I don't know about y'all, but it seems like these days, every time I go to the gas station or the grocery store, I find myself saying "WTF?" (sometimes audibly, sometimes not) when I notice the prices. It really is amazing that with the work and housing crises that we're currently going through, somehow we're also trying to figure out how to make $20 to get our gas talk above a quarter full and a hundred bucks to get us past two plastic grocery bags.
While it's pretty hard to come up with gas hacks, in the spirit of doing what I can to get y'all ready for the holiday season, I did want to share several grocery shopping hacks; 12 that can hopefully get you more bang for your buck, so that itw can be as stressless (on your budget) as possible.
1. Download an App
These days, there's an app for just about everything. The cool thing about grocery-related ones is many of them can help you to keep some extra coins in your pocket. Ones that you should definitely check out include Checkout 51 (which gives you a list of offers, then gives you cash back whenever you purchase something that's on the list), ibotta (which gives you money when you take a pic of your receipt and submit it; you need to reach $20 and you typically get it back within a day) and Coupons (which offers a good variety of paperless coupons that you can easily scan at checkout).
2. Use a Calculator
Now tell the truth — how often do you actually use the calculator app that is there for your convenience on your smartphone? I once read that a couple should be spending around $130-150 a week on groceries; however, with inflation and all of this shipping drama that's currently going on, it's a pretty safe assumption that you should set aside $25-50 more, just to be on the safe side. Since groceries are a bit higher, going into the store on a set budget and then making sure that you honor said-budget by keeping track of your costs with a calculator can help you to get what you need without stressing out in the process (so can using the handheld or smaller baskets and/or purchasing generic brands).
3. Get Produce at a Local Farmers Market
Fresher fruits and veggies. A wider variety. Cheaper prices. Support of local farmers. Better for the environment. These are just a few solid reasons why you should consider not getting your produce at the grocery store and stopping by your local farmers market instead. I can't tell you how many times I've compared costs in my mind and honestly been pretty pissed by how much a grocery chain will charge for not nearly as much or delicious as a farmers market does (Whole Foods is absolutely not exempt in this case either).
4. At the Store, Get Things in Season
Speaking of produce, if you click right here, you will be taken to a site that will provide you with information about when different fruits and vegetables are available, based on the season of the year that you are in. And just why should you care? For one thing, produce is best for you when it's in season. And when it comes to saving money, purchasing it when it's in season means that you should be able to get stuff at a lower cost because your grocery store will be carrying an abundance of it all. Make sense?
5. Don’t Turn Your Nose Up at Aldi’s, Trader Joe’s and Walmart
Earlier this year, I checked out an article entitled, "America Just Named Its Cheapest Grocery Store. Do You Shop There?" Can you guess which one it is? I mean, it's in the title and yes, Aldi's, it is. While they don't tend to have as much of a variety, a lot of your "staple stuff", you can get for much cheaper. The same goes for Trader Joe's, Walmart, Walmart Neighborhood Market (I don't really like their produce, but their meat costs are bar none), and Costco's. Oh, and while Target wasn't on the list, I do know quite a few people who get groceries from there. If you scan the circle on your Target app, it'll take you to deals throughout that store. You're welcome.
6. Learn the Bottom Shelf/Outer Aisle Trick
Grocery stores are a business too, right? This means that they've got their own marketing strategies. One of them is putting some of their most expensive stuff at eye level because that's what will catch your attention first. That said, a workaround for this is to be intentional about looking for what's on their bottom shelves and outer aisles. If you do a bit of comparing, it might shock you how much you can stand to save by applying this lil' trick to your shopping routine.
7. A Few Meat-Buying Tips
Hats off to all vegetarians and vegans (did you peep the recent report tied to veganism and depression? Thoughts?). Personally, I am a meat-eater and not ashamed of it. If you're a part of my tribe, I've got a few tips for you. One, although tougher meats are more expensive than tender cuts, oftentimes butchers will run your tougher orders through a tenderizer if you ask them to (sometimes you can get better cuts if you tip them on the low too). Two, get meat based on the portions that you actually need. What I mean by that is, if you know that you're not going to eat an entire roast, ask the butcher to cut the roast in half so that you don't waste any and, since they weigh by the pound, you can save a couple of dollars. Three, don't overlook the area where meat is marked way down. Just make sure to cook it ASAP or that you immediately freeze it properly. Four, the holidays are the perfect time to stock up on meat for your freezer.
For instance, Thanksgiving is going to have a lot of turkeys and because those bad boys can't sit around forever, stores are going to cut the rate (especially the day before and after the holiday) so that they can get rid of them.
