Category Archives: Cooking

BEST 30 WAYS TO SAVE MONEY IN GROCERIES

Alex Santiago – Editor & Publisher

It’s easy to waltz down the grocery store aisle and fill up your basket with things that aren’t on the list. Maybe it’s the fluorescent lighting, strategically placed products at checkout, or that squeaky wheel on the cart that messes with your sanity—and your budget.But that doesn’t mean you get a free pass to spend like crazy! It’s time to reel it in and learn how to save money on groceries.

How Much Do Most People Spend on Groceries Each Month?

Around here, we recommend spending 10–15% of your take-home pay on food, which includes both groceries and eating out. But (like you probably guessed) most people spend a lot more than that. The average cost of monthly groceries for one person ranges from $162–372. Married couples clock in at spending somewhere between $371–773 each month. And when it comes to a family of four, the average cost for their monthly grocery bill shoots up to $570–1298!1 Yikes!

Spoiler alert: You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on groceries. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are 30 easy ways to go grocery shopping on a budget, plus some tips from Dave’s Facebook fans!

1. Redefine dinner.

If the word dinner makes you picture a big homemade meal with a nice cut of meat, two steaming sides of fresh veggies from the farmers market, a warm loaf of French bread, and a chocolate dessert—chill out and cut yourself some slack! This isn’t 1952, and supper doesn’t have to be a big feast.

Your kids and spouse will survive on BLTs, omelets or a big salad several times a week. Don’t be afraid of serving simple meals or doing breakfast for dinner to make your groceries stretch! Eggs are inexpensive, and you can whip them up into different dishes like frittatas and quiches if you’re feeling fancy. Or make egg salad sandwiches if you want to keep it simple.

It’s time to shrink your guilt and your budget by rethinking the most misunderstood meal of the day. Freeeeedom!

2. Crunch some numbers while you shop.

If you keep a running tally of how much money is adding up in your cart, you’ll save yourself from any surprises when you get up to the checkout line. Pull out the calculator on your phone and keep track of all those veggies, fruits and other staple items you’re putting in your cart. This might make you stop and ask yourself—wait, do I really need that fancy $5 sparkling water that isn’t on sale?

“Stick to your list and use a calculator as you shop to stay under budget. We’re under $50 a week for our family (two adults and a toddler). No junk food either. It’s doable!” — Amanda N.

3. Round up your grocery cost estimates.

This is a fun little trick to play on yourself when you’re stumped for how to save money on groceries. While you’re walking around with your calculator, round up each item’s price. The $1.59 product becomes $2, that $7.75 item becomes $8, and so on. If you do this for everything in your cart, you’ll still know roughly what you’re spending, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you’re standing at the checkout line and coming in under budget every time.

“I use tally marks to keep track of what I’m spending, and I always round up every item. Even if the item is $1.29, it gets two tally marks. That way, by the time I check out, I’m both aware of approximately what to expect and surprised to still be under what I wanted to spend.” — Jillian H.

4. Raid your pantry.

Challenge yourself to look through your pantry (or fridge) and see what kind of meals you can throw together with the ingredients you already have. Who says you have to stock up on more groceries when there are perfectly good chicken thighs shoved in the back of your freezer and a couple unopened cans of black beans and salsa on your shelves?

“Don’t feel like you need to buy something just because you’re out of it. Raid your pantry and fridge for substitutes first. Make your meal plans around what you already have.” — Carla A.

5. Think before you bulk up.

Buying in bulk is amazing . . . when it actually saves you money. Don’t assume that the big bulk buys at the discount stores are automatically the cheaper option. When you’re grocery shopping on a budget, be sure to stop and compare the price per unit or ounce for the item you’re buying.

As tempting as it is to stock up, don’t buy more than you really need—especially when it comes to perishable items. Buying bulk cereal might be a great investment for a family of four, but if it’s just you and your spouse, that 40-count of Greek yogurt might not be the best buy.

6. Start freezing and storing meals now.

Need to figure out how to save money on food fast? Say hello to freezer meals. There are a ton of freezer meal recipes online. Look them up! You can set aside a Saturday to make a bunch of freezer meals and then reap the benefits later on down the road. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also save time. Can’t beat that!

“Cook big meals and divide leftovers into portions and freeze them. Freeze as much as you can from your shopping.” — Anthony R.

7. Pay with cash.

It’s like Dave Ramsey always says: Cash is king! The best way to be sure you’ll end up with a lower grocery bill is to stick to the budget and pay with cash. When you go to the store with cash in hand, you know exactly how much you can spend—because once the cash runs out, that’s it!

Plus, it’ll help you prioritize the meat-and-vegetable necessities rather than the ice-cream-and-cookie impulse buys. Those little extras are okay if you plan for them!

If you still find that you’re eating like royalty at the beginning of the month and then scraping by at the end, take out cash for groceries every week instead of once a month. That way, you’ll have a better picture of how much you can actually afford to spend each week.

“Use the envelope system and put unnecessary items at the end of the counter. I would tell the cashier I only had a certain amount of money to spend and to stop when I got to that point. Instead of it being an embarrassment, it was a bonding moment for me and the cashier when I made my goal, or even if it didn’t work out.” — Jan B.

8. Don’t allow for budget-breaking surprises.

This is one of the simplest ways to save money on groceries. When you get to the store, stick to your list! That’s the key to staying on budget. And if you go shopping as a family, let your kids help plan the meals and then find the items. It’s much easier to stay on budget when you’re shopping with a plan and working as a team . . . and when you get comfortable saying no to candy.

“Our grocery store offers ‘scan it.’ You can walk around with a scanner and scan your items as you shop. It keeps a total for you so you’re never surprised at the register—and you can decide if you really need certain things.” — Jamie M.

9. Shop in season.

When you’re grocery shopping on a budget, it’s super important to live by this rule. Buying a pomegranate in mid-July will probably cost you an arm and a leg—and it might not even taste good! So, throughout the year, make it a point to only buy fruits and veggies that are in season.

10. Ignore eye-level items.

Have you ever noticed how the most expensive items on the grocery shelves tend to be right at your eye level? That’s no random fluke. It’s on purpose. Grocery stores are smart. They want you to go for the splurge items!

