Sunday, May 1, 2016

Meaty Savings: How to Save Money on Meat and Fill Your Freezer

A few years ago someone introduced me to Zaycon Foods. Zaycon Foods is a new approach to buying fresh meat at wholesale prices. These deals are incredible, lower than even the grocery store blowout sales. An extra benefit: the meat is fresh from the farm, never frozen and raised hormone free.

Their most popular product is their fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts–which contain no hormones*, additives or artificial ingredients. The chicken comes directly from the farm and has never been frozen.

They sell the chicken in 40-lb. boxes–for only about $1.79 per lb.! (In comparison, the chicken breasts we buy at the local grocery store are nearly $4 per pound. Check the costs before ordering…they fluctuate but are generally MUCH cheaper than at the grocery store!)

How Zaycon Works

Farmers send meat to a butcher for processing and sale preparation. Zaycon Foods then buys the meat directly from the butcher at discounted wholesale costs. Zaycon schedules truck deliveries in certain cities all around the country. Consumers register and order meat and fruit. Meats are carefully packed in a refrigerated semi tractor-trailer. All meats come in large 20 pound to 40 pound cases. Just place an order, meet the truck, and take home fresh meat!
What Zaycon Offers

Zaycon is most known for its well-priced meat. However, fruits are available when in season. Again prices fluctuate so you will want to check before ordering. Here are some sample prices offered:

  • Chicken: 40 lb case for $1.79/lb. Grocery prices: $3.39/lb
  • Ground Beef 93/7: 40 lb cases for $3.79/lb. Grocery prices: $4.29/lb
  • Hickory Smoked Bacon: 2, 15 lb cases for $2.99/lb. Grocery prices: $4.81/lb
  • Salmon Filets: 25 lb cases for $7.99/lb. Grocery prices: $8.99/lb
  • Cod Filets: 20 lb case for $5.29/lb. Grocery prices: $6.99/lb
  • Strawberries: 8 lb flats for $1.49/lb. Grocery prices: $1.99/lb


Other products Zaycon offers include:

  • Bacon-wrapped pork fillets 
  • Beef franks 
  • Polish sausage 
  • Pork loin 
  • Ribs 
  • Pork sausage links 
  • Catfish filets 
  • Turkey-breast 
  • Roast ham 
  • Wild Alaskan code fillets 
  • Wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon filets 
All of Zaycon’s prices are listed on their website and vary per “event,” as they call the days when they delivery certain products to areas nationwide.

Note: You can only buy the chicken in 40-lb. cases. There is no maximum amount that you can buy, but you obviously will need the space for at least 40 lbs.

Register

  • Visit the website.
  • At the top right click “Register now.”
  • Fill out all information and get started.
  • Immediately after registering, all local events will appear. Events indicate the day Zaycon trucks arrive with fresh meat from the butcher.
Happy savings! Let us know if you have used Zaycon.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

How our family saves $10,000 a year!

Here are a few ways our family saves about $10,000 a year!

1. We eat breakfast from home.

It is so enticing to hit up the drive through for breakfast because there is just no time. But we began making breakfast at home.

Every Sunday Shelly makes a breakfast frittata. It’s basically eggs, diced potatoes and onions. It costs less than $1.50 per day to make a nutritious breakfast at home! Saving us $14 a week or $700 a year. 
frittata

2. We pack a lunch.

I take leftovers for lunch. Every once in a while, I will have to buy lunch. But the rest of the time I take leftovers from home-cooked meals.

This saves us about $50 a week (or more!) or $2,500 a year. And we are wasting less food.

3. Eliminate credit cards.

Did you know the typical credit card user embraces about $15,000 in debt? If their interest rate is 14 % that is $2,100 in interest annually. (Source)

4. We negotiate our bills.

We simply called our provider and asked, very politely, if they would lower our bill because we are loyal customers. You can negotiate just about anything, credit cards fees, car insurance, and your cellphone bill. In total we saved about $40 a month or $480 a year!

5. We started driving fewer places.

We are now saving about $45 a week by reducing one tank of gas a week purely by choosing to drive to fewer places.

That means we stay home more, but we find lots of ways to entertain ourselves and save about $2,340 a year.

