There’s shopping for pleasure, then there’s shopping for purpose. The latter is never quite as fun, but taking a practical approach to buying household necessities can help save money so there’s more to spend on the shopping you enjoy most.
Tackle your household shopping with these cost-conscious tips from the experts at Scott Brand:
Keep a list. Knowing which groceries and supplies you have on-hand before heading to the store makes it easier to avoid overspending. Try an app on your smartphone to maintain a running shopping list. Look for one that includes sharing features so others in the household can let you know when they use the last of something that needs replaced.
Pull in price-cutting resources. Start by looking at store ads before heading out to shop so you know where to find the best deals. Plan your week’s meals around sale items for an extra bang. Be sure to clip coupons from the local paper and print more coupons online. Also remember to do price comparisons at online shopping sites, especially those with subscription services that deliver items on a regular schedule with a steep discount.
Shop for value. Instead of simply purchasing the cheapest product, do your research to know which product offers the best value. Look for household items like Scott 1000 toilet paper, America’s longest-lasting toilet paper, which comes with 1,000 sheets in every roll to help your family keep on going. Determining which products will meet your family’s needs in terms of performance and long-lasting value at the lowest price can help you save in the long run.
Know when bulk spending is better. While it will likely make a larger dent on your wallet at the store, buying in bulk can provide long-term financial gain. Because you’re buying in quantity, you’ll likely be purchasing products that will last longer to help delay a return trip to the store. One way to minimize the “ouch” of the upfront expense: stagger your bulk buying so you’re restocking items over time, rather than all at once.
Avoid impulses. Especially when you’re shopping with family members, it’s easy to watch the shopping cart grow full with each “bargain” item at the end of the aisle. Unfortunately, these impulse buys can add up quickly. Instead, invite the whole family to help build a reasonable list and then help keep each other accountable to it. If you make it all the way to the register, reward yourselves with a small snack or treat from the check-out aisle.
Find more information and ways to save on household necessities at ScottBrand.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (adults shopping)Sources: Family Features and Scott Brand
You can find them on the side of most every product at your local grocery store. They are plain and kind of boring but nutrition labels were designed to contain vitally important information for good health and wise food choices. These labels tell you the number of servings in a container, how many calories per serving, and what amounts of vitamins and essential nutrients (like sodium) they contain.
However, they don’t just give you the raw data, they also tell you what percentage of your daily allowance of needed nutrients you are getting. When it comes to sodium, however, that may be a problem. The daily allowances are based on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, with guidance from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), now known as the Health and Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies).
The current FDA Dietary Guidelines call for a maximum daily sodium allowance of 2,300 mg, well below what the average American eats, which is about 3,400 mg per day of sodium. But, when the IOM studied this issue and released their report in 2013, “Sodium Intake in Populations: Assessment of Evidence,” they found no evidence to lower the daily allowance below 2,300 mg per day and some indication that doing so would be harmful. The level set by the FDA not only represents a significant population-wide sodium reduction effort, it also ignores the latest evidence.
An increasing amount of research is contradicting the FDA’s sodium guidelines. A 2014 study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the healthy range for sodium consumption was between 3,000 and 6,000 mg per day and eating less than 3,000 mg per day may increase the risk of death or cardiovascular incidents. And a 2011 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that low-sodium diets were more likely to result in death from cardiovascular disease.
Low-salt diets can lead to insulin resistance, congestive heart failure, cardiovascular events, iodine deficiency, loss of cognition, low birth weights, and higher rates of death. Dr. Michael Alderman, editor of the American Journal of Hypertension and former president of the American Society of Hypertension, has repeatedly cited his concern that a population-wide sodium reduction campaign could have unintended consequences.
Very few countries in the world meet the government recommendations. A study of almost 20,000 people in 33 countries shows the normal range of consumption around the world is 2,800 to 4,800 mg/day. This is consistent regardless of where people get their food, either from home-cooked meals, prepackaged meals or restaurants.
The new nutrition labels were supposed to go into place this year, but now the FDA has indefinitely delayed their implementation. Hopefully this will allow them time to adjust the sodium limits to more accurately reflect the evidence as well as how real people eat and the safe range of sodium consumption.
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably come across ongoing debates regarding the term “organic” and what should go into your child’s body. But, what about organic versus non-GMO? A recent study from Perrigo Nutritionals revealed that more than half of moms didn’t know that organic is inherently non-GMO.
