convenience http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1920/all en-US 8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_67797601_XLARGE2.jpg" alt="these products are killing the family" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us try to reduce our carbon footprint by recycling, flipping off the lights when we leave a room, and weatherproofing our homes. And while those are all important efforts, we sometimes forget that the biggest environmental impact we can make happens at the cash register.</p> <p>As we strive to leave a better planet for our kids and grandkids, it's time to take a new look at how our everyday consumer habits affect the health of our natural environment. Here are eight things we keep buying that are killing the planet &mdash; along with some greener (and less expensive) alternatives.</p> <h2>1. Bottled Water</h2> <p>According to statistics from Ban the Bottle, an environmental organization that advocates for an organized phase-out of the single-use plastic water bottle, Americans toss out 50 billion plastic water bottles every year. Besides the bottles themselves, the plastic netting or wrapping that holds cases of bottles together takes a huge toll on the environment.</p> <p>Instead of single-use water bottles, invest in an easy-to-use filtration pitcher and a refillable metal or glass water bottle that you can use for years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lifefactory-reusable-glass-water-bottle?ref=seealso">Stuff We Love: A Lifefactory Reusable Water Bottle</a>)</p> <h2>2. Coffee On-the-Go</h2> <p>That quick cup of coffee we buy on the way to work is composed of three parts: A paper (or worse &mdash; polystyrene) body, a cardboard sleeve, and a plastic lid. One cup every workday means that each of us is contributing 240 cups (or 720 individual pieces of waste) to the landfill every year.</p> <p>The solution? Learn to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-brewing-12-ways-to-make-coffee-at-home">brew a better cup of coffee</a> at home or buy a cheap reusable travel mug and tote it to the coffee shop with you every morning. Besides helping the planet, many coffee vendors offer modest discounts if you BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug).</p> <h2>3. Disposable Flatware</h2> <p>From carry-out restaurant orders, to family barbeques, disposable flatware is everywhere. And every single plastic knife, fork, spoon, and spork we use takes about 1,000 years to disintegrate. That's a big environmental impact for a couple bites of potato salad.</p> <p>Instead of plastic, collect mismatched pieces of stainless steel flatware at garage sales or thrift stores. If you lose a piece, it won't be the end of the world. And most importantly, keep them handy in your purse, computer bag, or a special container in the car.</p> <h2>4. Paper Plates</h2> <p>It's hard to argue that disposable plates have their place &mdash; say a company cookout or similar event where plumbing isn't readily accessible. But I've noticed a curious shift with some of my acquaintances and coworkers &mdash; they're using disposable plates on a daily basis at home simply to make cleanup easier.</p> <p>The old debate about the environmental effects of using paper plates versus the soap, water, and electricity used to clean traditional ceramic dinnerware has been settled. In environmental terms, paper loses. The resources used to manufacture, wrap, ship, and recycle a neverending stream of single-use paper plates make them an ecological burden. Whenever possible, use what's reusable.</p> <h2>5. Disposable Cleaning Cloths</h2> <p>I know they're dirt-grabbing wonders, but those single-use cloths for dusting and floor cleaning are usually made from synthetic material that takes generations to biodegrade. Skip the expense and invest in a microfiber cloth that can be washed and reused.</p> <h2>6. Single-Use Razors</h2> <p>Because of their design (inexpensive metal mixed with plastic) recycling disposable razors is a challenge. As a result, a whopping two billion end up in U.S. landfills each year. If you shave every day, consider buying an electric shaver or a razor that only requires refillable cartridges. Feeling brave? Go old-school and invest in a straight razor.</p> <h2>7. Plastic Bags</h2> <p>According to facts compiled by the U.S. International Trade Commission, Americans go through an estimated 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year, and only 6% are recycled after use. The rest take 1,000 years to fully biodegrade in landfills. While consumers don't technically buy these bags, we can help make them obsolete by choosing (and diligently using!) cotton, canvas, or mesh shopping totes.</p> <p>Have a stockpile of plastic grocery bags in your closet or pantry? Explore some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-clever-ways-to-reuse-your-plastic-shopping-bags">clever ways to reuse them</a>.</p> <h2>8. Meat</h2> <p>According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, an estimated 60% of the earth's greenhouse gas emissions can be tied to animal agriculture. All politics aside, reducing the need to grow crops solely for animal feed means we can devote more land to food crops destined for direct human consumption (maximizing fuel and water resources and minimizing the threat of continued deforestation). Another bonus? <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-by-going-mostly-meatless">Going (mostly) meatless saves money</a>. Start by experimenting with alternative sources of healthy protein such as beans, nuts, and quinoa. Integrate meatless main dishes into your meals a few times each week.</p> <p><em>What products have you phased out of your life in an effort to help the environment? Share your ideas with us!</em><strong><br /> </strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-and-awesome-reusable-replacements-for-disposable-products">17 Cheap and Awesome Reusable Replacements for Disposable Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/urban-composting-it-can-be-done">Urban Composting - It CAN be done!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ideas-for-the-chopstick">New Ideas for the Chopstick</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-powered-outdoor-security-lights">The 5 Best Solar-Powered Outdoor Security Lights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money">8 Simple Ways to Travel Greener That Could Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Shopping convenience eat green environment environmental issues green living recycle waste Mon, 12 Sep 2016 15:44:20 +0000 Kentin Waits 1789690 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Surprising Things You Still Can't Do Online in 2016 http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-things-you-still-cant-do-online-in-2016 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-surprising-things-you-still-cant-do-online-in-2016" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_20643848_LARGE.jpg" alt="you still can&#039;t do these things online" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's 2016. The digital age, right?</p> <p>Well, that's mostly true. There are more and more things that we can do online. And it's nice. Who wants to spend time standing in line when you can take care of business from the comfort and privacy of your own home?</p> <p>Still, every once in awhile, you run into something you can't actually do on the Internet. Here are the things I've found that you still have to do in-person.</p> <h2>1. Use Food Stamps</h2> <p>It has recently come to light that people using food stamps <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/15/the-simple-change-that-could-get-affordable-food-to-the-poor-people-who-need-it/">cannot purchase groceries online</a>. This can keep those who live in food deserts from obtaining healthy, unprocessed food. There are some movements online to change this but, for the moment, you have to show up in-person to buy groceries via a government program. While it might be harder to eliminate food stamp fraud, allowing food stamp use online would allow many Americans to eat healthier.</p> <h2>2. Make DMV Changes</h2> <p>This can vary a bit from state-to-state, but many places will not allow you to do things like <a href="http://www.carsdirect.com/dmv/dmv-online-what-you-can-and-cant-do-online">change your address online</a>. While some states will let you fill out an online form to make the change, you will still have to print it out and either send it in or take it to the DMV to get the change into the system.</p> <p>Since you can't usually change your address online, I suppose it follows that you can't take the written driver's test online. While this makes sense in terms of eliminating test fraud and cheating, it means that every single person who wants to take the driving test needs to make an appointment, making for crowded DMVs in many states.