These days, everyone’s looking for ways to save money. If you’ve cut down on dining out, adopted more frugal habits and switched to energy efficient appliances, you may think you’ve done all you can to limit expenses. However, there are a few lesser known pound-stretching strategies which help you save on regular outgoings; among these methods is reducing food waste.

There are several ways to accomplish this – you could embrace a more off-the-cuff cooking style, ditch your big weekly shop in favour of smaller, more frequent trips to the market or grocery store, or plan out meals for the upcoming week.

Alternatively, one of the simplest ways to reduce food waste is to organise and optimise your refrigerator, creating well laid-out, common sense arrangements that increase the visibility of everything you have on hand.  Here’s how to get started and reduce spoilage today.

Keep cool

To prevent bacteria from spoiling your food, set your refrigerator to five degrees Celsius or less. Not only will this help preserve fresh produce, it’ll create a more hygienic storage space for meat, dairy and leftovers, too. If you haven’t already, get a home appliance warranty to protect your fridge in case of a breakdown or malfunction.

Store leftovers in see-through containers

Keep leftovers in glass or transparent plastic containers, so that every time you open the refrigerator door, they’re clearly visible. Remember the saying, ‘out of sight, out of mind’? The same applies to your leftover casserole. The ability to see what foods are available means you’re far more likely to eat them up in time.

Separate produce and meat

Storing meat side-by-side with fruit and veg can lead to spoilage and excessive food waste. Make sure meat and seafood, regardless of whether it’s raw or cooked, is properly sealed before placing it in the fridge. Designate the bottom shelf for meat, as placing it higher could result in dripping and contamination.

Rotate stock

Rotate stock in your refrigerator, just like they do at supermarkets, by bringing older items to the front and placing fresh, new foods further back. You’ll be more inclined to use up these items before they go off, resulting in less food being thrown away.

Keep an inventory

If food waste is a serious problem, then keep an inventory of items in your fridge and pantry. It may seem a little drastic, but it’s a great way to whip yourself into shape and develop money-saving habits. Use a dry erase board and marker to list perishable items like bananas, berries and bread, marking down each day until they’re set to expire. Categorise items, including meat, fruit, veg, dairy and grains. Utilising a simple, comprehensive list to visualise your food stock will change your eating habits in no time.

Get organised

Thanks to high-profile celebrities and recent campaigns to promote frugality and prevent food waste, it’s easier than ever to find items with which to organise your refrigerator’s contents. Try plastic baskets for produce (complete with labels, of course) and a lazy Susan turntable for dressing, sauces and chutneys. There’s even a lazy Susan on the market with clear, sealed containers for leftovers. All these new-fangled storage options prove organisation is not only easy, but fun, too.

© Axonn 2015