How to Save

PepsiCo Introduces Organic Gatorade

Posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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PepsiCo is rolling out G Organic - an organic version of their Gatorade product.  Will this attract consumers who prefer to buy organic products?PepsiCo is doing something completely new with Gatorade. They have introduced organic Gatorade. It appears that the motivation for this change is based on what people are asking for, as well as a means for PepsiCo to attract healthy-minded customers.

The new organic Gatorade (which is also being called G Organic) is available in three flavors: Lemon, Strawberry, and Mixed Berry. The bottles look slightly different from the regular type of Gatorade, but still have the big G logo on them.

AdAge reports that you can find organic Gatorade in Kroger supermarkets. Later, PepsiCo will rollout the organic Gatorade to select grocery, natural, and convenience stores. If you don’t find it at your local grocery store, wait a bit. It might show up there later. The rollout might include single-serve bottles of the new drink.

The reason why PepsiCo is making this change is because they have heard that there is an interest and desire among athletes to go organic. This makes a certain amount of sense, considering that many athletes work with nutritionists.

Another reason for the change is to attract consumers who have already been seeking out organic products. It will be interesting to see if PepsiCo can manage to maintain a balance between the two groups. Will those who love the original Gatorade be turned off by the company’s choice to make a G Organic variety?

Will the people who like to buy organic products want to try G Organic? Or will they stick to things like coconut water?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rules that determine whether or not a product can be labeled as organic. Regulations prohibit organically processed foods from containing artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors and require that their ingredients are organic (with some minor exceptions).

AdAge reports that PepsiCo’s organic Gatorade has been certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is as healthy as a fruit or vegetable that has been labeled organic.

NPR reported that organic Gatorade does contain sugar. They believe that organic Gatorade contains organic cane sugar (instead of the sucralose that the regular Gatorade contains).

One thing consumers can learn from this is that a product that has been labeled organic is not always going to be the healthiest choice. A organic product is allowed to contain organic cane sugar. Check the amount of sugar in an organic product before you purchase it.

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Simple Tricks to Help You Save Money on Groceries

Posted on Monday, September 5th, 2016 at 5:38 pm
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There are some things you can do that will help you save money on groceries.  Here are a few easy ideas for savvy shoppers.There are two things you can do before you go grocery shopping that will help you to save money on groceries. Unfortunately, the grocery stores have a bunch of little tricks that can make you spend more than you planned to. You can avoid being fooled by those tricks if you know what to look for.

One of the best things you can do to ensure you won’t overspend at the grocery store is to make a list before you leave the house. Take the time to find out what you have run out of and need to replace. Write down all the ingredients you need for specific meals. Stick to the list, and you can stay within your budget.

The other thing you should always do before grocery shopping is eat. People who walk into a grocery store when they are hungry are more likely to throw things into their shopping carts. Everything suddenly looks tasty!

You might be tempted to buy ready-to-eat food from the deli or in-store cafe. All those little extras add up. The best time to grocery shop is when you are full.

Avoid the endcaps. Grocery stores put eye-catching displays on endcaps in the hopes of attracting shoppers to purchase those items. People assume those products are on sale. That’s not always the case! Check the prices. Another brand of that same type of product might be less expensive than the one on the fancy endcap.

Many grocery stores put the most expensive versions of a specific kind of product on the shelves that are at eye level. Shoppers who are in a rush will probably grab the nearest can of beans without taking the time to compare prices. This quick decision benefits the grocery store more than the shopper.

The products that are the least expensive can be found on either the top shelves or the shelves that are closest to the floor. If you are able to stretch and bend, you can find a can of beans that is less expensive than the ones on the shelves that are eye level. Often, the quality of the two products are the same!

Some people are unable to reach the top shelves, or cannot bend down to get something on the bottom shelf. Bring your child or grandchild with when you grocery shop. Little kids can definitely reach the lower shelves. You can ask a worker to get you a product that is on the top shelf that you cannot reach.

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Hampton Creek Believes Eating Well Should be Easy

Posted on Wednesday, August 10th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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Hampton Creek makes Just Mayo, an alternative to regular mayonnaise (but without any eggs).You might have noticed the Hampton Creek brand of products at your favorite grocery store. They are a relatively new company that has been slowly creating healthy products. People who strive to eat healthy will prefer the list of ingredients on Hampton Creek’s products over those of the big name brands.

