How to Save

Ways to Stay Healthy This Summer

Posted on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Pin It

Row of Bottled WaterFor some people, summer means vacation time. That vacation could be in the form of a long vacation that involves plenty of traveling, or a “staycation” that takes place in a weekend. Even if you are stuck at work for the entire summer, you still need to think about good health. There are plenty of ways to stay healthy this summer.

Stay Hydrated
It is always important to make sure you are properly hydrated. The hot, humid summer weather requires people to be extra vigilant about hydration. LiveScience says you need to drink enough water to prevent thirst. For short-duration, low-to-moderate intensity activity, it is advisable to drink water before, during and after exercise.

Don’t Diet
People are often tempted to go on a fad diet right before summer in an effort to quickly lose weight. These types of diets are not healthy and can be dangerous. No one should starve themselves in an effort to stay under an arbitrary number of calories.

USA Today College reports that people should try to eat healthy foods 80% of the time. This allows for some indulgences of less-than-healthy food without destroying your health.

Remember to Exercise
Summer vacation should involve some relaxing activities. You still need to get at least some exercise, though, in order to stay healthy. Forbes points out that getting 20 minutes of exercise, every other day, will help you to stay healthy. Visit the gym at the hotel you are staying at, or go for a swim.

Forbes also points out that walking is a good form of exercise. Taking a walking trip through a city gives you the opportunity to take an architecture tour, or to stop and take plenty of photos.

Make Frozen Fruit Treats
A quick and sweet treat doesn’t have to be an unhealthy one. You can freeze small pieces of fruit on a stick and eat that instead of a store-bought popsicle. Make a frozen fruit kebob out of pieces of a variety of fruits. You can cool off, get hydrated, and get some fiber at the same time.

Posted in: How to Save, Natural Foods | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Ways to Save Money at Whole Foods

Posted on Monday, June 12th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Pin It

Whole FoodsThere was a time when Whole Foods was jokingly called “Whole Paycheck” because it was more expensive to shop there than at other grocery stores. Since then, Whole Foods has made some changes that might help lower their prices. In addition, there are some easy ways to save money at Whole Foods.

Get the Whole Foods App
The Whole Foods App is available for both iOS and Android. It gives you exclusive digital coupons, local store information, thousands of recipes, and local sales. You can even use the app to make a shopping list.

All users get the exact same coupons – but those coupons are not available to people who do not have the Whole Foods app. The digital coupons have expiration dates (just like paper coupons do). Make sure to scan the app at the register before you pay, so you can use the digital coupons.

Sign up for Whole Foods Rewards
Whole Foods Rewards has a pilot program that is currently available for Whole Foods Stores in the Dallas area and in the Philadelphia area. If you live in one of those areas, you can sign up for Whole Foods Rewards.

This rewards program lets shoppers earn rewards on select items that they buy. It offers instant sales that are recommended for individual users that are tailored to the user’s tastes. The rewards program also offers “more surprises.”

Get the Newsletter
You can sign up for the Whole Foods Newsletter for free. It comes to you in the form of email. The email you receive might contain recipes, coupons, and tips. The email is delivered to your inbox every week.

Buy in Bulk
You can buy beans, pasta, nuts, and other items in bulk quantities from Whole Foods. Use the store’s bulk containers to get exactly the amount you want. It’s nice to not have to pay for packaging or name-brand labels. Whole Foods gives shoppers a 10 percent discount when they buy wine (and other eligible items) by the case.

Bring Your Own Bags
If you live in an area that has a plastic bag ban, then you are already used to bringing your own bags when you go grocery shopping. Some Whole Foods locations offer a 5-cent or 10-cent discount for each bag you bring. It doesn’t sound like much, but can add up over time.

Posted in: How to Save | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

CDC has Advice for Healthy Swimming

Posted on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Pin It

pool-ballSwimming is a great way to get some exercise, and beat the heat, when the weather is hot. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some advice about healthy swimming. It is a good idea to learn how to keep your self healthy when swimming in a public pool.

The CDC recommends that you check the pool before you (or your family members) get in. Check the pool’s latest inspection results. Make sure the drain at the bottom of the deep end is visible. Check that the drain covers at the bottom are secured and in good repair.

Look for a lifeguard who is on duty. That person should be focused on the swimmers and not distracted. If there is no lifeguard, the pool should have a “No Lifeguard On Duty” sign.

