How Much is Food Waste Costing Your Family? Back »

Written by Carrie Johnson (former SDSU Extension Family Resource Management Specialist).


According to a recent study by UNEP and the World Resources Institute, about 1/3 (around $1 trillion) of all food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. In the US, 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month. With 15-20% of a families household budget going toward food, food waste can really impact your bottom line.

There are some tips you can implement to help save yourself some of your food, in turn your money:

  • When purchasing perishable foods, only buy what you will eat before it goes bad. My family loves fresh fruits and vegetables, however buying these items in bulk aren’t always the best idea. Because produce doesn’t seem to last very long I typically shop for these items every week instead of trying to buy enough for an entire month.
  • Eat leftovers. Heating up leftovers the next day for lunch can save you money in food waste and will save you money on eating out.
  • If you don’t like leftovers, cook smaller portions. My children will not eat leftovers and don’t really eat a lot at meal time. So, I have learned to cut way back on recipes to save money. When my step-children still lived at home I could make a family pack of pork chops for dinner, now I cook three for six of us.
  • Freeze leftovers. If you do have food left over and you know it will not get eaten prior to spoiling, just freeze them. One item I tend to do this with is “sloppy joe” meat. I like to use 2 pounds of hamburger per can of sauce so it’s not so soupy, but we don’t eat it all in one sitting. I will freeze the leftovers in a freezer container and next time it’s on the menu will pull it out of the freezer and heat it for another meal.
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