We’re going for $5 a day (daytime) challenge and saving $5,000 by cutting food waste. Could you?

My mate James has bought a new house, He’s on a mission to save money and cut wasteful spending. He wants to spend less than $5 a day on food/coffee and asked me how.

My friend Emma recently worked out she spent $1,680 a year on take-away coffee – To be fair, she told me how many she bought and I did that Math! Emma bought my book, she wants to be Underspent not Overspent.

Another friend Melissa spends $250 each week on food and reckons she throws out about one quarter of what she buys. Working late and not planning meals are the problem she says. She asked for help, she’s saving for her 1st house.

• The average Aussie, American and British household throws 1 in 5 shopping bags of food into the bin.
• That’s 20% of what we buy, thrown away.
• That means the average Aussie household throws $3,250 of food in the bin each year.

So if Emma were to quit all, or some, of her takeaway coffees and if Melissa and the average household were to eat, rather than throw away, all the food they buy they’d save $4,930 a year! James is impressed by that.

James has set a challenge. We’re going for a ”spending only $5 a day” (daytime – lunch and work time food and drinks) challenge and aiming to save $5,000 a year (on cutting food waste and coffee purchases) without making any big changes in our life. Could you?

Here are my 10 top tips: to save money and cut food waste.

1. Save 20% of what you earn. This one is always #1. For me, saving 20% – 25% of every cent I earn is a non-negotiable. Why? Because the world is changing. Governments are receiving less tax and 49% of jobs are at risk of digital disruption. No one really knows what the future holds. There’s never been a more important time to start saving money.
2. Set-up and stick to a budget – 41% of us borrow from friends, family and loans every month to survive until pay day. Everyone’s financial obligations are different but I’ve found that setting up a monthly food budget helped me save cash. Email me for my FREE budget form and my FREE Underspent Success Board.
3. Plan meals for week – Every week my sister plans her meals for the following week. They work out their evening meals, their lunches, the ingredients and buy only what they need. No wasted food and no wasted money.
4. Buy only what you need – Yep the supermarket trolleys are super-sized so that we buy more than we need. I take a shopping list and a shopping basket (not a trolley). It means I buy what I need, not what the supermarket thinks I need.
5. Say yes to doggie bags – The restaurant doggie bag is a contentious issue. Many of my friends disapprove. I always ask for my leftovers in restaurants and eat them the next day for lunch. Reducing food waste and saving money!
6. Pack your own lunch – In 2015 I failed at the home-made packed lunch almost every day. In 2016 is my year of ‘taking my own lunch’. I am saving a staggering $55 a week that’s $2,640 a year!!
7. Stew – Any leftover vegetables, cooked or uncooked, end up in my slow cooker and get made into soups or stews. I save money by creating ‘new’ meals from ‘waste’ and my repurposing means fewer trips to the supermarket and less buying.
8. Compote – I cook old and overripe fruit into a stew/compote and add to yoghurt or to bulk up fruit smoothies.
9. Freeze – I freeze anything and everything from leftover soup to undrunk red wine. My freezer is a jumble of food but there is always something to defrost and reheat! And always meals at the end of the month when money is tight.
10. Pot luck meals – When I have random things in my fridge I create a ‘pot luck dinner’ – a mix matched random feast. It creates a dinner, uses up what I already have and eliminates spending money on ‘new’ food.
And finally… Read my blogs – I didn’t buy anything new or 2nd hand during 2014 and saved 38% of my take-home salary (yes that was a lot of money saved). I changed my spending and transformed my savings without dramatically changing my life. I’m the author of Underspent and I help men and women change their spending to transform their savings.

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BUY THE BOOK. You can buy a signed paperback copy of Underspent direct from me (RRP $12.99 plus P&P) or in e-book or Kindle formats priced $2.99 or £1.92. I’ve intentionally made the e-book inexpensive, so that even the people with the smallest budgets can afford to buy it. Amazon http://amzn.to/1E1ifp0 Barnes & Noblehttp://bit.ly/1A1NbKPKobo http://bit.ly/1bR9uHF Goodreads http://bit.ly/1KLRPNaCopia http://bit.ly/1RHaMpL iTunes http://apple.co/1V6OXE5 Underspent: Changing Spending, Transforming Savings