Top of main content

Steps to reduce food waste and save money

For many households in Malaysia food shopping is among the biggest expenses.

A Malaysian household of 5 people spends an average of nearly MYR900 a month on groceries – but nearly a quarter of that food gets wasted. This means every month MYR225 of your grocery budget ends up in the bin.

If you could save MYR50 a month from your monthly shopping bill, you'd save MYR600 a year. Save MYR250 a month and you'd save over MYR3,000 a year.

Your weekly savings over a year

This table shows what weekly savings can add up to over a year.
Monthly saving Annual saving
MYR50 MYR600
MYR100 MYR1,200
MYR150 MYR1,800
MYR200 MYR2,400
MYR250 MYR3,000
This table shows what weekly savings can add up to over a year.
Monthly saving MYR50 MYR50
Annual saving MYR600 MYR600
Monthly saving MYR100 MYR100
Annual saving MYR1,200 MYR1,200
Monthly saving MYR150 MYR150
Annual saving MYR1,800 MYR1,800
Monthly saving MYR200 MYR200
Annual saving MYR2,400 MYR2,400
Monthly saving MYR250 MYR250
Annual saving MYR3,000 MYR3,000

Depending on your financial situation, you could use the money you save to pay off debts, build an emergency fund, or invest.

Where are we wasting food?

While food is an obvious essential, a lot of it goes to waste. Food production and waste combined are among the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming and climate change.

Vast amounts of resources – including energy, water, and fuel – go into the process of producing, storing, transporting and disposing of food.

Some common reasons why we end up wasting food are:

  • not keeping things in the fridge
  • not making the most of ingredients – for example, throwing out crusts and vegetable stalks or skins
  • letting food expire without using it
  • throwing away leftovers rather than eating them
  • serving bigger portions than necessary

Wasting less could help you save money and have a positive impact on the environment.

Tips on how to reduce food waste

There are steps you can take to stop food waste and save money on groceries.

Set a budget

Creating a budget is a great way to make the most of your money. First, estimate how much you've spent on food in the last 3 months. Checking your statements and transactions should help you to do this. 

Are you comfortable with the amount you're spending, or would you rather it was less? If so, by how much? It helps to set yourself a goal.

Then, each time you make a budget – for example, every month when you get paid – set aside a certain amount for food. But make sure it's realistic and don't feel you have to cut out all luxuries – just aim to spend within your means.

Plan your meals

Make a list of your main meals for the coming week, including all the ingredients you'll need. Check which ingredients you have already, so you only buy what you need.

Try to include food you already have in your plan – especially fresh food that could otherwise go to waste. Are there items you could add, or substitute, in to the next week's recipes to save you buying more?

Think about the types of ingredients on your list and try to include some cheaper meals. Is there anything you could batch cook to cover several dinners?

The main thing is to know why you're buying each item and to have a plan for how and when you'll use it – even if it's just an 'afternoon snack'.

Decide when and where you'll shop

Shopping less often can help you think more carefully about what you buy and save you money. You may find it easier to stick to your budget if you only shop once a week.

And try to find the right shops for you – ones that have the types of food you want at prices that fit within your budget.

Shop – or at least research – online

Shopping online is a good way to manage your budget, as you can monitor how much you're spending with every item you add to your basket. Some shops offer a similar in-store experience, where you can add up as you go along.

Even if you're not placing an order, you can check prices online to have a better idea of whether your shopping list fits your budget. Check out your credit card-i's latest offers to save money on groceries while you shop.

See all HSBC Malaysia credit card-i offers

Store your food carefully

Check the best way to store different foods so they don't go off. Check use-by dates too. If you don't have a plan to use something before its use-by date, can you freeze it?

Batch cooking and freezing portions will also help you save money and preserve food. And then you've got a ready-made home-cooked meal even when you don't have time to cook.

This will save you from wasting money on those last minute take outs. Just don't forget to defrost! There's nothing worse than coming home after a long day of work to find that your Hokkien Mee is frozen solid.

You may also be interested in

There are many ways you can help reduce your environmental impact, including how you travel.
Save money on your energy bill by learning how to become more energy efficient today.
From quick fixes to generating your own renewable energy, find out what you can do to save energy.