It's a kitchen scene that's all too familiar for the majority of households.

Jars of unfinished Marmite, boxes of half-eaten Cornflakes, tins of tuna and bottles of tomato sauce waiting patiently to be consumed.

But it's this expensive habit of not finishing what you've got in the fridge or pantry that's costing some thousands of dollars.

The Australian government estimates food waste costs the economy $20 billion each year, with one in five shopping bags ending up in the bin.

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New parents Daniella and Greg Marshall aren't exempt from the expensive habit.

Since becoming new parents to their son Hunter, the Marshalls have found themselves caught in the trap of convenience food, weekly takeout meals and impulse buying at the supermarket.

Daniella, who says she used to love to cook, says she now often turns to packaged foods and items of convenience for lunches and dinners for her small family.

Property valuer Greg says he can't resist his lunchtime McDonald's, his five daily servings of soft drink and truckloads of bottled water.

The pair never shops with a list, meaning they are often buying more of what they don't need, and not enough of the items they could use.

The Marshalls, who appeared on Eat More for Less, are forking out around $20,580 a year on groceries — but it's what's lurking in their pantry and fridge that's causing the most damage.

The premise of the series is to offer practical advice to help people eat better while also saving thousands annually in the process.

With more than $40 worth of unused berries in their freezer, $15 worth of juice and $50 in Pepsi cans waiting to be consumed, the Marshall's pantry checks out at $2000 worth of items waiting to be eaten — despite the pair buying more of the product every week.

"These guys are hemoraging cash," host and chef Ben O'Donghue said.

"They've got $2000 in the cupboard..and [they've] just spent $400 more."

But it's their coffee and McDonald's spending habits that are also costing the young couple thousands each year.

Combined, the Marshalls spend around $130 each week on said items — and that's on top of their already hefty grocery shop.

Greg and Danielle Marshall were spending $20,000 on groceries each year. Photo / Channel 9
Greg and Danielle Marshall were spending $20,000 on groceries each year. Photo / Channel 9

"I feel slightly ashamed," Greg told hosts McKinnon and O'Donoghue.

"This would pretty much be the second biggest cost to the household. It's a big chunk of money that could be put into something else.

"We don't need so many drinks," Daniella added. "We are food hoarders."

1. LOOK BELOW YOUR EYELINE

Supermarkets will often put their most expensive items at the eye line height of the average shopper, and place the cheaper or 'homebrand' items at foot level where you're not looking.

And when it comes to buying fresh vegetables, be mindful that they will go off quicker than the frozen variety. For Brussels sprouts, on average, you'll save $4.17 for the frozen variety over buying fresh for the same amount.

2. BE WARY OF SUPERMARKET TACTICS

Ever noticed how milk and bread are often located at the back of the supermarket? That's so you have to weave through the aisles, which — according to 81 per cent of Australians — will result in impulse buys.

Also be mindful of 'buying for the sake of buying'. Often supermarkets will place things that you need to cook together in the same aisle to encourage shoppers to buy extra items. But you may not actually need both, which is why a list can be so handy when doing the weekly shop.

3. KNOW WHAT YOU'VE GOT

Before doing the shop, knowing what you've got in the pantry and fridge could save you thousands each year at the checkout. According to OzHarvest — over 5 million tonnes of food ends up as landfill from households and the commercial sector, and 35 per cent of the average household bin is food waste.

Millennials, according to The Mitsubishi Electric Home Trends report, conducted by Lonergan Research, are said to be the worst offenders by spending $163.07 a week on average on groceries, but wasting $20.59 of that on food that's either forgotten about or expires.

"Millennials are the biggest wasters of food, despite also being the most passionate about food wastage," Chris Lonergan, CEO of Lonergan Research, said.

4. SWAP BIG BRANDS FOR GENERICS

The Marshalls love their drinks, with Greg throwing back at least five cans of Coca-Cola each day. If he were to swap to a more generic brand, such as Woolworths Cola which is 72 cents a litre, he'd be saving more than $1.70 per unit compared to the more expensive brand. And with the amount he's consuming, he could be saving $424 per year on canned Coke alone.

If Greg simply swapped his 24-packet of bottled water to filtered water out of a tap, he'd save around $260 a year. On average, water in a bottle is more expensive than petrol, milk, and bread. If you're drinking the recommended 2 litres a day, your bill will be around the $2800 mark annually. For the same amount of tap water, you're looking at $1.50.

5. MAKE RESTAURANT MEALS AT HOME

We all know smashed avo on toast is costing millennials a motza and cafes. Last year, the 'smashed avo generation' were deemed more financially stressed and faced with greater savings challenges than any other generation before them.

KPMG partner and The Australian columnist Bernard Salt wrote in October last year that "the evils of hipster cafes" were contributing to the woes of young people struggling to buy a first home.

"I have seen young people order smashed avocado with crumbed feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop and more," he wrote.

His so-called "rabbiting on about the old days" was tongue-in-cheek but many young people took offense.

But, if you decided to make your beloved brunch of avo, feta and tomato on toast — you could get away with a serving for as little as $3.80 per serve. For a family of three, having this trendy brunch meal at home just once a week will save around $1900 a year.

A chicken burger plus delivery often range between $18 to $25, but by making your own version at home — including chicken breast, white rolls, aioli and lettuce — you're serving up a meal that's only $4.50 per serve.