The average American family of four spends around $1,000 on food each month and wastes about a thousand pounds of food each year. That’s right, up to 40% of our food supply in the US goes to waste, resulting in about 20 pounds per person each month.
For a family of four, making an effort to waste less can mean a savings of $200 to $400 each month—or $2,000 to $5,000 per year. To help you take a smaller bite out of your wallet, here are five retail tricks to avoid the next time you’re looking to save.
#1 Don’t forget to shake it off
Eating with your eyes first can get you into plenty of trouble at the grocery store. And you’re not even safe in the produce aisle: Retailers know that shoppers are more likely to reach for fruits and veggies that are neatly organized and hydrated. One trick stores use to enhance the idea of freshness is to spray produce with mist. But that extra hydration adds weight, making you pay more at checkout.
#2 Don’t fall for “fresh” foods
Fresh food can certainly taste better, but too often it goes bad before we get to eating it. One way to avoid tossing fresh food is to opt for frozen. On average, you’ll pay 35% less for frozen ground turkey and 40% less for frozen salmon. Frozen breads can be a third of the cost, and frozen mixed fruit can be $3 cheaper than buying the same fruits fresh.
#3 Don’t refrigerate everything
People put a lot of things in the fridge that don’t belong there. Some fruits that’ll lose flavor and texture in the fridge include avocados, apples, bananas and peaches. The same goes for certain veggies, including potatoes and onions. The best place for these foods is a cool dry place in your kitchen, such as a cabinet, countertop or pantry.
#4 Don’t pay for convenience
While one-stop shopping for food and household supplies might be convenient, it isn’t always the best for your budget. For example, toys and office or school supplies can cost you 75% more at your grocer compared to a store dedicated to kids or office supplies. In the same way, buying flowers while you shop for food might save you some time, but it’s rarely a good deal since they tend to die a lot faster than the ones you pick up from your local florist.
#5 Don’t shop at eye level
One of the most common tactics for retailers is strategically placing pricier brand-name products where it’s easiest to spot them. It’s a clever marketing tool used to manipulate shoppers of all ages to toss more into their carts. It’s by design that items popular with kids are placed on lower shelves, and that you have to look up or bend down to search for better prices.