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How to Stock Your Pantry on a Budget

How to Stock Your Pantry on a Budget

A well-stocked pantry is a kitchen staple, but keeping it full of the right ingredients can be both time-consuming and expensive. Not to mention, many people don’t know what having a “well-stocked pantry” actually looks like.

Pantry basics are divided into several categories: grains, canned goods, seasonings and spices. A standard pantry could include:

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  • Grains: flour, oatmeal, rice, polenta, quinoa
  • Canned goods: stewed tomatoes, beans, tuna
  • Seasonings/condiments: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, sea salt, black pepper
  • Spices: cumin, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander
  • Other: sugar, vegetable stock, nuts

With all of these items on hand, you can make a filling meal quickly and easily, without heading to the store – you just need the veggies and protein to round it out. Luckily, you can easily stock your pantry on a budget when you maximize your coupons, choose your grocery store wisely and more.

1. Make a Better List

Once you know what should be in your pantry, it’s time to go shopping. How many times have you gone to store and left with all the things you don’t need and none of the things you do?

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A list helps you stay organized, so you get everything you need, while shopping smarter. Use your list to compare prices on items at different stores, before you go, so you know you’re always getting the best deal possible.

Make your list more effective with apps like GroceryiQ. With this app, you can create a detailed grocery list, find coupons – which are intergrated within the app for major brands and stores across the country – and create favorites so it’s easy to add the same items every few weeks.

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2. Shop Around Before Falling in Love With One Store or Another

While shopping at just one store is convenient, it may not be the most cost effective method. Researching which grocery stores have the best prices is an almost foolproof way to make sure you’re getting the best deal. For example, according to a recent study, Aldi is one of the most inexpensive places to do groceries. Sixty-six of their items were priced the lowest when compared to other grocery stores, like Publix and Trader Joes.

Consider visiting different store for different items – depending on what’s available at what price. Some items may be more affordable for certain pantry items Trader Joe’s while Aldi may provide you with the best price for other items. Long story short: Stock your pantry as items run out and head to the most affordable store for that particular item.

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3. Maximize Your Coupons

Coupons are one of the simplest and easiest ways to stretch your budget. Online coupon companies provide a clutter-free way to get the best deal possible and many grocery stores have entire sections on their websites dedicated to coupons that you can print and use.

Whole Foods recently launched an app that provides users with a barcode for all the coupons offered that day and it’s scanned straight from their phone screen at checkout. Also, many grocery stores, including Publix, allow for coupon stacking, or using both store and manufacturer coupons for certain items.

4. Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk is the best way to stock your pantry on the budget – just remember to only buy in bulk if you know you like the item. Twenty pounds of quinoa at 50 percent off is great, but make sure that you actually like quinoa before you buy all of that.

With a little research and preparation, you can stock your pantry on a budget. Use these tips to save money on every trip to the store and your bank account will thank you.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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