Photo: Flickr / Kevin McShane
Tossing out uneaten leftovers spoils between $500 and $2,000 per year for the average U.S. family, reports The Journal’s Sarah Nassauer. Blame our lousy spending habits: Whether we’re splurging with coupons or addicted to Seamless, we’re adding 30 million tons to America’s landfills.
To keep your money out of the trash heap, follow these tips:
1. Don’t give in to temptation. Only take advantage of coupons or deals when you need the item, says Your Money contributor Susan Johnston. Otherwise you could get sidelined by all the other distractions nearby.
As one extreme couponer explains, “Sometimes they’ll put the displays on the end of the aisle of things that aren’t on sale. Other times, they might put the stuff that’s on the sale at the end of the aisle and remove it from the place it normally is.”
2. Use the checkout line wisely. The best time to decide what you really need to buy is while waiting in line for checkout. You’ll be thinking more clearly, and won’t be prone to splurge on checkout line impulse-buys like lip gloss and gum.
3. Stock up on veggies. Not only are they part of a balanced diet, these unprocessed foods comprise 25 per cent of avoidable waste in the U.S., says Nassauer. They also tend to be cheaper than the packaged and processed foods toward the centre of the store.
4. Cook single-serving meals. This nifty mind hack nixes the issue altogether, forcing you to make the most of what you have right in front of you.
5. Pack leftovers for lunch. American workers spend too much on meals out as it is. Brown-bagging it not only frees up a huge chunk of change (up to $2,000 for some people), but can be just as tasty (and awe-inspiring) as it was the first time around.