Ways to Cut Down On Food Waste in 10 Easy Steps

How to Cut Down On Food Waste in 10 Easy Steps- Chic and Domestic
How to Cut Down On Food Waste in 10 Easy Steps- Chic and Domestic

Food waste is a serious issue in many areas of the world. Not only is it a serious issue because wasted food is wasted money, but let’s just be real, there are too many people in the world going without. One of the changes I wanted to make this year was really trying to cut down on the amount of food being wasted in our house. This might be easier said than done because you know, kids, buttt I’ve been trying my hardest in other ways to do my part.

We talk so much about saving money on groceries, and the importance of meal planning and meal prepping here on the blog all the time, but what if an easy way to give your pockets a break is sitting right in front of you? Here are some things that I’ve been doing, trying, and want to try in the future to really focus on this goal this year, and of course save myself a bit of money.

1. Store food correctly
This is complete trial and error for me, I won’t lie to you guys. There is an actual method to storing your food and getting it to last longer, but I have yet to master that method completely. I will say that I’ve invested in some pretty great storage containers, and I’ve been storing my herbs differently and it’s been going good so far but I still have a lot to learn. Research some of the proper storage techniques for some of your own frequently used fruits and veggies.

Check out my pinterest board for kitchen hacks here!

2. Keep your refrigerator clutter free
I like to keep things clutter free in general but I hate for my refrigerator to ever get cluttered. It makes it easy for things to get lost and go unused. It also causes you to rebuy things that you already have on hand. Often times it ends up being things that are unopened, barely used, or still within their life expectancy. Clutter is a huge culprit when it comes to food waste.

Be sure to subscribe and look out for some very useful home organization tips!

3. Understand your expiration dates
So many people are misinformed when it comes to the difference between an expiration date and a sell by date. Don’t be so quick to toss things that still have some life to them.

4. Save your leftovers
Sounds pretty simple right? No matter how big or small the amount of food, try saving your leftovers instead of tossing them in the trash. You can use leftover meat or veggies in a new meal, or carry it for lunch the following day.

5. Pack your lunch
Pack your lunch in the first place! Instead of grabbing something to eat during your lunch hour and again, possibly stretching your pockets, pack your lunch. This will help you to use up leftovers from dinner, and also use up groceries that would otherwise go bad before you’re able to get to them.

6. Use your peels
Instead of tossing your fruit and vegetable peels, use them. Fruit infused water is the new thing. You can use things like cucumber, lemon, and orange peels to add to your water. Both useful and visually appealing. I’ve personally used peels for home fragrances and cleaning and I don’t think I’ll ever toss them again. Another great way to utilize your peels? Just eat them. Eat them, use them for zest, or compost all together.

7. Use your foods for DIY
Don’t look at me crazy just yet, but a really cool way to use up things like ripe fruits or veggies is to use them for a DIY natural beauty alternative. Foods like avocados, lemons, cucumbers, and even mayonnaise can be great in hair and skin masks. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and prevents more food waste.

8. Utilize your freezer
Freezer meals are obviously a huge thing. Who doesn’t love the convenience of just grabbing, defrosting, and reheating? There are so many ways to utilize your freezer, and so many things that spring right back to life after some time in the freezer. Let’s go back to #4 for a second. Not everyone enjoys leftovers and eating the same thing more than once in a week. Instead, why not freeze things for a later date? Store it correctly and it will not only mean you’ve avoided wasting food, but you’ve also made dinner for a busy day in the future.

Check out my post “How To Store Freezer Meals Like a BOSS” here!

9. Make your own stock
I save veggie scraps like nobody’s business! Have you ever made homemade chicken or veggie stock? Let me tell you, it’s nothing like that stuff that you grab off of the shelf at the grocery store. Not only is it a great way to use things that you would otherwise throw away, but it also has the benefit of knowing exactly what’s in your stock. Plus it tastes better too.

10. Get creative in the kitchen
One of the greatest things you can do is to get creative in the kitchen. Just think of #7 on our list! Toss something extra into a salad, soup, or any other dish you can think of and try something new. Put together some new combinations, and most of all, have fun with it.

