We discuss how to reduce spending, but what about the great things we bought that now we don’t want anymore? Are you wasting money on groceries? The last time you cleaned out your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer, did you throw unused things away? I know I’m guilty of this.
This post contains affiliate links where if you click on the link and make a purchase, we make a small commission at NO additional costs to you. To see the full disclosure policy, click here.
Want cute recipe templates to put your favorite meals on? Use them for an inexpensive cute DIY recipe book for yourself or gifts.
Wasting Money on Groceries at Home
1. Arrangement of groceries in your house
Some people say that a freezer is the biggest trash can. We spend hard-earned money on meat, and it gets lost towards the back of the freezer. When we finally find it, yep…it’s expired.
While the best way to prevent this is to have an inventory of everything in your pantry and freezer, this can be time-consuming. If you don’t have time to do this, try these tips and tricks.
When you replenish your stock in the pantry, freezer, and refrigerator, always put the newest items towards the back. That way you use the oldest products to prevent them from expiring. If items are going into the freezer, label what it is, the date, and how much (example xxx lbs of ground meat).
2. Management of food
Plan at least one meal to include eating leftovers. Keep labels on the container they are in so that you know what it is, when you fixed it, etc. so that you know how long it is good.
Some people don’t like leftovers and that is fine too. In this case, adjust how much you cook so that you do not have leftovers if you plan to throw them out right away.
3. Use what you have
When planning the meals for the week, check the pantry and freezer to use them first. We usually say, look at the sales paper and that is still good, but as a secondary resource to what you already have.
4. Not meal planning
Meal planning helps save going to the store multiple times or eating out. You can save money with simple meal planning (which you can read here to learn more in How to Meal Plan for Beginners on a Budget) or save more money with additional steps in meal planning (which you can read here about in Meal Planning – Saves Time and Money).
Wasting Money on Groceries at the Store
5. Buying only name brand
Some no-name brands are just as good as brand names. Unfortunately, there are a few that don’t fall within this statement. And you don’t know until you try it.
When you try a no-name brand (or even a brand name), start with one. If you like it, great! If not, you’re not out much money.
6. Grocery shopping when hungry
We tend to put more things in our basket when everything looks good because we’re so hungry. Resist this urge to impulse buy by going when you’re not hungry.
7. Convenience packaging
This is convenient but is more expensive than buying in bulk.
Already chopped onions don’t last long before they start to wilt. A regular onion will last much longer.
There are some things, that I’m okay with paying for this convenience. One thing is shredded cheese. I’ve tried to buy the block of cheese and grate it, and the convenience price I paid was well worth it.
8. Assuming the biggest item the best value
It seems that the largest container would have the best value since part of what we’re buying is packaging, but sometimes a smaller container has a cheaper cost per unit of measure (like an ounce, etc.).
9. Not watching for sales
When an item you use goes on sale, this is the time to buy extra. Just make sure it won’t expire before you use it.
I’ve bought so many “good deals” only to realize when I went to use it later, it expired. Some things last longer than others and I didn’t plan well. I had good intentions of saving, but I was wasting money.
I have Celiac so I must buy gluten-free products, which means it costs more money. An example is a regular loaf of bread that is roughly $3, but the gluten-free loaf of bread that I like is about $12 and it has less bread. I must be careful not to waste a crumb of this!
By using what we have in the pantry and freezer, the grocery trip will cost less because we’ll be using what we already have. We won’t have to throw something away AND buy something else for that meal.
Don’t let the items you have on hand expire. You worked hard for the money you bought them with. Incorporate an inventory of freezer and pantry items. If this is not realistic due to lack of time, plan your meals around what you have already. Also, place the newer items in the back of the other groceries. This will help minimize things from expiring.
Try some no-name brands, meal plan, and shop for sales. This will reduce wasting money.