Making Ends Meet: Saving money by making groceries last longer

If you’re having trouble making ends meet, we get it! Everything is more expensive, including what you’re having to pay at the grocery store.

Since shopping for food is a must, over the next several days, The Morning Show is going to help you cut your costs.

We want to begin with making what you buy last as long as possible, because having to throw away uneaten food from the fridge is like throwing money right into the garbage.

News4JAX has had a partnership for years with the experts at Consumer Reports, and Home Editor Paul Hope -- who is a classically trained chef -- will do just about anything to keep food from going in the trash in his own home.

“One of my biggest pet peeves is wasting food. Not only is it a total waste of money, it just seems unethical to me. So, I go to great lengths to do whatever I can to use stuff up before it goes bad,” Hope said.

He recently repurposed leftover meat to make several different meals for a week, something he does often. For example, he has used beef stew as a topping on nachos, turned hot dog buns into a dessert, and used hamburger buns for grilled cheese.

Hope’s other cost-saving tip is meal planning. When mapping out meals for the week, Hope often buys in bulk and buys frozen -- so he can just thaw only the portion he needs for that particular meal.

He also has a trick for making sure expensive proteins can be used in different dishes throughout the week.

“I keep food as plain as possible, as long as possible. Because once you alter the flavor of something you really can’t undo that,” he explained.

Then add the unique seasonings to the portion you need for the day’s meal. Round out the meal with any veggies you may have that are almost past their prime.

When it comes to storing food, another Consumer Reports expert, Home Editor Dan Wroclawski, says that keeping groceries on the right shelves and in bins in your fridge can help cut down on food waste and save you money.

“For your more expensive grocery items, such as meat and eggs, you want to store them on the lower shelves inside your refrigerator, which tend to be coldest,” Wroclawski said.

And he said don’t be afraid to use your freezer. Something like bread is going to last a lot longer when it’s frozen.

CONSUMER REPORTS: 5 Steps to an Organized Refrigerator So Your Food Lasts Longer

Wroclawski recommends you save your fridge door for items like butter and condiments instead of milk or eggs. That’s because temperatures on your refrigerator door tend to be a few degrees higher than the inside shelves.

You’ll want to make an effort to watch The Morning Show on Channel 4 for even more savings on groceries:

  • Egg-spensive Eggs: Those prices we’re seeing right now are no joke! So, we want to help you save there too. Did you know that “farm fresh” and “natural” don’t mean anything? The experts at Consumer Reports help us decode those labels so you can have a cheaper breakfast. We also tell you how long you can keep eggs in the fridge and how to tell if they’re still fresh.
  • Saving Big: We reveal the secret to getting over 70% off on your next trip to the grocery store. We also share tricks so you can still buy your family the healthy foods you need but without paying those inflated prices.