraps.
- Only buy strange and exotic ingredients if you have a plan to use them up.
- Write down all the ways you can use certain ingredients and keep the ideas on your fridge or in a recipe binder.
- Give away food to neighbors if you know you won’t eat it. Or you could do a trade.
- Label all your food with the cost. Hopefully it will remind you that it’s not just food, but also your money, that is going down the drain if you don’t eat it.
- Learn how to store all your food properly.
- Keep about-to-expire foods at the front of the fridge, and make sure everyone in the house knows they should eat those foods first.
For your challenge today, discover all the food in your house that might go bad soon. Use one of the ways above to use it up so you aren’t wasting your hard-earned money. Whatever you do, do not go grocery shopping until you have exhausted all the ways to use up the food you currently have on hand.
It’s definitely easy to forget food or pretend it isn’t even in there, especially when you are busy, but try to be as creative as possible. Do everything in your power to make sure you don’t waste good money on food-gone-bad.
How can you use up the food in your house?
Just yesterday a neighbor texted to see if I had an onion to spare. Upon checking, I indeed had 3 onions. All rotten. Plus several rotten sweet potatoes. Sigh. I hate doing that! It could’ve been avoided if I had them closer to the kitchen. We store some food in our garage since we don’t really have a pantry and are avid Costco shoppers. I think this tells me I need to clean out our garage…
I wish I lived somewhere that I felt comfortable asking my neighbor for a cup of sugar here and there. I live less than a mile from a grocery store, so it makes more sense to just run to the store if I’m out of something, but still. It’s nice to feel like your neighbor’s got your back and can help you at a moment’s notice.
As for your rotten onions and potatoes…Janeen, what are we going to do with you? 😉 Ha! I do the same thing when we have food in our basement. Out of sight, out of mind.
Maria Manjelo says
Great tips. We just picked 2 bags of apples and watching them go bad..
Maria, you can definitely use them to make applesauce or even freeze them if they aren’t rotting! 🙂