Instead of falling for those marketing tricks, look up and down as you shop. The more affordable brands could be higher or lower on the shelves. Think of it as a treasure hunt for the best price!

11. Try different grocery stores.

Why did you pick your grocery store to shop at? Is it the friendliest? Is it the closest to your home or most convenient to your commute? If we’re being honest, most of us probably shop where we do out of pure habit.

Don’t let a comfortable routine cost you money.

In the U.S., the top seven cheapest ranked grocery stores to shop at are Aldi, Market Basket, WinCo Foods, Food 4 Less, Costco, Walmart and Trader Joe’s.2 But keep in mind, things might stack up differently near you, so if you’re not sure which grocery stores are worth your time and dollars, ask around and compare prices.

Also, if you want to save money on food, be sure to check the weekly ads in your area for what’s on sale at competing grocery stores. You might find that shopping at the store down the street is costing extra money in the long run. Figuring out a new shopping plan may be frustrating at first, but it’s worth it to keep extra cash in your pocket.

12. Learn the sales cycles.

Are you ready to do a little detective work? Start paying attention to when your favorite items go on sale and how much the price drops. You might even want to jot it all down in a small notebook or on your smartphone. Whatever you do, just make sure you’re keeping track of those sales so you can see if there’s a trend. Soon you’ll be able to predict them before they hit!

13. BYOB.

Nope, it’s not what you think.

It’s time to bring your own bag to the grocery store! Lots of stores will give you a discount off your total grocery bill just for bringing in a reusable bag. How easy is that? Your savings will usually run somewhere between five and 10 cents per bag! Five bags could save you anywhere from 25 to 50 cents. Hey, savings are savings!

14. Don’t shop when you’re hungry.

People do a lot of silly things when they’re hungry. They say things they don’t really mean, eat all of their roommate’s chips, and aimlessly stroll the grocery store aisles like zombies.

And while your best friend might not hold you responsible for what you said when you were “hangry,” your grocery bill won’t let you off the hook so easily. Step away from the 48-count of frozen waffles, and put back that pineapple upside-down cake from the bakery.

Walk into the grocery store with a full stomach, and you might be shocked by how much lower your grocery bill is!

15. Stick to a meal plan.

It sounds like a chore, but meal planning can actually be a lot of fun when you’re learning how to save money on groceries. Pick a day of the week when you’ll plan out the meals. Once you decide what you’ll make for breakfasts, lunches and dinners, write out each ingredient needed for those meals—plus a few snacks, of course. Try to use ingredients you already have on hand before you think about the other ingredients you need to shop for.

And remember: A list can make or break your budget. So stick to your meal plan for the week and let your list be your guide!

16. Don’t buy more than you need.

We love a deal. Everyone loves a deal. But if you get suckered into buying stuff you don’t really need, did you really get a deal at all? Buying something just because it’s on sale is a good example of this. If it wasn’t part of your planned grocery list, then you still spent more money than you were intending to—deal or no deal.

“Just because something is marked two for $5, four for $10, etc., doesn’t mean you have to buy that many items. You get the same discounted price if you buy just one.” — Stacy H.

17. Test out your green thumb.

This might not be for everyone, but if you can grow your own tomatoes, bell peppers and cauliflower in your garden, you’re sure to save money at the grocery store. Why? Because you don’t have to buy any of those things there! You can just go out and grab them from your garden, Little House on the Prairie style. How awesome is that?

18. Shop online and pick up at the store.

If you’re looking for another hack when it comes to grocery shopping on a budget, you might want to consider using curbside grocery pickup. You can select the exact items you want online, pay for them, and then pick them up at whatever time works for you.

A lot of grocery stores are offering this service, and customers seem to be enjoying the convenience factor. But here’s why we really love it: You tend to cut out the impulse buying and stick to your grocery list and budget! No more getting up to the register only to discover that family-size box of cereal isn’t on sale after all. And no more buying rolled oats just in case you’re out at home (you can walk to the pantry to see for yourself—mind blown).

Some stores offer a pickup service for free, but others will make you pay a small fee, so be sure to budget that into your overall cost too.

19. Use apps on your smartphone.

When you’re searching for ways to save money on groceries, don’t forget about all the rebate apps out there!

Ibotta, Receipt Hog, Checkout 51 and Fetch Rewards are just a few of the great apps that can help you save. While rebates don’t give you a discount up front (like a traditional coupon), you should see savings in the long run.

20. Try going meatless for a meal.

Look here, carnivore, don’t be afraid to branch out and have a meatless meal once or twice a week. Buying large quantities of meat can make your grocery bill skyrocket (especially when the meat isn’t on sale). So instead, find some meatless recipes to whip up on Meatless Monday—or whatever day of the week you choose!

“We do a meatless meal one to two times a week. We budget $500 for a family of five. Sometimes it’s too much, sometimes it’s the perfect amount. If we don’t spend it, we put it toward our debt snowball.” — Holly M.

21. Eat leftovers for lunch.

We all know this—going out for lunch will seriously eat into your food budget. If you’re dropping $10 just twice a week, that’s $80 a month being spent on going out to eat (and we’re not even talking a nice dinner out with friends on Friday night).

Don’t waste your money like that when you can take leftovers and save a ton!

“We almost always have a nice dinner every night and are really good about taking the leftovers for lunch. No matter what you cook, if you consistently eat at home, it’s way cheaper than going out all the time.” — Cindy N.

22. Buy generic.

You know generic pasta is cheaper, but you’re still not convinced it won’t ruin your grandmother’s lasagna recipe. Are generic brands really as good as the name brands?

Consumer Reports found that most store brands measure up to the name brands in taste and quality—and they’re usually 20–25% lower in price too! And if that isn’t enough to sell you, a family of five can save up to $3,000 a year just by making the switch to store brands.3 In other words, your less expensive lasagna will taste just as delicious as Grandma’s.

Still not sold? The National Bureau of Economic Research says when buying staples like salt, sugar and baking soda, chefs were more likely to buy generic than everyday grocery shoppers.4 And they’re the food experts! The study figured out that if more consumers purchased store brands, we could save roughly $44 billion.

With that kind of money on the line, it pays to be brand disloyal.

