Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
I have a way to add more than $2,000 to your annual household income and there’s no pay increase needed.
A new study from the Natural Resources Defense Council finds Americans now throw away 40 percent of their food each year — at home, in restaurants and in the supermarket. That equates to $165 billion in wasted food each year.
The typical family of four ends up throwing out nearly $2,300 in food annually.
We’re all guilty of this. I think about myself in my own life. I was going to serve my kids some milk from the fridge and it had that rank smell. So I poured out about 20 percent of the gallon. I did that just out of habit.
Then I think about how many times things go out of date or spoil at my house. I ate a banana last night that was marginal. There was a peach that went unloved so I threw it out. We do this all the time. All of us.
In sit-down restaurants, the portions we have here in the United States are monstrous. I mean, one of our side dishes would feed a family in the rest of the world. That’s why I’ve long recommended sharing an entrée among two people. You can have less food, reduce your calories and trim your bill — though a plate charge will typically apply.
Meanwhile, websites like SuperCook.com and MyFridgeFood.com can help you cook a meal out of just what you have on hand in the kitchen. Just visit these sites, enter what it’s in your fridge, and you’ll get a meal plan. There’s also an iPhone app called What’s in My Fridge that does the same thing.
Take these tools and save that food. Use it and serve a meal. We’re talking about thousands of dollars a year that stays in your pocket.
-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs
Find more answers to your consumer questions at ClarkHoward.com. Listen to his radio show live 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.