7 Frugal Reasons Why You Should Vacuum Seal Your Fruits and Vegetables

7 Reasons Why You Should Vacuum Seal Your Fruits and Vegetables

Those who enjoy cooking and grilling are probably already familiar with vacuum sealing. But, have you ever given it a try for yourself? Although I was initially intimidated by learning how to use a new appliance, it’s a lot simpler than you might think. And in addition to the health benefits, it comes with some significant financial ones as well. If you are thinking about investing in one, here are 7 frugal reasons why you should vacuum seal your fruits and vegetables.

7 Frugal Reasons Why You Should Vacuum Seal Your Fruits and Vegetables

1. It keeps your food fresher, longer.

The most obvious financial advantage of vacuum sealers is that they will make your food last longer. Since your produce is less likely to go bad, there is less risk of you wasting money by throwing it away. Fresh items that would normally start to turn within a week can last up to 2-3 weeks with vacuum sealing. And freezing them can extend their shelf life to 2 years or more.

When you look at the time frame of normal freezing vs vacuum sealed freezing, the savings become even more apparent.

  • Normal Freezing / Vacuum Sealed Freezing
    • Ground Meat (4 months / 1 year)
    • Meat (6 months / 2 years)
    • Fish (6 months / 2 years)
    • Fruits and Vegetables (8 months / 2 years+)

The reason for this is that vacuum sealing removes the oxygen from the packaging. Oxygen is a necessary component of bacterial growth. So, less oxygen means slower fungal and bacterial growth. Ziploc bags and containers can prolong the life of your fruits and veggies as well. But, they still allow a fair amount of air to seep into the packaging. Vacuum sealing will better preserve the flavor, texture, and quality of your food.

2. Vacuum sealing can prevent freezer burn and chemical reactions.

In addition to preserving them longer, vacuum sealing can also prevent freezer burn and chemical reactions that ruin the texture and freshness of your frozen food items. Freezer burn occurs when the cold, low-humidity climate of your freezer removes the moisture from your food and oxidizes it, covering the item in ice crystals. Fruits and vegetables are even more susceptible to it since they consist of 90% water, sometimes more.

However, tightly wrapping your food with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and removing the oxygen from the packaging can prevent this. Not only will it keep the moisture in your food, but it also keeps bacteria out that can cause food to spoil faster. While other containers can protect your food, vacuum sealing it will preserve your food 3-5 times longer and ensure it doesn’t taste strange or develop a mushy texture.

3. It allows you to save your leftovers longer.

Coming from a big family, I have gotten used to making large portions. But now that it’s just my husband and me, we always have leftovers. And though I enjoy them, I can’t eat the same meal for days on end. This usually leaves us with a lot of uneaten food which pains me to waste.

So, another benefit of vacuum sealing is that you can store your favorite dishes in the freezer and enjoy them again later on, without all the prep work. This has been a great solution and a huge money saver when we don’t want to cook or spend money on delivery services.

4. You can buy in bulk.

Another frugal reason to vacuum seal fruits and vegetables is that it will allow you to buy in bulk. Most budgeters already know and practice this tip. But, it’s a bit more complicated with fresh produce. If you don’t use them right away, they will probably end up in the garbage.

I think about this every time I go to Costco. And, I hesitate to buy fresh produce for this very reason. But thanks to a vacuum sealer, you can divide them into smaller portions and save them for later.

5. It makes organization easier.

My mom has frozen her leftovers for years. But, I cannot fully describe how much I hate digging through the freezer and having to try and guess what is stored in each container. Not only is it time-consuming, but the oddly shaped packages take up more space than necessary.

Vacuum sealing will make organization much faster and allow you to fit more in your freezer. Since the bags for the vacuum sealer are approximately the same size, it’s much easier to stack and store each package.

6. The vacuum-sealed bags are more durable.

In addition to preserving your food longer, the vacuum-sealed bags themselves are more durable than your standard freezer bags. Therefore, there is less chance that they will tear. This also eliminates the need to pre-wrap your items and double-bag them before freezing. And of course, it’s more cost-effective to store your food this way since it reduces the chances of losing items to freezer burn.

7. The initial investment will pay for itself.

Many people choose to stick with other methods because the initial investment is substantial. If you look online, you will find dozens of models that cost hundreds of dollars. However, it is an investment that will pay for itself in time. When you do the math, you can see that it will easily save you more in the long run by preserving your food and preventing waste. What you save in unused produce will cover the cost of the appliance.

If you decide to purchase a vacuum sealer, you want to make sure that you invest in a quality product. Buying the most economic option may save you a few bucks up front, but it could cost you more in repairs and replacements later on. So, it’s wise to do your research and read consumer reviews before you buy anything. Not only will this help you find something that is built to last, but it may also help you find a better deal on specific brands and models.

