Eating is a basic human necessity... but it shouldn't have to cost a fortune. Sometimes it's easy get carried away with spending on food, but here are the five biggest reasons you spend too much money on food and how to stop.


Have you walked into a grocery store with a list in mind but ended up either finding items not on that list or buying the items on your list in bulk? It's not an uncommon habit practiced by the average consumer, but this practice could be burning a hole in your wallet. In a recent study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), it was found that Americans throw away approximately $165 billion worth of food each year. That totals to be up to $2,200 per household. Not only are you spending money on food you may not even eat, but also creating unnecessary waste. 

Some solutions:'s article suggests consumers shop more frequently rather than to buy in bulk since buying in bulk encourages buying too much, although you are getting a better deal. Personally, I have even found myself going too frequently when friends ask me to accompany them on grocery shopping dates. Find a good balance and pay attention to how much food you are actually consuming versus the amount of items that have gone past its expiration date that you end up throwing away.

Buying Out of Season

apple, juice, sweet, pasture
Santina Renzi

Sometimes we get those cravings for strawberries or blueberries in the middle of the winter but unfortunately these fruits can't always be in season and this craving can get expensive. Just read Alan Henry's article about why buying seasonally is better for you and  your wallet.

Some Solutions: Try to wait or maybe get frozen fruits. They may not be as good as the fresh version but they are a cheaper alternative. 

Expiration Dates

This topic has been debated and misunderstood for quite some time. At home, my parents do not pay much care to expiration dates, but rather rely on instinct as to whether or not to eat these foods. On the other hand, I have friends who swear by the expiration date and even question its safety a few days before the expiration date. KUTV points out that the inconsistency of the printings make it even harder to tell, but that "most" food is still good after the date printed on the label. But according to Real Simple's article, there are some dates that should be followed, but there are other items where they can last much longer than what is printed. 

Some Solutions: It's hard to tell what you should do about dates. But more often than you think, your intuition is accurate. 

Buying at the Wrong Store

It makes sense for people to choose to shop at a single store for all their groceries: it saves time and requires less effort. However, I have noticed that certain grocery stores are better for buying certain items of food. There are better deals at one store for produce, there are better deals for baked goods or canned goods at another.

Some Solutions: If you have time, cross check weekly flyers from different stores.

Eating Out

The biggest culprit of them all and hurts my heart the most. Time Money reports that "the price gap between cooking and dining out is growing larger." Eight dollars for a big Qdoba meal may sound like a great deal, but what if you made your own version at home? A can of beans can be around a dollar, some ground meat is a few dollars, rice is only a dollar for a pound, cheese tomatoes peppers is less than five bucks. Together, you can make multiple servings of a Qdoba meal for a fraction of the price! 

Some Solutions: For dealing with laziness, meal prep is a great way to completely eliminate having to cook on busy days (not to mention a great way to portion your food and prevent yourself from overeating). For dealing with peer pressure to eat out, suggest staying in and cooking a meal together instead! It's a great way to spend time together and make lasting memories.