Guest Post: How to Save Money by Preserving Fruits & Vegetables

Eating right is one of the best ways to save money on medical costs. Food is a natural healer and when our diet consists of enough fruits and vegetables, we are more likely to fight off disease and remain in good health. Of course, eating fresh produce can be expensive, but there are a few ways to help and save money in this area. Preserving fruits and vegetables help you save money and ensure that you have a supply to last you through the long winter months when fresh produce becomes expensive and less plentiful.

Dehydrating

Investing in a dehydrator is a great way to preserve fruit and also provides a process the whole family can enjoy. Children especially like the process of dehydrating their own fruit for snacks. When you dehydrate at home, you can use the fruit that you grow or you have the option of buying in bulk from your local stores or farms. Purchasing bulk quantities saves money and you will be able to extend the life of the fruit through the dehydration process. These items do not cost very much and they also take up very little counter space.

Canning Preserves

The art of canning offers an ideal way to save money and provide your family with fruits and vegetables through the winter. Canning is a simple process and the supplies can be found in any grocery store. One of the best aspects of this money saving technique is that you can use produce from your very own garden. This would inspire you to think bigger when planning and planting your garden. If you can preserve the food that you grow, you will not have to worry about having too much or having it rot on the vine.

Freezing for Easy Storage

If you have access to a deep freezer or have some extra room in your regular freezer, consider buying in bulk and freezing. Freezing fruits such as berries can be used during the winter when fresh varieties are scarce. Consider purchasing bulk amounts with a neighbor or friend in order to achieve even greater savings.

Preserving foods offers great savings to many families. The preservation process can involve the entire members of the family (which is a good bonding activity) and the money saved can be used to pay down debt or for other purposes. Your family will also reap the benefits of having food that is both nutritious and affordable. In the long run, this will help you save on medical bills by keeping you and your family fit and healthy.

About the Guest Author

Agnes Jimenez is a professional blogger and writer. She writes for many online establishments and supports those ones that offer practical lifestyles to consumers.  As a frugal living and emergency preparedness advocate, she recommends FoodInsurance.com for budget conscious individuals who want to get big savings in shopping for food storage and emergency supplies.  You may also follow Food Insurance on Twitter.

I Am…

This post will have little, if anything, to do with personal finance; however, in light of recent events I felt compelled to write something regarding the matter.

Like everyone else in this country, I was shocked and physically sick to my stomach when I heard about the shootings that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary, even more so as a resident of Connecticut.

I’ve done my fair share of trolling around the web reading various news articles and blogs about this tragedy and what disgusts me even more than the event itself is the underlying current of hate filled comments by republicans against democrats and democrats against republicans.  Never in my entire 29 years on this planet have I seen this level of hatred brewing amongst supposedly mature adults.

I’ve read comments where self-proclaimed liberal democrats paint gun owners as blood hungry killers and gun owning republicans paint liberals as pussified hippies, both with broad brushes I might add.  Sure, we are all talking about an extremely emotionally charged event, but where did all of this hatred come from?

I am a gun owner myself.  Does that make me a red neck hick who doesn’t care about little children?  Hardly!  In fact, if you got to know me you’d probably be floored that someone like myself even owned a gun!

When I’m not working as a financial analyst, I spend most of my time playing classical piano, probably to the tune of three to four hours a day.  That may seem like an absurd amount of time, although that is why I can play most of Chopin’s etudes and Beethoven’s later sonatas which are horrendously difficult (I once took third at an international piano competition).

Between work and piano I also have a fiancee, who I’ve been dating since high school, that I dedicate the rest of my little free time to.  Contrary to what most anti-gunners label gun owners as (according to the comments I’ve read on articles relating to Sandy Hook), I don’t spend every waking hour of my life polishing my guns and looking at the firearm collection in my safe while masturbating to a bunch of metal tools that make up for any supposed deficiency when it comes to the size of my genitalia.  As an individual of Asian decent I probably fit the stereo type though, and I’m man enough to admit it.

The right’s hate filled rhetoric for the left is just as bad.  Perhaps it is the anonymity of the interwebz that provides people with the cajones to post exceedingly derogatory remarks about everyone else.  I have plenty of liberal family members and would never dream of saying some of the things I’ve read about “pussified liberals” to their faces.

I am a gun owner who is just as comfortable about my manhood while spending time with my gay cousins at gay bars or walking around in waspy Lacoste sweaters and pink JCrew shorts while running errands with my fiancee.