The Hampton Creek company got started because they deeply believe that eating well should be easy. They also believe that the right thing, for people’s bodies, and for the world, should be affordable. The best way to encourage people to make healthy food choices is to give them food that is both healthy and delicious.

Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo comes in four different varieties: Original, Chipotle, Garlic, and Sriracha. None of them contain eggs. That’s great for people who have an allergy to eggs and for people who are vegan. All of the products in the Just Mayo line are verified GMO-free by the Non GMO Project.

Instead of eggs, Hampton Creek uses a protein that is derived from Canadian yellow peas. It turns out that the yellow pea proteins were a great emulsifier.

Hampton Creek wants to change the way companies make food. Their plan is to create a range of high-tech, plant-based products that use fewer resources from farm to factory to table. They want to make those products cost less and be healthier and tastier than traditional products.

They also make use of underutilized low-impact crops. Hampton Creek’s Just Cookie Dough product contains a grain called sorghum. The company says that sorghum is their “not-so-secret secret ingredient”. It is a grain that can grow as tall as corn, but with only a fraction of the water that corn requires.

Grain sorghum is one of the four most important cereal grains used for human consumption. It comes in a variety of types, and its uses range from straw to syrup. Sorghum is higher in protein and lower in fat than corn. Some types of grain sorghums are: kafir, kafir corn, durra, milo, maize, Egyptian corn, African millet, Black Indian millet, and pearl millet.

Sorghum and sorghum flour are both on Celiac.com’s safe ingredients list. That being said, Hampton Creek’s Just Cookie Dough, and all of their Just Cookies products, contain wheat. In other words, they are not gluten free.

Their cookie products do not contain eggs, which could mean they are a safe option for people who are allergic to eggs. The lack of eggs could be why Hampton Creek says that you can safely eat their Just Cookie Dough raw.

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Things You Are Saving But Should Get Rid Of

Posted on Monday, August 8th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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There are some things that people have a tendency to save when they really should just get rid of them.One way to save money is to hold onto things that you aren’t currently using but might have a need for in the future. Doing so could prevent you from spending money to replace something you threw out, donated, or sold. There are probably some things you are saving but should get rid of. It isn’t worth hanging onto.

4 Things You Should Throw Away

Old Makeup
One reason why people keep old makeup is because it was expensive. They feel guilty about spending good money on it, and this stops them from throwing it away. Or, the makeup container still has plenty in it and they think they can still use what is left.

Keep in mind that makeup has an expiration date. Bacteria can build up in mascara, liquid foundation, and other types of makeup. Using old makeup can make you sick. Throw it out!

Clothing You Don’t Wear
Is your closet crammed full if clothes that you haven’t worn in a long time? This can happen when your lifestyle changes. Office wear isn’t really necessary for stay at home parents. Some people hold on to clothing that has gotten too small just in case they lose enough weight to wear it again.

The result is a closet that is filled with clothing but leaves you with nothing to wear. Donate the clothing that is in good shape. It is time to let someone else make use of it. The more clothing you get rid of – the more room you will have for new clothes that fit both your body and your lifestyle.

Expired Medication
The Food and Drug Administration points out that taking expired medications can be risky. When medications expire, they might become ineffective and may be harmful to your health. The package should have an expiration date on it.

The FDA recommends that you mix expired medications in with gross things like kitty litter, dirt, or used coffee grounds. Put that mess into a sealed plastic bag and throw it in your household trash. This will deter people from using the expired medication. Make sure to scratch out the personal information that is on a prescription label.

Plastic Shopping Bags
Those who live in an area that doesn’t have a plastic bag ban can quickly end up with more plastic bags than they can reasonably use up. Most recycling programs will not take plastic bags (which can contaminate the rest of the recyclables).

The easiest way to get rid of extra plastic bags is to bring them back to the store on your next grocery shopping trip. There should be a container or bin near the door that is set aside specifically for people to put extra plastic bags into.

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President Obama Signed a GMO Labeling Bill

Posted on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016 at 5:30 pm
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President Obama signed S. 764 which involves regulations about how food packages that contain GMOs are labeled.  What does this mean for consumers?President Obama has signed S. 764, a bill that (among other things) includes a national bioengineered food disclosure standard. What does this mean for consumers?

