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Money Smart Week

Posted by Marilyn Csernus -

Money Smart Week is a public awareness campaign to help individuals and families better manage their finances. Annually, 45 states participate in Money Smart Week which was created in 2002 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Free educational seminars and activities are planned throughout the week on a variety of topics with a goal of improving consumer financial literacy.

I will be guiding tours this week at local grocery stores called Supermarket Smarts: A Guided Store Tour for Your Wallet and Health. My hope is that consumers will be able to shop smarter and healthier after joining me for a tour of the grocery aisles. In our fast paced lifestyle we sometimes find grocery shopping can be just another necessity that we rush through without always being prepared to get the most for our dollar and our health.

Follow these 10 Tips from the USDA to Stretch your Food Dollar and eat healthier on a budget:

  1. PLAN! Before heading out to the store check to see what you have on hand that can be used in the coming week. Make a list and plan casseroles or stir fries that can stretch the food dollar.
  2. Get the best price- Look online and in the newspaper for weekly grocery ads. Clip coupons and sign-up for the store's loyalty card.
  3. Compare and contrast - Look for "unit prices" on the store shelves to make sure you are getting the best price by comparing different brands and sizes.
  4. Buy in bulk - Larger bulk or family sizes are generally cheaper if you have the freezer or cabinet space.
  5. Buy in season - produce will be more economical and fresher when bought in season.
  6. Convenience cost- going back to basics by preparing more foods yourself will not only save money but improve the nutritional value of the meals as convenience foods are often less healthy.
  7. Easy on your wallet choices - Some foods are good choices all year long. Beans are an excellent source of a low cost protein. Carrots, greens, apples and bananas are good produce choices year round.
  8. Cook once eat later - Cook a batch of your favorite casserole or soup and freeze some for a later time.
  9. Get your creative juices flowing- Use that leftover chicken in a stir-fry or sliced on top of a salad. Throwing away food is like throwing money in the trash!
  10. Eating out - Restaurants can be very expensive! Look for early bird or "2 for 1" specials. Sticking with water as a beverage also saves money.

To find out how to join me for a grocery store tour visit http://web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo/ Additional offerings of these workshops and other Money Smart Week educational events will be presented throughout the week of April 5-12.

Look for announcements at your local Extension office or on the Money Smart website at www.moneysmartweek.org

Resource: USDA http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet16EatingBetterOnABudget.pdf



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