Simple ways to stretch your food budget

Crockpot chili is easy to make. (WTOP/Colleen Kelleher)

WASHINGTON – Cleaning out the refrigerator is one of those chores nobody likes, especially folks who buy but don’t eat what they purchase.

But families looking to stretch their food dollars have options.

Using airtight containers can keep food fresh longer. “Good Housekeeping” recommends Lock-Its from Rubbermaid, as well as Smart Snap from Ziploc.

Coolers are another option, especially for trips to the grocery store when stocking up on perishables and frozen foods. “Good Housekeeping” gives the Rubbermaid DuraChill 5-Day Cooler an “A” rating for staying cool more than 12 hours.

Another way to reduce the $600 a year the typical family tosses is to freeze food. Meat, bread and even cakes freeze well. Prepackaged frozen fruits and vegetables have the same nutrients as fresh ones.

And, for those who have never unpacked the slow cooker their Aunt Jane gave them for a wedding present, dig it out of the attic.

Slow cookers let users save both time and money, and planning dinner saves time. Families looking to save a couple of bucks can easily buy cheaper cuts of meat and dress them up using tasty recipes on Pinterest and other Internet sites.

WTOP’s Veronica Robinson contributed to this story. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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