What are some ways that you guys cut down on food waste? Are these some things that you plan to utilize in the future? Let me know in the comments. 

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My Top 5 Ways to Save Money on Christmas Shopping

My Top 5 Ways To Save Money On Christmas Shopping - Chic and Domestic

 

It’s holiday time again! So that means I get to share my top 5 ways to save money on Christmas shopping. Christmas time means days of holiday cheer, Christmas carols, and unfortunately a million and one ways to quickly see your money disappear. You don’t want to be that person, because nobody wants to be that person! You want to be both fabulous, and frugal for the holidays, and hold on to every penny that you can while also enjoying the season of giving.

This week I’ve teamed up with a few other ladies to discuss some Frugal Christmas topics. Karen from My Veteran Woman Life  shared her own Top Holiday Shopping Hacks. Be sure to head over and check them out.

So, here they go, My top 5 ways to save money on your Christmas Shopping.

1. Budgeting and Planning
If you know me, you know that I’m big on budgeting. It’s important to know where all of your money is going by having a plan, and budgeting for what you can afford to spend on certain things. Get an idea together of what it is you want to spend on your holiday shopping BEFORE you start. I go into a full breakdown of budgeting and planning in my previous Christmas post.

2. Limiting your gifts
Something I’ve decided to stick to for our kids is limiting the amount of gifts we buy them. This year, I also plan to implement this rule for gifting to other people. Our kids are still young now, but I also think I plan to keep up with this in the future. It’s so easy to want to buy every toy in the store, but what you end up with after gift opening is an overflowing toy box. I’ve seen a lot of people choose to buy their children 4 special gifts for the categories of something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.

3. Make your own gifts and get creative
I love Christmas gifts with sentimental value, and there’s nothing more sentimental than something you handmade yourself. This is also great time to learn a new skill, or really get creative. Pinterest is a great resource for ideas and inspiration. Maybe you can crochet a scarf or blanket, and if crafty and hands on really isn’t your thing, you can never go wrong with a framed photo. Our family members love getting framed Christmas photos of the kids for the holidays. All you need is a good camera (I’ve taken some great photos with my phone), get your photos printed (Drugstores with photo centers, Target, Walmart, and apps like Free Prints), and a fancy frame. Frugal Tip, start your search at the dollar store.

4. Rebates
A real hardcore shopping tip. Expert shoppers, DO NOT pay full price. For anything. My favorite rebate for shopping is definitely Shopkicks. It’s basically free money for shopping and spending money you would already normally spend, and they also give you the opportunity to get points for gift cards by simply walking into the store! If you use my code [MALL659750] you can get a free 250 kicks for using the app within 7 days of joining. Another great rebate tool is Ebates. If you aren’t hip to ebates, its time to get hip. It can save you so much money on your regular shopping needs. They have a ton of stores, and coupon options to not only save your money, but you also get cash back for the money you’ve saved! If that’s not Christmas savings, I don’t know what is.

5. Do your research
Last but certainly not least, the best way to find savings for Christmas is to look for savings. How do you know that it’s not possible to get a better deal without looking for a better deal? I like to check the price tag at several stores before buying gifts. It usually consists of me checking the store that would most likely carry what I’m looking for, checking amazon (I love that prime member 2 day free shipping!) and Walmart or Target. Doing my research for sales also gives me room to find good rebate options to use. For example, if a $50 video game is on my shopping list, I would probably check somewhere like Gamestop first, and then compare prices online. Being the expert shopper that I am, I would take that knowledge and buy from the store that would save or make me the most money.

I know that Christmas shopping can possibly be one big stressful headache, but by utilizing these tips, money and saving will be the least of your worries!

*DISCLAIMER. This post contains affiliate links or special codes.

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Envelope Budgeting. How To Use An Envelope Rotation Budget On A Single Or Lower Income.

I’ve noticed a lot of people trying to attempt a newer way of budgeting; Envelope Budgeting! It’s a great concept where you allocate money to certain bills and expenses, and you ONLY spend money that you have allocated to that particular bill or expense. I think this idea is great, it definitely works if you actually remember to plan for every expense. It was hard personally during my first attempt, because I would remember all of my bills, but forget expenses like buying toilet paper and paper towels, remembering a diapers expense for the kids, but not the wipes. It was much trial and error, but from my personal experience, YES it does work.

