When it comes to saving money at the grocery store, “buy in bulk” is common sense. However, this can backfire if you’re buying perishables. Many frugal shoppers don’t realise just how much food they end up throwing away.
Photo by Flikr, Joyce S. Lee.
While non-perishable items can sit in your pantry forever (or be donated to charity if you decide not to eat them), perishable items have shelf lives that we often forget. You buy a week’s worth of meat or a month’s worth of milk. Later, you eat out a couple times and your food schedule gets pushed back, and suddenly you don’t need those perishable items until after their expiration date. Unless you have your meals strictly planned out far in advance, it’s easy to get stuck in this trap.
Estimating how much an individual wastes is hard to do, and will obviously vary from person to person. However, estimates from the National Health Institute in the US suggest that up to 40% of all food produced ends up in landfills. Your personal food waste rate is probably lower than that, but if you’re buying in bulk, take a moment to consider whether you’ll really use all that food before it goes bad.