Four Frugal Foods That Should Be A Staple In Every Home (And They Are Healthy, Too!)

Potatoes

This is a guest post written by Denise from The Single Saver, a single woman herself who grew up in a small family. A reformed spend-a-holic, she now enjoys the challenge of finding new ways to live a frugal yet very comfortable lifestyle. When not saving money, she is usually spending it on food for her two greyhounds and two cats.

Food – it is one expense that, no matter how much we would like to, we can never completely eliminate. And for most of us, a big chunk of our budgets are eaten up (pun intended) by food in one form or another. Reducing your grocery bill can help free up money for other purposes. But how? One way is to buy foods that are filling, nutritious, have long shelf-lives, and are cheap.

The four foods I am about to tell you about should be staples in every home due to their many excellent qualities. First off, they are all very inexpensive. Secondly, they all offer excellent health benefits. Third, they have long shelf lives, meaning costly food waste is kept to a minimum. Fourth, they are filling foods than can be combined with other ingredients to make a large variety of dishes. Oh, and did I mention they are super INEXPENSIVE?

As an added bonus, each of these items can be prepared in as large or as small of a serving as is needed, making them ideal for singles and smaller families to have on hand.

And now, without farther ado, here is the list: Keep reading » about Four Frugal Foods That Should Be A Staple In Every Home (And They Are Healthy, Too!)

Shopping At Costco: The Lazy Way To Save Money On Almost Everything

shoppingatcostcothelazywaytosavemoneyonalmosteverything.jpgWhen it comes to everyday shopping value, Costco truly is the cream of the crop and it is very hard for them to be beat in regards to value because they have great prices on above average quality products. Most people have shopped at Costco at one time or another, so I may be preaching to the choir here, but there has to be at least one person out there that still hasn’t given them a chance!

What do I mean when I say it is the lazy way to save money? Well, you definitely aren’t going to get the absolute lowest price when shopping at Costco. If you look out for amazing loss leader sales, you will often be able to beat Costco’s prices just by doing that. Then, if you combine a good manufacturer’s coupon with said sales, you are practically guaranteed to get a better deal elsewhere. However, finding cheap prices that way requires vigilance and dedication as well as potential trips to several stores with a lot of time wasted and money spent on gas!

When you shop at Costco, you are almost always guaranteed a more than competitive price and a selection of products that is heavily screened for quality. It is very rare to find an inferiour product at Costco as it seems every product has been hand picked to the highest quality and even products you see in other stores often come with an added feature or bonus to make them just a little bit better. But more importantly you will save yourself a whole lot of research and time making Costco the perfect choice for busy people focused on advancing their career (i.e. making more money) and their family or even those just looking to maximize their efficiency and free time while still saving money.

Shopping at Costco is actually almost too easy as you always find so many great products that you never knew existed before, so you may end up spending much more than you originally intended to. To stay on budget, it is important to go in with a list of things you need and then stick to it religiously. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Keep reading for pros and cons of shopping at Costco, a list of good things to buy there, and some tips and tricks to save even more money on your Costco adventures!

Costco Pros

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Shopping Online: How To Stay Safe Part II - Choose Stores Carefully

shoppingonlinehowtostaysafepartiichoosestorescarefully.jpgBeing well protected isn’t the only way to make sure you are safe when shopping online. You can also significantly enhance your online shopping experience and simultaneously heighten your safety level by being extra careful when choosing stores to shop at. Knowing who you can trust in the online world can be a tall order, so this post is all about showing you how you can quickly and easily choose the best places to shop, even if you’ve never heard of the store before.

Shop At Well Known Online Stores At First

When you are first starting out, it is a good idea to shop at well known stores and chains first. Many large Canadian retailers have an online presence to compliment their bricks and mortar stores so you can be sure that they are as trustworthy online as they are offline. This will allow you to get your feet wet in an extra safe environment until you get more comfortable and can branch out to lesser known stores.

Here are a few of the major Canadians retailers that also sell their products online. I am including Amazon in this list because they are so big and well known that they can obviously be trusted as well.

  • Amazon
  • BestBuy
  • Chapters
  • Futureshop
  • HMV
  • Home Depot
  • London Drugs
  • Sears
  • Staples
  • The Source
  • Toys “R” Us

Research New Stores You Want To Try

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Shopping Online: How To Stay Safe Part I – Use Protection

shoppingonlinehowtostaysafepartiuseprotection.jpgIn the first post of this series, I made it clear that shopping online is generally a safe thing to do. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t scammers out there on the internet and that it isn’t possible for something unexpected to happen to you. In the offline world people are still scammed all the time and whenever you shop at a retail store they could easily steal your credit card number or skim your debit card PIN and clone its magnetic strip. Not to mention if somebody hacks a large corporation’s database of credit card numbers like what happened in 2007 with TJ Max (the owner of Winners).

These things don’t happen often, but they do happen, both online and offline, so it is best to take a few extra precautions to protect yourself wherever possible. Here are some suggestions that are easy to act on and that will increase your safety level substantially when shopping online:

Use A Good Credit Card With Fraud Protection

The pillar of any online transaction is having a good credit card with $0 fraud protection so that you won’t be held liable if the wrong person gets a hold of your credit card information or if the store you are buying from doesn’t deliver. The key here is to monitor your statement monthly and look for any suspicious transactions to make sure that you aren’t being charged for anything you didn’t buy. A quick call to your credit card company should allow them to investigate the charge and refund it back to you if they find that it is fraudulent.

You can also contact them if the online store you made a purchase from doesn’t deliver the product you purchased from them. You should always contact the vendor first to follow up and try to resolve any problems, but if that fails then your credit card company should be able to charge them back for the purchase and refund your money.

If you are the extra cautious type, then you can take additional steps to ensure you will be protected:

  • Reserve a single credit card with a low limit, say $500, for all your online shopping to make sure that no large fraudulent purchases could possibly get through.
  • Purchase prepaid credit cards to use when shopping online.
    • You may need to contact the prepaid card issuer to make sure the card will work for online purchases because your personal billing information won’t be on file with them. Billing information is usually verified during the checkout process and the transaction may fail if it can’t be found on the prepaid credit card.
    • These cards are now available almost everywhere gift cards are sold (gift card malls) as well as at some banks.
  • Use a credit card that allows you to set up additional single use credit card numbers.
    • These are also known as virtual credit card numbers.
    • Doing this prevents the store from ever having your real credit card number because the number you gave them will be deactivated after the purchase is complete.
    • Unfortunately, no credit card issuers in Canada have really caught on to doing this even though it has been available in the USA for years. Hopefully soon!

Use An Online Payment Service

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