Thrifty/Nifty: Five easy tips for food shopping

Marking dates on cans and bottles as they come into the pantry helps you keep rotating the older items to the front. Photo by Laura Groch

Marking dates on cans and bottles as they come into the pantry helps you keep rotating the older items to the front. Photo by Laura Groch

We’re well past the holiday hangover, but perhaps still paying the bills for it. I’m thinking we’re overdue for some Thrifty/Nifty tips to help make shopping and managing a kitchen a little easier:

— Look high when you choose  produce, especially when it’s piled high and deep. The stuff at the front, which is within everyone’s reach, is what’s been handled most. Reach farther back, or higher, in the pile to choose a pear or tomato or head of lettuce that hasn’t been bruised and battered by everyone else.

— Remember to look low on store shelves. We naturally scan shelves at eye level, Continue reading


Thrifty/Nifty: Salad and sandwich makers, here’s a way to get it together

thrifty, nifty, consumer help, techniques, time-savers, veggies

All together now: Keep your sandwich/salad players in one container to speed your kitchen preparation. (Photo by Laura Groch)

I make a lot of sandwiches, and a lot of salads. Besides your basic greens, I add a lot of veggies to both: onions, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, radishes. I was forever searching in my fridge for each ingredient, which I had thoughtfully stored in its own little ex-cream cheese or hummus or butter tub.

One day I bought some new containers on sale (of course), in a larger size. Continue reading

New category: Thrifty/Nifty. Save some bucks, have some fun.


An “empty” tube of lipstick has an amazing amount of lipstick still in it — nearly a half-inch of the stuff. Use a brush to get it out and enjoy your favorite shade a little longer. (Actually, a lot longer.)

(c) copyright Laura Groch 2013

Thrifty/Nifty is about hints that save money or are just plain cool. Sometimes even both. ;<)

I’m hoping you’ll find these tips as useful as I do. Though they’re not food-related, they could help keep your wallet well-fed:

— Long-lived lipstick. With tubes costing $10 and up, plus never being able to find the same shade once you finish one up, who wouldn’t want to make lipsticks last longer? If you toss your lipstick when it’s “empty” — which means it’s now level with the edge of the tube — you are basically throwing away half the tube each time. Invest in a small brush, work it over the lipstick and then apply to your lips. You will be shocked by how many applications are left in the tube — there’s almost as much left inside as there is in a full lipstick. YMMV, of course, depending on brand. (Check out the photo for an example.) Using a brush to get the rest of the lipstick out is just plain smart. And you can keep using your favorite shade a lot longer.

— Raccoon eyes. For an inexpensive way to remove the dark smudges left by eyeliner, mascara, etc., under your eyes after washing your face, try a little hair conditioner/creme rinse. I keep one of those hotel-size bottles on the sink and dab a bit under my eyes, then wipe clean gently with a cotton pad or facial tissue. Much, much cheaper than special lotions or creams.

— Cuticle pens on the cheap. They’re lovely and fun, but pricey. You can get the same results for a lot less money with your basic tube of lip balm. Just run the edge of it lightly over your cuticles, then massage the stuff in. Presto! A nice pick-me-up for chapped cuticles for a fraction of the cost.

(c) copyright Laura Groch 2013