One Easy Habit to Save Money on Produce

When it comes to eating healthy, we all know we should be eating more fruits and vegetables. Full of vitamins and minerals, the produce section of your grocery store is a great place to jumpstart the healthy eating habit. Yet when you fill your cart with this colorful bounty, the costs add up.

Earlier this year, while on a health kick, I loaded up my cart with tons of fruits and vegetables, ingredients for a weekly menu of healthy soups and smoothies. I thought I’d be saving tons of money by avoiding convenience foods and doing the cooking myself. Right? Wrong. My bill was nearly $100, and that’s for one person, one week. I remember cringing at the total and thinking there had to be another way (or a mistake on my receipt, which there was not).

According to the Harvard School of Public Health (which seems pretty legit, if you ask me), fruits and vegetables can have huge nutritional benefits. We’re talking reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, lowered blood pressure and improved gut health. But how can you get all of these benefits without breaking the bank? After all, it’s not too often that you find coupons for strawberries or carrots.

The answer is surprisingly simple.

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Replacement for Dryer Sheets – Money Saving Swap #2

Ah, laundry day – a treasured pastime in any family (cue eye roll). If you’ve taken a stroll down the laundry aisle recently, you’ll likely agree that this household chore can get expensive. Detergents, softeners, stain removers, scent boosters (?) – is it really all necessary?

To some extent, yes, but there are options.

Take dryer sheets, for example. Even though the Snuggle bear is adorable and lovingly promotes scents such as “Blue Sparkle” (what that means exactly, I’m not sure), he’ll sneakily drain your wallet week after week.

In all honesty, dryer sheets probably don’t make a huge dent in your family’s budget. But at thrivesensibly, I like to believe that every penny counts. Why spend money if you don’t have to? What if I told you there was another way?

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4 Reasons to Eat More Carrots

When I was in high school, my bucket list included strange items like, “eat so many carrots that I turn orange.” Believe it or not, this really is a thing. It’s called cartonemia, and is completely harmless. Sadly (?), I haven’t yet crossed that one off the list, but I’m still a huge carrot fan.

I’ve tried growing carrots in my garden (again) this year, with little success. While the greens (which are edible, by the way) are robust and beautiful, the carrots are strangely shaped, withered roots that are barely palatable. What can I say? Gardening was never my forte (although the dog dug one up and didn’t complain).

In any case, carrots are an excellent addition to any diet. But if you need some convincing, read on for 4 Reasons to Eat More Carrots.

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Bundle of cords

Want to Save Money on Cable? Cut the Cord.

When I was in college, I considered cable TV a necessity. I’d hop from one provider to the next, salivating after introductory offers. A $79 bill that’s normally $149? Sign me up! I never really watched much, but I had a DVR box full of cooking shows and HGTV episodes. Sure, I’d binge watch a few every now and then, but it was essentially a form of virtual hoarding, a treasured repository of entertainment tucked away in a fancy box I paid $20/month for.

After I graduated, I was faced with a mountain of student loan debt and dismal job prospects (thank you, Anthropology degree).  The reality of my financial situation was hard to swallow, and I eventually had to learn the adult dance of budgeting.

When you take a long, hard look at your expenses, cable just doesn’t make the cut. The average bill is $99, which adds up to over $1,100 a year. And with all those flashy extras (sports packages, multiple HD receivers, voice activated remotes), the total can easily climb beyond that. In fact, the price of cable is growing at a rate 4x faster than that of inflation. Craziness, I tell you!

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Clipping Coupons

Maximize Your Coupon Savings With This One Tip

Photo Credit: StockMonkeys

If you’re willing to spend the time, clipping coupons is one of the best ways to reduce your grocery bill. Thanks to popular blogs like the Krazy Coupon Lady, the stereotypes of couponing have long disappeared. I’m not ashamed to pull out a coupon organizer mid-grocery trip or present my (sometimes hefty) stack of coupons to the cashier – I may have held up the line a time or two. In fact, I’m proud. Taking the time to clip coupons means you know the value of your dollar, care about saving money, and find pleasure in the simple things (like a subtotal rapidly shrinking before your eyes).

A recent Google search for “coupon tips” generated over 41 million results. That’s million, folks. The trend is growing, and people want to know how to maximize their savings. It’s no surprise that shoppers are looking to the experts – cutting coupons without a plan can result in frustration, wasted time, and unnecessary purchases. No thanks!

Over the past decade, I’ve learned a thing or two about these magic pieces of paper (hey, I started young!). In my experience, there’s one trick that’s made the biggest difference.

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Alternatives to Shaving Cream – Money Saving Swap #1

If you’re looking to save money, cutting back on unnecessary purchases is the first step to a bigger bank account. Even small purchases of $2-$5 can add up over the course of a year. And one of those unnecessary items is hiding in millions of bathrooms: shaving cream!

When I first started shaving my legs, I thought shaving cream was a necessity. I delighted in the colorful pink foam and tantalizing scents like “passion flower explosion” (okay, I made that up). In those early years, it felt like a non-negotiable purchase – surely no other alternatives could exist! At some point though, I changed my tune. I remember a magazine article (yes, I also read trashy magazines at the time) where a supermodel claimed she shaved her legs with baby oil. She swore it gave the closest, smoothest shave she had ever experienced! This profound proclamation peaked my interest, and I tried it out a few weeks later. The result? It worked! I was hooked.

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Colored pencils

5 Sources for Free Coloring Pages

A few weeks ago, I gave in to the adult coloring book trend. I felt so cliché – almost embarrassed by the fact that I was buying in to the latest craze. The cashier even commented on my purchase: clearly, this is a thing. According to an article in the New Yorker, these coloring books for adults have been around for quite some time, but there has been a huge boom in the past few years (a fire fueled, in part, by sites like Facebook and Pinterest).

So, what’s all the hype about? Simply put, coloring is fun. Sure, there are articles citing the mental health benefits (lower stress, boost mental function, etc.), and this is the biggest marketing point. We’re all busy and stressed out, even if needlessly so, and there’s something comforting about picking up a treasured hobby from childhood.

We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box. ~Robert Fulghum

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