How do we save money on food? Most shoppers have lots of money-saving tips on grocery shopping. But what can we do in our homes to save money on food?
We can prevent food from going in the garbage by organizing our refrigerators to see the food we have and using it before it goes bad.
Organize Anything has come up with six great tips to streamline your refrigerator.
1. Avoid doubling up. Check your fridge for any food that might be expired before you go shopping. This will give you a clear idea of what you have on hand and prevent buying duplicates. Make that night’s dinner using ingredients that have been in your fridge the longest. It’s always tempting to eat the most interesting or convenient food from your grocery order. Instead buy a few things that will compliment what’s already in your fridge.
2. Make the rounds. Pick a date to regularly take a tour of your fridge to look for any forgotten food quietly passing away in your refrigerator. The day before garbage day can work well. You may catch a few things that are still good and can be used that day or the next. Awareness of how much food is going to waste in your house is an important first step to saving money on food.
3. Make healthy foods easy to grab. Ever find yourself rushing around the kitchen looking for something that can be eaten on the go? Don’t run out the door with a whole carrot and a bag of chocolate chips! Create a snack bin with small servings of healthy snacks. Allow kids to take one item from the bin when they say, “I’m hungry!” Some examples would be trail mix, veggie sticks, pretzels, granola bars, apple sauce, crackers and (real) cheese. A snack bin also makes packing lunches a snap. Top it up on Sundays and you can eat-and-run all week!
4. Organize foods to your cooking habits. What do you usually take out of the fridge at the same time? Maybe it’s butter and jam? Or veggies and salad dressing? Become aware of your mealtime routine and what items you use together. Try grouping these items together in your fridge to cut down on time spent searching with the door open. You can also try grouping items by type of food--condiments, fruits, meats, dairy, veggies. Think about how a supermarket is laid out. Then you’ll always know where to look. You can try using color coded place mats in the fridge to make the system easy for everyone who goes in the refrigerator. On a health kick? Keep unhealthy foods at the back of the fridge or toss them out—out of sight, out of mind!
5. Rearrange shelves. Look at how the shelves in your fridge are currently set up. Now look at the food in your fridge and the packages they come in. How tall are most of the bottles and jars? Rearrange your shelves so that there is ample space for the most common heights of bottles. Then look where the taller and bigger items can fit.
6. Containerize. Finally, find a home where smaller items won’t get lost. This may be on the fridge door or in translucent plastic bins or baskets. Check out your local dollar store once you have rearranged things to find the perfect-sized containers. Make the most of the space by stacking containers. Make sure that the contents are visible or you might forget what’s inside! You can now buy special fridge containers for single-serving packets, eggs, soda and more. Buying a few new things to keep you organized is a great reward.
Take the time to set up a system that works for you and your family and start reaping the rewards of less wasted food. You’ll save time, energy and money – and it’ll be that much easier to eat healthier.
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© 2007 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Phone: (902) 233-1577
Fax: (902) 455-0553
Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.