01 Aug Save Money on Groceries in Your Pantry
If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you know how expensive everything has gotten, which makes stretching your food budget even more important than ever. One simple way to save money on groceries is to use all the food you buy.
According to the UN’s environment program, each year, globally, more than 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted. In North America, a staggering 43% of that waste occurs in the home and costs us a lot of money. How much? The average family of four wastes $1,500 a year on uneaten food!
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to save money on groceries and reduce food waste simply by how your store it.
Make a Grocery List
Have you ever popped into the grocery store to pick up one or two things and walked out with several bags of groceries full of impulse buys? Or have you ever bought a bag of rice or a dozen eggs only to get home and realize that you already had some? By spending a little time planning your trip to the store, you can save money on groceries and avoid buying items you don’t need.
- Check your pantry and refrigerator to see what you have and what you need. If something (such as fresh broccoli or a head of cabbage) needs to be used soon, plan a meal around it.
- When possible, plan your menu for the week and buy only the items you need for making those meals. Be sure to account for meals you plan to eat out at restaurants or someone else’s home.
- Remember that buying in bulk or taking advantage of buy-one-get-one sales may save you money, but only if you use the products you buy. If you’re buying multiples of things with a limited shelf life (like fresh produce and dairy products), consider whether you will use them all before they expire.
- Allow yourself to add only 3 items that are not on the list. Setting a limit to impulse purchases can really cut back on buying all the items that seem appealing when they are in front of you, especially if you bring your kids with you to the store. Get them involved in the rule of 3, so they don’t repeatedly bug you to buy everything they see.
Understand Date Labels on Food
Speaking of food expiration, did you know that date labels are not an indicator of a product’s safety, except on infant formula? In fact, dates aren’t required by federal law, and there are no universally accepted descriptions. So, while you may see “Sell By,” “Best By,” or “Use By,” the food should be safe, if handled properly, well beyond the date stamped on the package. Of course, if the product’s color or consistency has changed noticeably or if it has an unusual odor, you shouldn’t eat it. Most of the time, however, the date is merely the manufacturer’s way of letting retailers and consumers know when the food is at its freshest.
Reorganize Your Pantry to Save Money on Groceries
How many times have you reached for something like a can of diced tomatoes and realized that while you don’t have any tomatoes, you have four cans of black beans? If your pantry is cluttered with cans, boxes, and bags, it’s hard to know what you really have in there. On the other hand, a well-organized pantry allows you to easily see what you have and when you’re running low on things. Start reorganizing by pulling out everything. Throw away any items that are stale or spoiled. You may also find some items that have not been opened and you want to donate to a local food pantry. Cleaning out items that you do not intend to use is a great way to eliminate the clutter. If you find a lot of things you’d forgotten about pushed to the back of your pantry, then you should consider getting pull-out shelves. Pull-out shelves, like the ones in a Closet by Design custom pantry, let you access everything quickly and keep you from “losing” items in the recesses of deep cabinets.
Another easy way to keep track of what you have is to store dry goods, such as rice and cereal, in clear containers. The containers help the foods stay fresh longer, and they help you see when it’s time to buy more. In the same way, Lucite-fronted drawers are a great place to store granola bars and other wrapped snacks. If the food you buy is in plain sight, it’s more likely that you’ll eat it rather than let it go to waste, and it will also help you save money on groceries.
Let Closets by Design Help
A Closets by Design custom pantry allows you to organize your staples with ease and ultimately save money on broceries. With the right combination of shelving, drawers, bins, and dividers, you’ll have a place for everything. One of our design professionals will come to your home to assess your space and help you create a pantry that’s perfect for all your needs. Schedule a free in-home consultation today.