</p> <h2>3. Apply for a U.S. Passport</h2> <p>Similarly, you can input all of the information you need to get a U.S. passport online, but you can't actually submit the form. For that matter, you can't pay for it online, either.</p> <p>When it comes to passports, you have to submit your old passport when you apply for a new one. This helps eliminate fraud and helps the government track the different passports you have had. Since you can't send your passport through the computer, the government asks you to send your whole application packet together, by old fashioned mail.</p> <h2>4. Vote</h2> <p>While you can register to vote online, you can't actually cast your vote that way. It seems like <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/when-will-we-be-able-to-vote-online/">it would be a positive move</a>: more people would participate in elections, and the overall cost of having an election would go down.</p> <p>However, voter fraud is a real thing. While there are probably some ways to implement online voting that would at least make fraud hard, the government hasn't invested itself there yet. Some states, like Colorado, are starting to send every registered voter an absentee ballot, though. That way, you can vote from the privacy of your own home, even if you have to send the ballot through the mail instead of the wires.</p> <h2>5. Pay Some Utility Bills</h2> <p>I don't know about you, but I still have a couple of utility bills that I can't pay online. Instead, I have to either send a check or pay by phone. You would think that even small companies would permit online payment, but there are still those that don't.</p> <p>It seems like this is more common with small utility companies, like the family-owned trash company that services my area, or rural ones. If you can't pay online, try giving them a call. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate">Paying by phone</a> is almost as easy, and many companies are more than happy to let you use your credit card that way, so you don't have to have checks in order to pay your bills.</p> <h2>6. Register a Birth Or a Death</h2> <p>While you can often request documentation of a birth or a death via the Internet, you can't actually register either online. Even U.S. citizens born in other countries have to visit an embassy (or have parents do so) before they can get an official U.S. birth certificate or passport. For children born in the U.S., it's usually enough to have a hospital verify the birth and submit the proper paperwork, so the family doesn't have to actually present the baby anywhere.</p> <p>When it comes to birth and death, the chances for fraud are very high. Even with all of the cyber security that's possible these days, more birth and death certificates would be fraudulently issued if the process was available online. When someone is held accountable for issuing these certificates, fraud is less likely.</p> <p><em>Have you run into anything you can't do online? Do you think that's a good decision or not?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-things-you-still-cant-do-online-in-2016">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">7 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-usb-powered-fans">The 5 Best USB-Powered Fans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-deal-every-time-you-shop-with-these-tools">Get a Deal Every Time You Shop with These Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-why-buying-groceries-online-is-great">3 Reasons Why Buying Groceries Online Is Great</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology computer convenience dmv laptop online online shopping tech obsessed vote work from home Wed, 10 Aug 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1769233 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Surprising Things You Can Have Delivered http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-you-can-have-delivered <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-surprising-things-you-can-have-delivered" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000044866750_Large.jpg" alt="the surprising things you can have delivered" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Humans are creatures of habit. We're also creatures of convenience, if only evidenced by the growing number of things we can have delivered right to our doors these days. Sure, Amazon helped usher in a new age of get-anything-quick, but more and more retailers are starting to provide privatized delivery services for everything from ski equipment to new cars.</p> <p>What can you get your hands on in flash? Take a look at these 12 items you can have delivered today that you couldn't just a few years ago. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-fresh-food-delivery-services-that-can-save-you-big?ref=seealso">21 Fresh Food Delivery Services That Can Save You Big</a>)</p> <h2>1. Ski Equipment</h2> <p>Winter weather threatening your holiday vacay? Make the most of the snow by having ski equipment delivered to your hotel or wherever you're staying close to 35 ski resorts in North America. Ski Butlers' service includes a personalized fitting by a technician, free pickup on equipment on the final rental day, and any required on-mountain adjustments. The service&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/skibutlers">helps skiers and boarders</a> avoid long lines at the ski shop plus save on shipping from the original location to the destination &mdash; not to mention the hassle of finding ski shaped boxes.</p> <h2>2. Printer Ink</h2> <p>Save yourself a trip to your local office-supply store by having ink delivered when you're running low. That's right &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www8.hp.com/us/en/ads/instant-ink/overview.html">HP Instant Ink</a> allows your <em>printer</em> to order cartridges when you're running low, so you don't even have to remember to do it yourself! Plans start at $2.99 per month with savings of up to 50% on the actual cartridges.</p> <h2>3. Kiteboarding Equipment</h2> <p>If you're an extreme-sports enthusiast, you'll be happy to know that you can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.demoakite.com/">rent and have delivered kiteboarding kites</a> anywhere in the United States from Demo a Kite. The service offers a wide range of kits, allowing users to try out different brands, with the option to choose how much time you'd like to rent the kites. When the rental period is over, ship it back for free in the box provided.</p> <h2>4. Your Favorite Chain Restaurant Foods</h2> <p>Pizza delivery has been around for, like, ever (okay, since the early 1960s when Domino's made it popular), but until recently we haven't been able to get our other favorite fast and chain-restaurants foods delivered. That's all starting to change with services like DoorDash, a third-party service that delivers food from your favorite restaurants, like California Pizza Kitchen, Cheesecake Factory, and (for hangover Saturdays) McDonald's. The service promises that your order will arrive in 45 minutes or less, though its availability is severely limited and growth has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/12/technology/delivery-start-ups-face-road-bumps-in-quest-to-capture-untapped-market.html?_r=0">experienced a few road bumps.</a> Similar services include Postmates and Instacart, which also will deliver items from other local retailers and grocery stores &mdash; not just restaurants.</p> <h2>5. A New Car</h2> <p>Want to avoid that sleazy car salesman in his polyester suit? In that case, you may want to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nowcar.com">check out NowCar.com</a>, a site that allows users to buy a new car online and have it delivered to their homes for free.</p> <p>&quot;We officially launched in Sept. 2015, so we are a relatively new service,&quot; says Chloe Lykes, NowCar.com's content manager. &quot;NowCar allows a user to complete the entire car shopping, comparing and buying (finance, lease, or cash sales) process of a new car online. And, once completed, the car is delivered to their home, for free. Since buying a car has many facets, much of NowCar's software development stems from a combination of algorithms that make all types of various scenarios possible.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Alcohol</h2> <p>When wild-and-wacky blizzards blow through &mdash; and your backup of reserve booze is compromised (which means it probably time to panic!) &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://drizly.com">Drizly</a> will come to the rescue. Delivered to your door within an <em>hour </em>(that's the goal, but maybe cut 'em some slack if there's a snow squall outside your door), this service will bring over your favorite wine, beer, or liquor &mdash; with no markups &mdash; in a growing number of cities that currently include Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Baltimore, NYC, St. Louis, D.C., L.A., and several others.