So, what’s the real difference? Simply put, organic is always non-GMO, but, unlike non-GMO, products labeled organic also guarantee:
"It’s important to understand the difference between these labels so you can make the right nutritional decisions for you family," says Jessica Turner, best-selling author and founder of the Mom Creative blog.
Looking beyond the non-GMO label doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing approach, especially since purchasing all organic can add up quick. As a mother of three, Turner believes the following products are worth the extra splurge for organic instead of just non-GMO for your child.
As a child starts eating solids, many organizations such as The Environmental Working Group recommend always going organic when it comes to the “dirty dozen” such as apples, bell peppers, peaches, etc. to avoid pesticides. Purchasing baby food jars or packets? Make sure you look for the USDA Certified Organic label, not just a non-GMO certified label to avoid all those chemicals.
Milk is a nutrient powerhouse when it comes to your child’s nutrition with vitamin D, calcium and protein, but unfortunately it can sometimes contain not-so-good ingredients. Organic milk brands like Organic Valley have absolutely no antibiotics, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides or GMO anything. Going organic also supports a better life for the cows since they have access to pastures (another thing not guaranteed by only purchasing non-GMO).
According to the Perrigo Nutritionals study, 43 percent of moms said they purchased organic foods for their babies when they started eating solids, but only 10 percent purchased organic infant formula. So why not choose organic for your baby from the very beginning? Choosing organic brands like Earth’s Best or Honest may be worth the extra investment since it will ensure you are avoiding pesticides and hormones- something not guaranteed by just the non-GMO label.
Skin care products that go on a baby’s skin, like lotion, diaper cream, shampoo and soap, are being absorbed into their bloodstream. Since their skin is more porous than adults, products from organic/natural lines such as Burt’s Bees or Seventh Generation may be worth the extra splurge to ensure your child is being exposed to the least number of chemicals as possible.
At the end of the day, if you’re not sure, err on the side of buying organic since organic is always non-GMO, plus more. For more information on organic versus non-GMO, visit www.choose-organic.com.
From single parents to traditional and multigenerational households, modern families come in all shapes and sizes. But did you know there’s an uptick in the number of grandparents raising grandkids? According to data from The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2.9 million grandparents were raising their grandchildren in 2015 compared with 2.5 million in 2005.
Oftentimes, grandparents become primary caregivers due to unforeseen circumstances.
Here are three things those taking on this responsibility should consider.
Protect their Financial Future
A recent study found 30 percent of all households don’t have life insurance, according to LIMRA, a life insurance research organization. Grandparents should be sure this coverage is up to date.
They might also consider purchasing term insurance -- life insurance issued for a limited period of time. More affordable than a whole life policy, it provides financial security for the golden years, helps supplement retirement income and can assist with final expenses. A term life insurance policy can even help pay off a mortgage -- so grandparents have peace of mind knowing that dependents have a roof over their heads -- and can also be used for other child-rearing expenses, such as college tuition.
Keep Them Safe
Accidental injury is the leading cause of death for children up to 14 years old, and more than a third of accident-related deaths happen in the home, reports KidsHealth.
To create a safe living environment for younger children, secure large furniture to walls, purchase safety gates for staircases, and install outlet covers, corner protectors, security locks and appliance latches. It might also be a good time to update in-home safety features for grandparents, too. Handrails provide better grip on staircases, and anti-slip mats and grab bars in the bathroom can add extra stability.
Promote Smarter Driving
As teens get behind the wheel, encourage them to drive safely. A 2015 statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says six teens die every day in car crashes in the US, and this is the number one killer of teens. Distracted driving is the cause of 58 percent of teen-involved traffic crashes, according to the National Organization for Youth Safety. Remind grandkids about the dangers of texting, using apps and changing the radio station while driving.
Also, reevaluate your auto insurance policy. Talk to an agent about whether it makes more sense to add grandchildren to an existing policy or take one out for them specifically. Grandparents may be able to add grandkids as secondary drivers on a policy, but should be prepared to pay higher rates since teens may be considered high-risk. Look for a cost-effective solution, such as the Youthful Driver Discount offered by Erie Insurance. Eligible licensed drivers 20 and under can save up to 20 percent on their car insurance. Plus, drivers under age 21 who complete an accredited driver’s education course may also be eligible for discounts.
Caring for grandkids can be overwhelming. However, preparation can help ensure your family’s safety and security.
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