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Did you know that every single year, we waste 1.3 billion tons of food? (source) That is a huge amount of food to waste! Our food being wasted, but so is our money. As a planet, we waste $990 million a year on the food we don’t use.
As a single woman, I find it very hard to use up all of my food before it goes bad. With how little I am home, I rarely get time to eat at home and even less time to cook. I often find myself eating out far more than I should.
There are a few things that I have done to combat this, because not only is it important to me to save money on food, but I feel that as a steward of what God has given me it is my responsibility to take care of everything that is given to me.
Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest;
— Proverbs 3:9 (CSB)
There are many things that we as homemakers can do to preserve our food and to waste less. I am going to give you three easy steps that everyone can take now. And if you’re ready, four harder steps to help serve your family, but ultimately serve the Lord.
3 Easy Things You Can Do Now
1 | Label, Label, Label
One of the most important things you can do to preserve your food is to label it. Label what day it was opened or made and label when it needs to be used by. Know when your food needs to be used by. Google can be your best friend when it comes to learning.
2 | Be Realistic
Be realistic with what your family eats. If you know your family isn’t going to eat that fancy meal you just found on Pinterest, (despite how much you want them to), don’t buy it. Spend your money on healthy options that your family will eat. (Even if it’s the same five meals over and over again.)
As a childhood picky eater, I can say that I would’ve been much happier with a few consistent healthy meals, rather than have my mother trying to come up with something new all of the time that I would never eat. It brings stress into the home and can sew discord in the family.
Be slow to make changes with your family and include them in the process when you do change towards healthier options.
3 | Make a Plan
When you budget, make a list and create a meal plan each time you take a trip to the grocery store (or throw things in your online cart), you are making it easier to reduce your waste. Know what you need and make sure you’re not buying more than what you and your family will eat.
When you know what you need, what you’re using it for and when it’s going to be used by; it’s a lot easier to ensure things aren’t going to waste.
3 Things for Those Ready to Save More
4 | Share Food
One great way to make sure food doesn’t go to waste is to share food. There are many ways to share food that can help you get what you need for rock bottom prices:
- Purchase half a cow with another family
- Use a farm to table program near you
- Go with another family or two and buy from a bulk supply store
- Create a neighborhood swap of homemade food from each household
5 | Dry Your Food
Just this past weekend I was able to score a food dehydrator at the town-wide yard sale for $5. That’s right! The person selling it wasn’t using it despite its great condition and it was the end of the day so they were happy to part with it. Now I am going to be able to dry all sorts of fruits and other food for my family without the high price tag. Not only am I saving money but dried food will last so much longer than fresh food and it tastes just as good!
6 | Grow Your Own Food
Growing your own food is a great way to save money on food and all that hard work makes it really easy to not want to just throw your food away. Once you understand what it takes for that food to come to your table, you are much less likely to just throw it away.
So, find foods that your family will like and start small if you don’t know how to garden already. I love this advice from some of my favorite homesteaders.
7 | Can Your Own Food
Last but not least, my best advice for preserving your food is to can your own food. When your food may be on its last leg, it’s a great time to throw it in the canner and save it for another day. Canning is a great way to preserve what you can’t eat and prepare your family for any hardships in the future.
If you can do the more advanced tips save more money by stocking up on items you use every day while they’re on sale. Potatoes on sale? Grab a few bags and can or freeze what you don’t need. Are your kids’ favorite mac and cheese box on sale? Grab a few more for those days where you need a break.
Having even $10 extra in your grocery budget each time can help you stock up and save in the long run. As long as you have a plan to preserve that food (if needed), this is a great way to save money, save food and prepare your family for times ahead.
What kinds of things do you do to save on food waste? Share your ideas down below, or join the conversation on our Facebook page!