8 Ways to Be a Cheapskate at Farmer’s Markets

June 29, 2015 Permalink

cheapskate farmer's marketBeing a cheapskate at a farmer’s market may sound like a bad idea — who wants to rip off farmers? — but it can still be done while keeping your conscience clear. I’ve tried some of these methods or have watched others do them successfully for years.

I haven’t done a cost comparison to see if shopping for produce at a farmer’s market is any cheaper than at a grocery store, but as a regular shopper at both I’ve seen mostly higher prices at grocery stores. Not always, but often.

Even if you do find deals at the store, the quality isn’t often as good as it is from a farmer’s market where the produce was picked that morning or maybe a day or so earlier. I’m not trying to be a farmer’s market snob. Some things I’ve found at farmer’s markets during my weekly trips to them in the past seven years have not always been so great. But overall, I’ve found most of the produce to be top-notch.

Being a cheapskate at a farmer’s market requires some changing of your standards. And don’t think that these methods will put your local farmer out of business. They want to unload their fruits and vegetables every week, and will sometimes take a small loss if it means moving more items.

Here are some ways to be a cheapskate at a farmer’s market, and they don’t include having it delivered to your home:

Skip organic

Without getting into an argument over the overuse of the term organic and which foods should be grown organically for health reasons, if you want to save money as a cheapskate, skip buying organic at your farmer’s market. You’ll save at least 25 percent

If you absolutely don’t want fertilizers on the food you buy and are willing to pay extra for organic, then buy it. But know that it’s basically a technical term that requires adhering to certain practices and standards.

Planning a Vacation is Worth the Cost

June 22, 2015 Permalink

planning a vacationA vacation can do a lot to increase your happiness. Planning a vacation, it turns out, can be a lot more fun.

From relaxing on the beach to a hike in the woods or however you enjoy your time off, a vacation can be a great break from work and a time to relax. Part of the fun — as I’ve found in planning my own vacations, and from reading published studies on the topic — is in planning a vacation.

In a study on overall happiness from a vacation and how long the happiness lasts, researchers in the Netherlands found that the biggest boost comes from planning a vacation. Anticipating a vacation increased happiness for eight weeks.

After the vacation, most travelers reported that their happiness levels dropped back down to baseline levels, according to the study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life in 2010.

Cost of planning a vacation

The study didn’t say if planning a vacation makes it worth the cost of the trip, but in my view, it’s a worthwhile expense.

I don’t think a vacation is worth going into debt over, but with careful planning and saving for it, a great vacation can be done on even a frugal budget. It’s something that the whole family can get involved in — from picking a place to visit to lodging, activities, travel arrangements and people and places to visit during a trip.

Even if planning a vacation does take you a little off your budget, it can be a worthwhile time together as a family that children will remember forever.

A few years ago, my family took a trip to Australia to visit my brother and his family. The trip cost a lot of money, but we pulled money out of our savings because we thought it would be a great experience for all of us.

What I Want to Give My Daughter for Father’s Day

June 16, 2015 Permalink
via stockmonkeys.com

via stockmonkeys.com

I’m going to a baseball game with my family and some friends on Father’s Day, so my 10-year-old daughter is essentially off the hook for getting me a gift since I’ll be happy enough if she can sit through a game. She’s not a fan.

And while I’m not shelling out $50 to the Oakland A’s so I can play catch with her on the field after the game — a Father’s Day ripoff I’ve already written about — there’s some financial advice I want to give her on this day in June to remind her how important she is to me and some of my hopes for her.

College fund

My wife and I set up a college education fund within a month of her birth that we contribute to monthly.

When she does go to college, I hope she uses the money well, works summers to supplement it, and doesn’t have to take out student loans or work much while in college. Years of debt shouldn’t be the price of an education. Hopefully, we’ve helped make her financial life during and after college a bit easier.

A savings account

She also has a savings account where most of the money she receives for birthdays, Christmas and other events is kept. I hope she becomes a saver and always has an emergency fund and travel fund moving in the right directions.

A well-paying, fun job

I don’t know what career path she’ll eventually choose, but I hope it’s one she chooses because she’s great at it and enjoys it. I didn’t choose journalism for the high pay, but it’s a job I fully enjoy.

A college education is likely to help her more than anything to get there. And a job in the public sector may be even better, according to a study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.