By Guest Nicole
1) Take Inventory
Before you even go to the grocery store, it is important to look into your pantry and fridge to evaluate what you need to buy. Make a shopping list based on items you don't have or are running low on to ensure that you only buy necessary items at the grocery store. This exercise will help you stay on budget by making sure you don't spend money on anything extra or something you are already stocked up on.
2) Meal Plan With Coupons
Take a look at your local grocery store ads to see what's on sale for the week. Use the meats, veggies, fruits, and grains that are currently discounted to help inspire and plan out your meals for the week. Clipping and buying things with mostly coupons helps you get good deals on food throughout the week.
3) Avoid Pre-Cut Meat
Buy a large cut of meat and ask the butcher to cut it for you. This butcher's secret ensures you will get more bang for your buck and enjoy fresh meat at the same time. Use all the cuts of meat to make different dishes like roasts and steaks.
4) Buy Frozen Seafood
The seafood counter that stocks fresh seafood charges 40% more than when you buy it frozen. Frozen seafood is good quality and usually isn't any different from the fresh version, plus it's cheaper.
5) Consider a Home Delivery Service
Major grocery stores around the U.S. offer online grocery ordering and delivery. The prices (and sales) online are usually the exact same as they would be if you were to buy them in the actual grocery store. Plus, these services often include free deliveries, which means you can save your gas money and skip going to the store for the week.
6) Look at the Price Per Unit
Before you buy a certain brand of cereal, toilet paper, or meat, make sure you take a look at the unit price. Certain brands cost more than others per unit, which means that you are paying more and getting less. Take a few minutes to examine all your options before making a selection.
7) Buy Dairy at the Drugstore
Leave the milk in the supermarket and buy it at the drugstore instead. While drugstores do sell dairy products like milk and eggs, that's not their primary money-maker. Since that is the case, these products tend to be slightly cheaper and on sale more often than those at grocery stores.
8) Shop on a Full Stomach
It's a fact: you overspend when you're hungry. All the food in the grocery store looks more tempting when your stomach is rumbling, so make sure you shop on a full stomach to save money and stay on budget.
9) Buy the Generic Brand
Generic brands are the grocery store's copy of the product. These are pretty much always sold at a lower price than brand name items in the store. If you're not particularly tied to a certain brand, give the generic one a try to save some extra money.
By Guest Nicole
We’ve all heard the real estate mantra: location, location, location. As far as price is concerned, where a house is located is typically more important than the actual features of the home. That’s why you can buy a sprawling six-bedroom, six-bath house for less than $250,000 in some markets and pay close to $1 million for a tiny one-bedroom condo in New York City.
Beyond real estate values, location also affects the overall cost of living – what you pay not just for housing, but also for food, transportation, healthcare and other everyday expenses. Salaries, of course, play an important role: A smaller salary goes further in places with a lower cost of living, while a large salary might be barely enough to get by on in an expensive city. (See also: 5 U.S. Cities with High Paychecks and a Low Cost of Living).
Top 25 Cities Where You Can Live Large on $70K a Year
With this in mind, job-hunting site Glassdoor recently came up with a cost-of-living ratio – calculated by taking a city’s median base salary and dividing it by its median home value – to find cities in the U.S. where your pay will go the furthest. Here it is: a countdown of the top 25 cities where you can live like a king or queen on less than $70K a year, along with each city’s cost of living ratio (a higher ratio number is better), median base salary, median home value and number of open jobs.
25. Raleigh, N.C.
Cost-of-living ratio: 30%
Median base salary: $62,000
Median home value: $209,400
Number of open jobs: 22,339
24. Minneapolis-St. Paul
Cost-of-living ratio: 30%
Median base salary: $65,000
Median home value: $219,400
Number of open jobs: 64,026
Read more: Top 25 Cities Where You Can Live Large on Less Than $70k | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/010417/top-25-cities-where-you-can-live-large-less-70k.asp#ixzz4jbp6fMBh Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook
By Guest Nicole
It all starts at home. A great day begins with an amazing morning. With constant distractions and the daily pressure of responsibilities, it’s important to start your morning right to get your mind and body prepared for your daily routine. These 11 tips will bring out the best of your morning, day, week, and life.
1. Wake Up Earlier. We often wake up as late as possible, but losing precious time in the morning puts pressure on our bodies and minds. Throughout the day, our time feels tight when it doesn’t have to feel that way. By waking up early, you can give your body and mind time to unwind and set your routine at an even pace.
2. Drink a Glass of Water as Soon as You Wake Up. Your body essentially shuts down while you’re sleeping. Drinking water will help you get ready to start running. This will also help to rehydrate you and allow for an easier digestive flow throughout the day.
3. Avoid Technology for The First Hour. It’s tempting to wake up and check your email and social media timeline, but all of those things will still be there an hour from when you wake. You won’t miss out on much, and you’ll start your day on your own terms. How often do you wake up in a great mood, and then check your email or messages only to receive a message that disrupts your mood first thing in the morning. Hold off and take control of your emotions at the start of the day.
4. Think of Something You’re Grateful For. The choice is yours. Wake up and find something you’re appreciative of. Your bed, family or even a cup of coffee. The more things you find, the more positive energy you bring to your day.
5. Sunlight, Fresh Air, and A Deep Breath. Even if it’s cloudy, open your blinds and let natural light in. This will awaken your senses and add positive sensory to start your day. Next, open a window, or if you have direct access to a door that leads outside, open your front door and fill your lungs with fresh air. Oxygen provides energy to heal and grow the brain.
6. Move Your Body/Exercise. No matter what you’re doing for the rest of the day, your body will be active if you begin your day with movement. There are various morning workouts you can do that are convenient and quick. If you don’t want to work out, you can also do stretchesto help loosen your muscles and joints.
7. Eat a Healthy Breakfast. A healthy breakfast is your initial fuel for the day. Avoid quick fixes such as cereal, fruit juices, or donuts. Take the time to invest in a healthy breakfast that will have your body feeling energized until lunch time.
8. Say Positive Affirmations. Self-appreciation is important. Find different things you enjoy about yourself and say them out loud to yourself while looking in the mirror. Face yourself and speak positive truths.
9. Plan. Work day or off day, planning ahead allows you to be productive, and to fit in as much as you want throughout the day. Spread out your day so that you know what to expect and avoid feeling rushed. Commit to your plan as much as you can, but allow room for the random disruptions that life can occasionally bring.
10. Leave Yesterday Behind. A new day is a fresh start to life. Yesterday’s arguments, frustrations, and negative thoughts don’t belong in your new day.
11. Read. Start your day with some positive thoughts. Whether it’s the news, quotes, or a novel you love, literature helps stimulate your brain and your imagination.
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Leander H. McNelly