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Small Cuts Save Big Money! – How It Adds Up II

None of us would dream of going to the store, buying two loaves of bread, bringing them home and throwing them in the trash but that is exactly what we do. We just do it with small amounts daily.

Most of you have seen our original How It Adds Up article, where we looked at how small purchases add up and how cutting various small things from our daily spending can add up to a lot of money each year. Today, I’ll look at how wasting a little here and a little there can cost you big money over time.

I keep saying you can save on groceries before you even leave to go to the store and one of the ways you can do it is to stop wasting the food you do buy. Today I’m going to share are a few examples to illustrate how those little things that our families don’t eat and end up throwing away add up. These are estimates and whe the price of an item varies, I generally estimated using the less expensive amount.



Here are a few examples of commonly wasted items in a typical home:

  • Juice – If each member of a family of 4 leaves half a glass of juice in the glass a day, that family wastes 10 cans of juice per month. That works out to $20 per month or $240 per year that gets thrown away.

  • Peanut Butter – If 2 kids leave half a sandwich uneaten, it adds up to 2 jars of peanut butter a month. At $3.50 per jar, this works out to $7.00 per month or $84 per year. This doesn’t factor in the wasted bread.

  • Apples – If 2 kids leave half an apple a day uneaten, it works out to 3 bags of apples a month. At about $3 per bag, that works out to $9 per month or $108 per year.

  • MilkIf 2 kids leave half a cup of milk in a glass or a cereal bowl twice a day, 1 gallon of milk gets wasted per week. This works out to $3 per week, $13 per month or $156 per year of wasted milk.

When we total the waste on just these four items, it works out to $49 per month or $588 per year that is wasted and simply gets thrown away.

Note that these figures only consider families where 2 children leave just half a sandwich per day or leave half a glass of juice or milk per day. The reality is that most kids toss that much per meal, 3 times or more per day so in most cases those figures could be easily doubled, bringing the total to $1176 per year.

I calculated these numbers based on a family with two children, but if you have more, then these numbers would be higher.


Note that I used just 4 food items as examples. How many other things are thrown away, like wasted veggies, potatoes, meat, cookies and more? Not only that, there are the stale chips and other things that get wasted because they’re not stored properly or they get lost in a disorganized pantry until they go bad.

Think of your food in this way: If my kids leave half a sandwich a day, not only am I throwing out that much peanut butter but I am also throwing out a couple of loaves of bread each month.

You can save $49 or more per month preventing waste with just the four items listed above. If you start counting bread from the uneaten sandwiches, cereal left in the bowls each morning, stale chips and cookies, you could instantly increase your savings to $100 a month (and probably a lot more) without changing one thing about your spending (coupons, clearance items, sale items) at the store.

Open your eyes and really notice what is happening with your food in your home.



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