Save £500 on groceries with a "2 week buying cycle"
When I was a kid, my parents would always make us try to eat everything in the refrigerator before going on holiday. That last dinner before the leaving could be quite interesting: tinned spaghetti with bologna sandwiches and orange juice, or rice and bananas (yummy). That sort of thing.
But nowadays, the weekly grocery protocol everyone has grown up with leads to waste. A study analysis of Brit eating habits by a "government waste reduction task force" last year discovered that families throw out a good one third or so of all the food items they purchase. 40 percent of the discarded food consists of fruit and vegetables, the very stuff we’re all supposed to be eating more of. Even PM Brown said in 2008 that we could save up to £420 a year by buying only food we need and not throwing out the excess.
A similar principle applies to switching to a two-week grocery buying cycle, suggests Get Rich Slowly. The idea is that you eat the stuff you have before going and getting more. Granted, this can be depressing if all you’re left with on day 14 is baking soda and half a packet of crisps. But the point isn’t so much waiting a full two weeks as it is waiting until you actually need more food.
The suggested strategy was to eat the fresh fruits and veggies first, then supplement with canned or frozen. You can usually find dairy products with “use by” dates two weeks in the future, and if you’re good about not leaving the milk out on the counter, you should have no trouble keeping it fresh for that long.
As for meat, freeze any of it you won’t use in the next 48 hours, and if you divide the meat into smaller portions before freezing, you’re more likely to use it than if you’re confronted with one giant, frozen glob of frostbitten meat on hamburger night.
And considering food prices have gone up this year, more reason to be saving. If you got used to not eating leftovers when the economy was good, now is the time to break that habit. Potatoes au gratin taste better leftover anyway.