It’s still being worked out.
The law requires the Secretary of Agriculture to come up with a national labeling standard that would be placed on packages of food that contain GMOs. The time frame for that is within the next two years.

In other words, the bill has been signed into law, but the law isn’t ready to immediately be enforced. When everything is ready, the entire United States will have the exact same GMO labeling law in place.

It overturns States GMO labeling laws.
Vermont already had a GMO labeling law in place. It required foods that contained GMOs to be have a label on the package that said “produced with genetic engineering”. The law signed by President Obama overturns that law (and other state GMO labeling laws). Opponents of the bill prefer stricter GMO labeling laws than what is included in the new federal law.

There are three options for labeling.
The new law gives food manufacturers three options that they can use to label packages that contain GMOs. One option is to carry a text label (similar to the Vermont law). Another option is to put a symbol on the package that indicates that the food inside includes GMOs.

The third option is to put a QR code on the label. People who have smartphones can scan the electronic code that is on a package to find out whether the food contains GMOs. It would lead to a website that shows the information. Opponents of the law point out that not everyone has a smartphone, and this could leave many consumers unable to read the GMO label.

Foods can still be labeled organic.
The wording of the bill states that food that is certified under the national organic program (which was established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990) can still be labeled organic. The organic label will be considered sufficient to make the claim that the organic food does not contain GMOs.

This means that people who have concerns about GMOs have the potential to completely avoid them by purchasing organic foods. In order to meet the USDA organic regulations, farmers and processors must show they aren’t using GMOs and that they are protecting their products from contact with GMOs from farm to table.

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Tax Free Weekends Help You Save on School Supplies

Posted on Monday, August 1st, 2016 at 6:58 pm
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Sales tax free weekends can help you save money on school supplies, clothing, and more!  Here are the states that are having them in August.The start of a brand new school year is just a few weeks away. One way to save money on school supplies is to take advantage of tax free weekends.

August 5 and 6:

Iowa
Iowa’s tax free weekend is an annual holiday that is held the first Friday and Saturday of August. Sunday is not included, so you will need to plan accordingly. Iowa’s tax free weekend is for clothing. They define “clothing” as: “any article of wearing apparel and typical footwear intended to be worn on or about the human body.” It is for any clothing item priced at $100 or less.

Louisiana
Louisiana offers a sales tax discount on back-to-school supplies, electronics, furniture, an other retail items. Louisiana reminds shoppers to keep their receipts for back-to-school items, such as supplies, uniforms, and equipment required by schools. Those purchases might qualify for tax deductions on 2016 Louisiana Income Tax Returns.

August 5-7:

Alabama
* Books – any item priced at $30 or less
* School supplies – any item priced at $50 or less, including school art supplies and instructional manuals
* Clothing – any item priced at $100 or less
* Computers and software – Any item priced at $750 or less

Florida
* Clothing, footwear, and certain accessories at $60 or less per item
* Certain school supplies at $15 or less per item

Missouri
* Clothing – any article having a taxable value of $100 or less
* School Supplies – not to exceed $50 per purchase
* Computer software – taxable value of $350 or less
* Personal Computers – not to exceed $1,500
* Computer peripheral devices – not to exceed $1,500
* Graphing calculators – not to exceed $150

New Mexico
* Clothing or shoes – priced at less than $100 per unit
* Desktop, laptop, or notebook computers – at a price limit of $1,000
* Related computer hardware – at a price limit of $500
* School supplies – must be under $30 per unit

Ohio
* Clothing priced at $75 per item or less
* School supplies priced at $20 per item or less
* School instructional material priced at $20 per item or less

Oklahoma
Clothing or footwear that is $100 or less per item

Texas
* Clothing and footwear that is $100 or less per item
* Backpacks priced at less than $100
* School supplies priced at less than $100 purchased for use by a student in an elementary or secondary school

South Carolina
All clothing, clothing accessories, footwear, school supplies, computers, printers and printer supplies, computer software, bed linens, and bath accessories are all eligible – with no spending limit.

