Tips for Making Space to Create a Pantry Stockpile

Organized Kitchen PantryOrganizing and maintaining a pantry can be a lot of work, but it does have its advantages. By bringing a little bit of order to a pantry and making space to stock up non-perishable food and other ingredients, a pantry can actually save a lot of money in grocery bills. It’s quite simple to achieve this end, first by de-cluttering the pantry and then reorganizing it. In order for a panty to have satisfactory results, several factors need to be considered: the designated amount of space for the pantry, the food items used most often, and willingness to spend money to organize it, to name a few.

Put Some Items in Kitchen Drawers
The most important thing to do to make some space in the pantry is to rearrange the kitchen drawers so that some of the stockpile can find home in those drawers, allowing more space in the pantry. If the pantry doesn’t look cramped after this initial stage, it should then be determined which food items are to be stored where. Based on the food items that are used most often, the pantry should be arranged in as accessible a manner as possible, depending on the type of food and who it is for.

Consider How Often Certain Items Are Used
Sometimes, non-perishable food items such as canned soup or cereal get used less frequently, so it would only follow that they can be stored up high, or behind other items. In doing this, shelves with higher traffic are not cluttered with infrequently used items. It is also wise to determine the location for bulk perishable food items. It can be a second freezer or a chest freezer, which can be organized similar to organizing the pantry, in which items used most often are more accessible. In terms of organizing the pantry, a stair step shelf or a hanging door organizer can add more space. Both of these may involve spending money if you do not have these types of shelves on hand. Pest prevention must also be an ongoing effort in the pantry, as mice and bugs are common problems. This may involve repackaging food into plastic containers which are more durable than the plastic bags most food is packaged in.

Plan Ahead Before Buying New Items
The key to maintaining a good pantry is to plan ahead. This of course means setting aside space for new items, keeping the space organized, and buying items when they’re on sale. This can especially help in emergency situations. It’s rather tempting to buy everything that comes on sale for a good price, but its advised to ignore unnecessary temptations and only purchase the food that will be used—and only buy what can be stored in the pantry.

There’s no sense in buying in bulk if there’s no place to store it. When buying a new food item in bulk for storage, it is a good idea to try it first, or it will go unused in a corner of the pantry. Another key to managing the pantry is to always remember to rotate new and old items, which will ensure that less food is wasted from expiring.

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Are Loans a Good Idea to Pay Off Credit Card Debt?

Credit CardsThe following article is brought to you by Travis Holmes.

Credit cards are open lines of revolving credit, often charging high interest rates and tempting the consumer to run up a high amount of debt without really thinking about it. By the credit card companies own admission, this form of credit is not meant to be used often or extensively, and no one should carry a debt.

When facing a situation where you are carrying credit card debt, it is vital to find ways to pay as little interest as possible, without doing anything to damage your credit score. One of the better ways of handling this is to transition the debt to a personal loan, and close all but the oldest credit card account you have. Here are a few reasons why you should do this.

Lower Interest Rate
Credit card companies can often charge over twenty percent in interest. This can result in the average consumer spending a great deal of money in maintaining a debt, rather than paying it off. Over the long haul, having to spend money on interest decreases the fiscal strength of the borrower and actually increase the amount of debt carried.

A personal loan has a fixed interest rate, and since it is not a revolving line of credit it is impossible to add new principal to it. In short, it is a one-shot deal, with limited interest and a payment plan that is predictable.

Take note not all loans will have a lower interest rate. Some quick loans might be good for your situation but may carry a higher rate. It’s best to verify the rate and do the math yourself.

One Line of Revolving Credit
By closing out all but the oldest credit card account, the consumer is doing two things. The first is limiting the potential for future debt, by decreasing the amount of available credit at any given time. Since you will have less free credit to utilize, it would be harder to make impulse purchases that land people in debt to begin with. This article helps you weigh the pros and cons of both.

The second reason for keeping the oldest account open is to take advantage of long term credit on the consumer’s credit report. A credit report is only as strong as the oldest item on it, so it makes more sense to keep a credit card in play if the consumer has had that account for several years. Doing so can reduce the amount of interest paid on other forms of credit, including the personal loan.

Additionally, having an open line of credit is a good thing in an emergency. It can provide an emergency cushion if you encounter an expense that you cannot fit in your monthly budget, but can pay over the course of two or three months. This becomes less needed as the consumer starts saving money, but starting out this flexibility is crucial.

Transitioning debt from a higher interest rate, revolving account to a lower interest rate, closed account, can serve as a way of lowering the amount of hard earned money wasted on interest.

Doing so can set the stage for a better, more stable financial future as long as certain steps are taken at the same time. Eliminate most of your open credit, in order to limit potential exposure to negative forms of debt. Start putting back the extra cash each month, to provide a means of paying for emergency expenses without having to turn to credit.

A personal loan can be invaluable when trying to improve one’s fiscal health. By taking the time to formulate a plan, it is possible to create a system that will lead the consumer to a better and more stable financial future. All it takes is the ability to take advantage of the lower interest rates.

Tips For Spending Less Money

Spend Less Cash When you look over your budget and realize that you’re spending more money than you’re making, you have two options. Your choices are to find a way to make more money or to work out a way to spend less money. Although increasing your income may be outside of your realm of control and is something I’ll be discussing in a future post, finding some pad in your monthly expenses can be as easy as looking through your list of expenditures and making a few simple adjustments. I’m not suggesting this will be entirely painless. However, if you undertake a thorough accounting of your expenses, you are sure to find a least a few you can eliminate or cut back on that will have the least affect on your current lifestyle:

Tips for Spending Less

Review your cable or satellite television bill

No, I don’t mean that you have to give up cable channels entirely, although dropping cable would make a huge difference in your monthly budget. Instead, consider removing a few extra services you subscribe to. Do you really need HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime? Just cutting a couple of movie channels can save you as much as $250 each year. We recently downsized our Dish Network subscription. We noticed the price had been slowly creeping up over the last few years and most of the channels we weren’t watching anyway. Netflix or Redbox are other ways to feed your movie habit at a much lower price.

Downsize Dining Out

Even though it’s been mentioned a lot, the cost of take outs and going out for dinner really adds up. If you can’t imagine the thought of giving up dining out, then at least set some boundaries for when you do so, i.e. only go when you have a coupon, eat lunch only, once per week, etc. Small changes can lead to big savings. Scary as it sounds, cooking at home really does lead to substantial savings in your grocery budget.

Can You Adjust the Thermostat?

By allowing your home to be a couple of degrees warmer in the summer and a couple of degrees colder in the winter, you can cut some of the expensive heating and cooling costs that have been plaguing homeowners so much these past few years. Combine this with other strategies to cut your electric bill and see savings on your home utilities.

What’s Going On With Your Phone Bill?

There are often extra charges hiding there for services that you don’t even use. Call waiting, long distance calling plans, and caller ID service charges can really add up. As cell phones continue to grow more and more popular, you may even find that you don’t need a regular phone line at all.

Food Costs are Going Up – Are You Ready?

Evaluate the items you are purchasing at the grocery store. Certainly, if your family really enjoys name-branded cereal more than generic-branded cereal, you should purchase your regular box of Frosted Flakes. You’ll probably find, however, that your family couldn’t care less about the brand of ketchup or bread that you purchase. These little savings can quickly cut your grocery bill down to a more manageable size.

Budget cuts like these are great ways to get your budget under control without feeling like you’ve deprived yourself too much. Alone, none of these little sacrifices will save your family’s finances, but together these changes will really help you find some extra cash in your monthly budget.