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Sunday, June 4, 2017

This Is By Far The Number One Way to Save Money

If you were asked, "What's the number one way Americans can save more money?" how would you respond?  Think about all of the discretionary expenses you have on a monthly basis...now what do you think Americans do more of than many (if not all) nations in the world?  That's right, we eat like food is going out of style.  Americans have an obsession with food and it's no surprise when there's so much deliciousness to choose from.  Out of the 29 most obese countries in the world, the U.S. is at number 12 (#1 among "western" nations).
Image result for obese americans

According to this article at Chetsheet.com, eating out and spoiled food is the number one way Americans waste their hard earned money.  Just this morning, I was looking for some cream cheese for my bagel and I found a container in the back of the top shelf in my fridge.  I was so excited we had some in store.  I opened it.  There was so much fungal growth I thought Mario and Luigi would surely be popping out.  Gross.  Out of frustration, I decided to rid every shelf of expired food.  I threw out, moldy salsa and humus (the expensive kind my wife buys at Trader Joe's), black olives that were in plastic containers from like months ago, moldy tortillas, soft and squishy persian cucumbers, two bags of salad, left over beef stew, and left over rice.

If this were a one time occurrence, I'd have moved on with my day.  But no, I do this at least once a month!  Enough is enough.  I started thinking about this problem, which I'm sure happens in many households in America, and came up with the following analysis.

1.  Yes, as Americans, we can reduce how often we go out to eat.  We'll spend less money if we cook for ourselves more often.  But this isn't the real issue.

2.  Yes, we can use a grocery list and buy exactly what we need at the grocery store, to curb impulse purchases.  But this too isn't the real issue.

What I think hurts our pockets the most is the fact that we have a horrible sense of portion.  In other words, our portion control sucks!  The number one way of saving money involves making just the right amount of food to eat, meaning, having as few meals throughout the week that don't lead you to have to grab the plastic containers from your cabinets.  If I had a nickel for every time I threw away spaghetti noodles and moldy spaghetti sauce from the fridge I'd be a rich man!  How often are you making meals that leave you with leftovers?  Sure, you might get to some of the leftovers the following day, say by taking some as lunch to work.  But I bet you have some leftovers in your fridge right now that you never got to.

Image result for huge dinner portions

The same can be said about how you order when you dine out.  Even if you've managed to cut down eating out to just one night per month, I bet you ask for a to-go box when you're done with your outing.  Again, it comes down to our obsessive habit of being surrounded by food at our table.  My wife, Jessica, and I cook at home quite often, and even so we cook way too much.  We serve our kids more than they can eat and that food ends up in the garbage.  Why?  Because our kids are food spoiled.  They don't like leftovers!  When we go out as a couple, we order too much and have to take food home.  Sometimes we leave it in the car (and heat) because we don't go straight home.  And then neither Jessica, nor I, wants to eat the leftovers for fear of getting food poisoning.  Has this ever happened to you?

So what can be done to stop wasting food and your money?  For starters, prepare less food for dinner.  Read the servings labels on your boxes or packages and follow the instructions to preparing your portion controlled meals.  Before going out to eat, have a snack so you're not so hungry and want to order a giant appetizer plus a full course dinner.  Order less food at a restaurant and actually use the opportunity servers give you when they return to check on you to order more food, IF, you are still hungry and are nearly finished with your meal.  Here's another tip...do not cook another dinner if you have plenty of leftovers still from the previous dinner.  You better nuke that $#!& and eat it!

Clearly, we can help both our pockets and our waistlines by being more conscious of how much food we buy and need to eat to meet our daily caloric needs.  Teach your children not to waste food, but don't set them up for failure by plopping down an adult sized plate and meal in front of them.  Thanks for reading!  Until next time.  If you liked this post and want to get more like them, please subscribe to this blog below:
   
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