Make sure you shower before you get into the pool. Most public pools have shower facilities for people to use. You can take a one minute shower and wash off dirt (or anything else) before you get in the pool. Doing so helps prevent the spread of dirt and germs.

The CDC recommends that you stay out of the water if you have an open wound. This could be a cut that has not healed, a piercing, or a wound from surgery. Make sure all open wounds are covered with waterproof bandages.

It is vitally important that you stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. Do not allow your children to swim in public pools if they have diarrhea.

There is a parasitic infection called “Crypto” that spreads when a person comes into contact with, or swallows, pool water that has been contaminated with diarrhea. People who have had “Crypto” must wait until two weeks after their diarrhea has stopped before they can go swimming.

Parents need to take frequent breaks and bring their kids to the bathroom. Parents must check diapers and swim diapers in a diaper changing area and not right next to the pool. Teach your children NOT to swallow the water that is in the pool.

The CDC recommends that people protect themselves against sunburn by using a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen can wear off, so make sure to reapply it every two hours.

Posted in: How to Save, Natural Foods | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Simple Ways to Save Money on Groceries

Posted on Monday, June 5th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Pin It

grocery-bagThere are many ways to save money on groceries. You can use coupons to bring the price down, or get the store’s loyalty card to gain access to special deals. Smart shoppers can check the current sales at one grocery store and compare it with the prices at a competitor. There are also some less obvious, simple ways to save money on groceries.

Bring your own bags
Many grocery stores have switched over from asking if you want “paper or plastic” bags for free to asking customers if they have brought their own bags. Those who forget to bring their own bags get stuck paying money for however many bags they need.

Typically, those bags cost less than 25 cents each, which doesn’t sound like much. However, that small extra charge can add up. Bring your own bags – and you won’t ever have to pay for additional bags.

Skip the pre-cut foods
Produce aisles in grocery stores now contain pre-cut fruits or vegetables. These can be very convenient for parents who want to give their kids bite sized pieces of fruit, or for busy people who want to cook dinner without having to cut everything themselves.

The downside of pre-cut foods is that you end up paying for convenience. If you, or someone else in your home is physically able to cut produce, you don’t really need to pay extra for the pre-cut packages.

Don’t buy bottled water if you don’t have to
If the water that comes out of your faucet is unsafe to use or drink, then you have little choice other than to buy bottled water. If your water is safe to drink, then you don’t need to buy it in bottles. You can save money by purchasing a good water bottle and filling it with tap water (or filtered tap water). Bring the water bottle with you instead of buying bottled water at your destination.

K-Cups are expensive
The next time you run out of K-Cups, take a moment to look in the coffee aisle for a plastic and mesh reusable K-Cup. You can put whatever kind of coffee you prefer in it, rinse it out later, and reuse it. This small change enables you to save money on coffee, which you can now buy in bulk, and put into the reusable K-Cup.

Consider generic or store brand
Compare the ingredients in a name brand product to the same product that happens to be the store’s brand (or, the generic). Most of the time, you will find that the two products have the exact same ingredients. The brand name costs more, but the generic is the exact same thing.

Posted in: How to Save | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Popcorn Can be a Healthy Snack

Posted on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Pin It

popcornPeople who want to stay healthy often seek out healthy snacks. It turns out that popcorn can be a healthy snack. It all depends on what kind of popcorn it is, and the quality of the ingredients that have been added to the popcorn.

First, the good news. Popcorn is naturally a whole grain. This means it provides the healthy benefits derived from the nutrients in every component of the whole grain. Popcorn contains about 4 grams of dietary fiber for every 4 cups of popped corn. Popcorn contains an antioxidant called polyphenols.

Popcorn, all by itself, is gluten-free. That’s great for people who have celiac disease, an allergy to wheat, rye and/or barley, or who have a gluten intolerance. It is also dairy free (if you don’t add butter or cheese to it). Popcorn does not naturally contain eggs, shellfish, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, or soybeans. It is naturally free of all of the eight most allergenic foods.

Now, the bad news. The more things you add to the popcorn, the more calories it contains. People who are trying to lose weight may be able to fit some popcorn into their diet – but will quickly go over their daily calories if they add a lot of extra things to the healthy popcorn.

Consumer Reports points out that a little bit of salt and oil in popcorn, or sugar in kettle corn, might not be so bad for your health. Be aware that popcorn becomes less healthy when you “load it up” with a lot of butter, extra salt, or cheese.

