Thursday, November 20, 2008

I just came across this awesome article about retail rip-offs you should avoid.

I'm going to paste a few here for your reading pleasure.

Pre-cut fruits and vegetables
Pre-cut fruits and vegetables didn't even exist 10 years ago, but Americans spent more than $600 million on prepared salads alone last year. According to Information Resources, Inc., pre-cut vegetables are the fastest-growing category of produce.

We understand that grabbing pre-cut fruit and vegetables can help cut down on your time in the kitchen, but that small convenience carries a big price. It's safe to say you are paying at least double the cost for pre-cut produce versus buying their whole counterparts. Another negative – you aren't getting all the vitamins you think. Tests have shown that pre-cut vegetables, for example, start losing their vitamin C once they are cut!

Anything at eye level in the grocery store.
Here's a great inside tip that we got from a store manager: You'll pay more for items at eye level on the grocery store shelves.

Products with the highest markups get that prime shelf space because the store gets a share of those fat profits. Less profitable products get high and low shelf space at the supermarket, so that's where you are likely to find the best bargains.

Bottled Water
Did you know that the two biggest brands of bottled water in America --Dasani and Aquafina -- are nothing more than purified tap water? In fact, estimates are that 40% of all bottled water is tap water. At close to $2 a bottle, bought alone, that makes bottled water one of the biggest retail rip-offs.

For the price of one bottle of Evian, a San Franciscan can receive 1,000 gallons of tap water. According to "Message in a Bottle" by Charles Fishman, bottled water can cost 10,000 times more than tap water -- about $10 per gallon for high-end brands. And more than 90% of that cost is in the bottle, lid and label -- NOT producing the water.

If you are concerned that your tap water is not as clean as bottled water, buy a water pitcher with a filter or install a filter on your faucet. Then buy re-usable bottles to fill and take with you when you are on the go.

Produce at organic groceries
The huge boom in buying organic produce has led to a huge boom in prices. You'll pay 30 to 50% more for organic produce -- sometimes more if something is not in season. Now, that may be completely worth it to you, but if you are looking for ways to save, here are a few ideas.

First, shop at your local farmers markets and look for farmers growing organically. They likely won't be charging big markups. Next, consider not buying organic when you are shopping for types of produce that use very little pesticide. The top 10 types of produce with the lowest pesticide levels are (starting with the lowest): onion, avocado, sweet corn (frozen), pineapples, mango, asparagus, sweet peas (frozen), kiwi and bananas.

Non-organic produce at organic groceries
Just because produce is being offered at an organic store, does not mean it's organic! Be sure to check the signs and labels before you buy. Non-organic produce often still carries a hefty mark-up at specialty stores.

You could end up paying 30 to 50% more for the same non-organic apples or tomatoes you could get at your regular grocery store. Buyer beware -- read the labels!

Coffee mark-up is insane. And we're not just talking about the fancy "mocha grande latte with soy" kind of coffee. A plain ol' cup of joe can carry an absurd markup.

A plain 16 oz. cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts costs $1.75. You'll pay at least that for a much smaller cup at most restaurants. Consider that a plain 16 oz. cup at home will cost you about $.55.

We're not telling you not to enjoy that occasional coffee run. But just one cup of coffee a day at home rather than buying it could save you $438 a year.

French fries at restaurants
French fries are a big profit maker for restaurants. A 10 ounce potato makes about 90 french fries (that's about the serving size for large fries at a fast food restaurant). That potato costs about 30 cents, but brings the restaurant about $1.75.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two posts in one day? What the heck is going on?

I updated my blog list to this fancy new one. If I missed your blog and you read this, let me know! I'll add you to it.
Well, it seems as though I've been tagged by that pain in the ass vegan. So I guess this means I have to post 7 weird and/or random things about myself. Since I'm not good at tagging people, I'm not going to.

1. I've had the same pair of ruby earrings in my ears since I was about 7 (I'm 22 now). I almost never take them out, not even to clean them. It's not that gross though because they don't get crusty or anything anymore. I almost wish they did because I'm gross and I like the crust. Also, I used to have about 8 earrings in each ear but a few years back I cut it down to just one.

2. I have an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts and I am seven classes away from having a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition. I have taken at least a semesters worth of classes that don't even count for anything, including microbiology. Awesome.

3. I went skydiving last year and I would rather do that again than go on a roller coaster. I guess to me it's better to keep falling one way than go up and down over and over again.

4. I've met some of my best friends online. I met one friend 11 years ago in a chat room either because both of us liked No Doubt or hated Hanson, I can't remember. He ended up being born the same day and year as me in the same hospital, and lived right down the street. So naturally we became friends. He was also recently on Paris Hilton's My New Bff (NOT Onch, the other boy), so that was cool to watch him on tv.

5. On more than one occasion I have fallen asleep while trying to, ahem, pleasure myself. I then woke up and tried to keep going, only to fall asleep again.

6. I have a hard time focusing on anything. If I'm doing homework and the computer is on, every few minutes I'll go over and check my email and any other website I can think of. I check my email compulsively, about 20 times a day I think. I don't keep track and I really don't want to.

7. My room has been messy for so long. Now that it's finally clean, I do everything I can to keep it that way. I sleep better when my bed is made, especially now that it's getting cold out.

See what I mean? It looks COMPLETELY different now. You can see all of my floor, I have a new desk where I can actually put my laptop on it. The color of my walls makes me super happy whenever I go in there.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I failed at Vegan Mofo. I didn't post as much as I had wanted to and I never did a big wrap-up post. Ah, well. It has inspired me to keep posting more often though. So fear not my fellow readers, I will start posting more often that I was before Mofo, but not as often as during Mofo.

No go forth and drink some Apple Cider while it's still in season.

And since I'm under the impression that Buttershots Schnapps is vegan, you can add a little bit to your apple cider to make it taste like a caramel apple. (If you see somewhere that shows it's not, let me know!)