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