15 Ways to Minimize Your Family’s Food Waste

How much food (and money) does your family throw out every day, every week, or every year? Here are some surprising food waste statistics to chew on.

Americans throw away $165 billion of food each year.

40% of food is wasted in the United States every year.

35 million tons of food are wasted in the United States each year.

The average American household throws away $2,200 of food each year.

The average American throws away 300 lbs. of food per year.

More than 20 lbs. of food is wasted per person every month in the United States.

20% of food that the average American buys is never eaten.

90% of food is thrown away too soon.

Reducing food waste by just 15% would be enough to feed more than 25 million Americans every year.

~ Source, The Swag

My first thought was we can’t possibly be throwing out that much food. We’re diligent about eating leftovers, eating from our fridge before shopping, and eating fresh foods first.

As I started to observe what food was going in the trash, however, I realized we were throwing out more than I knew and there was a lot we could improve on.

Here’s what we’ve done over the past few months to reduce the amount of food waste in our kitchen and to save money on our grocery bill.

Continue reading

Earning Interest on a Kid’s Savings Account

If your child’s piggy bank is overflowing or you want them to start earning interest on their savings, here’s a simple thing to do: open an interest bearing savings account with them.

Our local credit union, BECU, offers a youth savings account (“Early Savers Account“) with premium rate on their first $500 in deposits, and the standard posted rate thereafter. This means our eight year old is earning 6.17% on his savings (up to $500, then 0.17% after $500).

In addition to helping him save, the bank (and not just the bank of mom and dad) is paying him interest and it helps teach important money lessons. Continue reading

Childcare costs and financial independence

Childcare Costs – Balancing Finances & Family When Working Toward Financial Independence

As parents, it’s easy to meet single professionals in their late 20’s who are well on their way to an early retirement (or already living the dream) and think two things: “Darn, I wish we would have started earlier” and, “But they don’t have kids!” FIRE envy aside, one big question working families with kids must tackle is how to deal with childcare expenses.

If we both work full-time, how can we minimize childcare expenses? Should one of us cut back to part-time or fully stay at home? What other sources of income can we create to offset these costs? What is best for our kids and our family right now?

These are all questions we’ve asked and over the years, we’ve tried quite a few different arrangements with work and childcare to find the right balance between finances and what is best for our family.

Here’s our experience and tips for managing costs. Continue reading

Experiment with Chore Charts

I’d love to say we’ve raised our kids to pitch in around the house without much asking or prompting, but honestly that’s not true. Our boys (ages 3 and nearly 8) can be very helpful, but they’re also totally happy when we do things for them. Get milk, clear plates, do laundry, make snacks, tidy rooms, put away their backpacks, find their shoes. You get the picture.

The other week I was standing in the kitchen doing all the things for all the people and felt overwhelmed. At that moment, I realized we needed to change things up.

We always envisioned raising self-sufficient, non-entitled, responsible kids… but sometimes we need a new strategy to help us reset, stay consistent, and follow through. Continue reading

Figuring Out Where to Buy Groceries

Nerd alert. I love talking about grocery budgets. Why? It’s one of the easiest budgets to trim, and yet it’s also one of the easiest budgets to blow if you’re not on top of it.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve tried a lot of different strategies for reducing our budget (more on that here), and one of the most efficient ways to trim the budget is to know where to buy your groceries.

So, which grocery store has the best deals?  Continue reading

Ditching Paper Towels for Good

A few months ago, I was shopping at Costco for our large monthly grocery haul. Paper towels were on the list, and as I stared at the mega box our family would blow through, I thought, “Do I really want to spend $20 on paper towels?” The answer was no. Instead,  I bought a dozen white dish towels for $10. Without giving it much preemptive thought, operation ditch paper towels had begun. Continue reading

Infographic - Money Tips from Warren Buffett

5 Habits to Manage Your Money Like Warren Buffett [Infographic]

If your family is working toward financial freedom, eliminating debt, or simply getting your finances in order, developing smart habits is important for success. Not only do healthy money habits help you achieve your financial goals, they are great lessons to teach our children about managing money. Continue reading