Budget Busters: Snacks!

Do you have a budget? Are you controlling yourself to stay within the confines of your spending plan? How much of your income is expendable?

Most people, like you and I, are trying to save money. Sometimes we are blind to the ways in which we waste money. The temptation to break our budget is often unnoticed, until we go over our receipts at the end of the month.

Most of us go to the grocery store for much of our food. Since we are on a budget, we watch what we are buying. We may buy less snack foods. For instance buying pretzels instead of potato chips is a healthier choice and you are getting more food for the same amount of money. At our grocery store, pretzels sell for between two dollars and two dollars and fifty cents a bag.

Now, we stop at the pharmacy on our way home from work to pick up a prescription. We are hungry, so we buy a bag of healthy pretzels. That same bag of pretzels is four dollars and fifty-nine cents! Buying the bag of pretzels is a budget buster! You have paid more than twice what you would have paid at the grocery store for the same item!

How can we avoid the pitfall mentioned above? One way is to discipline yourself and just say no to buying snacks on the way home from work when you are hungry and tired. Another way to combat the temptation, is to keep healthy snacks in your vehicle, that you bought at the grocery store when you did your weekly grocery shopping. My family keeps containers of dried apples in our vehicles. If the container is kept closed the apples will keep for a long time. Dried apples do not spoil when exposed to freezing temperatures. We dry our own apples in the fall, when apples are inexpensive.

We also keep bags of granola and pretzels in our vehicles, on which to snack. Small jars of peanut butter that you can dip your pretzels into, turn the pretzels into a more balanced snack by incorporating protein.

To stay in control of your finances, check your receipts at the end of the month. To avoid the budget buster of snacks bought on the spur of the moment, keep healthy snacks with you as you travel.

Early Spring Planting

Spring may be coming early this year. Once the soil is thawed, till the soil to get it ready for planting. Compost can be added to the soil at this time and tilled into the soil. Early spring is the time to plant peas, cabbage, onions, broccoli, spinach and kohlrabi. As far back as colonial times, Pennsylvania Germans set a goal of planting their peas by March17.

Spring is not the time to plant lettuce, tomatoes or peppers outside. They can be started indoors to be planted outdoors after the threat of frost has passed.

If you need to magnify the money in your food budget, plant a garden. Many people do not realize how many vegetables can be planted before the threat of frost has passed. Onions are planted now and harvested in July if you haven’t already picked them all by then. Once onions start growing you pick them as soon as you think they are big enough.

Peas need support once they start growing. Many people plant their peas near a fence. The fence could be one used to enclose a garden or a fence erected temporarily just to support the peas while they are growing.

All your cabbage and it’s relatives can be planted as soon as the ground is able to be tilled. If you walk into your garden and mud sticks to your shoes in big clumps then the soil is too wet. Wait a few more days and try again.

My favorite saying is you never know what you can do until you try, so get outside and discover what you can grow.