The 4th of July is over and the next major BBQ holiday is more than six weeks away. Now is a perfect time for a Pantry Challenge!
By taking on the Pantry Challenge, you see how long you can eat using only the food you already have on hand - with the exception of purchasing fresh products like milk, eggs and produce.
The Pantry Challenge was started as a way to encourage you to rotate through everything in your pantry and freezer within a three month period. The food in your kitchen should be consumed. Often, we get into the mode that a well stocked pantry needs to be static. If you see something sitting there for three months, either eat it or donate it to a shelter and don’t buy it again.
In addition to saving money, an added benefit of the Pantry Challenge is that it forces you to get creative. You’ll look at canned soup and dried pasta a little differently as you figure out how to make a meal from what you have on hand. Over the years I’ve received feedback from readers who have come up with new family favorites based on the need to get imaginative durng the challenge.
The longest any Savvy Life reader has gone without having to buy groceries (outside of milk, eggs and fresh produce) was three months!
Let me know how your Pantry Challenge goes. Drop me an email at
Note: This challenge does not include the food in your emergency kit. You should always have enough non-perishable food and water set aside to sustain you and your family for 3 – 7 days. Keep your emergency food and water supply in a waterproof bin along with your other emergency items.
By Kevin Gibbons
The Fourth of July is one of the least commercial holidays in America. You don’t need fancy clothes, food or gifts to celebrate. All you have to do is find a parade, a night-time fireworks show and some simple All-American barbeque. I’ve always enjoyed the Fourth, because, no matter where I am, in a big city or a small town, I can find a neighborhood celebration that makes me feel like part of an extended family. You can make your Independence Day celebrations as fancy or simple as you want. Here are some of our favorite ways to spend a glorious summer day.
Find a Small-Town Parade and Party
Watching the spectacle of a New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco parade can be impressive, but if you have not attended a small town parade in a few years, give it a try. There is something very “American” about seeing the local school bands, celebrities and political figures marching or riding down the street and hearing spectators calling out to the participants. Everybody is much more interested in having a good time than perfectly executing that turn at the corner of Broadway and demonstrating the winning choreography in front of the television cameras. Many towns follow up their parade with a party in the main park or downtown block.
Look in your local newspaper, or on your community’s Chamber of Commerce or event website for a small town parade near you.
Attend an “Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration”
One of my most memorable 4ths was at the Ardenwood Historical Farm in Fremont, California. This county-run working 19th century farm is a trip back in time. For the Fourth, they had old-time bands, games, docents in period costumes, homemade ice cream, a petting zoo and lots of enthusiastic patrons. We packed a picnic lunch to save a little money and enjoyed the ambiance for $8 per person.
These events can be a little trickier to find. In addition to checking your local newspapers and community sites, go directly to the websites of any historical parks or buildings to see if they have such events scheduled.
Throw Your Own Celebration
Decorations are cheap – just red, white and blue bunting, flowers, material or balloons. Make it a potluck with everybody bringing their favorite summer food – salad or barbeque. Instead of holding it at your house, where people may gravitate in the kitchen or den, think about doing it at a local park. Clean-up will be easier and everyone will be much more in the spirit of the holiday surrounded by other celebrants.
Wrap up the evening by watching a local fireworks show. Grab a blanket and a thermos of hot chocolate and “ooh and aah” with all your neighbors. Many municipalities put on shows free of charge. If your town does not, look for a nearby amusement park or baseball stadium. The beauty of fireworks is that you can watch from outside the venue and see the same show as the paying customers.
You can find listings for municipal events in the local paper or community websites. Go directly to the athletic teams’ sites and look up the details on the games being played the weekend of the Fourth. They will indicate if there are fireworks scheduled and what time (usually immediately after the game). Likewise, a visit to the amusement parks’ websites will tell you their event schedules.
However you decide to celebrate, remember that planning ahead will give you enough time to enjoy the preparations for the holiday, as well as save you money. Don’t wait until the last minute which will not only be more stressful but will also likely cost you more money by having to buy everything at once. So start planning and shopping early and have a happy Fourth!
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
6:30 – 8:30 pm
Redwood City Downtown Library
1044 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA 94063
Join us and create a plan to fund the life you want to live!
During this hands on workshop you will:
- Create your personalized Spending Plan.
- Tell your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.
- Learn how to plug your financial leaks.
- Find more money for your long term financial goals.
- Streamline your spending and save for that dream vacation.
- Pay off your debt faster with the snowball strategy.
Taught by Melissa Tosetti, author of the international best seller, Living The Savvy Life and spokesperson for Quicken 2013.
The event is free, but there is a limited number of seats available so you must RSVP by clicking here.
Taping Announcement: The event will be filmed for online distribution and DVD release. Don’t miss your opportunity to experience this life changing workshop and be part of the live filming experience.
By Melissa Tosetti
In November, Paul, Dante and I are going to Italy!
