One of my biggest challenges is not wasting food. Monday night I cleaned out the fridge, and I was sickened by how much food I threw away. I have been wasting so much money on food that doesn’t get eaten in time. One of the biggest issues I have is meat. If I don’t use the meat right away, I rarely get to it in time. I will buy the meat one day and then in a blink of an eye it’s five days later.
Wait!!! What? Didn’t I buy this meat just yesterday? Crap, I waited to long and once again I have to throw it away. Then I read somewhere recently that you should only leave meat in the fridge for a few days and not until the use by this date. If that is true then I really need to kick it into gear and take care of the meat the same day.
I have been striving to only buy what I need. I think about the meals I will make and only buy what I plan on making. This has been a trail and error experience but I feel I’m getting better at it. I am trying to keep what I buy under 100 dollars each week since we have budgeted 500 dollars a month. I felt the amount wasn’t enough but truthfully it’s more than enough if not too much. If we keep it under 500 dollars, then at the end of the month I should be able to put the extra money to another bill.
I used to squirrel away food. I would fill my cabinets with lots of cans and box food. I often never remember what I had or barely used anything. I found that I still went out and got what I needed for a recipe. If a person grew up with little to no food, this would make sense to buy more, then you need. The fear of never having what you need is real because they lived it. I cannot remember a time in my life I didn’t have food. I remember not getting my dinner because I was on the phone with a family member too long. I may not of have had the healthiest food choices, but I had food none the less. Since I have taken steps to change my lifestyle, I have been trying to use everything I have in my cabinets. I only buy what we need and I’m still using up things I have had for a while.
The only thing I may double up on is the items I know I will use for multiples recipes during the week. I have an app I got for my phone and the computer called Recipe Keeper. I like this app because I can make a grocery list in the app and both apps can link to one another. The only downsize is I had to pay for the phone app and the app for the computer. I got rid of my recipe box and moved everything to this app. One more thing about this app I like is that I can link recipe from a website. Depending on the layout it will automatically fill in the recipe. Caution: Double check because sometimes it may leave info out you will need.
I sometime wish I could just have someone meal plan for me. I hate doing it and I feel like a failure most of the time. I was telling my best friend the other day I realize that I am trying hard to make at least three different meals a week and eat leftover throughout the week. I need to make meals I know I will want to eat again and again. Those who can make a different meal every night are amazing because I feel it would be super expensive to make something new every night. Last week I made a few different meals but then I had no desire to eat them again. I have a few meals I consider an one time wonder which I know I can make and we will not have any leftover. I should keep these meals in mind if there is a night when we feel like not having leftovers.
Another challenge I am finding is that we have been allowing ourselves to eat out more than we have in the past. In the beginning of our marriage when we took steps to get out the consumer debt we had before getting married. We sat down to figure out where all our money was going. We discover I was spending over 500 dollars a month for food for the house and we spent an additional 800 dollars going out to eat the same month. This was eye opening to us and we applied the Dave Ramsey method to our money. We got out of 9,000 dollars of consumer debt in less than a year.
(Another blog for another time)
A big reason we threw out so much food is because we ate out a few times, my husband was on a work trip, and I would buy something just to eat that night. I need to stop using food as pleasure and used to nourish my body and take care of this life growing inside me.
My goals are:
1. Buy what I need
2. Use is right away
3. No longer throw out food because of neglect
4. Cut down our budget
5. Make meals that are good leftovers
6. Learn how to freeze leftover
I would love to hear other people’s stories. What are tricks you have masters over time? How do you cut down on throwing out food? How many meals do you provide during the week?