“We shop at a great grocery store known for their low prices, and most stuff we buy is generic. We no longer buy desserts or junk food, which cut probably $200 from our budget.” — Erin A.

23. If you buy it—use it!

Nothing is worse than discovering funky vegetables and fruit floating through the abyss in the back of your fridge. And to make it worse, all those rotten cucumbers and moldy peaches are dollar signs you just wasted. Ouch!

Try your best to actually use what you buy at the grocery store. Put a list on the front of your refrigerator if you think that will help jog your memory. Whatever you do, just don’t let those items go to waste.

24. Shop the farmers market at the end of the day.

Okay, heads up—not everything at a farmers market is going to be inexpensive. But by the end of the day, most farmers don’t want to take their food home with them. It’s to their advantage to part with the items, even if it means they barely break even.

Walk around your local farmers market toward closing time and see what kind of deals you can score. Make a reasonable offer for the box of produce they have left. Chances are, you’ll get a great deal on delicious, fresh fruits and veggies!

25. Preserve and store away.

When ingredients are overflowing at the farmers market (or in your garden), buy in bulk and preserve them for the winter. Yeah, it may seem like you’re spending more during the summer between the extra produce and canning jars. But think of each one of those jars of tomato sauce or pickles as an investment.

You can buy a box of pasta for a couple of bucks and pull a container of your homemade “summer in a jar” tomato sauce off the shelf in the winter. You’ll have created an affordable dinner. Plus, think about how gratifying it will be to eat sauce you made!

And speaking of sauce, you can save yourself time and effort if you invest in a vacuum sealer. Plan a day where you make big batches of sauces—like curry, tomato, cheese, etc. Vacuum seal and freeze them for when you want all the comfort of a flavorful sauce with minimal effort. All you need is some simmering water or a slow cooker to revive the sauce. Bon appétit!

26. Shop the perimeter of the store.

The inside aisles of the grocery store are mostly made up of processed food that can derail your budget. Instead, shop the outer edges of the store for fresh fruits and vegetables, grains and beans. Look for nutrient-dense items and fresh, seasonal food. Your food budget will thank you later.

27. Skip the packaging.

A pre-packaged bag of lettuce with a dressing packet and fixings will cost double what a head of lettuce with some simple, homemade dressing would. Go for the unpackaged fruits and veggies whenever you can. They’re cheaper and usually healthier too.

28. Grow herbs and spices.

A store-bought pack of rosemary, mint or chives can get pricey. So even if you don’t have a ton of space to garden, it’s worth it to plant a few fresh herbs indoors or on your patio to save money. And if you can’t use your harvest right away, puree and place it into ice cube trays to freeze.

29. Only buy meat when it’s on sale.

No secret here: Meat can be expensive. And if you want grass-fed beef or extra lean cuts of organic meat, the price is going to go up. So, what’s a savvy budgeter to do when grocery shopping? Well, you could become a vegetarian, sure. Or you could just learn how to become a better meat shopper.

Look for great deals on meat when it’s on sale. Don’t worry about it going bad before you can use it all, because you can always stash it away in the freezer. Also, look for cuts of meat that are cheaper alternatives to what you usually buy. Instead of chicken breasts, opt for chicken thighs. Skip the sirloin and use ground chuck. Pass on the pork chops and grab the pork loin.

30. Leave the overspenders at home.

Word to the wise, if you find that your kids are the culprits of adding all those “not on the list” items to your cart, you might want to leave them at home. Yes, we’re looking at you with the box of cookies, little Jimmy. On the flip side, maybe it’s your spouse who needs to stay far away from the grocery store.

“My #1 [grocery store hack] is banning my husband from going to the grocery store! We saved at least $300 a month by him not going.” — Melissa W.

Grocery Shopping on a Budget Doesn’t Have to Be Hard

A few new habits can help you lower your monthly grocery bill, stick to your budget, and meet your money goals faster. That means more cash to pay down debt, invest for the future, or save for something fun—like a babysitter and a nice meal out where someone else cooks and cleans up.

Try one of these grocery store hacks on your next trip down the grocery aisle, and you could be pleasantly surprised by how much cash stays in your pocket!

Don’t have a grocery budget? Well, what the heck are you waiting for? You need one to figure out how to save money on groceries! Create your budget with our free budgeting app, EveryDollar, and get ready to hit the grocery store armed and dangerous next time

TEN SECRETS WALMART DOESN’T WANT YOU TO KNOW

Big corporations are complex entities. They look glossy on the outside but behind that facade, there are all sorts of shady secrets they try hard to keep hidden. And the more the corporation has to interact with the general public, the more frantic it gets trying to keep the rotten underbelly from being exposed. With that ominous introduction, you probably know what’s coming. Walmart is in the title so obviously, we’re going to talk about some dark stuff that the retail giant doesn’t want people to know about.

10. Store-brand Supplements Are Not Worth It

Not the darkest secret in the bag nor is it the biggest skeleton in the Walmart closet but we’re just getting started here. Now the thing about supplements is that unless they’re prescribed by a doctor and come from a reputable and trusted source, you should really steer clear from them. But some people find them hard to resist. After all, taking a pill is always much easier than stuffing one’s face with green veggies. And if you are one of those people who just can’t do without supplements, then the last place you’d want to stock up on your precious pills would be Walmart. Especially their store-brand supplements. Why? Well, for one thing, the pills don’t contain all the herbal ingredients written on the package. I mean it doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out. The supplements are cheaper than in other stores and even cheaper than other brands sold right next to it, so something is up. And that’s what’s up. The good stuff that’s supposed to benefit your body is missing. In other words, you could be just shoveling down a bunch of placebos stuffed with flour and sawdust. So just because they’re cheap it doesn’t mean you’re saving money. Most likely you’d be throwing money down the drain for something that will do you no good at all.

