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Some tips to minimise food wastage and save money

Every year UK households throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink, more than half of this is perfectly safe to be consumed. This level of food wastage is not only bad for the environment but it also costs you money.

It is thought that the average household wastes between £470 and £700 a year; that averages out at around £60 a month wasted on food that has been thrown out. Food is mainly thrown away as we prepare too much when making meals or we buy too much that is not used.

With food costs rising and families/households on the lookout to save money wherever they can, the food bill is one of the places where a lot of money can be saved with a few simple changes. As a result of this, we have put together some tips to help you minimise your household food wastage and save you some money.

Before you go shopping: plan!

Keep tabs on what you eat throughout the month and sort through the cupboards/freezer before every shopping trip. This way you know that what you are buying is what you need and what you will use instead of food that will just sit in the bottom of the freezer for months before being thrown away untouched.

A shopping list is the best way to prepare for a shopping trip but it also only works at saving you money if you stick to the list. Sticking to the list, and a budget for that shop, will really help you to stay within your limits by only buying what you need and only spending what you can afford.

Having a list makes shopping quicker as there is no need to browse around the store. Plus don’t go shopping on an empty stomach, this has been proven to be a bad idea as you are tempted by your grumbling stomach to buy more.

When you are shopping: be alert

Make sure you buy enough food to last until your next trip and for frozen food and tins stock up so you are less likely to make little trips to the supermarket which soon become expensive. Sale items can be a great way to save money on treats and household necessities but try not to get drawn in by all the offers. Three for a £1 and three for two offers soon add up and can create a significant part of your overall bill.

When it comes to fresh food, only buy what you need but if you can make use of any preservation techniques then you should. Freeze bread or make breadcrumbs from a stale loaf, pickle vegetables such as beetroot and cabbage, make jams from berries which are going soft and use brown bananas as a base for smoothies or to make banana bread. There is always a use for most foods, a simple search online may help you find a use for food that you didn’t think of before.

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After your shop: use food based on expiry dates

Use whatever food goes out of date first when you are planning your meals for the week. Fruit, vegetables, baked goods and most dairy are foods that tend to run out of date first but there are ways to preserve this food as mentioned above. By being aware of what you have in stock in your house and knowing when the food may run out of date, this can help you plan your meals and use all of your food.

Food preparation is key

When it comes to preparing food and meals, try to only make what you need. Read up on portion sizes or become more aware of the portion size you tend to eat for different types of food so that you only cook or make the right amount for you and/or your household.

If you have any leftovers, make sure that you do eat them. Leftover meals can make a great lunch to take to work with you the next day and leftover veg or meat can easily be added to another dish.

Stuck for inspiration with your leftovers? Use the internet. There are plenty of good and simple recipes online with many aimed specifically at people wanting to make use of their leftovers.

Avoid binning food if possible

Along with pickling, freezing and making something out of food that is going off, there are other ways to avoid binning food. Tins and packet food can be taken to food banks to give to those who need food. It is a great way to clear your cupboards and help out people in your local community by providing them with something they really need.

For foods which are inedible or can’t be taken to a food bank, like fruit and vegetables, invest in a compost bin. It saves smelly bins and helps the environment, especially your garden. If you are a keen gardener, it is a great way to help your plants grow without having to spend money on expensive composts and fertilisers.

If you are trying to save money in your household then looking at your food bills and the way that you use food as it could be the secret to unlocking some extra cash. These tips are simple ways to help you use food better and throw less away.

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