6. We started buying our meat in bulk.

We were able to get boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.89/lb. per pound from Zaycon and 92% lean ground beef for $3.99 a pound. I am not sure on the actual math on what this will save us. But here is a rough analysis of some expenditure.
  • Chicken: 40 lb case for $1.79/lb. Grocery prices: $3.39/lb
  • Ground Beef 93/7: 40 lb cases for $3.79/lb. Grocery prices: $4.29/lb
  • Hickory Smoked Bacon: 2, 15 lb cases for $2.99/lb. Grocery prices: $4.81/lb
  • Salmon Filets: 25 lb cases for $7.99/lb. Grocery prices: $8.99/lb
  • Cod Filets: 20 lb case for $5.29/lb. Grocery prices: $6.99/lb


7. We cut out our cable plan.

Instead, we use Netflix and Amazon prime, factoring out the cost of those two items per month that is saving us $59 a month or $708 annually.

8. We cut the club.

We ditched Costco, which was $55 annually and instead use Amazon to order bulk items like toilet paper and shampoo.

In total, that's over $10,000 a year! Just by making small and simple choices to eliminate the small things.

What about you? What are some ways you cut out the little expenses?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Throwing a party, frugally?

Throwing a birthday party or a little get together? Here are a few tips to keep the cost down. Okay - so, having been sooooo broke for the greater part of my twenties, and also LOVING to host a party like nobody's business, I've learned a lot of tricks, but it really depends on the age and starting time of the party to gauge the expectations. For example - a crowd of 30 somethings is going to have a different expectation completely from a crowd of 20 somethings. If the party starts after dinner (anytime after 7) people shouldn't expect that you’d be providing them with supper - unless you've specified that. So here were my go-tos (For people in their twenties):

1) Booze - BYOB, but I did always have the odd person who would run out, so I'd have extra on hand.

Booze

2) Drinks for in-between, DDs - iced tea, hot tea - both super economical. Look in the freezer aisle for frozen juices from concentrate if you have to - dress them up with some fruit. A go-to for me is to have a nice big jug/decanter full of water with lemon slices. It looks super pretty and is thoughtful, without being expensive, at all. You may be able to borrow something like this from a family member or friend. Combined with tea or iced tea - you have your bases covered.


FOOD - If you have to serve food, turn it into a potluck and ask each of your guests to bring in a little something of their own. Potlucks are the best! There's always a lot of food, nobody feels like a moocher, and the cooking snobs get to show off. Those who can't cook can always pick up cookies or a pie from the grocery store. Also people with dietary restrictions can bring what they'll eat.

Potluck

If you are not hooked on the whole potluck thing and you still need to feed people spaghetti is very cheap at about $2.04 for 2lbs of spaghetti noodles and about $2.00 for a jar of Prego.

Pasta

SNACKS - Then, I would pick up a variety of bargain chips. No Name chips work just fine, especially if you put them in a bowl, no one will know the difference. The Dollar Tree often carries party mix as well - the trick is having a variety (depending on the size of the party, I'd go with 5 bags of different munchies, and could usually achieve this for $4-$5).


CAKE - definitely go a boxed cake. I'm not sure if you have icing sugar at home, but you could compare pricing to see what is more economical where you live - a home made frosting here or a store bought can. You can also make a cake with a box of cake mix and a can of soda! It's actually pretty good! I do this all the time. Match the color of the cake to the soda that means sprite/7up/cream soda in a white or yellow cake, cherry in red velvet, cola in chocolate.


DECORATIONS - Do you actually need a banner that says "happy birthday?" Everybody knows it's your birthday. Better to go classy. Pick a color/theme and stick to whichever you choose: you could go 'picnic' with red and white checkered tablecloths from the Dollar Store, white and craft paper with an accent color is pretty, 'vintage tea party' is very nice-looking - tea cups with your treats in it, doilies from the Dollar Store will add to the effect. Look around in your environment and see what you can find. Wildflowers look awesome in mason jars as well as vases - they look great in buckets, even.


LASTLY - make a EXCEEDINGLY good playlist - music sets the entire tone for the night, so it's really what will make or break you!

music


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What’s Worth Buying at the Dollar Store?

Dollar Tree

Dollar stores can be very hit-or-miss. Sure, there’s loads of stuff well worth a dollar. But there’s a lot of rubbish, too. If you’re a dollar store shopper, tell us what’s worth buying.

Here are a few thing I think are worth a buck cleaning products, micro USB cables, AUX cables, birthday cards, get well cards, really any cards. Cups and plates. They are cheap, fairly durable, and most people won’t even notice (or care). If something breaks, no big deal. Save the fancy stuff for special meals or when it’s just you. Oh and party supplies! What else is a deal?

Tell us: what’s worth buying at the dollar store? If you have any advice on what items aren’t worth it, go ahead and mention those, too.

Monday, April 18, 2016

How to Keep Utility Bills Down


Looking to reduce your utility bills? Well I have a few tips for you!