9. Discrimination

Now we all know that discrimination in the workplace is a serious problem. And most large corporations do their best to polish their public image and show that this kind of behavior is not tolerated. For years Google would go with “Do No Evil!” It was a good motto until lawsuits piled up against Google then they dropped it. Walmart prefers to go with “Equal Opportunity Employer.” It sounds good and gives the brand a spotless clean image. But how true is that motto? And is Walmart really an equal opportunity employer? Judging by the lawsuits, we’re going to say no. And it’s not just that thing about equal opportunity either. There are also two decades worth of sexual harassment lawsuits to take into consideration. For years the company has swept under the rug all complaints of sexual harassment that employees had filed against their colleagues. Instead of taking action and putting a stop to the rampant problems, the company chose to look the other way. This has led many of the victims of such horrendous behavior to either leave the job or bear it silently. But the discrimination doesn’t even stop with being biased against pregnant women. It’s against women in general. Most of the job descriptions the company puts out in its ads make it clear the job is male-oriented and targeted toward men not women.

8. Avoid Walmart Organic Food

Organic groceries imply lack of antibiotics and clean and healthy food to put on your table. Of course, this healthy food comes at a price. Organic food is usually pricier than its non-organic counterpart. But if you can afford it you won’t have a problem with paying a little more. Unless you’re shopping in Walmart that is. Because then you’ll be paying a whole lot more to get your organic food than you would at other retail chains. In general, the food section in Walmart is its least appealing one. In fact, you’d do yourself a big favor doing your weekly grocery shopping at other places such as Aldi or Trader Joe’s. The low quality of the food items and the price tags both make Walmart a bad choice. And this problem is nowhere more obvious than in the organic section. A recent review of the major retail chains has found that Walmart usually charges its customers a lot more for organic food than its competitors. If you have the time you can check it for yourself. Just visit the websites of the retailers near you and compare prices. You’ll find that Walmart’s prices for organic food are always higher than other retailers.

7. No Background Checks

Every employer no matter how big or small tries to vet new employees before hiring them. This is especially true if the employee is someone who will be interacting with the customers. Background checks ensure that the staff has no criminal records or violent past that might put the public at risk. It’s also a great policy to ensure the company will not be liable for lawsuits if an employee loses it with a customer. Which makes it all the more puzzling that Walmart will not follow that reasonable policy of checking the background of their employees before hiring them. And since Walmart has a firearms section you can begin to get the picture here. What if a convicted felon started handling firearms at Walmart? And if you think this was a remote possibility, then think again. Someone once posted on Reddit, the social platform, how Walmart had hired their convicted brother to work in the hunting department. Now the safety of everyone who enters the store is at risk. This includes not just the customers but also the other employees who have no clue what kind of person is handling firearms at the hunting department. And of course not having background checks means Walmart might hire people previously accused of sexual harassment in their previous jobs, thus exacerbating their own sexual harassment problems.

6. Online Prices

As with most businesses, Walmart usually tries to attract customers by offering discounted prices online. You just go to their website and browse around. You’ll find daily promotions and discounts on several items and products. As we said, this is a normal practice that almost all retails do. But the thing is, if you go to the store you will find the same product being sold at a different price. There’s no scam here. Because the online prices change almost on a daily basis, the various outlets of the giant retailer don’t adjust their prices to match those offered online. And that’s where you come in. Now Walmart’s policy is if the same product has a lower price on a Walmart website you will get that discounted price not the one at the store. So while shopping at Walmart make sure to have your phone with you. Enter the name of the product on the Walmart website and see the price it offers. If it’s less than the price at the store, show the discounted price to the cashier and they will adjust it on the spot. Just remember that the product has to match the item in the store. Same name, brand, and size.

5. Harsh Work Conditions

We’ve all heard it before. Giant companies benefiting from sweatshops in poor countries where the work conditions are abhorrent and the workers get treated unfairly. It has to do with cutting down the cost of labor and increasing the profit margins. Higher profits mean the shareholders are happy and the top executives in the company get enormous annual bonuses. But what has Walmart got to do with this? Well, apparently, everything. You see, Walmart has someone else to please besides the shareholders and the stock market. And that is the customer. The only way to please the retail customer is to offer cheap prices. Price wars are a common thing among retail giants. But how do you cut down costs and offer the customer a good product at a low rate while still showing good profit margins at the end of the fiscal year? Well, the answer is in the sweatshops that use child labor in poor countries. And it’s not that Walmart directly hires these workers and subjects them to these subhuman conditions. But Walmart deals with the companies that employ these people. Even when the media exposes the harsh conditions in these factories, you would think that Walmart would stop working with them. But that’s not what happens. Since profit is the goal, the corporation will not bother with things like workers rights and fair pay as long as they happen thousands of miles away.

4. Keep an Eye on Deep Discounts

There are two types of shoppers. Those who drive to the nearest retailer with or without a shopping list. They go in there, grab a cart and start filling it up with the stuff they need. Then they head to the nearest checkout, pay, and leave. And there’s this other type of shoppers who go prepared. They check online and compare prices. They know which days the retailer offers discounts on grocery and when there’s a promotion in the meat section. That type of customer knows what they want, when to buy it, and in many cases, how much they will pay for it. Now guess which type pays less and winds up with the best deals? The second customer of course. Walmart and other retail giants rely on the first type of customer to make a profit. It’s true, Walmart offers discounts, but these are mainly targeted at the second type of customer. The one who searches and compares, and decides where to shop. Even big discount events like Black Friday shouldn’t be taken for granted. In the days leading up to Black Friday keep an eye on the prices of the items you want to buy. Then you’ll know if you’re really getting them at a good discount on Black Friday or you’re being ripped off.

3. The Early Bird

You must have heard of the early bird adage. Well, it’s more than an adage and it’s not just your mom was trying to get you out of bed in time to catch the school bus. And if you were wondering what kind of worm you were supposed to catch as you hustled bleary-eyed every morning to get to school on time, well, Walmart has got the answer. See, the retail giant tends to offer big discounts on groceries early in the day then take them down around noon. It works best with food from the previous day which hasn’t been sold and would be returned unless you snag it first. Bread from yesterday gets a hefty discount before the bread is removed from the shelf. So if you manage to make your way to the store early in the morning, you’ll find most of these food items sold at a great price. And that is the worm that the early bird gets. It’s a lot of savings on food. Do you think that’s worth getting up early for?

