It's easy, it's healthy and it's cheap. (But it's not always pretty.)
When I first made baby food for my daughter, the results were aesthetically delightful: smooth little circles of pale gold, beige, green and bright red (peach, applesauce, peas, beets) frozen so prettily on a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper.
As she got older I blended the fruits and veggies more coarsely and sometimes added meat. Peas, carrots and bacon. Chicken, rice and green beans. Beef, potato and peas. Frankly, these gloppy little puddles looked more like something you'd buy at a joke shop and leave on the rug near the cat's bed.
One day I got the idea to stir-fry chicken livers and blend them with rice and carrots. My first reaction was anything but earth-motherish:
The smart sandwich artist at Subway cleverly gets you to pick extra cheese. You can learn from his methods.
The psychology behind saving, spending and selling is useful to know if you’re to grow your pennies. Equally, it’s important to understand what tactics and strategies help you to save -- and to identify situations in which you’re more likely to fall prey to impulse spending.
As I started looking out for these kinds of things myself, I became much more aware of sales techniques and “upselling”: for example, when a waiter suggests you have a side dish as well as a main course, or a sales assistant tries to convince you to take out an additional warranty on an electronic device. Such techniques can be dangerous if you’re trying to follow a budget, but I still find them fascinating.
Call me strange but over the last few weeks I’ve been paying particular attention to the “sandwich artists” in Subway stores, specifically how they handle the “extra cheese” question. Here are three examples of what I’ve heard:
How to find Thin Mints for less, plus a weekend's worth of sales.
Sure, you can help out your favorite Girl Scout troop by ordering from this year’s arriving stash of Thin Mints, Samoas or Trefoils. But you don’t have to overpay.
Last month, this former Scout ordered five boxes from a co-worker's daughter and happily tweeted about her haul. One of my Twitter followers responded: “Yeah, but Kelli, did you shop around? Prices vary, you know."
That's true. Girl Scouts of the USA allows each of the 100-plus local councils to set its own price.
Luckily for the sellers, the buyers announced on their wall how much they loved the place -- before they closed the deal.
Want to better the odds that you won't get the best possible deal on the house you're trying to buy?
Before you’ve closed, tell your friends -- and the world -- via your Facebook account how much you love the house and that you’ll spend anything to get it. Chances are the seller might be reading.
Finance gurus trade a few tweets as to whose advice is worse. What do you think?
Oooh, a Twitter smackdown!! It’s Suze Orman vs. Robert Kiyosaki in a knock-down, drag-out fight over who dishes out the best financial advice.
OK, maybe it was just a few tweets on the microblogging service, but it still has the personal-finance world all a-twitter (pun intended).
Some utilities and cell providers offer miles for switching over. Should you make the move?
Receiving your monthly bills may not seem like much of a reward, but paying them can earn you more travel discounts than ever before. Many airlines have widened the playing field on offers for miles in exchange for doing business with a particular phone or electric company.
Continental is offering 5,000 bonus miles for Connecticut, New York and Texas fliers who sign up with Energy Plus as their electric supplier, plus two miles per dollar spent on the supply portion of their monthly bill. United offers a bonus of 5,000 miles when you use its site to sign up for or extend service with a major wireless provider.
Long commutes don't always mean higher costs, according to Bundle data.
Brotherly love or no, residents of Philadelphia spend almost twice as much time getting to and from work as people who live in Wichita, Kan., according to census data. The average commute times for folks who live in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., or any of California's major cities are at least a third longer than those of the good people in Omaha, Oklahoma City, or Lexington, Ky.
But do people with a short commute necessarily spend less on gas or car maintenance?
Self-motivated students can always make college work if they choose to do so.
One of the most common debates I hear about from people such as myself -- 20- and 30-somethings with young children -- is whether it makes more sense to save adequately for retirement or save adequately for their children’s college education. Young career folks often don’t have the means to do both, so it becomes a choice.
Retirement or college? Today, I’ll look at both sides of this coin, which is central in my own life.
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