Make sure to check the nutrition label on the box of popcorn before you buy it. The front of the package might tell you the calorie count of one cup of popcorn. But, the nutrition facts label lists values for one ounce of popcorn – not one cup. That can make it difficult to compare one brand to another.

Check to see how many servings one bag of popcorn has inside it. In general, one bag does not equal one serving. People tend to eat the whole bag and consider that to be a healthy choice. In reality, they are probably eating more than one serving.

Bagged, pre-popped, flavored popcorn could have a wide variety of things added to it. Cheese, caramel, sugar, chocolate – and more. These additions add to the calorie count. Some bagged popcorn might contain artificial ingredients.

One way to keep popcorn a healthy snack is to make stovetop popcorn yourself. This lets you control the portion size, the amount of salt, and the type of oil that is used.

Posted in: How to Save, Natural Foods | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Sears is Closing Many Stores

Posted on Monday, May 8th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Pin It

Sears LogoSears is in the process of closing many of its stores, across the nation, forever. It is sad news when a store that has been around as long as Sears has ends up closing multiple locations. Whenever a store closes, there are opportunities for consumers to take advantage of savings.

Shop Your Way is a rewards program that lets people earn 1% back in points on every dollar they spend at partner stores. Both Sears and Kmart are Shop Your Way partners. Now is a good time to visit a Sears (or Kmart) that is still open and use up your Shop Your Way points. Doing so could save you some money on your purchase.

Business Insider compiled a list of Sears stores that were part of the second wave of closures:

  • Florence Mall, Florence, Alabama
  • 1901 S. Caraway Road, Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Enfield Square, Enfield, Connecticut
  • Eagle Ridge Mall, Lake Wales, Florida
  • Albany Mall, Albany, Georgia
  • Columbus Park Crossing, Columbus, Georgia
  • 1235 S. Reed Road, Kokomo, Indiana
  • 2259 S. 9th St., Salina, Kansas
  • Kentucky Oaks Mall, Paducah, Kentucky
  • 9001 Cortana Mall, Baton Rouge/Cortana, Louisiana
  • 197 Westbank Expressway, Gretna, Louisiana
  • 9605 Queens Blvd., Rego Park, New York
  • Walden Galleria, Cheektowaga, New York
  • Boulevard Mall, Amherst, New York
  • 1 Galleria Drive, Middletown, New York
  • 10 Whitten Road, Augusta, Maine
  • Swansea Mall, Swansea, Massachusetts
  • 3099 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • 12737 Riverdale Blvd NW, Coon Rapids, Minnesota
  • 1850 Adams St., Mankato, Minnesota
  • 3600 Country Club Drive, Jefferson Cty, Missouri
  • 3702 Frederick Ave., Saint Joseph, Missouri
  • 3902 13th Ave., South Fargo, North Dakota
  • 1000 S. Main St., Roswell, New Mexico
  • 2000 Brittain Road, Akron, Ohio
  • 1075 N. Bridge St., Chillicothe, Ohio
  • 1701 River Valley Circle S, Lancaster, Ohio
  • Richmond Mall, Richmond Heights, Ohio
  • 1901 S. Yale Ave., Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • 428 SW. C Ave, Lawton, Oklahoma
  • Shenango Valley Mall, Hermitage, Pennsylvania
  • 1 Susquehanna Valley Mall Drive, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania
  • 1500 Mall Run Road, Uniontown, Pennsylvania
  • 3595 Capital City Mall, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
  • 1500 Diamond Hill Road, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
  • 2701 David H. McLeod Blvd., Florence, South Carolina
  • 2101 Fort Henry Drive, Kingsport, Tennessee
  • 4101 E. 42nd St., Odessa, Texas
  • 500 Gate City Highway, Bristol, Virginia
  • Alderwood Mall, Lynnwood, Washington
  • Town Center Mall, Charleston, West Virginia
  • Meadowbrook Mall, Bridgeport, West Virginia

In April of 2017, Business Insider posted an additional list of Sears stores that will close:

  • Aventura Mall, 19505 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, Florida
  • 3199 N White Sands Blvd, Alamogordo, New Mexico
  • Monroe Crossing Mall, 2115 W Roosevelt Blvd., Monroe, North Carolina
  • Northwoods Mall, 7801 Rivers Ave, Charleston, South Carolina
  • Valley View Mall, 13131 Preston Rd., Dallas, Texas

The Sears near you might not be on these lists. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will remain open. The Sears in San Luis Obispo, California, is not on those lists – but it is closing. Like some other Sears stores, there will be a liquidation sale.

