07 June 2013

Are Your Grocery Shopping Habits Wasting Money and Harming the Environment?

With the high cost of everything these days, more and more people are learning to be more frugal. A really neat side benefit of living the Cheapskates way is that you are also very often helping the environment. This is never more evident than when you do your grocery shopping. Here are a few frugal and simple things you can do to save money and the environment:

Make a list

Writing out what you are going to cook and your grocery list is one way to avoid going to the supermarket over and over again. Make use of meal planning. Create menus a week or two in advance so that you can buy everything that you need in one pass (I put our monthly meal plan in the Member's Centre each month if you're stuck for ideas).  How many of us go to the supermarket for a few things and end up running back again and again because we forgot something? If that sounds like you, it’s time to get organized. Having a list and a plan will not only save you money, but time and petrol running back and forth.


Buy in bulk

This works for things like meat, cheese, canned goods, and frozen vegetables. You can buy in bulk whether you're a family of 6, a couple or single. The difference will be in the quantity of your "bulk".  For a family bulk chicken for instance may be 25 kilos, whereas for a single a bulk purchase may be 5 kilos (although if you're single, have the storage and the money buying a larger bulk purchase makes sense). Usually, the bigger the package, the less you pay per kilo (check the unit price, it isn't always the case). You can wrap meal size portions of meat, cheese and vegetables and store in the fridge or freezer. Date your frozen items so you can rotate them and use them up before getting freezer burned. If you use a lot of canned diced tomatoes, for instance, that would be one item you would want to buy by the case when they are on sale.

Visit a butcher shop

The butcher will cut up meat for you in the sizes that you need, eliminating waste. Also, butchers use paper to wrap their meat. It is easier to recycle than plastic or Styrofoam trays that you get with your meat from the supermarket. Buying from a butcher you can buy the quantity you want, you're not stuck with pre-packaged quantities. Make friends with your butcher and you'll learn what cuts to buy to get the most meat for your money. You'll also be privy to specials. Don't forget to ask your butcher about soup bones and bulk purchases. This is a personal service you probably won't get from any big supermarket.

Use reusable shopping bags

These simple cloth bags are cheap, roomy, easy to carry and are handy - every home has at least a couple of these shopping bags. Just keep a couple in your car, along with an insulated freezer bag or cooler and you'll get your food home from the supermarket safely, economically and without the plastic. The more plastic bags that supermarkets hand out the more they have to buy, which trickles down to you, the consumer, in prices. And the environmental impact of plastic bags is horrible; they simply do not recycle well, if at all. Ditch them when you can. If you must use bags, try paper or even re-useable veggie bags.

Discover the beauty of leftovers

Each year, families waste tons and tons of food because it's simply thrown out.  No one wants to eat the same thing over and over again. That's why you have to be creative. Granted, some dishes like spaghetti and stew are better the second time around, so you don't mind eating it again the next day or a few days later. But other dishes need to be re-created to be palatable. A beef pot roast with potatoes, onions and carrots is good the first night, but please, no re-runs. Instead, take the beef the next night, shred it and turn it into beef enchiladas with some spicy tomato sauce and cheese. Totally different meals using the same beef – that's the way to get your family to eat leftovers.

Buy reusable water bottles

This is a particular bug-bear of mine. I simply do not see the need for buying water for most of us, let alone buying water in throw-away bottles.  We waste millions of dollars on bottled water each year and as well as being hideously expensive it's no better than the water you get from your kitchen tap! That's not to mention the resources used to create those plastic bottles or the horror of the plastic bottles that end up in the landfills, lakes, streams, and oceans. An easy to use kitchen tap water filter and stainless steel or BPA-free reusable bottles eliminate this resource wasting and environmentally damaging nightmare.

It's not difficult to change your shopping habits to be more environmentally and budget friendly. Next time you head out to the shops, think about how you can make your shopping trip a trip to help, rather than damage, the environment and see the difference it makes to your wallet and your life.

1 comment:

  1. The vegetables look very fresh. I like the grocery with full of fresh vegetables.

    ReplyDelete

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