Tripping: The high cost of gas prices

Gasoline prices going through the roof often means consolidating trips for those items you had enjoyed buying as you needed.

1. Buy more meat and freeze it, especially when on sale. I scored a righteous amount of gress-fed beef the other day, just as it was about to expire. I bought all of the packages, brought them home and bagged them before putting them in the freezer. (Bagging meat helps keep frost from forming prematurely).

2. Buy frozen berries. Those fresh, ripe, red strawberries are the size of my hairy big toe (I’m a Hobbit) and honeys, they are fabulous. Problem? They start to rot faster than a kid’s teeth at Halloween. Frozen berries can easily be thawed as needed (place what you need in a bowl to thaw in the fridge). Quantity control comes easily since it takes time to thaw the berries, as well. Tip: Check the package for hidden sugar, and buy only berries.

3. Buy squash. Unlike other tender vegetables, squash tends to have a longer shelf life due to its thick rind. Spaghetti squash makes a formidable choice for dinners, light lunches, and can be used in casseroles. Pumpkins and acorn squash are also friends which can be used myriad ways, both also living out their quiet lives of existence on your counter while you draw faces on them and enjoy their company.

4. Nuts Nuts last a good while at room temperature. Read labels and try to avoid excess salt, and buy the lower-carb nuts like macadamias and almonds over cashews and pistachios and peanuts (which are actually legumes).

5. Buy extra eggs. Eggs can be kept in the fridge for awhile. Towards the end of their life (on the expiration date), they can be hardboiled to extend their life by about another week. Make sure to keep track of the date of the eggs, and never eat anything you question. If in doubt, throw it out.

6. Buy canned or frozen vegetables for cooking. Fresh vegetables for salads and snacking are best purchased fresh, but for stir frying, baking and cooking, broccoli, green beans and other vegetables are still going to be the cat’s pajamas, even when they are in a can or frozen. As with the fruit, check the packages for hidden ingredients you don’t need. Watch salt.

7. Turn down your car’s air conditioning. While it keeps you happy during those sweltering days, your car’s AC uses more gasoline than you think.

8. Pay cash for gas. Did you know that not a few stations display their cash prices, and most consumers assume it applies to credit cards? Credit cards will raise your cost by a few cents a gallon. As a result, many who swipe a card and pump are unwittingly putting less into their cars for more money. Make sure to ask about the policies of your local gas station before buying.

9. Shop with a friend. Carpooling for groceries with friends makes sense. Shopping with a friend keeps you from impulse buying, and saves gas as well. It’s fun to forage for food with a pal, and you might even pick up some new grocery tips in the process. Swap driving, or share gas expenses with the person who gets the better gas mileage.

10. Shop smart. If you need batteries, and the prices at HappyFood are $2 higher than they are at the store 5 miles down the street, buy the batteries at HappyFoods. It doesn’t pay to make 5 stops for things. Shopping at larger retailers who specialize in multiple groups of items beyond food might be a necessariy evil at these times when gas prices mean less stops for items.

Looking for cheap gas locally? Gas buddy
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