5 ways to save on food without clipping coupons

Y’all, I just found out my boyfriend used to be a couponer! How awesome is that? I’m frugal too but in a different way. I’ve been joking for years that I’m actually a 90-year-old woman because I frequently wash and reuse Ziploc baggies, I save all the plastic soup containers from the Chinese restaurants, and I have no problem buying the store brand.

Recently, while talking with a client and learning about all the delicious fresh produce she has been throwing away, I decided it’s time to share some of my frugal secrets with the tribe. A major key to saving money is making the most of the food you buy and not letting it go to waste. Make your food bill stretch a little bit further by doing these 5 things.

1. Don’t throw away perfectly good leftovers! Some folks throw away leftovers 2 days after cooking them. According to the Mayo Clinic, we can keep leftovers up to 4 days. Cooking on Sunday? Eat it or freeze it by Thursday.

| In America, we throw away an average of $1,200 in groceries every year! Yikes! |

2. Make friends with your freezer. At one point I found 9 different kinds of cheese in the refrigerator and thought “that’s a little excessive.” I put a couple blocks in the freezer because then I don’t feel obligated to put cheese on everything – not there’s anything wrong with that. :-P. It’s not just cheese that can store well in the freezer until you need it. Here is a great list of all the things you can freeze. Another great freezer tip I love is how some folks buy meat in bulk at the local market, such as Kenyon’s Meat Market, in Mebane and then they pull out what they need for dinner each morning. Brilliant!
3. Buy in season. Have you noticed that asparagus gets to be really affordable in March? That’s because asparagus is an early Spring crop. Seasonal produce is not only more affordable, it tastes better too! And if you buy local produce from the farmer’s market, you will typically find the most nutritional value as those foods are picked when fully ripe. Check out what’s in season now.
4. Chop it up immediately. You know those sad green onions, celery stocks, or bags of lettuce you find wilted and juicy at the bottom of the refrigerator? Instead, we recommend designating one day to wash chop, and store in Ziploc baggies or other see-through containers all those delicious colorful foods you intend to eat that week. Doing so increases your chances of eating them, not wasting them.
5. Don’t put produce in the beer drawer! Seriously, the drawers in the refrigerator especially the old less fancy refrigerators aren’t doing you much good. When we hide our fruits and vegetables in drawers we tend to forget about them until it’s too late. Instead, let’s refer back to tip #4 and keep our washed and ready to eat fruits and vegetables on the top or middle shelf where we will see them and enjoy them regularly.

Food for thought
When you throw away food consider looking at that as throwing away $5 or $10 bills. That sounds crazy!

You can save money, time, and guilt by implementing one or two of these tips. Which one will you try this week? Tell us in the comments below!

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