8. Stock Up on Frozen Stuff (and Freezing Stuff)
According to many health experts, frozen fruits and veggies are just about as healthy as fresh produce is. The reason why they can actually be better for you, in the long run, is fresh produce tends to expire pretty quickly (which means you have to hurry up and eat it or toss it when it goes bad) while frozen stuff lasts much longer and is cheaper too. Just make sure that you read the labels carefully to make sure that the brand that you go with is low on preservatives, additives, sugar, and salt. Oh, and when it comes to buying frozen meat, to avoid freezer burn, it's important to vacuum seal everything. While the better ones are going to run you between $100-200, they are worth every dime considering how long they're able to keep so much of your food nice and fresh. A list of some of the top ones is provided for you here.
9. Remember That You Can “Break Up” Bulk Deals
Something that it took me a second to catch is when you see those "Get 10 for such-and-such price" bulk deals, you don't have to purchase all 10 items. If you get just two, you will still end up with a discounted rate. And how can you be sure that you don't overdo it on the bulk stuff, in general? Easy — take a picture of the inside of your refrigerator and pantry before you head out. That way, you can easily recall what you need and what you've already got a ton of.
10. Cop a Rotisserie Chicken
I honestly can't think of the last time that I went into a grocery store — pretty much any grocery store — and I didn't see a mini-kiosk that had a whole bunch of rotisserie chickens on it. Good thing too because that kind is healthier than fried chicken, is affordable as all get out (usually a whole one is less than ten bucks) and it's so easy to prepare a meal with, with plenty of room for leftovers if there aren't a ton of people in your house. I have spared myself a "shame drive" to a drive-thru several times by picking up a rotisserie on the way home. If you've never considered it before, I promise you won't regret it.
11. Take Advantage of Bulk Bins
If you're a single gal like myself, it can be challenging to grocery shop in smaller servings. When it comes to this, one hack to apply is to get things like beans, spices, and grains out of bulk bins. That way, you can measure out exactly what you want; especially if you're experimenting with a new recipe and you're not exactly sure if you want to "marry yourself" to some of the ingredients just yet.
12. Avoid Shopping After Work
While some of y'all might be tempted to "yeah right" me on this one, when you're too hungry or too tired to go grocery shopping, you don't tend to make the best decisions because you're not as alert as you should be. So, while it's OK to cop a couple of items real quick when you're on the way home after a long day at work, try and do your major shopping on the weekends, on your lunch break, or at least after taking an hour nap. That way, you won't be rushed, anxious or so ravenous that you end up making unwise shopping decisions. Make sense? Cool.
Featured image by Getty Images
- 10 Hacks That Can Make Cooking Easier (If You Hate To Cook ... ›
- What To Buy At Trader Joe's: Must-Have Items Shopping List - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
- Smart Life Hacks To Save Money And Enjoy Life - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love, Wellness, Beauty ›
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
We all have a dream life that we spend our free time daydreaming about. You know, the one with a loving partner, high-rise apartment, thriving career, and endless abundance. But as much as we can dream about it, there has to be a little extra sprinkle of “magic” to make it become a reality, and that’s when manifestation comes in.
The uptick in manifestation techniques is nothing new to the internet. Since The Secret and the Law of Attraction became available on YouTube in the early 2010s and fast forward to today, where #manifestationtok and #spiritualtok surging in popularity, it’s clear that there are a number of different ways to get what you want out of life with the right action, affirmation, and visualization.
Still, with so many ways to manifest, from scripting to the 3-6-9 Method, it can be hard to know which one to lean into. But there’s one new technique that’s promising to yield “instant results,” and we’re curious about it.
The "I Am Sure" Manifestation
Replying to @A I M E E 🖤 lG: hothighpriestess 🤍 this is the “I am sure” method #iamsuremethod
The “I Am Sure” manifestation gained traction this summer by TikTok creator Sara Perl of @hothighpriestess, who initially introduced the method.
In her original video breaking down the concept, she detailed the steps to use the technique for those looking to “manifest overnight.” To do so, start by stating “I am sure,” followed by “your desired manifestation in the present tense.” If there’s a job, promotion, or text from a crush that you want, then you’d say, “I am sure that I got X job,” or “I am sure that I make a $100K salary.” Repeat this out loud 10 times, or for faster results, write them down on a piece of paper and say it back to yourself whenever the desire comes up.
Using your words and speaking in the present tense, affirmatively, “puts you in the frequency that has that desire,” as Perl states. “We know our thoughts create our reality, but our words create our reality even faster.”
No matter how you choose to manifest your dream life, there’s nothing like channeling a powerful affirmation and some faith to get what you desire. In every instance, though, allow yourself to dismiss any doubt that may try to cloud your hopes in good things coming into your life, and don’t hold too tightly onto the “how” or “when.” Trust the process and know that the “thing” that you desire is just waiting for the perfect time to enter your life.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Tassii/Getty Images