Quick Tips for Food Budgeting

Quick Tips for Food Budgeting

It’s a rare family that’s not on a food budget. The family food shopper searches for any way possible to cut back on the amount of money spent on food. One of those is using coupons. Personally, I love the flexibility and convenience (also a time saver) of the AmazonFresh program.

Conservatively speaking, there are millions of coupons circulating every day that could cut your food budget by 30 to 50% – even more if you’re willing to turn couponing into a passion.

Even the casual coupon clipper can become quite successful overnight and with more work and dedication become a super saver shopper. You have to be patient, flexible and perhaps give up your favorite brand, but it can be done and you can save a lot of money.

Remember, coupons are designed to sell a certain product and get you in the store but if the item is not one you need and use, then saving money on that item is a moot point.

Food coupons can be found anywhere. The Sunday newspaper is usually the best source but also look on line, at public libraries and at coupon swap boxes at the store itself. Some stores issue coupons at checkout for use on your next trip. Be sure and note expiration dates and if a cash value is offered. Don’t let them expire and go to waste.

  • Organize before you shop. Keep coupons sorted by food type in an easy to search through container and match coupons with needs on your grocery list. Some coupons have mail in rebates. Beware of this and follow up.
  • Sign up for a store loyalty card that usually offers coupons plus bonus points that are cumulative each time you shop. Using a store’s own credit card can lead to double points and free item coupons.
  • When you combine regular coupons with sale prices, you’re becoming a super saver. If a coupon item is not on sale and it’s not an urgent buy wait until it’s on sale. Be on the lookout for sale and bonus points tags.
  • Compare ads. It may pay you to drive to more than one store if it’s an item you need, have a coupon and it’s not available anywhere else. But, before you burn up extra gas, ask if the store honors its competitor’s coupons. Many will do this just to keep you in the store. You can call ahead to save a trip.
  • Don’t be susceptible to the 2 for a dollar marketing tool unless it’s to your advantage with a coupon. If you need two of the item go ahead and buy them; but save by buying only one if that’s what you need. For example, the sign may read: 15 limes for a dollar. Unless you’re a big lime user, some could go bad before you use them.

There was a time when some shoppers felt using coupons was not appreciated by the grocer and hesitated to use them. They didn’t want to hold up the line while the checker scanned coupons.

It’s a faster and easier method now with computers. Some of these strategies may not be right for you. It takes practice and patience, trial and error. If stretching your food dollar is your goal, there are few better ways than using coupons!

Quick Tips for Food Budgeting

Top Tips from Experts to Avoid Food Allergen Cross-Contamination

If you have food allergies, it’s crucial that you avoid cross-contamination. Whether you’re allergic to peanuts, wheat, or another product, these tips will help you stay healthy and avoid trips to the hospital.

Cross-contamination is especially dangerous if you have severe food allergies.

Follow these techniques to avoid eating anything that may be contaminated with the food you’re allergic to:

1. Make your kitchen free from allergens. Depending on your food allergens, your family may or may not be able to eat the same things. It’s common for families to have different sensitivities to the same substances.

  • * It helps to keep the entire kitchen free from the specific foods that cause your allergies.
  • * Even if one of your family members isn’t allergic to that item, they can contaminate surfaces that you come into contact with when they eat it in your house. It’s easy for a few crumbs to be carried all over the house.

2. Be careful with restaurants and fast food. Cross-contamination is a big issue in the food industry. A restaurant may claim they can make an allergen-free dish. However, it may still be contaminated by other items in the kitchen. Even if they have a separate space or utensils for these purposes, you run the risk of cross-contamination in your meals.

  • * For example, a chef may use the same knife to prepare all the food. A waiter may touch the dishes and cross-contaminate them. Food preparers may use the same gloves to make multiple dishes. Cross-contamination is a real threat when you’re eating out, so you may want to avoid it.

3. Read labels carefully. Even if you’ve bought the item before, it’s important to check the label each time. Brands and manufacturers frequently update their ingredient lists and change recipes.

  • * Possible cross-contamination may be listed on the new label. Food manufacturers are required to note on the label if there is a risk of contamination with the top allergens such as wheat, eggs, dairy, and others.

4. Ask questions. If there’s any doubt about what might be in your food, it’s important to speak up and find out if any of your allergen could be present.

  • * When it comes to food allergies, politeness needs to take a back seat. It may seem impolite to question a host or waiter about the ingredients in a dish. However, the consequences of cross-contamination can be devastating.
  • * Find out what ingredients are in each dish and ask about shared kitchen space and utensils. Many people don’t realize that cross-contamination can occur on several levels.
  • * Consider telling your dinner companions about your food allergies in case they need to rush you to a hospital or use an epinephrine pen.
  • * Questions are the key to knowing more about your food and keeping yourself safe.

Cross-contamination may have serious consequences if you have food allergies. Take the necessary precautions to ensure that your allergen doesn’t end up in your meal. Then, you can eat heartily and enjoy!

Your Ultimate Guide to #DIY Home Decorating on the Cheap

Your Ultimate Guide to #DIY Home Decorating on the Cheap

“Have nothing in your home that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”  ~William Morris 

gretchen rubin quote about homeMy husband and I bought what we consider our dream home last year. When we first moved in, we set aside a certain amount of money for new furniture and decor.

By the time we were done decorating our new bedroom, we had used nearly half our budget. So I told my husband to stand back and watch the magical power I happen to be really good at wielding. That’s right. 

