Why Wasting Food Can Save You Money

If you grew up like me, you were told not to waste any food. How could you possibly think about leaving the table with food on your plate when there were thousands, no millions, of hungry, starving children in third world countries? If you don’t finish your plate, this food is going to be sent to those starving children!

I’m going to let you in on a secret, now that I’m much older and a little bit wiser. First, that food was never destined for a third world country. As great as it would be to send that excess food over, the transportation costs would make it uneconomic. Second, you may feel like wasting food is a waste of money, but you’re probably saving yourself a lot of money in the long-run.

Don’t Waste Food for the Sake of Wasting Food

Obviously, wasting food costs more money than not wasting food. So if you find that you’re throwing out a lot of groceries because it goes bad or you’re making too much food, cut back and save yourself some money. What I’m referring to is eating food even though you don’t really want to for the sake of not wasting food. This does absolutely nothing to save money. You’ve already spent money on the food. It’s a sunk cost.

Why Wasting Food can Save You Money Later

For my job, I go to a lot of dinners with analysts or management teams. It’s unhealthy enough going out to eat, but it’s worse when somebody orders a lot of food for the table. I used to feel bad when the food was unfinished, so I’d always end up finding a way to fit it in my stomach. This happened a lot during dessert. Especially when there was cake, or anything with chocolate.

Wasting food, except when it comes to chocolate cake
I’d have to think long and hard about throwing this away.

When I was in my 20’s, this wasn’t a problem. I’d gain a few pounds after pigging out for a few meals or when I went on vacation. But after a week of watching what I ate, I could easily get back down to my ideal weight. Now that I’m older, this is much harder to do.

This is why I avoid buffets now. Before, it used to be all about seeing how I could get my money’s worth. Now, it’s about trying to make sure I don’t have a heart attack at the table.

Save on Healthcare Costs

If you haven’t noticed, obesity is a problem in the US. If you’re young, healthcare costs aren’t a big deal. But they will be…

According to this article from AARP, which was published in 2013, the average couple retiring at age 65 will need $240,000 to cover future medical costs. This is probably the most expensive cost in retirement outside of housing.

According to the CDC, obesity increases the risk of:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease
  • A bunch of other stuff (holy crap this list is long!)

If you’re looking to save money, this is the place to do it. I’d rather “waste” a few dollars today to save tens of thousands in the future.

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