Sticker shock, part 2

At the end of the day, I’ve decided that most decisions come down to 2 things–time or money.  Spend one and save the other.  We all have our own priorities about which is more valuable in any particular decision-making process.  In my earlier post on Sticker Shock, the priority is money, so the tips I shared were more about spending some extra time on tasks in order to save some money.  Today’s tips continue that “investment strategy”.  Plus, they encourage and enable you to “go green” in small ways and reduce your “footprint”.  So here are some more tips you probably already know, but may not be doing!

Buy in bulk. If you shop at Sam’s Costco, or other big warehouses, it’s easy–that’s all they offer you!  But even in your regular grocery store, you can take advantage of sales, coupons, and other promotions and stock up on non-perishable items when they’re on sale.  The trick is having space to store the extras until you need them!  So maybe that’s a project for a weekend–to clear out some space in a closet or your pantry to store extra canned goods, paper goods, school supplies, gift wrap, greeting cards, stamps, whatever.   Think of the time that can save you when you’re not having to make a desperation run to the store for something

Buy in season. Thanks to the food industry, we can buy pretty much whatever produce we want all year long.  But prices certainly go up when you’re buying “summer fruit” in the winter.  If you buy what’s seasonally grown, it’s fresher and cheaper.  This is easy to do if you take advantage of  local Farmer’s markets in your area.  The Pearl Farmer’s Market in San Antonio is a favorite of mine and is getting more popular by the week!  They’ve even added a Wednesday market to meet the demand.  Check it out or find one near you.  You’ll help local farmers, get the freshest food for your table, and avoid a lot of the pesticides and other chemicals that are used to preserve what you find at the grocery store.  And locally grown usually just tastes better too!

Grow your own and do what your grandma (or great-grandma) did. You can’t get much fresher than picking tomatoes or squash or cucumbers or whatever from your own  garden!  Even if your garden is small and/or grown in pots, you’re likely to have more than you can use right away.  So grow it and “put it up” like our grandmothers (or great-grandmothers) did.  You can freeze it, dry it, can it, dehydrate it.  Or you can buy in bulk when things are on sale or in good supply at the farmers’ market and do the same thing.  A friend of mine has a peach tree in her backyard.  Last summer, it produced over 50 pounds of delicious peaches!  She and her husband made peach butter and peach preserves, they froze peaches, ate peaches, gave away peaches all summer long!  I still have 2 baggies of frozen peaches from what she gave me.  And the tree’s in bloom again!

Clean green. You can save big here!  White vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, borax–these are just some of the things you can use to clean your house that will save you money and help the environment.  They will also reduce your family’s exposure to chemicals and other substances that can trigger allergies and can potentially cause harm to the environment.  There are lots of articles on the internet about how to “clean green”.  The supplies you need are inexpensive and go a long way.  Plus, they do the job. sometimes even better than commercial cleaners!  I find that running a bottle of vinegar through a cycle in my coffee maker works better and cheaper than the “coffee maker cleaners” I’ve used in the past.  And it doesn’t take any more time to use than the ones in a package.  What’s not to like?

So there you have some ideas to help control that sticker shock when you check out at the grocery store!  I hope you find some ideas that you can put into practice and that will work for you and your family!  Good luck, and let me know what other ideas you have–I’d love to share!