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How to Hedge Against Food Inflation

2014 April 23
by Charlie

charlie_imageOver the last month I’ve done our family’s grocery shopping and the prices seem to be increasing every week! It is amazing how sneaky these prices will increase too. Whether it be in reducing the quantity you get in a product or paying a few cents more for the products. It’s all inflation!

In looking at what we are spending on food over the last few months, I can see a definite trend in our food bills increasing. In particular, I’ve seen lately a dramatic increase in meat and dairy prices. The news headlines and trends don’t show any sign of decreasing any time soon either.

With food inflation staring a lot of low to middle income families in the face it makes a lot of us wonder how we are going to make ends meet. It has a lot of families already making tough choices on what expenses to cut in order to pay for higher food prices. Here are a few ideas to help you and your family combat this trend.

  • Buy On Sale – oh sure…sounds obvious doesn’t it? But how many of us are always paying normal full price? Look at your local Sunday paper or mailed grocery flyers for what’s on sale. Go in with a “sale list” and get your items, and get out. More than likely these prices are teaser prices to get you to buy other non-sale items. Have a laser focus and go for the sale items only.
  • Price Match – my mom is the best at this! She goes into her local major grocery chain, and will have all the local ads to be able to capture all the low prices at one store. This will save you from having to go around from store to store getting all the sale items.
  • Stockpile, Stockpile, Stockpile – I can’t emphasize enough about how important it is to have both a big food pantry and a deep freeze! Both a freezer and pantry will allow you to stock up on sale items and never pay full price. It is always harder to part with one large chunk of money, but over time your per item costs will dramatically go down.
  • Dehydrate Foods – have you considered dehydrating your foods as a measure to fight food inflation? If you are able to buy items on sale and stockpile large quantities, then why not extend the time you can have them in your stockpile? Dehydrating will combine both buying on sale and stockpiling, which will help you compound your savings potential. Here is a great tutorial video on how to dehydrate fruits and veggies.

  • Grow Your Own Foods – will 2014 be the year of the backyard garden? You’d better believe with how much prices are increasing that people are looking at ways to grow organic and not be so dependent on their local super market. The great depression taught a lot of farmers to grow even bigger and bigger gardens, which helped them make the best of those tough times. Take note of what others have done to get through higher food costs.

These are just a few ideas that I came up with to hedge against higher food costs. Have any of you guys been experiencing higher food prices at the store lately? What products in particular? What have you been doing to lower your food costs (please be specific)?

5 Things You Should Avoid Spending Money On in Your First 30 Years of Life

2014 April 21

I ran across this interesting question posed up on Quora the other day: impress-peopleWhat are some things you should avoid doing in your first 30 years of life?

Someone chimed in:

  • Getting married
  • Having children
  • Addictions* that waste time, energy, and resources and keep you from focusing and working on your goals.

read more…

How to Be the First to Know When People Are Giving Away Free Stuff in Your Neighborhood

2014 April 18
by Aaron

how to find out when free stuff in neighborhoodWould you like to be the first to know when someone in your neighborhood posts something you might find useful up on Craigslist for free?

Now you can with a really neat new online tool called IFTTT (If This Then That). It’s free and very easy to use. I created a little 4 minute video that shows you how to set-up a “recipe” so that you can be the first to know about that new-er gas grill or metal file cabinet the church down the street are getting rid of (that would go perfect in your garage). read more…

How to Negotiate for More Vacation Time

2014 April 16

charlie_imageIn starting any new job, most people are worried about one thing. MONEY! In the my mind, Rod Stillwell’s request of Jerry Maguire is what I usually want to ask the hiring manager, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!” In all the commotion of deciding to switch jobs often the other benefits are forgotten about. One of those important benefits to consider is vacation.  read more…

Does Walmart’s Savings Catcher Work?

