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6 tips to reduce how much food you toss out

Monday - 10/22/2012, 9:43am  ET

peppers (Thinkstock)
Before you buy the big bag of peppers, make sure you actually have a plan for them. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - The bright yellow, red and green peppers made you think you'd make stuffed peppers one night for dinner, so you bought them.

The mushrooms looked delicious and you thought they'd be great in stir-fry, so you bought them.

The strawberries smelled great and were on sale, so you bought them.

A week or two (or three) goes by and those items are still in the refrigerator.

Sound familiar?

Every year, the average family tosses more than $2,275 worth of unused food, roughly 40 percent of what the family purchased, reports Yahoo.

The Natural Resources Defense Council says reducing by 15 percent the amount of food wasted in the U.S. could feed more than 25 million people.

Consumer spending experts say there are ways to reduce the amount of food thrown out and help your family's bottom line.

  • While it's a no-brainer, don't go to the store when you are hungry.

  • Plan out your meals in advance and only buy what you need.

  • Be aware of sneaky grocery store tactics. Don't start shopping in the produce section. Start in the center of the store, where you won't be swayed by the bright colors and fresh smells.

  • Those products on the ends of aisles aren't always deals. Stores often sell that space to brands looking for extra marketing.

  • Be careful when something is priced per pound. Those five apples may cost you more than you realize, especially if you leave three of them on the counter to get mushy.

  • Before you buy meat, check the expiration date and press down on it. If excess juices come out, the meat is probably old.

WTOP's Veronica Robinson and Colleen Kelleher contributed to this report. Follow Veronica, Colleen and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)