Save $600 on Groceries Per Year

Today, I was helping my wife clean out the refrigerator, which I do every once in a while to earn some brownie points. We ended up throwing away some fresh produce and food that were no longer edible. Neither of us like to waste, and it bothered me enough to do some research and write this post.




Do you know how much food American households trash per year? According to USA today, about $640 per year. Yes, that is correct. I ‘m guilty of this wastage too. Yes, think about that for a minute. That is a pretty big chunk.

That ~$600 per year could do a whole lot of things for you. With the $600, you could

  • Pay the cell phone bill for the whole year
  • Pay for dinner with family at a restaurant 12 times a year ($50 per dinner)
  • Pay your cable or internet bill for the whole year
  • ….

I think you get the picture. I understand we cannot eliminate waste. I ‘m sure we could minimize it. Even if you really don’t need the $600, I would still encourage you to save – you could give the money you have saved to a food bank and help feed the hungry.

Okay, how can we minimize the waste and save up $600? This is something new for me and I am going to give this a serious try this year. Here are a few things that come to my mind:


#1 Never go grocery shopping when you are hungry.

If you go hungry, you will most likely end up purchasing way more than what is needed. Thus you overspend and you don’t end up using the grocery that you purchased. I don’t go to any store hungry other than a restaurant.

Sarah and I learned this lesson the hard way a long time ago.


#2 Meal Planning

There is nothing new about meal planning and it is not a rocket science. You make a meal plan for the week, buy the required grocery, cook, and eat according to your plan. This way your purchase and consumption are planned in advance and you minimize wastage as long as you stick to your plan.


#3 Monitor

Once you implement steps #1 and #2, closely monitor what you throw away on a weekly basis. If you are throwing away a particular item, make a note of it and either (1) reduce the purchase quantity on your next trip to the grocery store or (2) freeze a portion of it so that you could defrost and use it later.

In 2016, we are going to do all of the above and monitor how much we are able to save. I will follow up with an update towards the end of next year.


Do you have any other ideas to reduce food wastage and save money?  



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2 thoughts on “Save $600 on Groceries Per Year”

  1. Oh yes, I am a master at reducing waste in the kitchen and here is how I go about doing it:

    1. Plan the menu for next 6 days. The 7th day is the day for leftovers. If there is no leftovers, I use products from the pantry (products that I buy in large quantities).
    2. Use the weekly menu and work towards having an empty fridge by end of the week. The fridge can be cleaned easily at the end of the week.
    3. I cook from scratch – make my own bread, pasta, pasta sauce, yogurt etc. I buy 5 kg of flour every 2 months to make bread, buy a big bag of pasta & cook pasta with something at the end of the week, buy raw milk and prepare my own yogurt and add a spoon of jam to have fruit yogurt.
    4. Cook local and in season produce – the best vegetables are at local producers, and cheap in the season. Eat vegetables and fruits daily.
    5. Buy an entire chicken or pig leg. Cut and prepare portions in the freezer for the next 4-5 weeks (ugly job but it is not an issue for me)
    6. Garden in containers, collect wild plants. These are perfect for salads – comes at no cost.
    7. Plan meals for work in order to not buy lunch.

    With these 7 dwarfs 🙂 I have a BMI of 22 and have never visited the pharma in the past 5 years.

    In addition, I cook soup where I use the bones, skin, and remaining vegetables. I found a local group to donate the leftovers to feed the poor.

    Lastly, I compost the waste for gardening.

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