Posted in: How to Save | Comments (1) | Join Discussion

Gallup Releases 2016 Community Rankings for Healthy Eating

Posted on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 at 4:15 pm
Pin It

Fruit & Vegetable PlatterGallup and Sharecare released a report called “Nutrition Across the Nation: 2016 Community Rankings for Healthy Eating”. It includes a list of the communities in the United States where people are making the healthiest food choices.

According to Gallup and Sharecare: “Healthy eating is at its lowest level in 2016, with 63.2% of U.S. adults reporting eating healthy all day the previous day, down from a high of 67.7% in 2010, representing a decline of over 10 million American adults eating healthy on any given day since that year.” They asked adults “Did you eat healthy all day yesterday?”

In addition to identifying the communities where adults were making healthy food choices, the report also explores the relationship between healthy eating and various chronic illnesses. Some of those chronic illnesses include: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and stress.

Gallup and Sharecare said that overall, they found that those who ate healthy all day the previous day had lower disease burden across conditions than those who did not. Gallup and Sharecare state: “This research suggests that an emphasis on healthy eating and sensible food policies could have a positive impact on lowering disease burden within communities nationwide.”

The following communities have the healthiest eaters:
Naples, Florida
Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
Santa Cruz, California
Salinas, California
McAllen, Texas
Santa Rosa, California
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
San Luis Obispo, California
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
El Paso, Texas

The following communities have the least healthy eaters:
Little Rock, Arkansas
Topeka, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Lexington, Kentucky
Clarksville, Tennessee
Hickory, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Memphis, Tennessee
Lubbock, Texas

Is the community you live in listed among the top ten healthiest? Did it end up in the list of the least healthy eaters? If you don’t see your community in these two lists, there is potential that it could be on the full list put together by Gallup and Sharecare. There are a total of 189 communities in their ranking.

No matter where your community ended up, there is some wisdom to take from this report. Ask yourself the following question: “Did I eat healthy all day yesterday?” If the answer is “no”, it might be time to start making some changes in the kinds of food you eat and/or the portion size you are eating.

If possible, swap out sugary sodas with water. Tea with no sugar added, or coffee with no sugar added, are two more choices that are healthier than sodas. Try to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Posted in: How to Save, Natural Foods | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

The Envelope System Might Save You Money

Posted on Monday, May 1st, 2017 at 7:00 am
Pin It

Dollars in envelopeThere is tons of advice online about how to save money. Often, it calls for cutting back on your expenses. What if you’ve already done that and still aren’t making ends meet? Perhaps the “Envelope System” might help you save money.

How to Save Money with the Envelope System

Erin Lowry wrote a book called “Broke Millennial”. In it, she explains how she managed to save money while working as a page on the David Letterman Show and living in New York City. Her money saving method is called “The Envelope System.”

She started by getting some regular paper envelopes. Each envelope was labeled with a category. In her case, the envelopes were labeled: rent, money for roommate who paid the utilities, savings, and fun fund. She put cash into those four envelopes every time she got paid. She did this instead of putting the money into a checking account or into a savings account.

In addition to working as a page, Erin Lowry also got a job as a barista at Starbucks. She also got paid for babysitting. The people she babysat for paid her in cash. Her work as a barista often resulted in cash tips. She put 50 percent of the money into the rent envelope, 25 percent into the money for roommate envelope, and 25 percent into the savings envelope. Extra cash would go into the fun fund.

One advantage to The Envelope System is that it gives you a tangible, visual, way to understand exactly how much money you have. If you discover, halfway through the month, that the rent envelope is low – you have the chance to make some changes. You can try and get more work, or pull from the fun fund.

The Envelope System makes it harder for people to unwittingly spend more money than they actually have. People who buy things with credit cards tend to spend more than they would if they had to pay cash. There is something about holding actual dollars in your hand that makes people more careful about where those dollars go.

There are some down sides to The Envelope System. It won’t be as easy to do for people who are paid by direct deposit, or by check, instead of with cash. Most people have bills that require a check, debit card, or electronic payment – and cash will not do.

Some people may feel uneasy about not having a checking account. Some savings accounts can accrue interest (something The Envelope System cannot offer). That being said, if you are a “Broke Millennial” like Erin Lowry was, The Envelope System might be exactly what you need.