My biggest concern with envelope budgeting is that a lot of what makes it efficient is having the money to basically get a month ahead on your bills. If you’re new to this and I lost you just now, let me explain. If on average, you spend about $200 a month on groceries, there would be an allocated $200 in your “Grocery” envelope to spend, and you would spend nothing more than your $200. The $200 would obviously have to be in the envelope ready to go when the first of the month comes along, so I thought, “Well what if you don’t have that option?” In order to make the normal way of envelope budgeting work you have to find a way to stay 1 to 2 months ahead of expenses. So lately, I’ve been trying to use a new way to budget our household expenses, while also using envelopes to help you stay on budget. So far, it’s shown to be a great way to stop overspending, without needing to always be a month or two ahead. This is obviously from my personal experience, and I’m not expert, but maybe doing this could also work for you! All you need is a few envelopes, and a general idea of your average household income.

1. Estimate your average monthly income
If your monthly income fluctuates, just use what you think is average, and remember to aim on the lower end. This ensures that you aren’t falling short in the long run. It’s better to budget with less.

2. Make a list of your various household bills in no particular order
Off the top of your head, list your monthly household expenses and try not to leave anything out. This is something that could also be doing in Microsoft Excel if you’d prefer to keep things digital. Things like Mortgage, Water, Electric, Insurance, Phone, Groceries, are obviously hard to forget, but don’t forget to estimate Household Expenses (Toilet paper, Paper Towels, Cleaning Products) Personal Upkeep (Haircuts, Nails, and other Grooming), and last but not least, personal fun money, and family fun money!

3. Take the items on that list and relist them in order of priority
This is best done on another sheet of paper so it can be separated into columns. What bills take top priority? Think of the expenses you would pay and take care of before anything else. Things like your Mortgage, Electric, and Water might fall higher on your list. Personal Fun Money and your subscription to your favorite beauty box might fall somewhere lower on the list for example.

4. Rewrite the list in order of due date
In column 2, you should rewrite your expenses listed in order of when they’re due throughout the month.

5. List the due dates for your expenses
For the sake of organization, make sure you either add a column to list the actual due dates for your expenses, or add the due date to you list in column two. When you look back on your budget, it will make things so much easier to have the actual dates listed.

6. Add a column for bill pricing/budget
In column 4, list the prices or preferred budget for all of your household expenses. If it’s an expenses that possibly fluctuates, it’s best to budget high to ensure that you aren’t coming up short.

7. Find the total of all of your monthly expenses

Add up all of your monthly expenses to get your magic number. Now, this is where you can really take a look at your current household budget for a second. If the total of your monthly expenses is more than your monthly income listed, then you should either focus on lowering your monthly expenses (You can start from the expenses on the bottom of your priority column) or find ways to increase your household income.

8. Divide your expense costs
Divide the cost of each of your expenses by 2 (If paid biweekly) and 4 (If paid weekly) to get the total that should be placed in your envelopes with each pay day.

9. Add that total to your envelopes weekly or biweekly
Label your envelopes to match your household expenses. Adding to your labeled envelopes weekly or biweekly as if you’re paying ALL of your bills every payday, ensures that by the actual due date of that expense the money has already been put aside for payment.

10. Rotate if need be
Now, because you’re budgeting using your income as it comes in, there could always be room for a shorter paycheck, or maybe the due date of an expense comes before you’ve paid all 4 weeks in full. Assuming you’ve hit that target number of income to cover your monthly expenses, and assuming your monthly expenses were all within the numbers that you budgeted for, it should be no problem for you to rotate your weekly envelope payments to suit your needs for what is due.

IF you find this necessary, you should make note of this on the envelope that you withdrew money from. Using your list where your expenses are listed in order of their due date, you should choose to draw from expenses due later in the month, or early in the following month to ensure adequate time to replace it. This keeps things in line to make sure that you’re only using money for your bills, while also not overspending.

With everything, this method is trial and error. The longer you keep at it (I’ve been doing it for 2 months now) you can see what works for your household personally and adjust accordingly.

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