Save money & stay healthy: drought of ’12
It’s been swamp-like here in the northeast, but the midwest’s corn and soybean crops are deteriorating because of the massive drought spreading across the U.S. Unlike the East African drought, we’re going to be feeling a direct impact in the coming months. Keep reading for ways to save money and stay healthy once we start to feel its full effects.
Corn prices neared a record high today, and the horizon doesn’t seem to be much brighter. Okay, so, you just won’t eat corn, you say. The tricky part is that corn is such an integral part to our food system. You see, cows don’t eat grass anymore (even though that’s pretty baked, too). Nowadays, they eat a grain feed with a corn base. So that means meat, cheese and milk prices will rise, among other corn- and soy-based products.
The good news is, this is perfect timing to introduce more veggies into your diet. The bad news — winter looms, so stock up on the fresh produce now. Here are seven surefire ways that you can save money while staying healthy during the drought’s impact.
1. Eat plant-based foods. They cost less and use less water. Not to mention, they’re better for you. Beans, rice, vegetables, tofu, whole-grain pasta, etc.
2. Stock up on staples. Canned goods and nonperishable foods like rice, beans, flour and lentils will serve you well during the price hike. Be sure to check labels for hidden monsters like sodium and added sugar.
3. Don’t waste. Use what you have. In 2010, the U.S. wasted more than 43 million tons of food. Instead of tossing scraps or semi-rotten veggies, throw them in a pot with some vegetable stock and make a soup (easy, healthy and cheap!). Stale bread ends can be used for stuffing. Get creative.
4. Preserve summer produce. While fresh fruits and veggies are available and relatively cheap now, summer will be over soon. Learn how to properly insure summer’s bounty by visiting the Farmers’ Almanac’s article here.
5. Start that diet you’ve always wanted to. If there was ever a time to try to lose weight and start eating less, it’s now. Even if you’re not trying to shed some pounds, make sure you’re eating the right portion sizes. Simply eating less will save more. How much of what we eat is unnecessary anyway? (I’m guilty: toasted marshmallows, Ben & Jerry’s) Also, less demand equals lower prices.
6. Nix the brand names. Generic brands can sometimes offer just as good of quality as brand names, especially with stores like Shoprite and Wegman’s starting their own organic and fair-trade lines. Try to shop generic when you can. It’s an easy way to save money.
7. If you still want to go out to eat… Look for deals online. Skip alcoholic beverages (or any priced beverage — water is free, ironically!). Go out for lunch instead of dinner, when entrees are a bit cheaper.
Read more about this topic, including ways that you can help others during this difficult time, at Amanda’s blog: athriftyhippie.com.
Amanda Schoonover is a writer dedicated to showing the world that ethical lifestyle decisions don’t have to be expensive. All of us can make decisions we feel good about, and absolutely should.
Her blog, a thrifty hippie, focuses on two things:
1. Cheap things
2. Good things
A thrifty hippie doesn’t sacrifice ethics for cheap stuff. She (or he) realizes that you don’t have to be a vegan-preaching, Prius-driving snob to care about the earth and the people in it. Please follow along Amanda’s journey of the marriage of frugality and ethics while sharing your thrifty hippie stories and tips!