Replace your standard bulbs with LEDS


I would replace all the bulbs with LEDs right off the bat. They're going to last a very long time anyway. Also, you can install dimmers for the main bulbs to reduce electricity. You have to be careful here about product selection, because not all dimmers actually reduce consumption and not all LED bulbs are dimmable.


Dry clothes on a rack or line

Another idea is to dry clothes on a rack or line. It takes a bit getting used to, but avoiding that damn dryer can save you quite a bit, depending on how often you wash clothes.

Dry clothes on a rack or line



Change out your shower-head

For shower-heads, you are probably looking for something at 1.5 GPM or lower. Taking shorter showers will help as well.


Get out of the house

The less time you spend in your house, the more you'll save on heating and cooling. If you have interests that involve being outside, feel free to capitalize on that. During the summer, you can save on cooling costs by cooking outside on a grill. You can also invest in a smart thermostat. Some smart thermostats can automatically learn when the house is likely to be occupied, and when it is likely to be empty. This allows it to automatically pre-heat or pre-cool the house, so that it's at a comfortable temperature when a resident arrives. If the residents' lifestyle changes, these smart thermostats will gradually adjust the schedule, maintaining energy savings and comfort.

Get out of the house


Find alternative forms of entertainment

Find alternative forms of entertainment that don't involve running a big TV for a few hours. If you like the news in the morning, you can listen to a similar news program on your phone using TuneIn.

Find alternative forms of entertainment



Check insulation

Check the insulation in your attic and other areas. If there is a lack of proper insulation, take care of that or you're going to blow a bunch of money in heating/cooling costs. Also check to see if there are air leaks around windows and doors. Get some weather stripping foam to minimize this.

Probably the most universal advice I can give is to just look at everything that uses electricity or water and figure out ways to use it less or find an alternative that uses less or none at all.









Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Ultimate Frugal Living Guide

When it comes to spending less and saving more, there are many ways to get financially fit, but some are much easier to accomplish than others. We’ve put together the ultimate frugal guide for people who are excited about saving money and really want to do whatever it takes to whip their finances into shape. Check it out below.


1. Know Your Money

By whatever means necessary, become incredibly well-acquainted with how much you earn, how much you spend, and where every dollar goes. It’s the basis of frugal living. Without this baseline comprehension, successful budgeting and saving will always be out of reach.
Know Your Money

2. Know the Difference Between a Want and a Need

Let’s face it: Being able to differentiate what we want from what we need is a requirement for making wise buying decisions. If you can’t master this skill, your needs will be endless and your paycheck will never keep up.

3. Avoid Consumer Debt

Frugal friends know it: Interest on consumer debt is a tax people pay for living outside their means. And while a credit card can save the day from time-to-time, embracing easy credit as a way to pad your lifestyle can have devastating consequences. Interest and other charges will bleed your budget and choke your chances at real financial well-being.

4. Dry your clothes on a line

You can save around $100 a year or more if you hang your clothes up to dry on a line. If you don’t have a yard, you can hang them up in your apartment too.
Dry your clothes on a line.

5. Make your own laundry detergent

Did you know that you could actually make your own laundry detergent? It’s really astounding because you can see exactly what goes into it, which creates a healthier environment in your household.

6. Take public transportation

Gas and parking passes get so pricey, especially if you use your vehicle every single day. Do some research to find out how much your local bus or subway costs. You might be surprised at how much you save. Also, ask around your work to see who might want to share a ride with you.

7. Make every gift you give

With the fame of websites like Pinterest, there is no lack of ideas for handmade gifts. All you have to do is search for crafts or gift ideas, and you’ll have hundreds of remarkable tutorials and concepts at your disposal.

8. Give up your smart phone

You can also save hundreds of dollars a month on your cell phone bill. If you really, truly want to save money and penny-pinch, this is the way to do it. 
Give up your smart phone

9. Become a coupon expert

All it takes it a little bit of time and practice to learn about couponing. You can save hundreds of dollars on groceries this way, so it’s definitely worth the time you put into studying about it!

10. Grow your own food

Think of how much money you’ll save if you grow your own tomatoes or herbs. Plus, you’ll have awesome, fresh-tasting veggies to put in your dinner, which is great for both your wallet and your waistline.

11. Give up cable

Today, you can catch all of your beloved shows on your computer, so there is no reason to pay $100 a month for cable. Plus, watching TV takes up valuable time that you could be using to hustle and make some money. 

12. Cook more meals at home

Eating out is definitely a drain on your budget. If you start to cook in more, you can save hundreds of dollars a month.
Cook more meals at home