Budget

8 Little Habits That Save Me Big at the Grocery Store — The Financial Diet

Welcome to a column from The Financial Diet, one of our very favorite sites, dedicated to money and everything it touches. One of the best ways to take charge of your financial life is through food and cooking. This column from TFD founders Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage will help you be better with money, thanks to the kitchen.

I love grocery shopping. I have an almost-comically large and well-stocked Fairway about a 15-minute walk from my apartment, and I can easily lose three hours wandering its aisles, shivering in its enormous refrigerated room, and marveling at the giant wall of pickles and olives. I don't just love to grocery shop because I love to cook (which I very much do) — I love to grocery shop because to me it is the perfect diversion. It's mindless but useful, it's full of engaging colors and smells and (sample-sized) tastes, and when done with a detailed list, can feel satisfyingly like a treasure hunt. Seeing how many combinations I can make with the ingredients, how many small discoveries I can make in the condiment or dry-goods aisles, has always felt quietly thrilling.

Like I said, I love grocery shopping.

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How a Family of 2 Eats for $100 a Week in Boston, Massachusetts — Food Budget Diaries

Welcome to Kitchn's Food Budget Diaries series, where we show you how people around the country spend money on what they eat and drink. Each post will follow one person for one week and will chronicle everything that person consumed and how much it costs them.

Name: Stephanie
Location: Boston, MA
Age: 33
Number of people in family: 2 (me and my partner)
Occupation: I'm a housekeeper and freelance designer, and my partner is in IT.
Household income: $61,000
Weekly food budget: $100

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10 Pantry Staples You Should Buy Generic — Shopping

A child of the '80s, I grew up thinking that brand-name anything was always best. It was, after all, the days of the Cola Wars, the Burger Wars, and the Chicken Wars. Yes, those really did happen. (Coke, McDonalds, and KFC — if you really want to know which sides I was on.)

Big brands, however, no longer hold major sway with me. After much trial and error, I've found that there are plenty of pantry staples that are just fine to buy generic. Here are the 10 times I definitely don't care about brand names.

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10 Miracle Products You Probably Already Have in Your Pantry — The Financial Diet

Welcome to a column from The Financial Diet, one of our very favorite sites, dedicated to money and everything it touches. One of the best ways to take charge of your financial life is through food and cooking. This column from TFD founders Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage will help you be better with money, thanks to the kitchen. A version of this post originally appeared on The Financial Diet.

A few summers ago, I was bored one day and decided I would figure out how to lighten my hair at home. I didn't feel like buying anything, so I quickly looked up some DIY recipes and settled on the first one I came across that involved ingredients I already had. That ended up being a combination of honey, olive oil, and cinnamon. I applied a thick layer to my hair, wrapped it up in plastic wrap, wrapped it in a towel when the plastic wrap failed to keep the goop from running down my forehead and the back of my neck, waited 30 minutes, and rinsed it out in the shower. Guess what? It did not lighten my hair, and it took several washes for it to come out all the way. It also ruined a perfectly good white towel. (At least it smelled good, and made my hair extra shiny.)

Needless to say, I am no DIY queen. I love the idea of making fancy, complicated home products on my own, but that ends up manifesting itself in me making a hasty decision to try making something after doing very little research on what would actually work best. For example, I once tried to fix a rampant fruit fly problem in my kitchen by making some DIY traps that ended up just making the problem worse. I have never gotten into making my own beauty products because it seems like a bit too much effort, even though many people swear by them. I've known several people who've found a ton more DIY success than I have.

However, there are several "DIY" products that I've made work for me time and again. I say DIY in quotes, because they're all things that can be used on their own, for many purposes beyond their "intended use" — like apple cider vinegar as a face toner, or coconut oil as a makeup remover. It's a huge plus when I already own something for cooking purposes, and then find out I can use it for several other things. I've put together the following list of products you likely already own that do simple, everyday things either all on their own, or in combination with just one or two other products. Doing It Yourself should be accessible to anyone, so if you're low on time or patience, these handy products can make your life a little easier with very little effort. Enjoy!

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Which Has Better Prices: Trader Joe’s or 365 by Whole Foods Market? — Shopping

Trader Joe's and 365 (Whole Foods' younger sibling) have a lot in common. They both advertise quality ingredients and good values; lean heavily on their respective house brands; pre-package all meat, fish, and poultry; and are a go-to source for on-trend products like flax seeds and coconut flour.

Of course, there are some differences between the two. Trader Joe's has all those delicious frozen specialties (think: bite-sized spanakopita and mac and cheese balls), plus a ridiculous selection of nuts (there are 20 different types of almonds at my local store!). And 365s have a huge salad bar, hot-food steam tables, rotisserie chickens, and a more robust range of household necessities (like baby food, baking needs, ice, and trash bags).

Both offer much to gourmands and enterprising home cooks. But all differences aside, where will you get more bananas for your buck?

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5 Reasons You Should Always Buy a Rotisserie Chicken — Shopping

(Image credit: Chris Perez)

Have you ever wondered why the readymade, warm-and-waiting-for-you rotisserie chicken at grocery stores is so cheap? At Whole Foods, for example, a rotisserie chicken costs $8.99 on a regular day and just $6.99 on Wednesdays. And here's another fun fact: Costco alone sells something like 70 million a year — and they do so at a financial loss.

So, what gives?

An exhaustive story in Priconomics last year explained that the reason the rotisserie chickens seems so cheap is that they are usually smaller than the similarly priced cold ones in your grocery store's refrigerator section. Even still, we'd argue rotisserie chicken is always a good deal. Here are five reasons why.

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