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5 Ways You're Wasting Food and Money

Everyone is looking to save some money, and you can start in your own kitchen. It's as simple as making a few easy changes to your grocery shopping methods and cooking habits
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Everyone is looking to save some money, and you can start in your own kitchen. It's as simple as making a few easy changes to your grocery shopping methods and cooking habits; your wallet will thank you.

Start by taking a look at your current grocery, meal-planning, and eating habits. How often do you eat out? If it's more than once or twice a week, you're likely to put yourself over budget. Not only is eating out more expensive than making food yourself, it's usually not as healthy as the food you make for yourself.

Be vigilant when you go to the grocery store; you can save money without coupons. It may take an extra minute or two, but comparison shopping can save you significantly. The best way to save money at the grocery store is to not over-shop. Go in with a full stomach and a shopping list to avoid making spur-of-the-moment purchases.

Trusting “Best By” Labels
“Use by” and “best by” labels are just suggestions for peak quality of food provided by food manufacturers. These are not regulated (except for baby formula and some other items) and should be taken lightly. Common sense comes into play here; sniff, taste, or visually check the food in question before throwing it out. Photo Credit: © Flickr / Chris WaitsClick Here to See More Ways You're Wasting Food and Money
Poor Portion Control
If you know your eyes are often bigger than your stomach, serve yourself a little less, you can always go back for seconds. You can also save money by serving four- to six-ounce portions of meat (recommended by the USDA). Photo Credit: iStock/Thinkstock
Only Using Ice Cube Trays for Water
Use ice cube trays to freeze leftover liquids like wine, stock and gravy. Wine can be added into any recipe that calls for it. Use the stock cubes to flavor rice and other grains, and use the gravy to flavor soups and stews. Photo Credit: iStock/ThinkstockClick Here to See More Ways You're Wasting Food and Money
Making Poor Choices at the Grocery Store
Check the unit price of goods rather than the retail price for easier comparison of products that are packaged in different size containers. Photo Credit: iStock/Thinkstock
Turn Leftovers into Full Meals
Add inexpensive pantry items like rice and pasta to your leftovers to turn them into a full meal. You can also cook a quick kitchen-sink stir-fry to use up leftover vegetables or meat.Click Here to See More Ways You're Wasting Food and Money

There are some pantry items that you can make yourself, like spice mixes, which are often overpriced at the grocery store. Use cheaper cuts of meat like beef sirloin and ground beef, and don't forget about chicken thighs and pork chops, which are affordable and flavorful. If you are using coupons, you may be able to use store coupons and manufacturers' coupons on the same product for an extra discount.

The average household loses between $1,350 and $2,275 a year in food waste, which is where you can save the most money. Before you throw anything out, take a second to think about what else you can use it for. If it's carrot ends or parsley stems, save them in the freezer and use as aromatics for a water-based soup. Using these and a few other tricks, you can save a significant amount of money each year.

-Julie Ruggirello, The Daily Meal

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