Have you used vacuum sealers to preserve your food? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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Why Should You Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb?

Why You Should Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb

When Airbnb first entered the market, I was ecstatic to have a new accommodation option when I traveled. It provided a new, affordable alternative to budget hotels and youth hostels. And for many years, it became my go-to booking site. However, things have changed in recent years as more people have joined and taken advantage of the platform. Nowadays, it is no longer the cheapest or most convenient choice. Here are a few reasons why you should book a hotel over an Airbnb.

5 Reasons to Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb

Let me start by saying that I still use the site to book certain types of accommodations. Renting a private residence comes with many benefits, especially if you are traveling in a large group. But in most cases, I still prefer the convenience and amenities of staying at a hotel. If you are deciding where to stay during your next vacation, here are 5 reasons people choose to book a hotel over an Airbnb.

1. No Chores

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but the last thing I want to do on vacation is housework. While I strive to be a clean guest and always pick up after myself, I’m less than thrilled when I get a long list of chores that have to be done before checkout. And what’s worse, is that there is usually a cleaning fee on top of the to-do list. I am often left wondering what I’m paying for since I am usually the one doing the dishes, stripping the beds, throwing in a load of laundry, and taking out the trash.

However, you won’t get this when you stay at a hotel since all of these services are included in the nightly rate. It goes without saying that the property will provide clean towels and linens, spotless facilities, and cleaning services during your stay. Making a reservation at a hotel lifts the burden of chores and allows you to enjoy a break from daily responsibilities.

2. All the Amenities

Speaking of amenities, you will have access to many more of them at a hotel than in an Airbnb rental. Although I have stayed at many wonderful Airbnb properties that had toiletries, a kitchen, a fitness area, and a pool on-site, they hardly compare with what you find at a hotel. Of course, the amenities will vary between properties. But, you will be hard-pressed to find many rentals that also offer a concierge desk, spa treatments, room service, or restaurants on the premises.

You can certainly find accommodations with all these amenities through Airbnb Luxe. But, they usually come with a much higher price tag as well.

3. Easier Check-in Process

Even before you book a hotel, you know exactly where you will be staying and when you can check in. Unfortunately, Airbnb hosts usually don’t disclose these details until a few days before your arrival. There have been times people have straight-up lied about the location to get bookings. Furthermore, I have had several Airbnb stays where the hosts had very limited windows of time to meet and turn over the keys. This added unnecessary stress and a sense of urgency, especially when there were travel delays.

While some people have made it simpler with keyless entry codes, hotels usually offer a much easier check-in experience. Communication is more direct since you can find someone available at the front desk at any time of the day. And you can get a room on short notice, even if it’s the middle of the night.

Although hotels have standard check-in and check-out times, they can usually offer greater flexibility since they have more rooms in their inventory. Even if they are at capacity, they can at least hold your bags until your room is ready. This saves you the time and trouble of having to lug them around with you if you have to wait for someone to let you into your accommodations.

4. Less Chance of Mistakes or Cancellations

Airbnb has given regular people the opportunity to earn income from their private properties while also allowing travelers to experience their vacation destinations as one of the locals. However, mistakes can happen and plans can change. There have been several times when a property was double-booked or personal emergencies forced the host to cancel our reservations.

While we always got a full refund, it put us in the unfortunate situation of having to find new accommodations at the last minute. When this happens during a holiday, it leaves you with very few options, most of which are more expensive than what you had originally booked. In some instances, there were no other options available.

This is less likely to happen when you are staying at a well-known and established hotel. And even if it does happen during busy travel periods, the hotel will usually offer some type of compensation for your trouble.

5. Comparable Prices

When Airbnb first came onto the scene, travelers like myself were excited to have a more affordable option for accommodations. Many experts even thought it would disrupt the hospitality industry and cause hotels to adjust their rates. However, this has not been the case.

When you compare the final cost including taxes, guest services, and cleaning fees, the totals are about the same. And in some cities, Airbnb rentals are even more expensive than staying at a hotel.

If you are a frequent traveler, it is probably more cost-effective for you to stay at a hotel and join their loyalty program. They usually offer better discounts. And, you can earn points during your stay which can be used for free nights and upgrades to help you save even more.

To Airbnb or Not Airbnb…

With current conditions and inflation rates, it is more important than ever to save money where you can. While Airbnb does offer many benefits and more unique options for travelers, it isn’t always the most economic choice. Although there was a time when it was this budgeter’s best-kept secret, the industry has changed. More often than not, I have several good reasons to book a hotel over an Airbnb. So if your bottom line is the most important factor when booking your next vacation, do your research and explore all your money-saving options.