Posted in: How to Save | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Healthy Bodies Need Some Fat

Posted on Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Pin It

fat in our daily dietIt seems like the dieting trends focus on one type of food – and emphasize how bad it is for people’s health. Over the years, we have been told to avoid sugar, carbs, and fat. It turns out that not all fats are equal and healthy bodies need some fat.

Why Do Our Bodies Need Fat?

Fat helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (like A, D, E, and K). Vitamin A helps your bones and teeth grow, and helps moisturize your skin end eyes. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Vitamin E has antioxidant qualities. Vitamin K maintains bone health and helps blood clotting.

Fat also helps brain development. It cushions the organs in your body and protects them from injury and trauma. It helps you to maintain your body temperature.

Not all fats are the same, though. Some are better for the body than others. Here is a quick look at the different kinds of fat found in foods.

Saturated fat comes from animal sources like meat and dairy. Certain plants, like coconut and palm, and their oils, are high in saturated fat. It is advisable to eat less saturated fat because it raises LDL cholesterol, a risk factor in heart disease.

Trans Fat are made synthetically by taking liquid saturated fat and blasting it with hydrogen. Doing so adds to the shelf life of the fat and makes it easier to cook with. Trans fats are found in many food products because manufacturers like how long it lasts before it goes bad. Trans fat is even worse for your body than saturated fat is.

Monounsaturated fat (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) are found in high-fat plant based foods (like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olives). They are also found in fatty fish (like tuna, salmon, and mackerel). This is a healthy type of fat for people to consume.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 technically are polyunsaturated fats. Our bodies cannot produce omega-6 or omega-3 on their own. The only way to get them is to consume them. Omega-3 and omega-6 is essential for developing our vision and nervous systems. Omega-3 is found in fatty fish. Omega-6 can be found in soybean, safflower and corn oil.

Fat helps people to feel full and to maintain a steady blood sugar. One of the problems people face when they cut out all fat is they end up feeling hungry. This could lead them to eat more than they should be eating. That’s counterproductive for people who are trying to lose weight.

Posted in: How to Save, Natural Foods | Comments (0) | Join Discussion

Ways to Save Money This Spring

Posted on Monday, April 10th, 2017 at 7:00 am
Pin It

Try these savings tips before the summer comes and it gets too hot to spend time outdoors.Spring brings warmer weather and makes people want to go outside and enjoy it. It also brings opportunities to save some money (that were not possible during the snowy, cold, winter). Try these savings tips before the summer comes and it gets too hot to spend time outdoors.

How to Save This Spring

Use Cash Instead of Credit
The warm spring weather makes a walk to the nearest ATM feel like less of a chore than it would have if the snow were still on the ground. Start your next shopping trip at the ATM. Pull out only what you think you will need. Leave your credit cards at home.

Making yourself use cash to pay for things forces you to be money-conscious. It often makes people question if the price of an item is really worth it. Do you actually need the thing you are considering buying? You might discover that your shopping decisions are more economical when you use cash.

Using your credit card is easy, but it comes with a price. If you aren’t able to pay off the entire balance of your credit card this month – you will get hit with an interest rate charge. This doesn’t happen when you use cash.

Walk Instead of Drive
When the weather is freezing cold, and the snow is deep, it is easy to see why people need to drive everywhere they go. Spring weather gives you the opportunity to take a walk instead. Consider walking to the restaurant that is just a few blocks away instead of driving to it.

Walking has several advantages. It leaves the gas in your vehicle’s tank for a little longer. The more often you walk, the less often you have to spend money filling up the tank. You won’t have to pay for parking if you walk. Walking can be great exercise!

Drop Your Gym Membership
Be honest, how many times have you used the gym membership you purchased in January? Most people have given up on their New Year’s Resolution to lose weight by the time spring hits. If you aren’t using it – you should cancel your membership. Save the money for something else.

You can get some exercise for free by talking walks, or going for a run. Make use of the bike paths where you live. The weather will soon be warm enough for you to get some exercise by swimming.

Avoid Takeout
Ordering takeout from local restaurants is easy. It can also be expensive! Meanwhile, the groceries you purchased sit in the refrigerator and go bad. Spring is a good time to get out the grill and make a tasty dinner for less money than it would cost to get takeout.

Posted in: How to Save | Comments (0) | Join Discussion