Virginia
* School supplies – $20 or less per item
* Clothing and footwear – $100 or less per item
* Products that meet Energy Star and WaterSense qualifications – priced at $2,500 or less
* Portable generators – priced at $1,000 or less
* Gas-powered chainsaws – priced at $350 or less
* Other hurricane preparedness supplies and chainsaw accessories – priced at $60 or less

August 6-7:

Maryland
All clothing and footwear – $100 or less per item

August 21-27:

Connecticut
All clothing and footwear that costs less than $100 per item

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You Might Be Recycling Wrong

Posted on Wednesday, July 13th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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Recycling is good for the planet.  Make sure you aren't recycling wrong.  One mistake could mean your recyclables end up in a landfill.We have been taught that recycling is good for the planet. When everything works like it should, recyclables get sorted correctly and prepared for reuse. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to recycle correctly. You might be recycling wrong.

Not Everything Can Be Recycled
Most people understand that plastic bottles can be recycled. This doesn’t mean that all things made of plastic can go in the recycling bin. Some recycling facilities only take certain kinds of plastic. Take the time to learn what kinds of plastic can be accepted by your local recycling facility (or the recycling truck that comes to pick it up.) It matters!

Do not assume that because some types of plastic bottles can be recycled that it means that all items made of all types of plastics are recyclable. Things like plastic shower curtains, plastic toys, plastic plants, and plastic shopping bags are not recyclable. Don’t put them into the recycling bin.

Plastic bags can be recycled at your local grocery store. There is usually a designated plastic bag recycling container near the door of the store. It might be a repurposed trash can that has a sign on it letting people know that it is for plastic bags only.

Trash Cannot be Recycled
Many people put their soda cans into a plastic bag before recycling them. That’s fine if you are going to a sorting facility and intend to take all those cans out of the bag before turning them in. Don’t toss a plastic bag full of cans into the recycling bin. Your recycling facility might not be able to process the bag. The result could be that your bag of otherwise perfectly good recyclable cans will wind up in a landfill.

Do you live in a place that asks residents to put all types of recyclables: cans, plastic bottles, and paper, into one recycling container? That system can work well if everyone follows the rules. Sadly, all it takes is for one person to throw garbage into that recycling container to spoil things. Those recyclables are now contaminated and cannot be processed by a recycling facility.

Be Careful with Shredded Paper
Those that care deeply about the planet will make the effort to put even the smallest scraps of paper into the proper recycling bin. Unfortunately, doing so makes it harder for facilities to recycle that paper. The best way to recycle shredded or small bits of paper is to put it inside a paper bag, seal the bag shut, and write “shredded paper” on the front of the bag. Workers can easily grab the bag and sort it correctly.

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4 Simple Tips for Saving Food

Posted on Monday, July 11th, 2016 at 6:50 am
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Food that went bad before you could eat it is a waste of money!  Try these simple tips for saving food (that will also save you some money).The way to make sure you get the most value out of the money you spent on groceries is to consume all the food you bought before it goes bad. If you had to throw the food away, you wasted the money you spent on it. In addition, you have to pay more money to replace that food. Try some of these simple tips for saving food (and money).

Simple Ideas for Saving Food

Choose Frozen Food
Fresh produce is nice, but it doesn’t have much time before it goes bad. One simple way to prevent your fresh fruits and vegetables from going bad before you could eat them is to buy frozen ones instead.

The frozen produce will last longer than the fresh ones can. Frozen produce can be equal, or superior, in terms of nutrient value, quality, shelf-life, and cost.

You can save leftover fresh herbs and make them last a few weeks longer if you freeze them. Wash the herbs and cut them into small pieces. Put the pieces into the individual molds in an ice cube tray. Top off each mold with cooking oil. Use some frozen herb cubes when you cook.

Buy the Ugly Food
Some grocery stores are starting to sell ugly fruits and vegetables. A misshapen potato or a funny looking tomato are two examples of produce that are just as safe and nutritious as the prettier versions. Grocery stores that sell ugly food often sell it at a discount. When you buy ugly produce, it not only saves you money – it also saves healthy food from being thrown in the trash.

Eat the Leftovers
People are happy to eat the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. However, they tend to throw leftovers in the trash the rest of the year. This is a waste of money!

You can safely keep leftovers in the refrigerator for three or four days. Make sure to reheat your leftovers until the internal temperature reaches 165 F (74C). Doing so can prevent food poisoning.

Get Creative
You bought way too many strawberries at the Farmers’ Market and can’t eat them all before they go bad. It’s time to figure out creative ways to use them up. You could make them into a homemade jam. Bananas that have turned brown are a key ingredient in banana bread. Take a bunch of veggies that are getting close to their expiration date and make a stew, or a stir fry, or a smoothie.

