14 September 2008

A Money Saving Idea or Two

A Money Saving Idea or Two
September 12, 2008
from Three P's in a Pod
by Barbara Salsbury

Many of us are truly noticing that budget tightening is not a rumor anymore. That makes me think that a money stretching idea would prove to be helpful.

As you work toward stretching your buying power in non-foods, consider evaluating your closets as well as your pantry. One money-stretching trend that is gaining momentum is houses brands in clothing. A recent purchase of house brand support hose proved to be a $2.00 per pair savings compared to the same brand name item, and almost a $4.00 per pair savings to what would be considered the same designer label item.

Take time to check out basic clothing items such as socks, underwear, etc. … in house brands. However, shirts, tops, blouses, pants and more are also appearing in house brand labels. What if personal preference dictates that for you … or a teenager in your household … a label that shows has to cost more? Maybe you can begin saving a significant amount on those items that won’t show. (And of course we won’t mention those individuals who purposely allow underwear to show. Ah yes, we are talking budget here, not fashion. Fashion? No you didn’t read that here:)

You might consider house brands for your preparedness program when it comes to blankets, sleeping bags, and other such items. Such savings gives you more buying power … more for the same amount of money.

Another money-saving idea is to make your calculator a power tool when stocking up or shopping sales. Use your calculator when you are reading the ads and planning to stock up on an item or two. This is especially true when you are trying to stretch a limited budget among several tweens for clothing purchases. The extra ten or fifteen minutes could mean added buying power. It could make the difference in saving money that you might spend “thinking” an item is sale priced, but not knowing if it really is or is not a bargain. For example, a recent ad extolled a “Bargain” on toilet tissue. A six-roll pack for .99 cents. At first glance it looked good. Further reading showed that it was 1-ply sheets, and would equate out to a 4-roll costing .66cents. A better value bargain would be to wait for a 2-ply sheet, 4-roll pack on sale at .69 cents or .79 cents. And of course these prices were factored a month or so ago, because the prices have already gone up. But unless you take the time to figure it out, you don’t know! I even carry a small calculator with me when I do major shopping, so that if I find a promoted bargain or better yet an unadvertised bargain, I will take the time to punch in numbers.

If it’s cool to carry a cell phone, we can make it cool to carry a calculator and use it! How cool is it to stretch your budget!

Return to the Neighborhood

Monday, September 8, 2008

What Will Your Stash Be?

In today’s blog I want to present a practical part of preparedness. Having been through many different kinds of disasters, including being without employment or a paycheck for over eighteen months,I have a different perspective than many on what is needed to really be prepared. But prepared for what?

For hard times and down times it is extremely important that you are able to have comforting things, and that includes comforting things to eat. (This is above and beyond – or perhaps before - the requisite “preparedness supplies.”)

With that in mind will you ask yourself a question? What will be your stash? Before any emergency arrives at your door, consider having a “stash” of goodies. (Not to be confused with supplies on the pantry shelf. “Stash” meaning kept in reserve, or as in kept from view or common knowledge.) Know what your comfort foods are whether they are chocolate covered raisins, hard peppermint candies or granola bars. Then after the onslaught of the crisis, when the worst of the panic calms down, and the dust begins to settle, you can sit for a moment and take stock of the situation with a comforting treat to help get you through. A rule while you munch is to be sure to count your blessings!

A storage tip is to remember that chocolate or anything with chocolate as a main ingredient will melt, mush and warp if exposed to heat. Even an especially warm cupboard will be considered “being exposed to heat.” A stash in a box, large gallon bottle or large plastic bucket, labeled and kept in the coolest closet corner will keep your “comfort foods” much longer. Another keeping quality key is to make sure the items you are relying on are edible. Stash only items that are without nuts for longer storageablitiy. Nuts have a high rancidity factor as well as a high “bug factor”. If you are counting on a treat to help lift your spirits, bugs and bad taste are not what you want to find.

Of course the hard part of this is keeping your family members and yourself out of the stash until it is needed. Perhaps you will need to specifically qualify need. (In my house need many times equals chocolate. Plan carefully.)

That’s what you need to do, as you try to be practical in preparation. Have something “stashed” or prepared to lighten your tough times, something that is a comfort food for you. Believe me, it will be needed.

Return to the Neighborhood.

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