13 Easy Ways to Cut Food Waste and Save Money

What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

The average American wastes $522 worth of food every year. Reclaim that money with these easy tips.

Thirty-one percent of the food produced each year in the United States goes uneaten, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That translates to $161.6 billion per year — or about $522 per person per year.

So to help you stop throwing away hundreds of dollars in uneaten food each year, we’ve rounded up the best tips for fighting food waste.

1. Check fridge and freezer temperatures periodically

Cold temperatures cannot destroy the microorganisms that cause food to spoil, but sufficiently cold temperatures can significantly slow them down.

Refrigerators should be kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Freezers should be kept at zero degrees.

Some experts and appliance manufacturers go colder, though.

The University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources (IANR), for example, recommends that fridge temps be set between 34 and 40 degrees. Samsung says the ideal temperature for French-door fridges is 37 degrees.

The IANR recommends that freezers be set to zero degrees, noting that food deteriorates more quickly when stored at higher temperatures.

2. Reorganize the fridge, freezer or pantry

If you frequently forget about the items in the bottom of your fridge or the back of your pantry shelves, reorganize. Or, try an organizational aid like a lazy Susan.

For example, a reader noted the following in the blog The Kitchn:

I was always forgetting my perishables in the veg drawers, etc. So I put the stuff that needs to be cooked on the top shelf, and the jars, nuts, flours in the produce drawers. This helped a lot.

3. Make groceries last longer

Have you ever thought to keep onions in pantyhose? Or mushrooms in paper bags? Storing specific foods in certain ways can extend their life.

For more easy ways to prevent food from spoiling early, check out “21 Tricks to Make Groceries Last Longer.”

4. Find new uses for excess food

Leftover mashed potatoes can double as a ready-made base for potato pancakes, and extra grapes can be frozen and used later as creative ice cubes in mixed drinks, for example. Flat soda can help scrub blackened pots and pans.

For more fresh ideas, check out “12 Ways to Keep Good Food From Going Bad.”

5. Track your trash

At least periodically, keep a log of all food items your household throws away.

Doing so will make you more mindful of how much food you lose to the trash can. That knowledge might help you lose less.

You’ll also be able to spot any patterns in the types of foods you throw away. That way, you will know when to buy less of a certain food.

6. Plan meals

Take a little time once a week to plan out one week’s worth of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks, or whatever meals your household eats. Then, build a grocery list based on your meal plans.

There are apps that can help. One example is CookBrite, which keeps a running inventory of everything in your home and offers recipes based on what you have on hand.

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,061 more deals!