</p> <h2>7. Condoms</h2> <p>Safe sex is the best sex, period. If you have an enviable bedroom life and, thus, generally need to keep your condom stash replenished, Rubber Club, a monthly subscription service that sends your favorite brand of condoms straight to you, might be up your alley. Or, ya know, if things are getting hot and heavy with your lover boy or girl at home (in San Francisco or Brooklyn; sorry rest of the world) and you realize you're fresh out, hop online and order a 12-pack for one-hour delivery from <a href="https://thisisl.com/1h-shop/">L. condoms</a>. Just... no high-fiving the delivery guy.</p> <h2>8. Chicken Eggs... That Will Hatch!</h2> <p>When I was researching this piece for some of the strange things you can have delivered, this came up &mdash; and it's legit. Not only can you&nbsp;<a href="https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/index.html">order chicken eggs</a> that you can incubate to the point of hatching, but you can raise an entire farm full of fowl with other available eggs that will eventually produce ducklings, goslings, pheasants, turkeys, quail, and more.</p> <h2>9. Laundry and Dry Cleaning Service</h2> <p>If you're like me and you drop off your dry cleaning and tend to forget it for weeks, services like&nbsp;<a href="https://www.getwashio.com/">Washio</a>, which offers premium dry cleaning and laundry delivery, could be a godsend. The wash-and-fold component seems pretty competitive from what I've seen &mdash; $1.99 per pound &mdash; but some of the dry cleaning rates, like $4.99 for a T-shirt and $5.99 for a sweater, are a bit questionable. Though they do balance out with more reasonable rates for other items, including $8.99 jackets and $11.99 two-piece suits. The service will pick up your garments and bring them pack for an additional delivery fee in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and a few others.</p> <h2>10. Massages</h2> <p>When you're too achy to move,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.soothe.com/">order a masseur from Soothe</a> that will bring everything you need to relax and detox with a legit rubdown right to your home. Soothe helps pair five-star therapists &mdash; every available masseur is licensed, background-checked, and thoroughly vetted &mdash; with weekend warriors and serenity seekers seven days a week from 9 a.m. to midnight, including holidays. You can have your masseur in one hour or schedule in advance, and no cash is exchanged as gratuity is built into the online fee when you book.</p> <h2>11. Women's Hygiene Products</h2> <p>Listen, I'm not a lady, and I'm not faced with lady issues often (luckily I'm married to a dude), so I'm just going to say that if going to the supermarket to buy women's hygiene products (I hope that's what I'm allowed to call them) makes you uncomfortable, there's a service that makes the whole process quick, easy, and discreet. Plus, you'll help someone else at the same time.</p> <p>&quot;Each box [of feminine products] is customizable, and for every box she receives a box goes to a woman in need,&quot; says Aunt Flow founder Claire Coder. &quot;The buy-one-give-one model for basic sanitary products is changing lives.&quot;</p> <h2>12. Puppies!</h2> <p>Out all the cool and strange things you can have delivered these days, nothing beats a puppy! For a &quot;puppy playtime&quot; fee of $30, Uber has tested the waters of doggy delivery &mdash; that is, bringing cute-and-cuddly pups (and their handlers) to those who need a pick-me-up. It recently launched the&nbsp;<a href="http://fortune.com/2016/02/01/uber-puppies-delivery-service/">limited-time promotion</a> with Discovery Communications across several cities, including New York and Chicago.</p> <p>The puppies that were part of the promo also were available for adoption. Keep an eye out for these kind of exciting opportunities more often from ride-sharing services, which have been taking advantage of cool opportunities with other brand partners, like the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnet.com/news/uber-delivers-adoptable-kittens-to-your-doorstep/">meme site Cheezburger</a> and retaile&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uglychristmassweater.com">UglyChristmasSweater.com</a>, the latter of which offered&nbsp;<a href="https://newsroom.uber.com/us-texas/12-days-of-christmas-ubersweaters/">free sweaters via Uber</a> delivered this past holiday season.</p> <p><em>Anything else you can now have delivered? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-you-can-have-delivered">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-strange-ways-online-shopping-has-changed-the-world">6 Strange Ways Online Shopping Has Changed the World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-exercise-mats">The 5 Best Exercise Mats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-luxury-pens">The 5 Best Luxury Pens</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-save-with-amazon-prime-pantry">Can You Really Save With Amazon Prime Pantry?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-beach-umbrellas">The 5 Best Beach Umbrellas</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping convenience delivery food delivery lifestyle shipping shopping Takeout Mon, 07 Mar 2016 11:00:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1666841 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Convenience Foods I Refuse to Do Without http://www.wisebread.com/14-convenience-foods-i-refuse-to-do-without <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-convenience-foods-i-refuse-to-do-without" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_making_dinner_000022705215.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter making convenience foods together" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Convenience foods really can save money. For instance, if faced with the choice of either grabbing fast food or purchasing some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-to-stop-buying-gas-station-food">convenience foods</a> at the grocery store, you are better off buying bagged salad or jarred sauce. And if you work, have a relationship, kids, pets, and outside interests, you have to make choices about how you spend your time and money.</p> <p>Which brings me to this list. I went through my freezer, refrigerator, and pantry looking for my favorite shortcuts. I love these time-savers and won't give them up.</p> <h2>1. Grated Cheese</h2> <p>Sometimes I just want a couple of tablespoons for a baked potato, or to top some scrambled eggs. If I grate it myself, then I have to unwrap the cheese, get out the grater, grate the cheese, wash the grater, and put away the cheese. The alternative: buy a bag of pre-grated cheese, unzip, sprinkle cheese, re-close bag, and refrigerate. I never used to buy grated cheese until my husband pointed out that sometimes, on sale, the price per ounce for grated is actually less than the large block. Pay less for convenience? Count me in.</p> <h2>2. Chopped Nuts</h2> <p>I find that I fool myself with those big bags of nuts from Costco. When they come out in October, I think oh, yes, this is the year I'll bake cookies for everyone; I need this giant bag of nuts. Well, we all know about those good intentions. Nuts do have a shelf life. Sure, you can freeze them, but the odds of your remembering that you have those frozen nuts are not great unless you're a prepper. So, yes, I occasionally buy those little half-cup packages of pre-measured, pre-chopped nuts.</p> <h2>3. Olive or Canola Oil Spray</h2> <p>I resisted these oils-in-a-can for a long time before finally giving in, thinking they were an unnecessary expense. Oh, the ease of simply spraying a pan, or barbeque rack, instead of getting out a paper towel or a pastry brush! Now I own specialized sprays, too &mdash; canola, olive oil, and &quot;grilling&quot; spray. I do not use them on my frying pans, at the manufacturer's recommendation, but I love them for baking cakes and cookies or roasting vegetables.</p> <h2>4. Teabags</h2> <p>No argument here &mdash; loose tea makes a better-tasting cup, but I don't always have time to clean up the mess it makes. Especially at work, a teabag is easier and more practical (no one wants to deal with my loose tea in the sink, I am sure). Plus, by the time I heat water, then pack a tea ball, use it, empty it, and wash it, there went my break. Bags are just faster and less messy.</p> <h2>5. Dijon Mustard in a Squirt Bottle</h2> <p>I bought the mustard in the plastic squirt bottle (instead of the usual jar) because it was on sale, not anticipating how much easier it would be. Also, the lid doesn't get gunky; I like that for cleanup. You can shake it, rather than getting a spoon to stir it up. Because it was so convenient, I found myself making more sauces (add to a little butter and stir into vegetables, or spoon over grilled chicken). I also starting using it more often on sandwiches, since it is easy, has lots of flavor, and fewer calories.