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Academies of Science Find GMOs Not Harmful to Humans

Posted on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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A new report found that genetically engineered crops (also called GMOs) are not harmful for humans to eat. A new report that was done by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that genetically engineered crops (also called genetically modified organisms or GMOs) are safe for humans and animals to eat. The report is called “Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects”.

The report notes that the most commonly grown genetically engineered crops in 2015 were soybeans (83% of land in soybean production), cotton (75% of land in cotton production), maize (29% of land in maize production), and canola (24% of land in canola production).

The 388-page report was begun two years ago. It was conducted by a committee of more than 50 scientists, researchers, and agricultural and industry experts that were convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. They reviewed more than 900 studies that involved data that covered the past 20 years since genetically modified crops were first introduced.

The committee who worked on the report heard from presenters, and from public comments, that voiced concern about the safety of GMO crops. The committee also reviewed several peer-reviewed reports that concluded that there was no evidence of health risks from GMO crops. There is a lot of information in the report about how the committee tested and evaluated the comments and reports.

One thing the committee did was compare the epidemiological data from the United States (which has been consuming GMO crops since the 1970s) and Canada (which has been consuming GMO crops since the mid-1990s). They also compared it to the epidemiological data from the UK and western Europe, where genetically engineered food is not widely available.

The data did not support the hypothesis that genetically engineered foods caused increases in cancer. In addition, the data did not support the conclusions that GMO foods cause an increase in obesity, or in gastrointestinal illnesses, or in kidney disease, or in autism. In short, GMO crops are safe for humans to eat.

There were some questions, however, about whether or not a genetically modified food could be an allergen. No animal model exists for predicting sensitization to food allergies. So, the scientists had to rely on multiple indirect methods for predicting whether an allergic response could be caused by a protein that is either intentionally added to a food by genetic engineering or if one appears in a food as an unintended effect of genetic engineering.

In short, they noted that testing for allergenicity before commercialization of a GMO crop could miss allergens that the general public had not been previously exposed to. Post commercial allergen testing would be useful in ensuring that customers are not exposed to allergens. However, the committee recognized that such testing would be difficult to conduct.

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Frugality is Hard to Afford

Posted on Monday, July 4th, 2016 at 7:00 am
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A working paper found that high-income families can afford to use saving techniques (such as buying in bulk) that low-income families cannot.One of the most common pieces of advice about how to save money is to buy things in bulk. That might work out well for individuals or families who are already doing ok financially. That being said, the ability to buy in bulk is not easily accessible for people who truly are in poverty.

Buying in Bulk is Expensive

The reason why people buy in bulk is because it can save them some money. Buy one product, all by itself, and it costs a certain price. When items are sold in bulk, it causes each individual item in the bulk purchase to cost less than it would if you were to buy those items individually off the shelf.

A working paper documented that households that are less likely to use cost-saving strategies (such as buying in bulk) are the low-income families who would have a greater incentive to save money than a well-to-do family would. That may seem counterintuitive, unless you understand what it is like to be extremely poor.

More specifically, the paper found that high-income households, (that make $100,000 or more a year), bought their toilet paper on sale 39% of the time. Low income households, (those making $20,000 or less a year), only did that about 28% of the time.

High-income households were more likely to buy more rolls of toilet paper at a time than were low-income households. That meant the high-income households not only saved money on the cost of toilet paper, but also did not have to make as many trips to the store. They were able to reduce the amount of gas they spent driving to and from the store because they bought in bulk.

Let’s say a roll of toilet paper costs $2.00. A bulk package of 12 rolls of the same brand of toilet paper is not going to cost $24.00. Instead, it might cost $10.00.

A person who has the up-front cost of the bulk product available will buy it knowing that he or she will save money. But, the person who only has $2.00 until their next paycheck can’t afford to buy the bulk sized product – even though doing so would result in greater savings over time. That person probably cannot wait for a sale to appear before they purchase another roll of toilet paper.

The key point to get from what the working paper revealed is that people who are poor aren’t able to use the same techniques to save money as are people who have a higher income. Saving money by purchasing items in bulk could mean you are a savvy shopper. It also means you are starting out with more money than the people who can’t afford to buy bulk packages of toilet paper.

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