2. The Clearance Section

This is not exactly a secret, but most people who spend hours shopping at Walmart go blissfully unaware of its existence. We’re talking of course about the clearance section. Now, every Walmart outlet has got one. And they keep it out of the way as much as possible. That means you’ll need to do some digging and walking around looking for it. Or you could just ask the manager where they keep their clearance section. So why would you want to check them anyway? Well, for the great discounts obviously. These sections have everything the store has failed to sell. Instead of returning it or dumping it in one of their stores, they keep these items piled together in a secluded section. You can find toys sold cheap or even electronics. Keep in mind that not all outlets will keep their heavily discounted items in one place. You can find them at the lowest shelves for example. So you will need to literally dig deep and bend over to reach those valuable items. That’s the real takeaway from this article. Don’t go shopping blind. Be prepared to research and spend some time looking for the best deals and big discounts.

1. Say No to Walmart Furniture

Who doesn’t love cheap stuff? All along we’ve been focusing on how to get the best deals and pay less to get more. So what’s wrong with Walmart’s cheap stuff? Well, nothing if you’re buying bread or non-organic vegetables. But if you’re buying durables such as furniture, then you’d better shop elsewhere. When it comes to furniture you don’t want to go cheap. This is not something you’ll be buying every day, week, month, or even year. You want your furniture to last until you get tired of looking at it and replace it. Walmart furniture has a knack for collapsing when you least expect them and they really have no sense of loyalty. They tend to get bored with their new owners quite quickly. Just when you’re about to get used to your new couch or chair or that quaint coffee table with the weird colors, your brand new furniture calls it a day and commit a treacherous act of self-destruction.

37 NATURAL BEAUTY SECRETS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD

By A. Santiago

No matter where you’re from, odds are you occasionally find yourself looking overseas with envy.  How do those women in India get their hair so shiny and silky and tame their flyaways?  How do those Japanese ladies get their skin so clear?  What about those South American women with their luminous complexions?  Genetics obviously plays a role in our attributes, but a lot of it comes down to simple beauty secrets which anyone can learn.  And odds are if you’re feeling envious, someone else around the globe is looking toward your shores and feeling envious of what you’ve got.

Australia: Yarrow extract for stretch marks.

Do you suffer from stretch marks?  These unsightly marks appear after you have had a rapid weight gain or growth spurt or during pregnancy.  Once they show up, they are extremely hard to get rid of, because they are essentially scar tissue.  But that doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily stuck with them.  Yarrow extract is a beauty secret which has been used by Australian Aboriginal women for generations to clear up their stretch marks.  Yarrow root contains anti-inflammatory compounds, and can also moisturize your skin.  The combination does a great job for soothing and healing all manner of skin irritations and healing old wounds—like stretch marks.  Search for a stretch mark cream which contains yarrow root extract for a natural, effective end to stretch marks!

Australia: Tea tree oil for dandruff.

Sick of pulling dandruff away from your itchy, dry scalp?  Australians use tea tree oil to combat this problem.  This is one of those tricks where a little bit goes a long way, so it’s well worth the investment.  Just add a couple of drops into your shampoo and you will be amazed at the difference.  The tea tree oil will moisturize your scalp and prevent all that itching and flaking.  You can also find tea tree oil shampoos for sale that already have this amazing ingredient included.

Brazil: Oatmeal to heal a sunburn.

You may already know that oats are great for your skin.  It’s no wonder; if you’ve ever looked up the nutritional facts on the back of a box of oatmeal, you probably noticed it contains an abundance of minerals and vitamins that your body needs.  It turns out that the nutrition that is great for your body as a whole is great for your skin too.  Brazilians use oats to ease the pain of a sunburn and speed healing.  How do you do it?  Next time you get a bad sunburn, tie up some oats in gauze and then position it over the tap for your bathtub.  Turn it on and fill the tub, allowing the water to filter through the bag with the oats.  Soak in the bath and you’ll get fast relief from your sunburn.  Oats have amazing anti-inflammatory healing properties!

Columbia: Avocado for shiny hair.

Avocado is one of the top beauty secrets in Columbia and other Latin American countries.  It’s great for your face as well as your hair (we’ll talk about avocado facial masks in a bit, since they are also popular in the Philippines).  How do you use avocado to enhance your hair?  One of the best recipes is this:  Get an avocado, a banana, and a tablespoon of olive oil.  Mash them all together to make a uniform paste.  Take that paste and rub it into the roots of your hair.  Work it down to the tips.  Do something else for half an hour, and then get in the shower and shampoo, condition and rinse.  The results will astound you!

Costa Rica: Shrink your pores with orange juice.

Have large pores on your face which you wish you could shrink?  This is a short-term solution, not a long-term one, but it’s a great idea if you just want to shrink your pores for a photo op.  Women in Costa Rica combine orange juice and water (in a 50/50 mixture) and use a cotton ball to swab it onto their faces.  Wait a few minutes, and then rinse it off, and your pores should be less obvious.  Be sure to rinse thoroughly so that you aren’t sticky afterwards, and try to keep the juice out of your hair.

Chile Crushed red grapes and flour for glowing skin.

Here is another beauty recipe for vibrant skin, this time from South America.  If you have ever wondered how Chilean women get their skin looking so luminous, it turns out the secret is crushed red grapes mixed with white flour!  A handful of grapes is all you need and a couple of tablespoons of flour.  Mix it together, apply it to your face for ten minutes, and wash it off.  You should get a lovely glow to your skin.  This can work wonders if you are used to looking in the mirror at a fatigued complexion.

Dominican Republic: Garlic for stronger nails.

Here is another great beauty secret from South America.  Do you have brittle nails that break all the time?  One great way to strengthen them is to use garlic.  This tip comes from the ladies of the Dominican Republic, who chop fresh garlic and add it to clear nail polish.  They wait about a week to a week and a half, and then apply it to their nails.  Be warned: it will smell foul—but the smell will wear off, and the garlic will leave your nails harder and stronger.  As an added bonus, garlic has antibacterial properties.

Bulgaria: Rose water as a facial cleanser.

Bulgaria’s Rose Valley is world famous; the valley produces around 85% of the world’s rose oil.  So it’s no surprise that Bulgarian women have discovered the many uses of rose oil and rose petals.  Rose water is one of the best all-around rinses you can use to enhance the health and beauty of your skin.  How do you make it?  You can either use well-diluted rose oil, or you can boil a tea out of rose petals.  Either way, you will enjoy moisturized, clean, clear skin.