It was my time to shine, people.

Something you may or may not know about me: I have Dom Perignon tastes and I know how to make them work on a Boone’s Farm budget.

In other words, I’m a total cheapskate. 

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QueenBeeing Frugal: Menu 1 for a Family of 4

QueenBeeing Frugal: Menu 1 for a Family of 4

exps135855_TH2257746A07_07_3bA Queen Bee always eats like a queen…but what if she’s also on a budget? We understand. Many real-life queens have to keep a tight hold on their purse strings–but it doesn’t mean you can’t still eat like a queen.

It just means you have an opportunity to be more creative. That’s why we are publishing a weekly Queen on a Budget menu.

This week, we going to roast a turkey on Monday and use the leftovers on Tuesday. You might even have enough to change Wednesday’s dinner to Turkey tettrizini or to have sandwiches for lunch one day.

Monday

  • Roasted turkey
  • Dressing
  • Noodles or potatoes
  • Corn on th cob
  • Veggies or salad
  • Crescent rolls

Tuesday

  • Turkey day pot pie
  • Salad

Wednesday

  • Fish filets/sticks with tartar sauce
  • Grilled fish(save calories)
  • Garlic and cheddar perogies
  • Vegetable medley

Thursday

  • Taco bake
  • Taco dressings (sour cream, Pico de Gallo etc.)
  • Watermelon

Friday

  • Pork chops
  • Apple and sausage stuffing
  • Peas
  • Rolls and salad

Saturday

  • Pizza night (homemade or takeout)
  • Wings & salad

Sunday

  • Grilled or fried chicken
  • Mashed or baked potato
  • Steamed or buttered corn
  • Green beans
  • Rolls or bread
  • Salad

What are your favorite meals and recipes? Share them in the comments section below.

Queen of Your Finances: Money Management 101

Queen of Your Finances: Money Management 101

“The art of living easily as to money is to pitch your scale of living one degree below your means.” – Sir Henry Taylor

Managing your money is a big task, and if you’ve been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, chances are that it might feel pretty overwhelming – especially when you’ve dealt with financial abuse.

What is Financial Abuse? 

Financial abuse is tactic used by a narcissist in which they use money to control and or manipulate you. This might mean the narcissist is restricting you from accessing family money, or it could mean they’re forcing you to provide all of the money by refusing to work.

Some narcissists are extravagant and excessive in their spending, even when they can’t afford it. They’ll ruin your credit without a second thought. Others seem to be overly frugal and might even prevent you from purchasing basic necessities, such as clothing, food, and hygiene products for yourself and your kids. And there are those who deny their family any luxuries and even some necessities, while they might have everything they want and more. In some cases, financial abuse might look like the narcissist spending all of the money they make and requiring you to support the family on your own.

Alternatively, the narcissist might cause you to be unable to work for a number of reasons. Financial abuse might also involve blatant lying about, theft of, and/or hiding of family money, among other forms of manipulation and control.

How do you manage your money after financial abuse?

Whether we like it or not, if you want to get by in this world, managing your money something you have to do. It can be too painful for some narcissistic abuse survivors, so some of us tend to avoid it altogether. But for those of us who want to fully reclaim our lives, the reward far outweighs the trouble and is well worth it.

The good news? Once you get your arms around it, you should only need to spend a few minutes managing your money each week. Even better: it’s as easy as controlling the money you’ve already got.

How to Take Control of Your Finances

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Here’s what you need to make sure that you have control over your financial situation. Here are some valuable budgeting techniques to guide you in your expenses and income.

Pay Your Utilities on Time

The first thing you want to do is make sure that you pay for your utilities on time and in full every month. Don’t wait until it’s too late to pay them.

Rebuilding Credit with Credit Cards

The second thing you need to do consider the number of credit cards you have. Most credit repair agencies suggest that you have a mix of at least six credit accounts. Be careful to avoid excessive interest, and do your best to avoid using credit to pay for things you can’t afford. Ideally, make small purchases that you can quickly pay off. This will raise your credit score pretty quickly. You can also consider starting with a secured credit card if your credit has been ruined.

Consolidation Loans Might Help

The third thing you should do if your bills have gotten the best of you is to consolidate them into a single loan. This will enable you to pay them off over time without getting slammed with high-interest rates.

Just be careful that you’re dealing with a legitimate loan agency if you go this route. Google the company and read consumer reviews. Remember that knowledge is always power, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Read your loan paperwork carefully before signing. Don’t let desperation cause you to jump before understanding what you’re getting yourself into.

Establish a Working Budget for Yourself

Finally, establish a budget for yourself. This seems difficult and that’s why most people don’t do it. And because people don’t have a budget they find themselves in financial straits.

The easiest way to establish a budget is to take a draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left, write down your after-tax household income. Be sure to write down the after-tax amount as you want to measure available income only. After all, you don’t get to spend the before-tax amount, right?

In the right column, list an average of each monthly bill. But you should also include your typical spending habits as well, like eating out, or impulse shopping. Don’t forget to include paying off your credit card as part of the bills!

Now that you have a list of income and expenses, see if there’s a way to increase your income, or reduce your expenses. Usually, you’ll find a way to do a little to both.

While it seems so simplistic, so few people do it. And yet, creating a budget and sticking to it often separates successful people from everyone else. What’s stopping you from doing it right now?

What do you think? Share your feelings, ideas, and thoughts in the comments section, below.

Related Resources on Financial Abuse in Toxic Relationships

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