2014 April 14

aaron_image1As I was listening to some tunes via Pandora last week, an ad for Walmart’s Savings Catcher came on. They advertised that you could enter your receipt into their new “Savings Catcher” app and if they find a competitor’s advertised price cheaper than what you paid for it at Walmart, they’ll actually refund you the difference in the form of an e-gift card.

The idea sounded interesting, so I gave it a try on a recent short shopping excursion.  read more…

6 Ways to Save Money When Filing Your Taxes

2014 April 11

money make you mean

Americans spend $140 billion per year to comply with the tax code – that’s a lot of money. And, although that figure may be enough to tempt you to look for ways to cut back on tax prep services, H&R Block reports that consumers who prepare their returns themselves leave $1 billion dollars in unrealized tax savings on the table. Where’s the middle ground, then? If you’re looking for ways to minimize your tax obligation and keep your precious cash out of the hands of accountants and tax prep professionals, check out these six tips.  read more…

Money Hiding Spots From The Great Depression

2014 April 9

charlie_imageAfter the Great Depression, it was hard for lots of people to regain trust in the banks and the entire banking system. Most banks during the depression were over leveraged and had almost 99% of people’s money lent out in car, consumer, and home loans. As a result, when people started losing trust in the banks, then people started running to the banks to get their money out. Understandably, people were “once bitten, and twice shy” from the affects of this tough economic time in our country’s history.

As a result, people stopped saving their money in the banks, and resulted to hiding their money and valuables in their home. From talking with my Grandpa, he expressed how no one trusted the local banks. They were viewed as a bunch of crooks, and Grandpa still had a disgust for one particular banker who foreclosed on one of his dad’s properties. read more…

What Do I Do With Damaged Money?

2014 April 7

aaron_image1The other day I found a coin on the ground and it was defaced so bad that I couldn’t make out what its value was. I’m sure you’ve come across a coin or bill that has been pretty damaged as well (be it cut, missing parts, water damaged, burnt, etc). So, what can you do with it?

What is considered damaged currency?

damaged money

Via the Bureau of Engraving

With most of us carrying plastic as our means of payment today – coming across damaged money is becoming less and less of an issue. And yet, this still happens to us. Perhaps we accidentally have a $5 bill sitting in with some papers that need shredding and then right as we see the papers entering the shredder, notice ‘ol Lincoln’s mug getting torn into pieces.

Or more tragically, we have money stashed away in a drawer then our house goes up in flames and we come across it during clean-up.

According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, damaged or mutilated money is

NOT CLEARLY more than one-half of the original note and/or, in such condition that the value is questionable and special examination is required to determine its value.   read more…

A Look Back at My Budget – 10 Years Ago

2014 April 4
by Aaron

aaron_image1I thought it would be fun to take a look back at my simple budget 10 years ago this month and see what I was buying with my money and what type of income I was bringing in. Granted, I was less than a year into my “get-0ut-of-debt” journey, but I was well on my way and was going to stick to it.

It’s amazing to think back to those times. I never thought I’d get out of debt. Fortunately, I had been given a couple of family loans (one from my mother and the other from a half-brother – which was yet to come). Although I ended up paying these back, they were able to give me some breathing room in that I didn’t have the accumulating interest.  read more…

Republic Wireless Review – One Month Trial

2014 April 2

charlie_imageLast month I had a friend from church approach me, and asked, “Have you ever heard of Republic Wireless?” He went on to say they offer the Moto X phone and a plan at just $25 per month. It really caught my attention, seemed like a great option and included unlimited texting/data. I had to try it out and see if this wireless provider was all that my friend had touted it to be.

Republic Wireless Moto X PhoneIn walking through the website and signing up for phone and service I was immediately caught by how easy to use and clean that the website was presented. With a lot of these discount cell phone service providers, you often find the website and ordering process cumbersome. Not Republic Wireless!

Since I’ve had the phone over the past month, I’ve had plenty of time to see the pros and cons, and weigh it against the other cell phone services I’ve reviewed (Virgin Mobile Review and Walmart Family Mobile Review) and currently use. Here are few of the key features of the phone and its services.  read more…