Croatia: Wash your itchy scalp with nettles.

Here’s a great tip from Croatia for those who suffer from dandruff or a dry, itchy scalp.  Croatians gather nettles from the fields and boil them in water.  They then use that water to wash their hair, often skipping shampoo altogether.  That’s how effective it is at cleaning your hair and nourishing your roots!

France: Get rid of nail stains the easy way.

Have unsightly stains on your nails?  A lot of women in France do their own manicures, and they are experts at dealing with beauty problems like this!  It turns out they have the simplest solution in the world for nail stains.  Just soak your fingers in lemon juice for ten minutes, and most of those stains should go away.  It’s very fast and easy!

Greece: Olive oil for healthy skin.

Do you envy the mesmerizing complexions of Greek women?  It’s not all in the genetics as it turns out; Greek women have a number of beauty secrets, one of which is olive oil.  Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, and is one of the all-around best things you can eat.  In Greece (and Italy), women make olive oil a regular part of their diet, but in many other countries, butter or margarine is a more common choice.  Neither butter nor margarine contains all the healthy antioxidants and vitamins that olive oil does, though.  So consider buying a bottle of olive oil the next time you hit the grocery store.  Spice it up and use it as a dip for bread at dinner time, instead of going with butter or margarine as you usually do.  You can also cook in olive oil instead of vegetable oil!  It is better for your skin, and healthier all-around.

Greece: Rosemary for healthy hair.

The women of Greece not only have gorgeous clear skin, but shiny locks.  If you’ve ever envied their beautiful hair, you will love this Greek beauty tip.  Greek women rinse their hair using water that’s been steeped in rosemary.  Rosemary removes buildup from your hair for a deep cleansing effect.  An even better alternative?  Steep a hair rinse out of rosemary and apple cider vinegar.  In the shower, combine a few tablespoons with water and use that to rinse, and you’ll get an even more amazing effect.  Plus, a little bit goes a long ways, and you can use your rinse again and again before you run out.  Be warned, however, that rosemary can darken hair, which is great if that’s what you are going for, but if you want to keep your locks light, you might want to skip it.
Italy

Greece: Yogurt and olive oil for shining locks.

Staying in the Mediterranean, you will find another great olive-oil related beauty tip in nearby Italy.  Italian women also eat plenty of olive oil, but they also have figured out that it can be mixed with yogurt and applied directly to the hair as a conditioner.  All you have to do to get the same silky effect is to mix a cup of plain whole-milk yogurt with a teaspoon of olive oil.  Wash your hair and apply the conditioner afterwards.  Wait for five minutes and then rinse it out.  You should have a nice lustrous shine to your hair when it dries, and should also find it softer and more manageable.

Greece: Try an egg white hair mask.

Here’s another quick trick from southern Italy, where the sun is intense and can dry out hair really quickly!  Purchase some egg whites, and then whip two egg whites (or more, depending on how long your hair is) so that they get frothy.  Apply them to your hair while your hair is wet.  Wait ten minutes, shampoo your hair, and rinse it all out.  This will really boost the moisture content in your hair!

Spain: Cranberry juice to bring out red highlights.

If you are a redhead, a brunette, or even a strawberry blonde, there is a wonderful beauty secret from Spain that can help you to bring out the red tones in your hair.  It’s really easy!  All you have to do is mix cranberry juice with water (about half and half), and pour it over your head when you are done washing your hair in the shower.  This technique works especially well if you then head outside and spend some time in the sun.  Another alternative is hibiscus flower.  If you purchase hibiscus tea, you can use this as a rinse; you may find this a better option because you do not have the sticky sugary residue from the juice.  You don’t have to rinse it out as a result.

If you are a blonde and don’t want to be a strawberry blonde (or simply have no red tones in your hair to bring out at all), you might want to try lemon juice or chamomile or calendula instead.  All three of these are great choices for bringing out blonde highlights and lightening your hair.  Once again, spending time in the sun will enhance the effect.  If you do either the cranberry or lemon juice rinse on a regular basis, you will get a great effect over the long term!

Spain: Potato slices to get rid of dark circles under your eyes.

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  If you get dark circles around your eyes when you are fatigued, you can get rid of them by cutting thin potato slices and putting them on top of your eyes for ten minutes.  This will lighten the skin around your eyes.  You’ll find this trick works particularly well if you do it routinely.  A perfect trick before you head to that early morning job interview or sales presentation.  Show everyone how awake and alert you are, whether you feel it or not!

Sweden: Green tea, mineral water, and sauna treatments for healthy, beautiful skin.

Ever wonder how those Swedish women keep their skin so radiant and clear?  One great treatment recommended by Swedish makeup artist Petra Strand is green tea!  If you have green tea bags, you can freeze some green tea in an ice cube tray, and use the ice cubes in place of a toner.  If you are not so keen on the idea of rubbing ice cubes over your skin, you can skip that and just use the tea bags themselves after you make your tea!  Strand also advises the use of saunas as a skincare treatment.  Saunas are very popular in Sweden, and help to purge the body of toxins.  Strand recommends a recipe combining olive oil, eucalyptus essential oil, and rock salt as an alternative.  Rub it over your body and rinse it off, and you will remove toxins from your skin.

Here’s another tip from Scandinavia.  Mineral water is great for your skin, but you’ll get the best effect if you go with icy mineral water.  Splash it on your face and you will firm up your skin.  If you have puffiness around the eyes, it can help you reduce that (those Scandinavian women sure are brave, coming in out of the cold and splashing ice water on their face or using ice cubes as toners!).

Poland: Try an egg yolk hair mask.

That Italian hair mask using egg whites isn’t the only way you can nourish your hair using eggs.  It turns out that those Italian ladies are actually missing out on the amazing nutrients in egg yolks!  In Poland, women make hair masks using the yolk of the egg along with a few drops of lemon juice and olive oil.  They leave the mask in their hair for fifteen minutes and then rinse it out.  Apparently the egg yolk nutrients strengthen hair so it is less likely to break.  Which is better for hair, the yolk or the whites?  You will have to experiment to decide.  Maybe you will end up combining the suggestions from Poland and Italy and using the whole egg.  Sounds like a plan!