</p> <h2>6. Bagged Salad</h2> <p>In a hurry? You could stop and buy fast food. Or, you could buy a bag of salad, slice a grilled chicken breast on top, and add dressing. Not only would that be a healthier alternative, but you'd have enough for several servings. There are also so many varieties, from Asian to cranberry-pecan, Caesar, European, American, and the like. These can be turned into a meal very easily with the addition of a little meat, fish, poultry, or beans.</p> <h2>7. Bacon Bits</h2> <p>Per ounce, yes, it is much more expensive to buy a little packet, or jar, of bacon bits. The cheaper alternative would be buying bacon on sale, cooking it, chopping it, and freezing it. But sometimes I just want a tablespoon in an omelet, or to sprinkle on a salad. Those little bags (or jars) are just enough to get the bacon flavor without a lot of mess and fuss. To be honest, when I fry bacon, I tend to nibble at the cooked pieces (as does my husband, and then the dogs always want a bite). So, for me, there probably <em>is</em> a cost savings by buying the tiny bag. Not to mention the mess that cooking bacon involves, no matter how you do it.</p> <h2>8. Breadcrumbs</h2> <p>Making <a href="http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/BreadCrumbs.htm">breadcrumbs</a> is a great use of stale bread. I save pieces and ends in the freezer and those all become croutons or bread pudding, at some point. But as for making crumbs, naah. They aren't hard to make, but I have really grown to prefer these two options: Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) or smashed Ritz crackers. Panko makes for superior fried chicken as well as fried vegetables, such as zucchini or eggplant. Shake chicken in a mixture of white flour (and a little rice flour, for super crispiness) and seasonings. Dip into egg wash, then roll in panko; bake or fry. Ritz crackers, or their knock-offs, are at their best when smashed to oblivion and used for breading (try dipping that chicken in egg wash, then rolling in a combination of grated cheddar cheese, smashed crackers, and seasonings; bake).</p> <h2>9. Ready-Made Pie Crusts</h2> <p>Ever since <em>Bon Appetit</em> grudgingly gave its green light to using Pillsbury pie crusts, I never looked back. I've always been crummy at making crusts from scratch, and they gave me license to make pies, both savory and sweet, with decent success. They come two to a package, which ends up being very handy &mdash; and they freeze well. If you bring somebody a pie, they are going to love you regardless of whether you made your crust from scratch.</p> <h2>10. Spaghetti Sauce in a Jar</h2> <p>I truly prefer my own homemade, simmer-all-day marinara, but in a pinch, a purchased jar of pasta sauce works. It is good over noodles, in an impromptu calzone, or on a pizza. The less expensive brands tend to contain corn syrup and, to me, are quite sweet. I watch for better brands to go on sale. There are several &quot;celebrity chef&quot; sauces out, now; some are worth a try.</p> <h2>11. Rotisserie Chicken</h2> <p>Ah, the Costco $5 rotisserie chicken. Need I say more? When you can't even buy a dang chicken and cook it for yourself for that price, well, load up. I use the carcasses to make chicken broth, but if I am pushed for time...</p> <h2>12. Canned Chicken Broth</h2> <p>It's very handy, isn't it? Some brands are dollar-store cheap, but if you are watching for MSG, be careful. There are brands that do not contain MSG; they naturally cost a little more. Even if you are a purist who wants to only make your own, if you are sick, I promise you there is nothing better than that bowl of chicken broth with your Jell-O. It is worth keeping around just for that emergency.</p> <h2>13. Frozen Vegetables</h2> <p>Watch for sales and load up! My favorites are mixed veggies, which are great in soups and pot pies; spinach, for stuffing mushrooms and quiche; and peas, for salads and fried rice.</p> <h2>14. Canned Beans</h2> <p>If you are watching your sodium, look for the brands without added salt. I prefer to rinse mine, too. The things you can do with a can of beans! Kidney beans make a quick chili (vegetarian or with added burger). Garbanzos quickly become hummus. Cannellini beans can go into soups or pasta dishes. Pintos with rice are a family favorite. Black beans make a salad a meal. The alternative, and the way I learned to cook beans, is to soak dried ones. This is definitely a cheaper method, to be sure, but you had better be a good meal planner. If you have a pressure cooker, that's another good way to go &mdash; but for pure convenience, open a can.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite convenience foods?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-convenience-foods-i-refuse-to-do-without">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-give-back-this-thanksgiving">7 Easy Ways to Give Back This Thanksgiving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-veggies-to-plant-this-spring">10 Easy Veggies to Plant This Spring</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/seven-ways-to-be-the-life-of-every-party">Seven Ways to be the Life of Every Party</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-vegetarian-thanksgiving-dishes-that-hold-their-own-with-turkey">6 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes That Hold Their Own With Turkey</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-an-awesome-frugal-movie-night">How to Host an Awesome Frugal Movie Night</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Lifestyle busy convenience easy kitchen Wed, 17 Jun 2015 13:00:14 +0000 Marla Walters 1454513 at http://www.wisebread.com Fake a Fab, Rich Lifestyle With These 7 Free Apps http://www.wisebread.com/fake-a-fab-rich-lifestyle-with-these-7-free-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/fake-a-fab-rich-lifestyle-with-these-7-free-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000047555948_Double.jpg" alt="woman smartphone city street" title="woman smartphone city street" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ever wonder what it might be like to have some extra help around the house to take care of errands and chores? What if you could afford some extra help managing your finances or keeping your New Year's resolution to get in shape and eat better? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-time-and-money-saving-apps-for-freelancers?ref=seealso">16 Time and Money-Saving Apps for Freelancers</a>)</p> <p>Well, you're in luck &mdash; there are apps for that, and they're totally free.</p> <h2>1. A Driver</h2> <p>Need to go somewhere and don't want to drive? <a href="https://www.uber.com/">Uber</a> and <a href="https://www.lyft.com/">Lyft</a> will pick you up. These free apps make requesting, tracking, and paying for a car service quicker, easier, and less expensive than a cab. A few clicks on your mobile phone and you'll be cruising in style without getting behind the wheel.</p> <h2>2. A Home Security Guard</h2> <p>Wouldn't it be nice to have someone keep an eye on your place while you're away and keep you updated if any incidents happen? You don't need a home security guard. <a href="https://www.alarm.com/">Alarm.com</a> and <a href="http://www.ichano.com/">AtHome</a> offer free mobile apps that connect to your existing home security system or utilize your home webcam to alert you of any issues while you're away.</p> <h2>3. A Bookkeeper</h2> <p>Sometimes I think my paper receipts are getting together and having little baby receipts. The papers pile up, and if I let it go too long, it builds up to a scary pile. <a href="https://levelmoney.com/">Level Money</a> is a free app (and desktop application) that helps you easily keep your savings and spending on track. Unlike other options such as Neat and You Need a Budget (YNAB), Level Money has fewer frills, but is entirely free.</p> <h2>4. A Personal Shopper</h2> <p>Another chore that weighs me down is shopping. While some people love to indulge in retail therapy, I'd love to never have to go shopping again. The free app <a href="https://www.buywithfetch.com/">Fetch</a> was made for people like me &mdash; and for people who love shopping but just don't have the time in their day to do it. Snap a photo or type in an item, your Fetch personal shopper looks for the best deals around, and then you click to purchase.</p> <h2>5. A Dog Walker</h2> <p>Your pup is family. There are a variety of apps to help you keep your furry friend cared for in every way. <a href="http://dogvacay.com/">Dogvacay</a> helps you find a sitter or boarder. <a href="http://www.petmd.com/symptom-checker">PetMD Symptom Checker</a> helps you assess your dog's health and take next steps when it comes to his or her health. <a href="http://www.mapmywalk.com/">MapMyDogWalk</a> tells you how far you've walked and how many calories have been burned so you can keep your pup slim, trim, and in shape.