I am a gun owner who usually carries concealed wherever it is legal for me to do so.  The funny thing is that I never even think about the pistol I’m carrying throughout the day and most of the time forget it is even there.  When I carry I don’t walk around looking for a conflict that would make me a hero.  In fact, if I have the slightest sense that a conflict is brewing I’d be the first to run the other direction.  I do not consider myself to be Rambo, and while I may be intelligent enough to be James Bond I’d rather leave the adrenaline filled adventures to real life super spies.

I am a small 140 pound Asian guy who simply realizes that my tiny frame would probably get tossed around by some criminal with a knife who wants to harm my beautiful Asian fiancee.

I am a individual who was raised in a religious manner.  ZOMG, Christian right winger!  Shut the F up!  Yea, I was the head organist at my church growing up and I have strong personal religious beliefs; ironically, I’d be the first person to defend my openly gay cousins and family, in a verbally polite manner, if anyone said any homophobic remark towards them.

I am part of a small minority of individuals who don’t place our personal philosophical, political, sexual or religious views in a morally superior position to the views of others.  I may disagree with you, but I’m not going to go around getting people who hold similar views to my own to sign petitions and get an outside authority to use violence so I can destroy your individual personal philosophy and force you to adhere to my own.

I am an individual who believes that violence, in any form, is immoral.   I once had a discussion with my gay cousin’s boyfriend about gay marriage which he asked me whether I was for or against it.  Well, according to my religious beliefs no.  However, and this is a big however, even though our philosophical and sexual outlook on life may be drastically different, if I used the “will of the majority” or enact a law that effectively destroys him as individual, I have had a hand in violently destroying what makes him a human being.

Sadly, we have two primary groups with radically different viewpoints, who believe they are morally superior to everyone else and are willing to use violence to crush the individual spirits of their opposing parties.

I am an individual who has never committed a single crime, who is not a Texas redneck (no offense to Texas rednecks), is college educated, is metro-sexual, is secure about the genetic deficiencies of his Asian manhood (a stereo type, I know), is tolerant of conflicting philosophies, is peaceful, is conflict avoiding, is a lover of classical piano and Schubert lieder, is a heterosexual who hangs out with his visiting gay family members at the scene of their choosing, is not filled with hate towards individuals with conflicting outlooks on life, and is an owner of multiple guns and assault rifles.

Essentially, I am a far cry from a bible thumping, gun owning, wealthy white republican.

If we allow the actions of one insane individual to fill us all with so much hatred that we use everything in our power to destroy the individualism of people with conflicting viewpoints, we are just as violent as the crazy f**k who killed innocent children in cold blood.  The double edged sword of hatred that will be used to cut off the heads of millions of gun owners for the actions of one criminal, is the same sword that is used by hate filled Christians (yes, hate filled Christians) to cut off the heads of millions of gay individuals that want nothing more than celebrate their relationships with the blessing of the state.

With so much hate spewing from both republicans and democrats (and cheered on by the lamestream media), I won’t be surprised if our society becomes even more violent in the future.  Unfortunately, we are all at a violent tipping point where no amount of laws or regulations will be able to protect us from each other.

In the end, it is the peaceful individual like myself who will be ritually sacrificed in order to appease the hate filled mobs calling for their leaders to swing the double edged sword of hate.

*Be forewarned, while discussion is encouraged, keep the hate filled comments to yourself or take them somewhere else, they will not be tolerated here!

Excel Tricks For Beginners

It seems as of late a lot of people have been asking me questions about Excel; albeit, rather basic questions.  If you don’t use Excel that often it can be a rather intimidating program to use.  In any event, here are a few things you can do (even beginners) to increase your productivity when creating spreadsheets.

One of the biggest things most people fail to do is to let Excel do the work for you.  Suppose you were going to create a weekly spreadsheet that required the days of the week in every column.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen my co-workers manually type each day into every column.

You can use the following method to accomplish the same thing with less effort.

Enter “Monday” and “Tuesday” into columns A and B, highlight them, click box on the lower right corner and drag the mouse cursor to the right.

Unfortunately, our Wednesday column is cut off, the fastest way to resize every column is to select column A-G and double click on the line that divides and separates the columns.

The auto fill function works both horizontally and vertically.

In a similar fashion, type “Monday” and “Tuesday” in rows 1 and 2, and drag the mouse cursor down.

You could drag the cursor down to the very end of the sheet and it would conveniently enter Monday to Sunday in every row.  Auto fill works horizontally, vertically, with days or numbers, and even custom formatting.

For instance, suppose I had a worksheet that had the format indicated below.

What do you think will happen when I drag the mouse cursor down?

You got it, my custom formatting is preserved.  In this case, dragging the mouse cursor down is much faster than manually entering data every row, changing each cells alignment, and filling each cell with the specified color sequence.

Little tricks like these are huge time savers once you begin to build spreadsheets that are more involved and complicated in nature.