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7 Financial Secrets You Should Share with Your Spouse

7 Financial Secrets You Should Share with Your Spouse

Everyone has secrets. However, when you join your life and your finances with someone, there has to be absolute trust. That means that you will have to share certain things about your financial history that you may not be particularly proud of. But if you want to build a secure life together, then you have to be transparent. You don’t want a marriage built on lies. So if you are harboring any of these financial secrets, you should share them with your spouse.

7 Financial Secrets You Should Share with Your Spouse

A  2018 study in the Journal of Financial Therapy revealed that 27% of Americans kept financial secrets from their partner. However, counselors will tell you that this kind of secrecy and financial infidelity can have catastrophic consequences. Although it is a difficult topic to broach, sharing your burden can reduce your financial stress and help you grow closer as a couple. So if you are having doubts about telling your partner, here are 7 financial secrets you should share with your spouse to build an honest relationship.

1. The Full Extent of your Debt

One thing that I have seen personally seen blow-up relationships is secret debt. Usually, this happens when one partner isn’t aware of the extent of the other’s overspending and credit card debt.

If you have high balances on multiple credit cards, it can push your finances and relationship to the breaking point. But, hiding the truth won’t improve the situation. And, it will impact your spouse too if you have to declare bankruptcy. While it may be a difficult conversation, it will allow you to work together toward a solution.

2. Salary Increases and Financial Windfalls

Although it may not seem as bad as hiding your debt, hiding your financial gains is also a sign of financial infidelity. If you don’t want to share the good news with your spouse, then you need to take a careful look at your feelings and relationship. Are you worried they won’t be happy for you or will resent your success? Are you afraid it will give them a free license to go on a spending spree? Or, is there something else that makes you want to keep them in the dark? Whatever the case, if you can’t celebrate your wins, it’s a red flag in any relationship.

3. Secret Bank Accounts

Unless you are in a situation involving financial abuse, you should never keep secret bank accounts. I’m not saying that you have to join your accounts. But, you should be able to have an honest conversation about your assets. My husband and I still have separate accounts. However, we are aware of them and how much money is in each one.

When your spouse finds out that you are hiding money, it will inevitably lead to hard questions and accusations. But, you can avoid this situation altogether by being honest and upfront about your financial situation.

4. Taking a Second Mortgage

This secret is problematic for several reasons. Not only does it put your home at risk, but it also adds an additional monthly payment to your bills. And, it usually comes with higher interest rates. Taking a second mortgage without telling your spouse will have long-term repercussions on your financial plans. It requires more than a slight budget adjustment and affects both partners in the relationship.

5. Large Purchases

It’s also wise to discuss large purchases and loans with your spouse before signing anything. Having these conversations will ensure that you are on the same page. It’s a big decision that often requires financing or high-interest loans that will take years or decades to pay off. Those who continue to make large purchases without consulting their partner will find that it affects their budget and their partner’s ability to trust them.

6. Late Payments

Accidents happen, and sometimes bills don’t get paid on time. However, this isn’t a secret you can hide forever. You will continue to get late notices, penalties, or disruption of service the longer you delay.

But, you can avoid further debt by telling your partner right away. While most people won’t be thrilled, it’s better to know sooner rather than later. Otherwise, any late payments on bills with your spouse’s name will affect their credit score and financial future.

7. Your Spending Habits

While this behavior is at the root of several financial secrets, it deserves a special designation as one of the most important financial secrets you should share with your spouse. Lying about your spending habits can have devastating effects on your financial planning.

Some of the worst examples of financial infidelity that I have witnessed include:

    • hiding purchases and receipts
    • lying about how much you spend on things
    • spending money on family and friends without discussing it
    • accruing more debt without them knowing
    • wiping out their savings without their partner’s knowledge

Unfortunately, you will never have an accurate gauge of your finances if you are not truthful about your spending. Plus, most people find it impossible to trust someone who constantly lies and hides things. Not only does it undermine your relationship, but you are also putting your financial future at risk.

A Relationship Built on Trust

My mom taught me an important lesson that applies to nearly every aspect of my life, including my finances: if you have to hide it or lie about it, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

However, we are all human, and make mistakes. Everyone struggles, but hiding the problem only makes it worse. Instead, sharing your burden can reduce your financial stress and improve the bond you have with your partner. Although it can be terrifying to face your finances and confide your worst financial errors, it is an important step in creating a relationship built on trust. If you are not willing to take the first step and disclose these types of secrets, it will have severe impacts on your relationship and long-term financial plans.

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