</p> <h2>6. A Personal Trainer</h2> <p>Samsung is making huge strides in health-related apps. I've been using the free <a href="http://content.samsung.com/us/contents/aboutn/sHealthIntro.do">S Health app</a> for a year and I love it! It tracks my steps, calories burned, exercise, nutrition, weight, and sleep, and charts all of these against the goals I've set. It's easy to see how I'm doing and it gives me encouraging alerts to keep me motivated.</p> <h2>7. A Chef</h2> <p>I had to move twice in 2014, and they were both stressful events. I also had a lot going on with personal projects and my freelance career, so making time to cook healthy food at home was challenging. <a href="http://www.seamless.com/">Seamless</a> was an incredible resource for me and the food was to my door in minutes. It's easy to filter by type of cuisine, location, and price. It stores my payment information and I can add the tip, too, so I didn't have to worry about having cash on-hand either.</p> <p>While it's tempting to dream of having staff on-hand to help when life gets hectic, you already have a powerful assistant right in your pocket &mdash; your mobile device. Get these apps, do the quick setup, and you'll be on your way to living life in comfort and style.</p> <p><em>What apps and services do you use to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fake-a-fab-rich-lifestyle-with-these-7-free-apps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps">You CAN Learn a New Language — Just Use One of These 3 Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-3-budgeting-apps-you-need-to-know-about">The Only 3 Budgeting Apps You Need to Know About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-places-to-stash-cash-in-your-home">The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-self-improvement-apps-to-make-you-smarter-stronger-and-happier">10 Self-Improvement Apps to Make You Smarter, Stronger, and Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-apps-that-pay-you-to-workout">6 Apps That Pay You to Workout</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips apps convenience household staff Wed, 11 Feb 2015 12:00:04 +0000 Christa Avampato 1288491 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Pay More at the Grocery Store (and How to Stop) http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-pay-more-at-the-grocery-store-and-how-to-stop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-pay-more-at-the-grocery-store-and-how-to-stop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/8200880966_c3808de0b6_z.jpg" alt="grocery store" title="grocery store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many of us don't think too much about what we throw into our grocery carts &mdash; or how much it all costs. After all, we have to eat! But for most Americans, food makes up one of the largest expenses in the budget, right after paying for housing and transportation. If you can trim just $20 off your weekly grocery bill, it can save you $1,000 per year; saving $60 per week could put more than $3,000 extra in your pocket.</p> <p>Believe it or not, those kinds of savings aren't unrealistic, and you don't have to starve to death to achieve them. All you have to do is look at where grocery stores make their money and where you may have some bad shopping habits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">How to&nbsp;Grocery&nbsp;Shop for Five on $100 a Week</a>)</p> <h2>What You Pay More For</h2> <p>It isn't hard to guess which items in the grocery store have the highest mark-ups; after all, you won't see a fancy display around cabbages or low-fat milk. In fact, the highest margin &mdash; and therefore lowest value &mdash; items will fall into one or more of the following categories.</p> <p><strong>Convenience</strong></p> <p>The closer a food is to being ready to put on the table, the more it'll cost you. That's why things like pre-cut fruits and vegetables and breakfast cereals have significant mark-ups. The same goes for most packaged convenience foods and pre-made meals. For many of us, throwing a few convenience items in the cart is a matter of necessity &mdash; or sanity. Just be aware that the less preparation you do at home, the more you'll pay at the store.</p> <p><strong>Brand Names</strong></p> <p>It wasn't long ago that store-branded foods were pretty terrible imitations of brand name favorites. Nowadays, however, most stores offer a great range of high quality products under their own labels and, in many cases, they're much cheaper than the mega brands you'll see advertised on TV.</p> <p><a href="http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/menus/certain-foods-so-expensive.htm" target="_blank">Brand name items are marked up dramatically</a>. You might have to do a little experimenting, but for the most part, brand name foods don't cost more because they're better &mdash; they're just better known. Do you really want to pay for your canned soup's star power?</p> <p><strong>Organics</strong></p> <p>There's still a lot of debate about whether organic produce provides a health benefit over conventionally grown fruits and veggies, but one thing you can't argue with is that organic comes at a price.</p> <p>Organic foods tend to cost 30 to 50% more than regular produce, largely because organic producers are smaller, have smaller markets, and don't receive the same subsidies as other growers.</p> <p>If you're concerned about pesticides, pay more where it counts by choosing organic items that tend to be highly contaminated when grown conventionally. According to the Environmental Working Group's 2012 &quot;<a href="http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/" target="_blank">Shoppers' Guide to Pesticides</a>,&quot; these items include apples, celery, bell peppers, peaches, strawberries, and grapes. Items such as onions, corn, pineapple, and avocados, on the other hand, are relatively uncontaminated, so buying organic here may provide limited benefit. To save even more, check out organic produce at a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">local farmers market</a>, or grow your own in the back yard.</p> <h2>Habits That Can Cost You</h2> <p>Avoiding the most costly items in the grocery store is essential, but if you really want to nail frugal grocery shopping, you have to steer clear of costly habits as well.</p> <p><strong>Lack of Flexibility</strong></p> <p>One of the best ways to save money on groceries is to be a little flexible about what you buy each week. Having a meal plan is great, but you also have to be creative and willing to roll with the sales and promotions at your local grocery store.</p> <p>Rather than dutifully scooping the same old meats, fruits, and veggies into your cart every week, use the sales to determine what you buy. Choose items that are on special and work them into a flexible meal plan. This kind of shopping has gotten even easier with websites like <a href="http://punchfork.com/" target="_blank">PunchFork.com</a>, which allows you to enter an ingredient or two and find tons of illustrated recipes that'll fit the bill.</p> <p><strong>Lack of Research</strong></p> <p>Doing a little research in local flyers before hitting the shops can be a great way to shave a few dollars off your food bills. Chances are there are a few grocery stores in your area, so you can often decide which one to visit based on what you need.</p> <p>When I want to stock up on canned tomatoes, pasta, and dried beans, I often head to my local Italian market, where there's a broad selection of these items at a lower price than at other stores. When I want to stock up on rice and noodles, I visit the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-save-a-bundle-on-your-groceries-consider-you-local-asian-market">Asian market</a>. If you know which stores have the best prices on certain items, you can visit them intermittently to stock up, and decide where to shop that week based on what you need the most.</p> <p><strong>Lack of Math Skills</strong></p> <p>Grocery stores couldn't possibly make comparing prices more confusing.</p> <p>Fortunately, most of us now carry a pocket calculator in the form of a smartphone with us wherever we go. This makes calculating unit prices much faster, and, unless you're a math whiz, probably more accurately, too. There are even a few apps that'll do all the work for you, such as <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=leoliang.unitpricecompare&amp;hl=en" target="_blank">Unit Price Compare</a> for Android or the <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/compareme-shopping-utility/id300814524?mt=8" target="_blank">CompareMe Shopping Utility</a> for iPhone.</p> <h2>Time: One More Thing Worth Saving</h2> <p>Once while browsing canned tomatoes, an old woman sidled up beside me.</p> <p>&quot;You can't buy those,&quot; she hissed, before telling me the same tomatoes were 25 cents cheaper at a store across town.</p> <p>I bought the tomatoes. I'm all for saving money, but we all have to decide when the savings just aren't worth <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-pay-in-time">the price of our <em>time</em></a>.