Are you looking for ways to stretch your paycheck, save more money and possibly make a social and environmental difference?
You can start with something as simple as changing your bad food habits.
Do you buy more than you can consume? Do you eat out a lot? Do you throw away your leftovers? Do you buy convenience packaged food such as bottled water or single serving size snacks? Do you throw away food after the expiration date?
The answers to these questions could not only help you save money but help save the world.
Seriously, just by making a few simple changes to your bad food habits, you CAN make a difference in the amount of money you spend and a social and environmental difference in the world.
So what do you need to help you change your bad food habits?
Can I guilt trip you by using my mother’s old cliche, “Do you know there are starving people in Africa?”
Because if we’re honest with ourselves, those comments and questions rarely have any impact on most of us. It’s not pretty but it’s the truth.
We are self-motivated creatures.
While we might have a momentary twinge of guilt over starving people, we really only care if it’s truly affecting us personally. And personally, means we want more of our money to spend on ourselves.
Saving the world and others comes in second place to keeping our money for our personal use. But we do like the personal satisfaction feeling that comes when we do something good. Once again, self-pleasure is a great motivator.
So now that you’ve been completely honest, let’s get you motivated into changing your bad food habits into good ones so that you can save money and the world.
Bad Food Habits Spending and Wasting Facts
Did you know that our bad food habits are some of the biggest ways we waste money?
According to a recent study by Hloom, our number bad food spending habit is eating out. Closely behind are drinking at the bar, tossing away uneaten or expired food and buying expensive already prepared food, convenience packaged food or name brands over store brands.
Now let’s talk about food waste.
The average American wastes 20 pounds of food per month. In fact, 40% of all the food produced in the US ends up in landfills, increasing greenhouse gases not only through food production but through methane gas released in landfills.
Ouch! Not only does wasting food cost us money but it contributes to our carbon footprint. You can find out more about your food wasting facts by checking out End Food Waste Now’s fact sheet.
Change Your Bad Food Habits Using These Easy Solutions
The solutions for curbing our bad food spending and wasting habits are really quite simple. And simple is good because easy to implement changes are the easiest way to form new habits.
If you pack your own lunch or breakfast and stop eating out one $10 breakfast or lunch a week, you can save over $500 a year. Or give up one Starbucks latte a week will save over $200 a year.
WOW! Just by giving up one breakfast or lunch and a latte a week and you can save over $700 a year. That’s a lot of money without much effort. And the side bonus is that you’ve reduced the amount of trash going into the landfill.
Just think about what happens if you compound this by giving up more than one meal or coffee per week.
The next easy solution is to inventory your pantry and the refrigerator.
Do you have a lot of condiments that you use a few times and then throw away because you never use them again? Are there wilted carrots and kale in the fridge drawers? Do your leftovers look like science experiments? Is the pantry full of items you purchased because they were on sale but you never used?
This Hloom study shows the average person wastes $265 per year throwing away uneaten food.
Translated this means that four pounds of fresh strawberries or the giant case of canned tuna from Costco is only a good deal if you can use them. And what’s the point of bringing home a doggie bag or saving the leftovers if you never eat them?
With the $265 a year you can save by using up what you buy and shopping more carefully added to the eating out less, you can save over $1,000 a year plus reduce your impact on the world. And that’s without doing any hard changes!
And there’s plenty more easy fixes you can do.
More Easy Ways to Change Your Bad Food Habits
- Keep a pantry and fridge inventory, buying only to supplement what you’ve run out of or what you already have.
- Try not to make recipes using ingredients you will only use once.
- Track your food spending, including that incidental purchase for a pack of gum or a quick cup of coffee. Knowing exactly what you’re spending and where can help you see where you’re wasting money.
- Eat out less, cook at home more.
- Eat your leftovers. You can use them as is or if you’re a person who has a problem with eating leftovers, learn how to repurpose them into a new dish.
- Take your breakfast or lunch or both to work. Make your coffee at home and take it with you.
- Get rid of the pod coffee machine. Not only are they expensive, but the coffee contains additives you don’t need and they have a heavy impact on the environment.
- Start using whole foods instead of heavily processed ones, such as regular large carrots over “baby” carrots. Of course, if you are more likely to eat “baby” carrots and waste the regular ones, you are still better off buying the “baby” carrots to reduce your bad food habits.
- Buy a reusable water bottle and a filter and refill your bottle from the tap. It’s cheaper and keeps those nasty plastic bottles out of the landfill (or the ocean).
- Stop buying single serving snacks. Using reusable containers, measure out your own to go snacks.
- Use reusable containers for storing leftovers and bulk items instead of plastic bags, wraps and foil. While more expensive at the start, they will save money over the long-term and reduce waste.
- Many store brands are made by the same companies that produce the name brand food items. Make the switch and save up to 60% for the same item.
- Can or freeze extra food before it goes bad.
- Forget the shopping list and learn to cook with what’s on sale.
Saving money and the world doesn’t have to be hard. You can do it just by turning your bad food habits into good ones. You’ll have a lot more money to spend on other things while having the side effect of helping to save the world. It really is a win-win for everyone!
Originally published at medium.com