Romania: Olive oil and vitamin A for stronger nails.

Looking for a great way to improve the texture of your nails and strengthen them?  In Romania, there is a great secret to strong nails, and that is to soak them in a bowl with warm olive oil and vitamin A oil.  It only takes a few drops of oil, and you only have to do it every couple of weeks for a few minutes each time.  The vitamin A and olive oil will nourish the cuticle beds, which will cause your nails to grow stronger.  They should be less prone to breakage after a few of these treatments.  You may also have less skin peeling around them, which is a symptom of really dry nail beds.

United Kingdom: Wash your hair less.

Women who live in the UK have a unique beauty challenge to tackle thanks to the abundance of lime in their water supply (and you thought your hard water was bad!).  Lime makes hair dry, brittle, and breakable, so it is a constant uphill battle to keep hair strong, soft, and shiny.

How do they do it?  It’s actually what they don’t do more than what they actually do.  Many women in the UK don’t wash their hair more than three times a week, and keep it under a shower cap the rest of the time.  How do they keep their hair clean on days they don’t wash it?  Dry shampoo.  Even if you don’t live in the UK, this is great advice.  Why?  First off, hard water in many countries creates similar beauty struggles.  The less you wash your hair, the less mineral buildup you have to deal with.  Plus, most women wash their hair more than they should to begin with, stripping out the natural oils.  Wash your hair less and you will keep your natural oils intact.

China: Rice water as a facial rinse.

China is of course famous for its rice.  Rice is not just a dietary staple in China, though, it is also a beauty secret!  The women in China use rice water as a cleansing rinse for their faces.  Rice is chock full of antioxidants, which nourish your skin and fight harmful free radicals that lead to aging.  How do you do it?  Buy some Chinese rice, and soak it in water for 20 minutes.  Strain out the rice, and then use a washcloth to mop the water on your face.  Do this on a weekly basis and you should notice a difference!

China: Camellia oil for stretch marks.

Here’s another way you can tackle stretch marks.  Chinese women rub camellia oil onto their stretch marks in the morning and the evening.  Over time, this can reduce the appearance of stretch marks as well as other types of discoloration (like sun damage).

India: Turmeric for vibrant skin.

Turmeric is used as a spice in a lot of Indian recipes, but it is also used for beauty!  Before an Indian wedding, the bride performs the “haldi” ceremony.  This involves applying a turmeric paste to her face and body and washing it off so her skin will be vibrant.  You can make the same paste by mixing a teaspoon of turmeric powder with honey and yogurt.  You want it to get a thick pasty consistency.  Put it on your face for fifteen minutes and then wash it off.  Don’t worry, your skin won’t turn yellow—but you should see a nice glow.  Apparently this can also help you get rid of unwanted facial hair, so this is a really great weapon in your beauty arsenal.

India: Coconut oil for smooth, shiny, healthy hair.

Those Indian ladies really know what they’re doing!  Here’s another great beauty tip from India, this time for your hair.  If you are looking for a natural conditioner, look no further than coconut oil.  A little bit of this stuff goes a long ways, so all you need is around a tablespoon.  Heat it up (you can just warm it up in the microwave) so that it turns into a liquid, and then massage it onto your head.  If you can, try to reach your scalp and the roots of your hair, as well as the ends.  The coconut oil will promote circulation in your scalp, which will help to bring nutrients to your hair follicles.  This in turn will make your hair grow faster!

Coconut oil is a great moisturizer, and will work great on dry or damaged hair, so make sure you get the ends and not just the roots!  You can wash it out or leave it in; if you leave it in, your hair will be nice and shiny all day (and also easier to comb than usual).  If you have ever used a product like Biosilk, the effect is similar.

While you’re at it, if you have dry or rough skin, you can rub coconut oil in as an excellent alternative to lotion or moisturizer!  This is a popular thing to do in Belize.  The coconut oil also has protective properties that shield your skin against the damage of harmful UV rays, so it makes a great natural sunscreen.

The Philippines: Aloe for glossy hair.

If you have ever been to the Philippines, you probably were astonished by how glossy and beautiful everyone’s hair was!  How do Pilipino women get their hair so shiny?  It turns out the trick is aloe.  Break an aloe leaf to get at the juice, and then rub it into your hair and scalp.  Don’t have an aloe leaf handy?  That’s okay, you can buy aloe gel from the store.  Rinse it out and you should see glossier locks.  Tip:  Don’t forget that aloe is also great for your skin!  Combine it with ginger and lime and it makes a wonderful moisturizer.  Its inflammatory properties make it an excellent salve for irritated skin too.
Japan

The Philippines: Shun the sun.

Have you ever wondered how the women of Japan and the Far East manage to keep their skin so beautiful and clear?  They have a number of beauty secrets, but one of the simplest and most effective is simply to stay out of the sunlight.  In Japan, it is perfectly normal to carry around a parasol on sunny days.  Japanese women also are more likely to cover their arms and legs and wear a hat.  Sunbathing may bring a warm coppery glow to your skin, but it does nothing for your complexion!  Over time, sunbathing will lead to sun damage—age spots, wrinkles, and dry, leathery skin.  If you shun the sun and carry a parasol or umbrella, however, you can keep your skin soft, hydrated, and healthy like the women of Japan.

The Philippines: Seaweed for luxurious locks.

Japanese men and women alike are recognized globally for their long, silky, gorgeous black hair.  How do they get their hair looking so fabulous?  Part of it may be the increased amount of iodine in their diets.  Seaweed is a major part of the Japanese diet, and a rich natural source of easily-digested iodine.  Iodine is added to table salt, but it isn’t as easy for your body to digest as the iodine in seaweed (and if you use sea salt, you are getting even less of it).  Head to your local Asian grocery store and stock up on seaweed and start adding it to your diet!

You don’t have to use it to wrap sushi.  It goes great in salad, rice dishes, stir-fry, or soups.  Experiment with some recipes and you will probably find a lot of tasty ways to eat it (snacking on the sheets is also fun!).  This is a really great way to jazz up a boring bowl of store-bought ramen.  Iodine has a lot of health benefits that go under recognized, not just for your hair, but for the rest of your body.