</p> <p>Perfecting your grocery shopping strategy doesn't have to mean avoiding all the snacks you love or spending all weekend clipping coupons. In fact, how far you go is entirely up to you. After all, being frugal is about more than just saving money, it's about living well on less. And that, in my opinion, is all about balance.</p> <p><em>How are you saving money at the grocery store?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-pay-more-at-the-grocery-store-and-how-to-stop">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-smart-water-bottles">The 5 Best Smart Water Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-thermoses">The 5 Best Thermoses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Shopping bulk shopping convenience groceries on a budget Wed, 20 Feb 2013 11:24:31 +0000 Tara Struyk 967800 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Frugal Ways to Go Green in 2013 http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-ways-to-go-green-in-2013 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-frugal-ways-to-go-green-in-2013" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3055499387_f035ec964f_z_0.jpg" alt="green" title="green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Contrary to what advertisers would have us believe, going green doesn&rsquo;t have to be complicated or expensive. If you&rsquo;d like to green-up your life in 2013, but don&rsquo;t have the budget for a hybrid car or wind turbine just yet, here are a few easy and inexpensive ways to still make an impact. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-recycling-is-my-lowest-priority">Why Recycling Is My&nbsp;Lowest Priority</a>)</p> <h2>1. Share</h2> <p>The most revolutionary thing we can do to lessen the demand for more stuff, reduce waste, and stretch our budgets, is the simplest and oldest solution of all &mdash; share.</p> <p>Sharing things like lawn equipment (does every homeowner on the block <em>really</em> need their own lawn mower?), DVDs, cookware, books, and tools can build stronger relationships, set a great example for kids, and keep our needs in check. Try it with your friends, neighbors, and coworkers. It&rsquo;s easier than you think.</p> <h2>2. Repurpose What You Already Own</h2> <p>Be suspicious of any simplicity or green-living advice that requires you to purchase a new product.</p> <p>With few exceptions, hard-core green living means living (happily) with less and getting creative with what we already own. Stores are filled with reusable tote bags for every season, color-coded recycling containers, and aisles of gleaming energy-efficient products. But how green is it to toss out what we already own and restock our homes in the spirit of environmentalism? Before you buy, ask yourself, &ldquo;Is there any other way to achieve my goal without buying new? Is tossing out a perfectly good appliance truly helping the environment? How can I make what I need or re-imagine what I already own?&rdquo; Though it might not be nearly as sexy, reusing is usually smarter.</p> <h2>3. Redefine Convenience</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s no newsflash that convenience products in all their forms usually mean higher price tags, smaller portions, and more packaging. If you&rsquo;re serious about going green, skip the pre-packaged, single-serving, drive-thru world and embrace the stumbling, sometimes messy world of inconvenience. From hamburgers to paper products and from coffee to car washes, our drive to consume conveniently is playing havoc with our budgets and with our environment. Simple planning, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-ahead-food-10-things-to-cook-on-a-sunday">a bit of prep time</a>, and combining work with play can go a long way toward changing habits and making inconvenience far less&hellip;inconvenient.</p> <h2>4. Learn a Skill</h2> <p>Sometimes living green takes a bit of skill.</p> <p>Before it was fashionable or had a name, our grandparents and great-grandparents were green pioneers. They darned socks, made their own clothes, planted gardens, cooked from scratch, changed their own oil, and hunted and fished. Now, I know we live a much more complex world today, and I&rsquo;m not suggesting that everyone channel Thoreau and move to a one-room shack in the woods. But maybe there are a few things we can take better control of &mdash; and save a few bucks on in the process. Think about it. What <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">new household skill</a> would save you a bit of cash and reduce your need to buy new?</p> <h2>5. Buy Used</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ll let you in on a little secret. Every <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-look-for-every-time-you-visit-a-thrift-store">thrift store shopper</a> is secretly delighted that most of the country turns its collective nose up at the idea of buying used. Why? Because it means more great stuff for us.</p> <p>Seriously, if you&rsquo;ve never ventured into a thrift store with an open mind, make 2013 the year that you try. Once you see the price difference between new and gently-used, you may never look back. Besides being budget-friendly, buying used helps the environment by giving a second life to cast-off items. Typically, the items you find in these stores are just as good as new (I&rsquo;m not exaggerating here) and, if you&rsquo;re up for some hunting, you can find amazing deals and a few treasures along the way. Try it. If you hate it, you can swing by Target on your way home and pretend it never happened.</p> <p>These are just some of the ways to be greener in 2013 and not break the bank (and your spirit) by buying a bunch of stuff. Going green should be less about addition and more about subtraction &mdash; what bad habits can we resolve to correct? How can we better manage our personal resources for the greater good? Once you begin to look closely, you&rsquo;ll see other ways to green your 2013. Happy New Year.</p> <p><em>What&rsquo;s your favorite green tip? Do any of your resolutions for 2013 involve living greener?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-frugal-ways-to-go-green-in-2013">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-reuse-detergent-bottles">15 Ways to Reuse Detergent Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-eco-friendly-water-bottles">The Best Eco-Friendly Water Bottles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-we-keep-buying-that-are-killing-the-planet">8 Things We Keep Buying That Are Killing the Planet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-greener-cheaper-alternatives-to-paper-cleaning-products">9 Greener, Cheaper Alternatives to Paper Cleaning Products</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living convenience new year's resolutions reusable thrift stores Tue, 01 Jan 2013 11:24:30 +0000 Kentin Waits 961668 at http://www.wisebread.com The Enemies of Frugality http://www.wisebread.com/the-enemies-of-frugality <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-enemies-of-frugality" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebreadenemiesfrugality.jpg" alt="Burning Money" title="Burning Money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There&rsquo;s a lot of talk today about embracing simplicity and rediscovering frugality, but what are the culprits &mdash; obvious and hidden &mdash; that undermine our efforts? At root, what are the emotional, logistical, and social forces that conspire to figuratively reach into our wallets and pluck our cash day after day? Let&rsquo;s explore the seven challenges to frugal living. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/endurance-frugality-staying-the-course-and-being-a-winner">Endurance Frugality: Staying the Course and Being a Winner</a>)</p> <h2>Stress</h2> <p>Stress may be roadblock number one on the road to frugality. So many of us seem to be overworked, over-scheduled, and overwrought. Stress forces us to take the path of least resistance, and that path is typically the most expensive. When we&rsquo;re stressed, we make bad decisions about our health, our diet, and our money.</p> <h2>Competition/Ego</h2> <p>Keeping up with the Joneses is expensive &mdash; especially when the Joneses don&rsquo;t have a clue what they&rsquo;re doing. It&rsquo;s a financial game of chicken, really. Our neighbors buy a new toy and not to be outdone, we follow suit. Everyone on the block ends up with new toys they can&rsquo;t afford, and no one learns a thing. What&rsquo;s wrong with appearing a bit restrained in this country? When did frugality and poverty become synonyms? What&rsquo;s more, when did poverty become a crime?</p> <h2>Exhaustion</h2> <p>The complexities of modern life can be exhausting, and often the only thing that can keep us going is the promise of a grand reward &mdash; sometimes just as exhausting, but slightly more exciting. After a year of 60-hour work weeks, a ten-day spa vacation seems not only warranted, but deserved. Demanding a bit of mental &ldquo;spa time&rdquo; each day gives way to one grand and deliciously expensive extravagance once a year. Price be damned and frugality banished!