The 52 Week Money Challenge is all the rage across the interwebs and we’re dying to know if you’re participating in the money saving madness! The New Year is the perfect time for any and all resolutions and why not add saving a little bit of cash to your new year to-do list? [Read more…]
This month’s theme belongs to that infamous word, temporary. While everyone on the site is posting about how to deal this word within the military community, I would like to take the time to discuss how to maneuver around this word in the food world, particularly when it comes to produce.
We hear it on the news everyday. It’s in the magazines we read and all over social media. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle and lose those extra 10 pounds, incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet is the way to go. We all know they help to ward off cancer and other life threatening diseases and that the benefits of consuming them far outweigh the risks.
As a home cook and a mother of two very picky children, fusing fruits and veggies into our daily diets has been a tricky act to carry on. One week my daughter may crave blueberries, the next week she wants nothing to do with them. Thus, leaving us with half a pint of blueberries sitting in the refrigerator until it reaches it’s expiration date. Their time in our house is temporary. Which leads me to this question, how can we properly store fruits and vegetables so they can have a longer shelf life?
Certain fruits and vegetables can produce an odorless and colorless gas called ethylene that can speed up the ripening process. Separating the foods that produce the ethylene from the ones that are sensitive to the gas is your first step in achieving proper storage.
As your resident food expert, I have compiled a cheat sheet of sorts to aide in proper storage. Print this list out, pin it to your refrigerator, and save an apple or two in the process 😉
Refrigerate these ethylene foods:
Ethylene foods that do not require refrigeration:
- Bananas, unripe
Foods that need to stay away from ethylene:
- Bananas, ripe
- Brussels Sprouts
- Lettuce and other leafy greens
- Sweet Potatoes
It also noted that you can freeze certain fruits as well. For strawberries, chop them up, place them on a cookie sheet, and place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 3 hours. This is what is known as flash freezing. Once frozen, place in a gallon sized ziplock bag and label with the date. The strawberries will keep for a few months.
Have some bananas that are going ripe and don’t feel like baking? Why not peel them, place them in a ziplock bag, and freeze them? They will keep for a few months also.
How do you like to store your fresh vegetables and fruit?
It seems like people are hellbent on spending their entire paycheck in one weekend! No matter how tempting it is to “have money, must spend” train of thought, there are some very real steps you can take to help you keep from finding yourself scraping money together to survive the days until your next payday.
Ahhh… it’s that time of the year again. Spring and warmer weather is just around the corner! We all know what that means…send the kids outside to play! Spring and summer also usher in the season for vacations and numerous activities taking place in the areas we live. TV commercials for resorts and cruises look like a dream come true, but with the prices, they will continue to be a nice dream for many.
Don’t let cost keep you and your family from having a fun filled summer! Vacation Milfam style! Each military branch has its own family programs division that is rich in entertainment, recreation, and travel activities for military families.
MWR/MCSS from Staycations to Vacations for Your Military Family
The Marine Corps’ MCCS and the Navy, Army, and Air Force’s MWR programs offer families and individuals a wide range of activities and support information. The sites have information about sports, fitness, base recreation activities, and resort hotels (yes please!). On top of military branch websites, each military installation has its own MCCS or MWR website with specific activities for where you are located.
For example, Camp Lejeune has Onslow Beach where you can rent a cabin on the beach for 3 nights for less than a stay on local islands like Topsail and Emerald Isle. There are also equipment rentals, like kayaks, for when you feel like taking a mini adventure down the Intracoastal Waterway. And try this on for size…the Army base in San Antonio, TX is having a Jazz and Wine event (the wine part caught my attention from the very beginning!). How cool is that?
I know there are stereotypes out there about base activities or military sponsored activities, but don’t knock ‘em til you try ‘em! You may find yourself pleasantly surprised. But if you want to have some family fun beyond base activities, you should check out the ITT office.
Make ITT Your Military Family’s First Stop Shop for Vacation Planning
ITT Tech? No! Information, Tickets and Travel offices offer discount tickets and travel for events, destinations, amusement parks, concerts, you name it! Before hitting the road for any type of trip, be sure to check with your ITT office for some money savings! Even if you don’t want to plan a big trip or take part in a group event, the staff can provide you with activities in the area for you and your family to do.
