Top of main content

How to cut down on food waste and save money at the same time

For most households, food shopping is one of the biggest weekly or monthly expenses - especially if you have children.

But a lot of this food is often wasted. You can reduce this by planning your shopping more carefully, which could add up to a significant saving over time.

This table shows what weekly savings can add up to over a year:

Weekly saving Annual saving
HKD25 HKD1,300
HKD50 HKD2,600
HKD75 HKD3,900
HKD100 HKD5,200
HKD150 HKD7,800

This table shows what weekly savings can add up to over a year:

Weekly saving HKD25 HKD25
Annual saving HKD1,300 HKD1,300
Weekly saving HKD50 HKD50
Annual saving HKD2,600 HKD2,600
Weekly saving HKD75 HKD75
Annual saving HKD3,900 HKD3,900
Weekly saving HKD100 HKD100
Annual saving HKD5,200 HKD5,200
Weekly saving HKD150 HKD150
Annual saving HKD7,800 HKD7,800

Depending on your financial situation, you could use this money to pay off debts, build your emergency fund, or put it towards another savings goal.

Waste reduction

Hong Kong generates over 15,000 tonnes of waste every day, which is disposed of at landfill sites. In fact, each person in Hong Kong dumps about 1.27kg of municipal solid waste a day[@sustainability-govhk-greenshopping]. With food accounting for about 40% of Hong Kong's municipal solid waste[@sustainability-foodwise-foodwaste].  much of this could be reduced, recycled or even recovered.

Food production and food waste combined are also some of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming and climate change. Huge amounts of resources – including energy, water, and fuel – go into producing, storing, transporting and disposing food.

By cutting down on food waste, you can save money and have a positive impact on the environment. Read on to discover tips on how to do exactly that.

Tips on reducing waste and saving money

First, have a think about why we end up wasting food. Here are some common reasons:

  • serving bigger portions than necessary
  • throwing away and not eating leftovers
  • storing incorrectly, such as not refrigerating
  • letting food expire without using it
  • not making the most of ingredients – for example throwing out vegetable stalks, skins,  and crusts

Here are some ways to avoid wasting food.

  1. Create a budget

    A budget is a great way to make the most of your money. Start by estimating how much you’ve spent on food over the last 3 months. You can check your transactions and statements to work this out.


    Are you comfortable with that amount, or do you want to spend less? If so, how much less? It may help to set yourself a goal.


    Then, each time you make a budget, set aside a certain amount for food. Make sure it's realistic – it’s fine to include luxury items as long as you’re spending within your means.


    You can use Budget, a personal financial management tool on the HSBC HK app to help track your spending.

  2. Plan your meals

    Make a list of your main meals for the coming week, including all the ingredients you'll need. Check what you already have, and add the rest to your shopping list.


    Try to account for whatever food you already have in your kitchen – especially fresh food that may otherwise go to waste. Are there items you could add, or substitute, in to next week’s recipes to save you from buying more?


    Think about the types of ingredients on your list and try to include some cheaper meals. Is there anything you could batch cook to cover 2 dinners for instance?


    The main thing is to be able to justify why you’re buying each item and to have a plan for how and when you’ll use it. This will prevent you from buying more than you need.

  3. Plan your shopping

    If you shop less often it could help you think more carefully about what you buy, which could result in saving you money. You may find it easier to stick to your budget if you only shop once a week.


    Try to find the right shops for you – ones that have all the types of food you want at prices that fit your budget.


    Family-sized products are often cheaper and also have less packaging - and therefore create less waste. 


    And remember to bring your own shopping bag with you, to avoid having to buy a plastic bag.

  4. Store your food carefully

    To make sure food doesn't go off, check the best ways to store it, such as refrigerating it. You can also freeze it if you're not going to use it before its expiry date.


    Batch cooking and freezing portions will also help you save money and preserve food. And then when you don’t have time to cook, you’ve got a ready-made meal waiting for you in the freezer. You just have to defrost it.


    Also try to reuse packaging materials, such as bags, paper or plastic boxes and glass jars. And try to recycle the rest of the packaging materials. 

  5. Shop online

    Shopping online is a good way to manage your budget, as you can monitor how much you’re spending with every item you add to your basket.


    Even if you’re not placing an order, you can check prices online to have a better idea of whether your shopping list fits your budget.


    You can also use the 'Budget' feature in the HSBC HK Mobile Banking app to set budgets and track your everyday spending with ease.

You may also be interested in

Going green can save you money. Here are some tips on energy saving solutions.
Find out why and how we're phasing out single-use PVC payment cards.
With sustainable investing you're not just investing in your own future, but in positive change. Want to know more?