From the Editor’s Desk

Gary Foreman

Some Tools to Help You Save Money Feeding Your Family

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

This COVID business has turned a lot of things upside down. Among them our eating habits. Being empty nesters, my wife and I like to go to inexpensive local restaurants. Naturally that’s changed. Before the virus, we didn’t do a lot of takeout. We did less cooking than in previous years. In part because there’s less pressure for meals when it’s just the two of us.

I know that each family is different. Some have two working parents. Some are single parent households. Others are single and living alone. Everyone is a little bit different and has different needs.

One thing I know for sure is that I’ve been doing more cooking at home. And I suspect that’s true of many of us. Even with restaurants reopening, Mrs. Dollar Stretcher and I are still having more meals that were prepared in our own kitchen. That’s caused me to look for new recipes. Especially ones that use ingredients that I already have in my pantry or freezer. (Don’t want too many trips to the grocery store.)

Preparing meals at home can be a great way to reduce your grocery bill. Especially if you do a lot of the preparation yourself. So let’s see if we can learn some new tools to save some money on feeding our families.

We have many articles on every aspect of groceries and cooking. Perhaps you’d want to start with the Shopping Tips and Tricks index of articles. You’ll find articles about grocery store cycles, tricks stores use, store brands and store specials, what you need to know about how store aisles are set up and more.

Or maybe you’re new to cooking. Then check out the Frugal Cooking Basics index. You’ll find helpful articles on basic skills and tools that will help you become more proficient in the kitchen.

If you’re more experienced, visit the Food and Grocery Cost Cutting section. There you’ll find articles on stockpiling, food rescuing, items to make instead of buy, buying produce for less, freezing meats and more.

The average family spends between 10 and 20% of their take-home pay on food/groceries. For most of us that provides a wonderful opportunity to save some money. Money that’s especially needed in these trying times.

So as my father used to say at dinnertime, “all who are able come to the table.” This time it’s the table of knowledge that’ll put some extra dollars in your hand this month.

Finally, on a separate note, if you aren’t already a regular, please visit our Facebook pages and share them with your frugal friends. We have one for TheDollarStretcher.com and another one for After50Finances.com. We make every effort to provide a steady stream of ideas to help you “live better…for less.”

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!
Gary

The Best Place to Achieve Financial Independence

Hello to all my Frugal Friends!

This Saturday we’ll be celebrating Independence Day. Unfortunately the holiday is marked by the COVID virus and much social disruption. TDS is a financial site so I’ll limit my comments to financial issues.

I believe that the facts show that the U.S. offers the greatest opportunity to achieve financial independence of anywhere on the planet. Is it perfect? No. But, if you want to be financially independent, there’s no better place to live and work.

Let’s look at some facts. “A groundbreaking study by Just Facts has discovered that after accounting for all income, charity, and non-cash welfare benefits like subsidized housing and food stamps, the poorest 20 percent of Americans consume more goods and services than the national averages for all people in most affluent countries. This includes the majority of countries in the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including its European members. In other words, if the US “poor” were a nation, it would be one of the world’s richest.” (source: Foundation for Economic Education)

Many argue that there’s great inequality in income. And, that’s true. Bill Gates, Hollywood actors and sports figures make way more in a year than you and I will in a lifetime. Same with corporate CEOs. But, outside of jealously and a notion of fairness, what difference does it make? My earning potential isn’t really affected by how much they make. If the CEO earned nothing, my paycheck wouldn’t increase by more than a few cents.

It’s also true that many people are disadvantaged. It is easier to become financially free for someone born of wealth and privilege or who’s parents taught them how to earn and manage money. Of course it’s easier for them. But if you’re not one of them, you’re not doomed to a life of poverty. You have a better chance in this country of becoming financially independent than in almost any other place in the world. In fact, in most places you would have no chance of achieving financial freedom.

I don’t need a lot of statistics to prove my point. You can tell a lot by how people act and what they do. My great grandfather emigrated from Bohemia shortly after the U.S. Civil War. He became a lumberjack and then a farmer in Wisconsin. He came for a better life. Because he believed that the U.S. offered opportunity to better himself.

People today still come to the U.S. for the same reason. To better themselves. To have more economic opportunity. They come by the hundreds and thousands. They recognize and long for the chance for a better financial future in the U.S.

We don’t need to have laws keeping people from leaving the country. If you think somewhere else offers a better opportunity, you’re free to pursue it. We have no walls holding people in.

To be clear, I’m not inviting anyone to leave. I’m not saying “love it or leave it”. But I am saying that if you want a better financial future, you’ll have a hard time finding a better place to pursue it than here in the U.S.

Will it take hard work and perseverance? Yes, most things of value in life take effort. In fact, that’s why we created our free daily email newsletter Financial Independence awhile back. If you don’t already get it you can subscribe here.

So I invite you to celebrate Independence Day by declaring a little bit of financial independence for yourself!

Keep on Stretching those Dollars!
Gary

About the Author

Gary Foreman is a former financial planner and purchasing manager who founded The Dollar Stretcher.com website and newsletters in 1996. He's the author of How to Conquer Debt No Matter How Much You Have and he's been featured in MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, Fox Business, The Nightly Business Report, US News Money, Credit.com and CreditCards.com. Gary shares his philosophy of money here. Gary is available for audio, video or print interviews. For more info see his media page.

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