The Philippines: A sake bath for glowing skin.

Love sake?  If you can bear to part with several glasses of it, try pouring it into your bath water.  Sake contains kojic acid, which is a great exfoliate.  This is yet another beauty secret the women of Japan use to maintain their beautiful complexions and keep their skin looking so fresh and youthful over the years.  Sake can also reduce the appearance of age spots and discoloration from the sun.

Singapore: Coconut oil to tame humidity-induced frizz.

Humidity levels in Singapore are crazy.  The average is around 90%, and that’s year-round.  Ouch.  If you live in a place with high humidity levels like that for even part of the year, you know what a pain they can be.  Your hair frizzes up and you can’t control your flyaways.  How do those ladies in Singapore cope?  They rub some coconut oil into the ends of their hair before going to bed and leave it on there.  The next day, their hair is manageable and tame despite the ridiculous humidity.

Singapore: Avocado or papaya for radiant skin.

Here’s another great tip from Singapore!  Mash up an avocado or a papaya (both work great), rub the mixture onto your face, wait for fifteen minutes, and rinse it off.  Both of these have some great oils in them which are ideal for moisturizing your face.  Papaya also works as an exfoliating agent thanks to an enzyme called papain.  This is a great way to make use of avocados that are just a little too ripe.  Otherwise they just go to waste!

Egypt: Bathe in milk and honey.

This beauty secret is so old that it literally dates back to Cleopatra, who reportedly bathed in milk and honey to keep her skin radiant and soft.  She also added lavender and rose petals to her baths, and according to some historians, raspberries and strawberries.  The milk she used came from goats, but cow’s milk will give you the same benefits since milk contains alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs).  These compounds help to slough off dead skin cells, gently exfoliating your skin.  This allows healthy new skin tissue to grow for a fresh, youthful complexion.  Other famous historical ladies who have used Cleo’s secret include Valeria Messalina, Emperor Claudius I’s wife, and Pauline Bonaparte, Napolean’s sister.  Francois I, King of France, also used to take milk baths—so this secret goes for any gents reading this too!

Don’t want to pour honey into your bath?  Honey is expensive, but a great alternative is to take the occasional milk bath, and then purchase an organic soap which includes honey as an ingredient!  This can cut down on your costs while you follow in Cleopatra’s footsteps!

Israel: Mud from the Dead Sea as a cleansing mask.

Have you ever taken a mud bath?  If not, you may wonder what compels so many women to jump into a basin full of mud.  It turns out there is actually a really simple explanation, and that is that certain types of mud can do wonders for your skin.  Why?  Mud contains minerals, and minerals are good for you!  Mud from the Dead Sea in particular is renowned for its rich mineral content.  Women in Israel cover their bodies with mud from the Dead Sea, then go for a dip in the salty water.  Many even take jars to the beach and gather up the mud for use later at home.  While you don’t have the luxury of jumping right into the Dead Sea, you can purchase Dead Sea mud from anywhere in the world, as there are many bath products which use it!

Israel: Ginger and honey to prevent wrinkles.

Want to prevent wrinkles and maybe reduce some of the wrinkles you already have?  One time-tested tradition in India is a mixture of fresh ginger and honey.  Add a little water, and rub the mixture onto your face.  The honey gives it a pleasant sweet aroma, and the ginger has a revitalizing warmth.  This makes it a great “wake up” routine in the morning!  You will immediately feel fresh and ready for the day, and you’ll look fresh too.  Start this routine when you’re young and keep doing it daily and you will stay looking young for a very long time.

Morocco: Argan oil for just about everything.

Argan oil comes from Morocco, and is a really amazing product that you can use in so many ways!  It is easy for your skin to absorb and has great moisturizing properties, which makes it an excellent lotion or bath oil.  You can also use it as a moisturizer.  A couple of drops are all you need; it goes a long way.  Suffer from dry hair as well as dry skin?  Rub a few drops of argan oil into your hair in the morning or at night.  You don’t need to wash it out; it is a great substitute for any leave-in conditioner.  It will tame flyaways, smooth out your hair, and bring out its silky shine.  You’ll find it easier to brush and style.  Unlike most leave-in conditioners you can buy, argan oil is 100% natural and healthy!

Turkey: Lighten your hair with daisy water.

If you live in a place with daisies, you can use them to lighten your hair and bring out highlights.  This works best if you are blonde or have light brown hair.  In Turkey, women who want to lighten their hair boil a cup of daisies.  After around five minutes, you can remove the daisies and pour the water over your hair.  Don’t rinse it out, just let it air dry, and spend some time out in the sun.  This is another trick where you can substitute apple cider vinegar for water and use it as a diluted hair rinse over an extended time period for even better results.

Mexico: Curl your eyelashes with a spoon.

Wish you had beautifully curled eyelashes like the women of Mexico?  It turns out they have a special trick to achieve those perfectly curled lashes, and it’s an easy one you can do at home!  Do you have a teaspoon?  If so, close your eye, and place the teaspoon over your eye so that it is cupping your lid.  The bottom edge of the spoon should touch the roots of your upper lashes.  With your thumb, press your lashes up against the spoon, and then push the spoon edge up to the ends of your lashes.  The pressure from your thumb and the edge of the spoon will nicely curl your lashes.  After that step is complete, set the spoon aside and put on your mascara so that your beautiful lashes really stand out.  This has a really dramatic effect, and it’s so easy!  Caution: spoons have sharp edges, so be careful putting a teaspoon near your eye.

Russia: Oatmeal facial mask.

It turns out oats are great for more than just treating sunburns.  Women in Russia know that they make great facial masks.  The recipe is simple.  Just take two tablespoons of oats and soak them in warm water until they turn soft.  This usually takes about ten minutes.  Once that step is done, you need to add a tablespoon of olive oil and a teaspoon of lemon juice.  Mix it up into a paste, and then apply it to your face.  Wait for ten minutes and rinse it off.  Your face should have a lovely, vibrant glow and feel silky smooth.  This is one of the best facial masks you will ever find, and it is so cheap and easy!

We hope you enjoyed this selection of amazing beauty secrets from around the world!  As you can see, most of these ideas are inexpensive, easy, and use standard ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now.