</p> <h2>Convenience</h2> <p>Sometimes it&rsquo;s just easier to pay someone to mow our lawn, wash our car, clean our house, or make our dinner. We&rsquo;ve all been there &mdash; after a 10 or 12 hour work day, the thought of coming home only to cook and clean for another 3 seems like cruel and unusual punishment. At these moments, simple exhaustion dictates our financial decisions and frugality goes out the window.</p> <h2>Immediacy</h2> <p>Sometimes life throws us a curve-ball, and we need an item or service immediately. Maybe the family car finally dies, or you forgot about class pictures tomorrow, and your son needs a new white shirt. There&rsquo;s no financial planning to do, no research to mull over, and no time to bargain-hunt. Immediacy typically means more cash.</p> <h2>Uncertainty</h2> <p>Living a frugal life takes no small amount of commitment and daily rededication. Not only do friends, family, and work colleagues often not understand simplicity and frugality, they can be openly antagonistic about it. Truly embracing the path we&rsquo;re on in the face of our &ldquo;culture of more&rdquo; is the key to long-term success.</p> <h2>Advertising</h2> <p>If financial wisdom and rationality were a clear pool of water, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/advertising-jargon-that-aims-to-mislead">advertising</a> would be Baby Ruth bar floating by (a reference not lost on all you <em>Caddyshack</em> lovers out there). Advertising creates unrest, encourages fear, and often muddies the water of our financial minds. An uneducated consumer easily manipulated by suggestion is an advertiser&rsquo;s best-friend and frugality&rsquo;s worst enemy.</p> <p>Reviewing this list, it seems like many of these &quot;enemies&quot; are new to the scene. With the exception of number two, doesn&rsquo;t it seem like stress, exhaustion, convenience, immediacy, and the prevalence of advertising are relatively modern phenomena &mdash; at least at their current (epidemic) levels? What&rsquo;s lost in the bargain we make between our time, energy, and our money? Is the exchange a fair one, or one that simply keeps us on the treadmill to run another day?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-enemies-of-frugality">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-keep-anxiety-from-ruining-your-budget">5 Ways to Keep Anxiety From Ruining Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-many-of-these-frugal-virtues-have-you-mastered">How Many of These &quot;Frugal Virtues&quot; Have You Mastered?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-84-frugal-ways-to-eliminate-stress">Flashback Friday: 84 Frugal Ways to Eliminate Stress</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-38-ways-to-get-more-sleep-tonight">Flashback Friday: 38 Ways to Get More Sleep Tonight</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/grocery-shopping-and-the-4-minute-mile-how-to-challenge-yourself">Grocery Shopping and the 4-Minute Mile: How to Challenge Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living advertising challenges convenience stress Mon, 23 May 2011 10:36:24 +0000 Kentin Waits 546586 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Do You Pay For Convenience? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-pay-for-convenience <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-do-you-pay-for-convenience" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4285187387_9a5a6f2726_z-1.jpg" alt="Do You Pay For Convenience?" title="Do You Pay For Convenience?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-pay-for-convenience#comment-492972"><em>Lauren</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://twitter.com/#!/mvs027"><em>@mvs027</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/#!/ReneeAChapman"><em>Renee Chapman</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>Let's be honest: goods and services that make our lives a little easier are always fantastic. Most people are willing to pay a little extra when it comes to convenience. However, there are many people who refuse to pay for convenience goods or services and instead opt to take the extra time to do things themselves all in the name of saving money.</p> <p><strong>Do you pay for convenience goods or services? </strong>Will you buy precut fruits or veggies instead of cutting them yourself? Do you clean your own house or hire a housekeeper? Why?</p> <p>Tell us whether or not you pay for convenience and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Enter 1 of 3 Ways:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below, or</li> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, then &quot;Like&quot; the update mentioning this giveaway (you can comment, as well &mdash; but you don't have to for entry), or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, May 9th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after May 9th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email, Facebook, and Twitter Direct Message.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us whether or not you pay for convenience and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-pay-for-convenience">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-look-forward-to-tax-time-your-chance-to-win-20">Ask the Readers: Do You Look Forward to Tax Time? (Your Chance to win $20!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-care-for-your-pet-affordably">Ask the Readers: How Do You Care For Your Pet Affordably?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-do-you-have-the-tools-chance-to-win-ms-office">Ask the Readers: Do You Have the Tools? (Chance to win MS Office!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-what-is-your-new-years-resolution">Ask the Readers: What Is Your New Year&#039;s Resolution?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-should-kids-get-paid-for-doing-chores">Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers convenience Tue, 03 May 2011 10:36:19 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 533894 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways Convenience is Screwing Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-convenience-is-screwing-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-convenience-is-screwing-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2707796714_c8a48b409b_z.jpg" alt="post it notes" title="post it notes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our collective hunger for more is great, motivating us to keep pushing the limits and never settling for the status quo. Because of this desire, we've found ways to make everything from finding the nearest gas station to staying in touch with a distant relative easier and easier, but all that convenience comes at a cost too.</p> <p>The U.S. median income in 1900 was $438 a year, and it shot up to $23,602 by 1999. You might look at this 5389% increase and say &quot;WOW. Life has got to be good.&quot; Yet, life isn't all that great right now. We are barely recovering from a recession (most say we are still in it), and everybody from the government to our schools to our neighbors are having a tough time making ends meet.</p> <p>I know there was inflation, but that's hardly the whole problem. Here are a few reasons why we can't seem to keep our budgets in check even though we keep getting huge raises. (See also: <a title="If Budgeting Isn't Fun, You're Doing It Wrong" href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-budgeting-isnt-fun-youre-doing-it-wrong">If Budgeting Isn't Fun, You're Doing It Wrong</a>)</p> <h2>House Services</h2> <p>I'm guilty of this one, because I love my house cleaner. She comes every three weeks, and she makes everything sparkling clean. There's nothing I couldn't do myself of course, but if I can spend time sitting on the couch watching TV and doing nothing, why should I actually exercise and work?</p> <h2>Cell Phones</h2> <p>I have an eight-month-old daughter named Sara, and I can't wait for the day when I have to deny her request for a cell phone. My excuse will be &quot;But you don't need a cell phone...&quot; I wonder what her response will be when she realizes that I have one, and I actually don't need it either.</p> <h2>Extra TVs</h2> <p>It's common nowadays for a household to have two, three, or even four TVs in the house. Of course, each one has got to be hooked up to paid TV service too, right? Oh, I need to watch TV when I take a bath, for god's sake. What else would I be doing when my house cleaners are cleaning? (See also:<a title="8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained" href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained"> 8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a>)</p> <h2>Cars</h2> <p>We love brand new cars, especially with all those options that signifiicantly add to the cost. Premium sound, a sun roof, a navigation system, heated and electronic seats, V6 turbo, and performance packages are all necessary, because you know, how else will we be able to get to work?