How Grocery Shopping More Often Could Save You Money
Hear us out, y'all.
Shopping for groceries in bulk is a very new—and very suburban—thing.
As HuffPost points out, in Europe and large U.S. cities where kitchens are smaller and most people rely on public transportation, daily food shopping is the norm. In the suburbs, however, it's not uncommon for people to do one large grocery haul a week, filling up their cars and spending hundreds of dollars at a time.
Unfortunately, food industry experts believe that the latter approach can lead to unhealthier diets, increased food waste, and higher grocery bills. Instead, they suggest more frequent grocery shopping as a way to healthier diets, lower grocery bills, and less food waste.
We simply buy more food than we need, a problem, experts say, that can be solved by buying fresh and buying frequently.
According to Yvette Cabrera, deputy director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's food waste program, American consumers throw away more food than restaurants and grocery stores combined. About 40% of all food in the U.S. is never eaten, and consumers waste about 20 pounds of food a month, she tells HuffPost.
To put that in perspective, a family of four spends around $124 a month, or $1,500 a year, on wasted food. Yikes.
The solution: buy only what you need, when you need it.
"I think shopping more frequently is going to feel a little counterintuitive to a lot of people, but it means you have more control over what you're bringing in your house," Angel Planells, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told HuffPost. "Therefore, you're less likely to waste."
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As painful as it might be, that means saying no to sales that involve purchasing large quantities, even if it's a better value. It's cheaper to buy three apples that you'll actually eat, versus a whole bag, most of which might get thrown out.
And the real trick is planning your meals in advance, so you know exactly what you need to pick up for dinner on the way home from work.