The Frugal Edge (41)
I was in the grocery store Saturday morning and had just turned my head for a minute or two to browse some items. It wasn’t that long, but when I turned back toward my cart I noticed a man walking up in front of me.
I didn’t give it much thought, put the item I selected in my cart and carried on. But when I reached for one of my coupons I noticed that three winning lottery tickets I had in my coupon envelope were gone. I had just seen them, so it didn’t take long to deduce the man stole them. They were only worth $2 each, so I chalked it up to him needing the $6 more than me.
There are times when people consider me as someone who is cheap because I use coupons, sometimes spend months shopping around for the best prices, or because I return to stores for price adjustments when items come on sale. However, because I am a person who chooses to manage my money and spend it wisely I consider myself as frugal. There is always that battle between cheap vs. frugal.
I mentioned in a prior article in November that Americans waste 96 billion pounds of food each year. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, an average household of four throws away over $1.000 per year in food – broken down, about 17 percent of dairy, 20 percent of vegetables, 15 percent of fruit, 18 percent of the grains, 25 percent of seafood, and 33 percent of the meat you buy goes to waste.
As I cleaned up the kitchen this past weekend, I found myself throwing away some stale bread, a very black banana, and leftovers that began the reproduction process through some furry babies. I couldn’t help but think about the waste – both in terms of food and my wallet – and how I could avoid it.
One thing I struggle with every day is the family asking “What’s for dinner?” I don’t think I’m alone here; it seems to be a common dilemma among many people, especially those who are part of a two-income family.
I usually wait until 5 p.m. to think about what I’m going to make for that night’s dinner. Even when I have something in mind, I usually don’t have one or two of the ingredients. Lately, I’ve tried to keep certain staples in the house to ensure that I have the basics to make a simple dinner.
Credit and debit cards are used pretty much all the time. We use them for everything from buying groceries, clothes, take-out food and gas to even paying household bills. Online shopping has also grown over the years, where people come home from work, grab a bite to eat, fire up the computer and shop away only to pull out the plastic and consummate the purchase.
But such usage carries risks. A few years ago my father received a call from his credit card company that someone was trying to use his credit card number online to purchase a $3,000 TV. They called him because it was not a normal spending habit, which threw up a red flag for his credit card company. He found out that an employee at a restaurant they frequented had stolen his credit card number, expiration date and security code from the back of the card. Score one for the wherewithal of the credit card issuer in alerting my father. However, many other cardholders are not so lucky.
Reuse and Recycle… I try my best to live by these words. Whether it’s plastic grocery bags or food containers, leftovers after dinner or even extra screws after a project, I try to save everything that might come in handy at a later time when you may need it most.
Believe me, though, that it might be the reason we have full junk drawers – I’m running out of room.
Most of us are guilty of make New Year’s resolutions only to end up breaking them. According to a study from the University of Scranton, 45 percent of Americans will make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent will actually see them through. For the first week, 75 percent of people will keep their resolutions, however 54 percent will fail after six months.
New Year’s resolutions are broken mainly because we get too enthusiastic and end up over-committing ourselves. Look at some of the top five New Year’s resolutions – they sound easy enough, but they are not:
We’ve all opened that one gift that makes us say to ourselves, “What am I going to do with this?” Maybe you already have that item and don’t really need another one. Yes, you could ask for the receipt and return it. However, it can be very awkward so we rather just put it away or you wait until next Christmas and give it away. I’ve done it, more than once.
Now don’t judge me – as I see it, I’m getting rid of unwanted stuff sitting around the house. Plus it can save you some money, time and the shopping hassle.
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, Americans waste 96 billion pounds of food every year. An average household of four throws away over $1,000 a year in food. Yet families are not the sole source of wasted food – the USDDA states that grocery stores toss out $15 billion worth of unsold fruits and vegetables alone each year.
Grocery chains are more likely to throw away fruits, vegetables and even entire hams and roasts than donate to distribution centers. What many people don’t know is that federal and state laws protect grocers from liability; however, stores expressed concerns that donated food could sicken recipients, even if it has yet to reach its expiration date. While some major chains donate food, others do not.
I love Black Friday. It’s not that I have a lot to buy, or that I even go for the deals. It has more to do with the frenzy and excitement – I feel like I’m taking a part in a nationwide ritual.
But there are the war stories of all the pushing, shoving, grabbing, honking, hours of waiting in line – all for the allure of getting $10 blenders or 32” HD TVs for $149. In some rare instances, more serious things have happened that cast doubt on what the day was about – it doesn’t sound enjoyable when you read about people getting trampled in a mad rush across the aisles.
Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine