Reduce Spending by Reducing Waste

Everyday situations lead to waste among consumers, which typically means higher spending.  When times are good and money is flush, incremental waste does not resonate as loudly as it does during lean times when savings are essential.  And money isn’t the only consideration when evaluating waste.  Environmental concerns and the rising awareness about sustainability prompt many responsible consumers to conserve and control waste.

Managing waste is not only socially responsible, but it also leads to money savings, which can be substantial when waste is trimmed throughout your spending budget.

Food Waste is Money down the Drain

One of the major ongoing spending categories shared by most families is expenses related to food and beverages.  As a result, wasting food has a dramatic impact on overall spending.  To save money and get a handle on personal waste, start with responsible food management.  It is easy to control food waste by getting a handle on these three habits commonly leading to unneeded food spending.

Excess food purchases lead to waste when food spoils before it can be eaten.  Sale items, for example, lure us to make purchases beyond our needs, in the interest of saving money.  Unfortunately, perishable food items often spoil before the savings can be realized, which actually leads to overspending on food.  To prevent food waste, plan menus ahead of time and don’t make spur of the moment purchases on things you may not be able to consume before they go bad.

Preparing too much food at once is another common misstep leading to food waste.  Making large portions is acceptable, provided they are included in meal plans and leftovers are accounted for.  On the other hand, making a large pot of spaghetti or cooking extra portions doesn’t make sense when leftovers go to waste.  Once again, the key to avoiding waste is planning ahead.  If it doesn’t look like the family will finish leftovers, freeze them immediately, so the food doesn’t go to waste.

Shopping breakdowns occur when consumers stray from their grocery lists, buying food that isn’t a part of pre-planned menus.  While the strategy affords some leeway for non-perishable goods, spoilage gets in the way of vegetables, fruit and other sensitive foods.  To avoid this type of waste, make a comprehensive grocery list before heading to market and stick to it as you fill your cart.

Wasted Fuel Strains Budgets

Consumers rely on several types of fuel to get them through daily life.  For starters, gasoline powers cars and trucks, as well as small engines used for yard care and home maintenance.  Increasing fuel efficiency and staying mindful of gasoline conservation is a great way to save money, especially when gas prices are higher than average. By consolidating car trips efficiently, you’ll notice weekly gas savings without altering your routes significantly.  Combine trips to market with other errands, for example, to avoid making multiple short trips to accomplish the tasks.  That way, you’ll eliminate miles from daily travel and dollars from gasoline bills.

Home heating oil and natural gas are two additional fuels consumers utilize frequently.  By controlling how your family uses these expensive fuels, you’ll trim wasteful spending from your energy bills. Start by outfitting your home with an energy efficient heating unit, rated as an energy star product, if possible.  And be sure to attach a programmable thermostat to your heating appliance, to precisely control how and when you call for heat.  By programming multiple on/off cycles, you’ll target heat where it is needed most, without heating interior spaces when no one is at home.  Adjust settings so that the heat comes on an hour before the family returns from work or school.  That way, you’ll stay warm without wasting money on fuel during the day.

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