The following is a guest post
Are you looking for ways to save money? If so, you’re not alone. Finances are tight for many families across the country. As a result, some people sacrifice yearly vacations and entertain at home to save a buck. Other families go as far as canceling their cable or telephone services, as well as downsizing to save on rent or mortgage payments. But these aren’t the only ways to cut expenses and get the most out of your money.
Most families grocery shop on a weekly or biweekly basis. And if you have a large family, you can easily spend hundreds of dollars on food every month. Clipping coupons, buying generic and shopping sales are simple ways to lower your grocery bill. But if you frequently throw away old, unused food, you actually waste money. Fortunately, there are simple and practical food storage techniques to increase the shelf life of your groceries.
1. Refrigerate fruits. Fruits, such as apples, oranges and bananas, can be left outside the refrigerator – perhaps in a bowl. Understand, however, fruits and vegetables left outside the refrigerator will ripen faster and spoil sooner. This isn’t a problem if you eat these items soon after purchase. But if you shop biweekly or monthly, and therefore need to preserve the life of your fruits and vegetables, store these items in the refrigerator.
2. Keep bread inside the refrigerator or freezer. Some people keep their breads in decorative boxes. Again, if you purchase bread on a weekly basis, you can safely keep it on your kitchen counter or inside a cupboard. But if you want your bread to last for at least two weeks, the fridge or freezer is the best location. Thus, the bread can maintain its freshness longer.
3. Buy non-perishable items in bulk. Items, such as canned goods, rice and nuts have a shelf life of 24 to 48 months. Because these items stay fresh longer, you can afford to buy in bulk. There is an initial upfront expense, but you’ll save money in the long run.
4. Keep meats in your freezer. If you don’t plan to cook your meats within a day or two after purchase, immediately store them in the freezer. Additionally, if you buy a large packet of meat for multiple meals, divide the meal before freezing. This alleviates thawing and re-freezing, which can contribute to the growth of bacteria.
5. Tightly seal your cheese. Cheese can mold quickly if not properly sealed. Wrap your cheese tightly to maintain its freshness, and then freeze or store the cheese in a plastic sandwich bag.
6. Do not store eggs in the refrigerator door. This is a common location for eggs. But since the door opens and closes throughout the day, the temperature in this area varies. To maintain the shelf life of eggs, store them in the coldest section of your fridge – preferably somewhere in the middle.
Stop flushing money down the toilet. It can be hard to judge your food needs, and if you purchase too much, items are bound to go bad. But with simple preservation techniques, you can get the most out of your grocery budget.
About the author: Jenna is a freelance writer who normally writes on the topics of personal finance, education, and career. Jenna has been writing on these topics for a number of years now and also writes about health and fitness on occassion. Jenna is a big fan of exercise, but not running! You can read more personal finance writing by Jenna at paidtwice.com.