&nbsp;</p> <h2>Eating Out</h2> <p>I love eating out, and I'm a good tipper too. If I cook at home, how will all those waiters/waitresses survive? Not&nbsp;paying for the markup of the dining service is only good for my own family's budget.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Diapers</h2> <p>Why would I need to wash anything when I can just replace it? Wipe and throw them away. The trash man will collect them, and I'm saving money because I'm sure my house cleaner would want to be paid extra if I asked her to wash diapers too.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Post-it Notes</h2> <p>It's not like I&nbsp;can use anything reuseable, like my computer, to remember appointments.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Credit Cards</h2> <p>I can see why a small population of people won't like credit cards, but I bet most people won't spend more with that convenience. I mean, why would anyone buy more things when they always have money available? Why would anyone buy more when credit card companies send countless marketing materials to get us to buy more, travel more, and do more?&nbsp;</p> <p>Back in the 1900, a pound of butter might have set you back a quarter. Nowadays, it probably costs $3 for the same thing. That's inflation, but our income more than made up for that. On the other hand, people washed their clothes by hand back then, costing almost nothing. Nowadays, a washer costs $600 dollars and a dryer costs another $600, not to mention that many of us end up all going to the dry cleaners anyway.</p> <p>Convenience is great, but watch your wallets before you conveniently lose your fortune.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-ning">David Ning</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-convenience-is-screwing-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-resolutions-you-can-conquer-before-new-years">10 Financial Resolutions You Can Conquer Before New Year&#039;s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-find-emergency-funds-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund">Where to Find Emergency Funds When You Don&#039;t Have an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/its-all-your-money">It&#039;s all your money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what">Your Travel Rewards Points Were Stolen. Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance convenience cutting back cutting expenses Wed, 17 Nov 2010 14:00:12 +0000 David Ning 289743 at http://www.wisebread.com Onigiri: Behold The Mighty Triforce http://www.wisebread.com/onigiri-behold-the-mighty-triforce <p><img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/183/419564642_48fdba92bc_m.jpg" alt="behold the power" title="onigiri is the triforce" width="240" height="227" /></p> <p>He zips around the lush pixelated world of Hyrule, battling monsters on his quest to save Princess Zelda, a sacred triangle perched atop his head. Link knows that the ancient relic holds great power, but what Link never learned is that <strong>the Triforce is also deeelicious</strong>.</p> <p>I visited Japan with friends in fall of 2005, and while there, we made an amazing discovery: <em>onigiri</em>. As our days in Japan increased, the fatness of our wallets decreased, and we learned the true glory of this humble food. <em>Onigiri</em> is a Japanese convenience store food consisting of rice formed into a triangular cake around a center of something yummy (salmon, tuna, <em>umeboshi</em> [pickled sour plum], and <em>kimchi</em> are just some examples), and wrapped in seaweed. We ventured to say that the three elements that constituted this Triforce were rice for Wisdom, a shield of seaweed for Courage, and the Power of delicious fillings. </p> <p>But perhaps <strong>the true magic of <em>onigiri</em> is its packaging</strong> (wow, a Japanese product with genius packaging. <a href="http://www.bringitaroundtown.net/nippon/2006/07/eating-in.html">Big shocker</a>). You see, wrapping <em>onigiri</em> comes with a challenge: if the seaweed has contact with the rice for more than a couple seconds, it gets soggy and sticky. But the ingenious Japanese came up with an elegant solution.</p> <p>First, the seaweed is wrapped within a two-layer sheath of plastic. </p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tannazie/420619120/" title="onigiri intact"><img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/123/420619120_2ba3628d21_m.jpg" alt="onigiri intact" width="240" height="181" /></a></p> <p>The plastic protects the seaweed&#39;s inside from the rice&#39;s moisture, and its outside from external elements. </p> <p>So, the seaweed is wrapped separately from the ricey triangle. Then, how do you get it out of the wrapper, without compromising the structural integrity of the mighty Triforce? Well, first, you pull down the tab that starts at the upper point of the triangle. </p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tannazie/420631679/" title="onigiri -- pull the tab"><img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/151/420631679_06d660a5fc_m.jpg" alt="onigiri -- pull the tab" width="240" height="166" /></a></p> <p>Note at this point, that the inside layer of the plastic sheath is split down the center. As you pull the tab all the way down and around the <em>onigiri</em>, the outer layer also splits down the center (are you seeing where this is going?).</p> <p>Now, this next step is the culinary equivalent of the <a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=chMbD044B0k">take-off-your-bra-without-taking-off-your-shirt</a> trick. </p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tannazie/420619216/" title="onigiri -- split wrapper"><img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/181/420619216_5d67c4330a_m.jpg" alt="onigiri -- split wrapper" width="240" height="168" /></a></p> <p>You tug on each corner of the wrapper, now split in two, and, astonishingly, the wrapper slides right off the seaweed, leaving the mighty onigiri unwrapped and intact! </p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tannazie/420619242/" title="onigiri unwrapped"><img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/176/420619242_ee14d36feb_m.jpg" alt="onigiri unwrapped" width="240" height="219" /></a></p> <p>Okay, maybe not completely intact. You do have to fold the corners over. But a few quick tucks and a few quick bites, and you get to that all-powerful center. </p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tannazie/420757815/" title="onigiri bite"><img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/163/420757815_74c7ff3f7f_m.jpg" alt="onigiri bite" width="240" height="167" /></a></p> <p>See? Magical! Now, why would Link run around with this thing on his head when he could be eating it? </p> <p>Convenience stores in Tokyo are pretty exceptional. In a city known for being prohibitively expensive, it&#39;s nice to know that on just about every corner, there&#39;s a friendly shop when you can get a substantive meal for the equivalent of a few dollars. You find a mix of US chains like 7-Eleven or am/pm and homegrown convenience stores, or <em>combini</em>, like FamilyMart and Lawsons. In addition to <em>onigiri</em>, you can get little packages of egg salad, hot steamed buns filled with seasoned pork, and even the occasional sandwich. And in today&#39;s gloriously shrinking world, Japan&#39;s Family Mart has dressed itself up with gourmet snacks and sleek stylings and brought its act to the states as <a href="http://famima-usa.com/">Famima!!</a> (that&#39;s right, the <em>two</em> exclamation points are part of the name). Which means that <strong>the True Force to Govern All is just a buck-fifty away.</strong> </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tannaz-sassooni">Tannaz Sassooni</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/onigiri-behold-the-mighty-triforce">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-rice-cake-topping-ideas">40 Rice Cake Topping Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-delicious-dishes-you-can-make-with-a-can-of-tomato-soup">11 Delicious Dishes You Can Make With a Can of Tomato Soup</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-gluten-free-lunch-ideas">20 Gluten-Free Lunch Ideas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-fantastic-lettuce-free-salads">13 Fantastic Lettuce-Free Salads</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-save-a-bundle-on-your-groceries-consider-you-local-asian-market">Save a Bundle on Your Groceries: Consider Your Local Asian Market</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink convenience famima japanese lunch onigiri snack Wed, 14 Mar 2007 14:45:25 +0000 Tannaz Sassooni 343 at http://www.wisebread.com