I knew, coming into this project, that one of the biggest challenges I would face was actually coming to terms with all of the food that I don't eat. I've always been a food waster. I buy food, especially produce, then get distracted by something else delicious so I don't eat what I bought. Eventually, I forget what I have in my fridge so that, two months later, I rummage about only to find soggy, spore-ridden zucchini or bread or cheese. It's a problem.
So, I'm not hiding from what has, on occasion, amounted to several trash bags worth of wasted food (of course, I was living with two roommates, so they helped, but...). When I started thinking about my long-term goals with this, I had to decide what to do about this problem when it comes to trying to live under a certain amount per month.
My solution was two-fold: I would, once a month, clean my fridge of anything past its best-by date and add together approximates of what I had spent. Then, I'd add that to the totals for the month and see if I still remained under my goal.
Secondly, the amount that the wasted food was worth would go into a jar. Closer to the end of the year, I'll go on a shopping trip for whichever local food bank is collecting near me!
Like I said, I've realized that this is enough of a problem that I will have enough to make a substantial contribution at the end of each year (although, hopefully, it will diminish with time!).
This past fridge cleaning, I put away $5.20 in my jar. Considering that half of the contributions were only about $0.10 a piece...that's quite a bit.
I'm working, very slowly, toward reducing what I waste, but knowing what I waste is another first step.