changeIf you planted a garden this year, you are probably harvesting a good crop of tomatoes, peppers, greens (kale, collards, mustard, turnip, Swiss chard), sweet potatoes and maybe even onions by now. You may be wondering why the garden is a topic concerning a healthy pocketbook. Tips for saving money apply in all types of places and situations that affect your pocketbook. My general philosophy on having a healthy pocketbook is simple; particularly when it comes to shopping for everyday necessities such as food, paper goods and other routine daily supplies. I look for discounts and savings whenever I am out shopping and I take advantage of the savings whenever I can. For example, when my local drug store has toothpaste, paper towels, dishwashing soap, fabric softener and detergent on sale, I pick up a few packs and bottles to have on hand. This saves not only money but time because you end up making fewer trips to the store to buy these items. Most times the sale prices are lower than what you’ll find at the large discount stores.

When I go grocery shopping and I see that items such as pasta, fish and chicken are marked down; I again pick up a few boxes and bags of these items. The chicken and fish freeze well and the pasta can be stored for several months. You’ll find yourself shopping at different stores for different items. There are those times when you will feel like buying all your supplies and groceries at the same store for convenience. However, if you really want to save money, resist the urge to do that. A frequent comment I get when I talk about the savings one can realize by shopping at different stores is that shopping this way results in wasting money on gas because of all the driving. Driving around to get the best bargains also allows you to find the cheapest gas prices, and to fill the gas tank cheaply. What you save from filling up the tank can then be applied to some other purchase; which brings me back to the garden. I like to prepare tomato sauce, salsa and pesto from scratch. I freeze portions in freezer bags to use throughout the fall and winter months. I also chop (and sometimes blanch) and freeze other vegetables such as leeks, greens and fresh herbs for use also during the fall and winter. These items are fairly expensive at the grocery store and can cost up to $4.99 a pound for things like leeks or tomatoes. Besides, when you prepare the sauces fresh, you can control how much salt, sugar and oil you add, which is important for a healthy body. Basil, fennel and spinach pesto freeze well and can be used with a variety of meals.

I like shopping the day old rack for fruits and vegetables and again this is a good time to find those vegetables that you may not have grown or could not grow and also find those vegetables and fruits in season; like apples. The vegetables can be used to make stocks, stews and soups that can be portioned and frozen as well. I generally buy apples and cranberries and make apple-cranberry sauce because there are more varieties of apples available and they are so cheap at this time of the fall season. Additional places to save include, reviewing utility, phone, cable and insurance bills and discussing with your carrier or service providers ways to modify and change plans to reduce costs. Savings of close to $1,000.00 a year can be realized from these savings strategies towards a healthier pocketbook and a healthy body.