20 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Groceries Without Spending An Extra Cent

Americans throw away a quarter of our food uneaten, which translates into serious wasted cash over time. The Guardian compiled an excellent list of ways to shop smarter so you end up buying what you need, and eating what you buy.

  1. Make A List! Shopping lists top every saving strategy we offer, and for good reason. Lists make for routinized, disciplined shopping.
  2. Don't Fear An Empty Fridge: Food grows mold, not interest. An empty fridge is a strong sign that your buying matches your consumption.
  3. Approach Deals Skeptically: Just because an item screams "Two for One!" doesn't mean that you need two. Make sure the item is something that you'll use, and something that won't expire quickly.
  4. Avoid Supermarkets For Perishables: Buy your vegetables, meats, and fish at local establishments. You'll spend less per visit, while honing your comparison shopping skills. In our neighborhood, the Korean vegetable stand is usually 30% cheaper than the supermarket around the corner.
  5. Buy Non-Perishables In Bulk: If you can store them, buy your pasta and rice in bulk. Just don't try to buy more than one bag at a time.
  6. Buy Quality Products: Somewhat counterintuitive for those who focus exclusively on the bottom line, but if you pay more for a high-quality ingredient, you're less likely to let it go to waste.
  7. Grow Your Own Herbs And Salad: Herbs and salad expire quickly in the fridge. If you have the space, grow your own and save.
  8. Buy Whole Vegetables: Bagged lettuce? Washed carrots? Like any vegetable, they start to decompose as soon as they're processed.
  9. Be Storage Savvy: Keep your food fresh with proper storage. If you're a fresh fruit lover, invest in an ethylene gas guardian to stave off spoilage.
  10. Plan Your Meals: Planning is a key part of list building, and one of the best ways to prevent abandoned foodstuffs from clogging up your fridge.
  11. Cook! Don't just follow recipes. Real cooks now how to whip that extra bit of coconut milk or leftover celery into a tasty meal.
  12. Cook In Bulk: Since you're already at the stove, double the recipe and save the leftovers.
  13. Use Your Freezer: Freezers are more efficient when they're full, so fill 'em up.
  14. Learn To Love Leftovers: Mmm, leftovers! But seriously, don't throw away perfectly good food.
  15. Watch Your Portions: The less you eat, the less you spend. If you have trouble eyeballing portions, consider buying a scale.
  16. Learn From Your Parents: Your pappy's pappy would smack you silly for your wasteful ways. Says Sheila Tremaine, 81, "We never threw anything away, because if you didn't use everything up you had nothing to eat. People just seem to have lost that skill."
  17. Rediscover Packed Lunches: Dust off that old He-Man lunch box and take your meals to work. Why waste $5.95 on a lunch special when you can eat from your own fridge?
  18. Equip Yourself: "Make your own bread. It's quick, easy and so much better tasting than shop-bought. It's also much cheaper. Make your own ice cream, it's a doddle. Invest in a mincing machine as an attachment to a food processor, and turn the leftover roast lamb into a base for shepherd's pie. While you're at it, invest in a sausage stuffer and ask your butcher for some sausage skins when you buy the pork."
  19. Don't Trust Use-By Dates: If it isn't soft cheese, pate, seafood or processed meat, then it will last for a while. "Chicken, raw meats and fish will all look and smell unpleasant long before they're actively unsafe (as long as you cook it thoroughly, chicken, for example, is good for at least a week past its sell-by date). Apples last for months; potatoes are fine as long as you chop the green shoots off before cooking; tins and jars will last decades if not centuries; hard cheese is indestructible; and dry foods will last for years too."
  20. Become A Freegan: If all else fails, ditch your wasteful ways and become one with your urban landscape.
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[via consumerist]

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