STEVE: Welcome to SmartMoney Monday. Did you know that Americans waste up to 40% of the food they buy? Here to help us brainstorm ways to stop wasting so much food - and money - is Patrick Twohy from Bank of Hawaii's In Store Branch. Hi, Patrick.
Patrick: Hi Steve. Wasting food is a waste, not only of food, but of money too. The average family throws away more than $2,000 every year.
STEVE: Wow, that's a lot. What's the root of the problem?
Patrick: Too many of us just overload our shopping carts when we go to the grocery.
STEVE: So, what can we do?
Patrick: You can start by taking inventory of your pantry. It's a good idea to take inventory of your pantry once a month. Knowing what you have before you head to the store, can prevent over stocking and streamline your list. This will prevent you from buying more food than necessary. There are also useful apps available like, "Out of Milk" that can help you manage your inventory and shopping list.
STEVE: Sometimes I'll put something in the fridge and then before I know it, it gets buried.
Patrick: Same here. So consider instituting a "First In, First Out" policy. Rotate your items so the oldest ones are always in front.
STEVE: What if I live alone and only need to provide a meal for myself?
Patrick: Plan your meals by ads. If you plan out your meals and buy only when it's on sale you would be surprised at how the savings can add up.
STEVE: How do you know what is a good deal?
Patrick: Learn the price range of the items you buy most frequently so that you'll be able to recognize when they hit their lowest and stock up, but only stock up on what you can consume. Simply jotting down the prices of the items you use most will aide in making the right decision.
STEVE: Anything else?
Patrick: Create a grocery budget and stick to it. Limit your trips to the grocery store. You should shop once a week and any savings you get from your grocery budget for the week, put toward something rewarding. By rewarding yourself on what you save each week will encourage you to save more.
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