Tips to fatten your wallet and stretch your food bill

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Grocery prices are on the rise, yet Americans throw away 40 percent of the food they buy. It's a staggering statistic, but Valley residents say it doesn't surprise them.

One woman tells 3 On Your Side, "I think it really shows that Americans have excessive habits."

Another consumer told us, "Every time we eat we see a lot of stuff going to the waste because places serve more than you can eat."

So what can you do to save money and cut down on what your throw away? According to Yahoo Financially Fit, you can start by trying to shop wisely. Make out a list before you grocery shop and stick to the list. Experts say most of the food we throw out simply goes bad before we even eat it.

Try to cook smarter. In other words, don't cook more than you can reasonably eat in a given time and include leftovers in your calculations.

Try using your freezer. Many foods can be safely frozen, so instead of throwing out food, tuck it away in your freezer and try eating it later on.

Understand expiration dates. Most expiration dates don't reflect the safety of the food. They usually pertain to the peak quality and when it's best to eat by. Expiration dates are more for retailers, which tells stores when to take them off their shelves, but the food itself is still good.

And finally, when dining out, watch what your order. Restaurants are known for serving jumbo-size meals, so don't be bashful to splitting a meal. Not only will your waistline appreciate it, but so will your wallet.