Money Matters: How to stop trashing cash

Reported by: Brittany Price
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Updated: 8/29/2012 10:30 am

We throw away nearly half our food every year according to a recent study from the Natural Resources Defense Council. That’s a significant waste worth roughly $165 billion nationwide every year.

Cassie Wuthrich, Childhood Nutritionist, said the wasteful habit is particularly on the rise in busy households.   

"With finances and time everyone is in a rush. Everyone has so much money per month or per week to eat off of," Wuthrich said.  

Wuthrich said stocking up to save time and money can backfire.

"We typically go to the grocery store and buy in bulk. We plan on using it a lot of times but then our busy schedules come into play. We can't prepare the food like we wanted to or it gets lost in the refrigerator and we forget we have it," Wuthrich said.  

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council's report, the average family of four throws away nearly $2,300 annually in food.

"You could have saved that money if you would have bought only what you knew you would consume for that period of time," Wuthrich said. "Unless you're really good at buying in bulk and utilizing all your food, it's probably best to shop for two weeks at a time."

Wuthrich said fresh fruits and vegetables top the list of grub that ends up in the garbage.

"They usually get too ripe too fast or we forget about them in the crisper. They're usually in the bottom drawer, out of sight out of mind, they're usually not the thing you go to when you want a quick meal," Wuthrich said.    

However, produce near the end of its usefulness can be saved.  

"They can be diced up, chopped and frozen. You can also prepare the food ahead of time, freeze it and use it later during the week," Wuthrich said. "If you buy produce, use that first. Always look at expiration dates and try to keep your refrigerator organized."

David Weaver, CEO of South Plains Food Bank, responded to the 50 percent jump in food waste since the 1970s.

"I think it's more reflective of a busy life style. Also, as my daughter used to say, ‘my eyes are bigger than my stomach.’ We buy things and really don't have a plan on how to use them," Weaver said.  

Weaver suggested mapping a course of action before even stepping foot in the grocery store.

"Go in with a plan and budget. If they're not doing that they're really wasting resources that they need. It's a waste of food and a waste of their money," Weaver said.    

Just a 15 percent reduction in losses in the U.S. food supply would save enough to feed 25 million Americans each year.

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