Local Fun? Two Words: Military Discount
Military often receives free admission to museums, sometimes it is just the service member though. Hey, a few bucks saved is a few bucks saved! Sometimes they’ll let family members slide. When my husband and I visited the various museums in Chicago, they let me in with free admission as well.
Just because a location doesn’t advertise a military discount, don’t be afraid to ask! We’ve received tickets at the Senior Discount price because there wasn’t a specific military discount advertised.
- Or if you are relatively close to a park, military also receives free entrance to National Parks.
- Busch Gardens, Sea World, Water Country USA, and Adventure Island offer a one-time free admission to military families as well.
- Then there are the always exciting discounted tickets and resort stays at Disney! See your ITT office for more information!
With all the money saving offers for military and countless activities offered at your local installation, I bet you and your family have no trouble keeping busy this summer… and keeping some of your hard earned money in the bank!
What other money saving resources do you know about for military members and their families?
Between PCSing, TDYs, deployments, and short tours Military Spouses are often responsible for their military family’s budget. It’s no easy feat making sure there’s money in the bank and the bills get paid. Most of us can attest to the fact that as soon as our service member hits the road, a new house guest comes to visit: Murphy’s Law.
From problems with military pay to unexpected car repairs, we are no stranger to the danger of Mr. Murphy. While there’s no way to predict when Murphy’s Law will strike, there is one guaranteed insurance policy against the unexpected: Emergency Savings.
Did you know? You should set aside 6-9 months of your living expenses (read: essentials) into emergency savings.
Does your military family have an Emergency Savings account? If your answer is “no” you’re not alone. Lucky for you we have 5 tips to help you build your military family’s emergency savings.
5 Tips to Build Your Military Family’s Emergency Savings
1. Use Your Tax Refund
Immediately deposit your tax refund into a savings account and don’t look back! Or, if you have some debt to pay down, split your refund between debt repayment and savings. Something is better than nothing.
Make sure you make the most of your 2012 tax return by checking out our Tax Guide for Military Spouses
2. Set up an Allotment from Your Paycheck
I am a firm believer in out of sight, out of mind. If you can stash away money before you get to see it, you’re less likely to spend it. Are you a serial account transfer addict?? Don’t stash your emergency savings at the same bank as your checking account. By separating the accounts, you’ll be forced to carefully consider your motivations for transferring funds.
3. Set up an Automatic Transfer from Your Checking to Savings
Most financial institutions have online tools to setup transfers between accounts. Put your savings on autopilot and make it easy on yourself!
4. Save a Raise
Military pay typically increases annually and promotions are relatively regular. Rather than increasing spending to match the raise, calculate the difference in pay and stash it away! You were living without it before, right?
5. Don’t Budget With Your Military Spouse Income in Mind
You and I both know how unpredictable our employment situation can be. As military spouses, we don’t always have portable careers with regular salaries. Rather than live in a constant flux of budgeting with and without your salary, just bank your salary altogether.
As a financial counselor, my number one rule is budget using an income you can count on. No more. And always less.
Emergency Savings What Ifs
Even if you are working on your emergency savings goals or have actively saved money for an emergency, it doesn’t mean that you’re 100% protected. Take these examples:
I Don’t Make Enough Money to Save
“I don’t have/earn/make enough money to save.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this line as a financial counselor. It always stops me in my tracks, no matter who it’s coming from. And any time I hear it, my first thought is, “Yes, you do. You can save. It’s all a matter of choice and perspective.” Learn how you can save money on a tight budget at Military Saves by reading You Can Afford to Save (and Here’s How to Do It).
An Emergency Wiped Out My Emergency Savings
That’s okay! Imagine what would’ve happened had you not saved for an emergency? Emergency savings is there for emergencies, so if you get wiped out, guess what? Start over and keep going. Saving is a constant work in progress. Stay the course and you will rebuild again.
My Emergency is Bigger than My Savings Account
This can be extremely frustrating. If your emergency outpaces your savings, whatever you do, do not seek out a payday loan, title loan, or paycheck advance. As a member of the military community, there are organizations that exist to help you through a situation like this. The Air Force Aid Society, Army Emergency Relief Society, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance provide emergency assistance to military families through grants and interest free loans.