Savvy Summer Produce

By Melissa Tosetti

I just finished eating the most delicious plum.  It reminded me of how much I love summer produce like nectarines, pluots and peaches. The only thing I don't like about them is how quickly they ripen.  If you buy too much, it can be hard to consume before they go bad - wasting food and money.

I fell into the habit of only buying enough summer produce for a few days and supplementing our fruit bowl with heartier items like apples.  We eat the summer items first and when those are gone, the apples are still fresh and ready to enjoy. 

Just in case we go on a serious fruit bender, I also keep a bag of frozen mangoes from Trader Joe's in the fridge.  At less than $3 per bag, they last forever and we eat them, still frozen, with our fingers.  Frozen mangoes can also a good way to kick a bad ice cream habit.

 
Memorial Day

To the men and women who sacrificed all to protect our country, thank you.

 
The Power of Smalls
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Yesterday I was on the phone with clients in Texas. They’re both professionals in their industry and they have two children in high school.
 
The focus of yesterday’s call was on how to save time and money at the grocery store. I asked them to tell me about their current routine. They have one excellent habit already in place which is to have a non-negotiable day to get to the grocery store. They then usually supplement that visit with at least one other trip during the week to pick up fresh produce.
 
As I offered a few suggestions such as to time their purchases with sales cycles and plan their meals around the weekly sales ad, they made a very honest comment. “We used to do all of those things, but as we got busier with work, decided it wasn’t worth it to pay attention to small savings.” 
 
I told them that I understand when you’re making over $100,000 a year, it may not feel like it’s worth the time save $.30 on a can of corn or $1 on a loaf of bread. But if you look at that savings cumulatively, it adds up
 
My family goes through three loaves of bread a week - Paul and Dante are sandwich guys. Their favorite bread goes on sale every 3 – 4 weeks. I only buy it when it’s on sale and purchase as much as the sale allows, freezing the excess. I typically save $1 on each loaf so that saves me $3 a week and $156 a year. That’s just for bread.
 
About 70% of the items I purchase for my family are on a sales cycle, meaning, they go on sale every 3 – 6 weeks. As much as possible, I follow the sales cycles and only purchase those items when they’re on sale, stocking up and then running through my inventory until it goes on sale again. 
 
With this process, I save an average of 30% on groceries. My grocery budget is $125 a week, which means I save an average of $40 a week. Multiply that times 52 weeks and it adds up to $2,080 a year in savings. Instead of spending that money at the grocery store, I’m able to save that money for something much more fun, like travel!   
 
One of my favorite shows is American Pickers which is about expert antique hunters who drive across America looking for “treasure” in people’s homes and backyards. Although they purchase a lot of really big ticket items, they say in almost every episode that, “Their bread and butter is in the smalls”. Meaning, that it’s the low priced items they buy and sell that keep them in business.
 
Whether it’s money coming in or money going out, paying attention to the “smalls” can mean big changes in your financial situation.
 
 
 
Memorial Day Weekend Travel Deals
Looking for last minute travel deals for this Memorial Day weekend? 
 
Today.com just published a list of resources to help you find a fun destination at an affordable price.  Read the article here: How To Find Last Minute Memorial Travel Deals.
 
 
 
Smart Spending - Memorial Day Sales

By Melissa Tosetti

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer and the sales will be in full force!  It's an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the deep discounts and stock up.
 
Food
Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day are the best weekends to purchase:
  • Condiments such as ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.
  • Hamburger and hot dog as well as buns.  All of which can be frozen. 
  • Soda will also be listed at some of the best prices of the year.
Clothes
If your wardrobe needs an infusion of warm weather clothes, there will be plenty of discounts offered over the holiday weekend.  Although the best prices for summer clothes will be after the 4th of July, this weekend you can still get great deals and the shelves will be fully stocked.
 
BBQ & Patio
If you’re in the market for a big ticket items such as grills and patio furniture, this is the weekend to shop.  Like clothes, the prices will fall even more after the 4th of July, but if you have something specific in mind, grab it now before it’s too late. 
 
 
 
Groupon Getaways
 
By Melissa Tosetti
 
On Saturday I was in Portland, OR giving a presentation on Savvy Travel.
 
I was telling the audience about all the good things I’ve been hearing about Groupon Getaways. For example, my mother-in-law’s niece recently took a trip to Ireland through the company. She said there was no way she would have been able to stay at the places she stayed at if it wasn’t for the deal. She had an amazing experience and will now travel exclusively using Groupon deals.
 
I was talking with a client in Georgia last week and her friend had a similar experience.  My client is going to give the service a try on her next trip.  . 
 
I asked Saturday’s audience if any of them had used Groupon for travel. A woman raised her hand and said she had used them and would use them again, but she definitely learned a few things the hard way.  I asked if she’d share. Her two big tips for using Groupon Getaways are:
 
1. Read the fine print. The deals are for a specific time frame.  Make sure it falls inline with your schedule.
 
2. Don’t wait. The deals get snapped up fast. Once you read the fine print and know if it’s the right deal for you, grab it before someone else does.
 
 
 
 
Do It Daily

 

 
First Thing In The Morning
By Melissa Tosetti
 
On Monday, I posted a Track Your Spending Challenge.  The goal is to track your spending for just one week. 
 
One of the most important lessons I've learned about tracking my spending is that if I don't do it first thing in the morning, my instinct to procrastinate will kick in and get stronger and stronger as the day goes along. 
 
So, I track my previous day's spending as soon as I boot up my computer.  It takes me three minutes or less and I'm done for the day.
 
Try putting a note next to your computer to remind you to do it first thing tomorrow morning and see how good it feels to get it done and get on with your day.
 
 
 
Track Your Spending - Challenge
By Melissa Tosetti
 
Tracking spending is the number one way to take control of your money.  It's not a new concept, but one we have a tendency to avoid.

Your challenge is to track your spending for just one week.  That's it!  Starting from the moment you read this, track your spending for seven days.

If you already have Quicken or Mint, now is the time to put them back in action.  Don't worry about catching up and entering your expenses for the last few weeks or months.  Just start with your next expenditure.  

Don't have Quicken or MInt?  You can use an Excel spreadsheet, the register that came with your checks or a piece of paper.  Again, keep it simple!  The easier you make the process, the more likely you'll succeed in the challenge.   

If you have questions about the challenge, you can call me at 650-299-1500 or send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
- Good luck! 
 
 
 
ImHuman

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