We chose to go in November rather than during the summer because Paul and I hate crowds. We also hate the heat and in keeping with the savvy theme of our lives, Italy is so much more affordable in the off season.
I booked our trip via Groupon and am looking forward to writing about the experience on TheSavvyLife.com when we return. But to give you a teaser, I managed to get everything listed below, for all three of us, for $5,300.
- Airfare flying out of San Francisco
- 3 and 4 star hotels in Venice, Florence and Rome
- Train transportation to get us from one city to the next
- Breakfast every morning
- Insurance for the trip
Once there, all we will have to pay for will be meals, museum admissions, a rental car for two side trips we’re taking to Bologna and San Gimignano, souvenirs and gelato every day because we promised Dante.
With such a big trip coming up in 4 ½ months, we’ve decided to keep our summer entertainment spending to a minimum.
We have an extraordinarily light calendar this summer and plan to take full advantage of the time to take care of a handful of large projects around the house including redoing our backyard and building Dante a fort, well, actually, it’s a castle. We’ve been saving for these projects so the money has already been set aside for them.
We don’t want to be complete homebodies this summer so we plan on visiting family including Paul’s dad who lives in Healdsburg, literally on the Russian River. It’s all kinds of awesome when your family members live in resort towns!
We also want to take Dante to a few local destinations that we never seem to have time to visit including the California Academy of Science that reopened a few years ago after a long renovation. With the admission price of $29.95 for adults and $24.95 for kids, that will be one of the more costly outings we take on this summer.
Dante and I made a great discovery last night that will impact our summer activities. During our visit to the library, we saw a postcard about free museum passes that you can get with your library card. The program is called Discover and Go. There are over 30 museums listed that you can get free or greatly discounted admission to including the Asian Art Museum and the Tech Museum of Innovation.
It’s likely that your library has a similar program. It’s worth asking about!
By Suzanne Haze
We’re all familiar with the seasons of the fashion industry… winter, spring, summer and fall.
But, did you know there’s a sales cycle within each season?
- Introductory Sales
- Peak Season Sales
- Clearance Sales
Over Memorial Day weekend, retailers offered sales averaging 15% - 25%.
The 4th of July marks the peak of summer sales and you’ll see tags offering 20% - 50% off the regular price.
According to the retail industry, summer is officially over as of July 5th and they begin their clearance sales. Back-to-school season is one of the most profitable for retailers so they want to clear space for those items meaning the summer clothes have to go!
One of my favorite times to shop is at peak season. The sales prices are really good and there’s plenty of inventory. While you can pick up even better deals in the following weeks, the inventory will begin dwindling and you’ll have fewer choices. But if you enjoy the hunt, you can reap big rewards!
Just remember, no matter how great the sale, only purchase and bring home those items that made you fall madly in love.
Like it or not, money affects everything.
It affects where you live, what you eat, what you wear and how you spend your free time. What you spend in one area directly impacts what you have available to spend in other areas.
That's why The Savvy Life focuses on personal finance from a lifestyle perspective, helping people create a strong financial foundation through savvy day-to-day money habits, and also teaching smart spending for your Home, Food, Wardrobe, Travel and Entertainment - because these are the areas where we most often overspend, but with the least amount of satisfaction.
Savvy Living isn't about frugality. It's about:
Through Savvy Living you can do the things you want to do, buy the things you want to buy and visit the places you want to visit and still have a strong financial foundation in place. Whatever your financial dream, it's within your reach.
Looking for easy and affordable ways to keep your hair and skin in good condition during the summer months? The rule of thumb is to keep it simple.
A water resistant sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher is a summer given. Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin at least 15 minutes before going outdoors and should be reapplied after swimming or perspiring.
Spray-On Sunscreen for Hair
Protect your hair and scalp from sun damage by using a spray-on sunscreen.
Keep your lips hydrated and safe from the sun with a lip balm containing SPF.
Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement. They protect the thin skin around your eyes from UV rays. They also keep you from squinting which goes a long way in preventing wrinkles.
Hats are one of the best ways to save your eyes, lips, scalp and hair from sun damage. They are also a fun summer accessory.
In hot weather, wash your face three times a day with a gentle, moisturizing cleanser. Use a toner to unclog pores and rejuvenate skin.
After showering, apply body lotion concentrating on hands, elbows, knees and lower legs. Don’t forget to moisturize your feet.
Switch from oil-based to water-based cosmetics. Water-based makeup is lighter on your skin, with less likelihood of clogging pores.
Drink plenty of water to replenish moisture lost to heat and sweat. It also flushes toxins from the body and keeps your skin looking clear and lustrous.
Chlorine, salt water and the sun can leave hair dry and brittle. Regularly deep condition your tresses by wrapping conditioned hair in a towel and leaving it on for 30-60 minutes. Then rinse.
Get plenty of rest. You will look great and feel even better.