Wasted Food Equals Wasted Money

Wasted Food Equals Wasted Money

Rich or poor, we must all spend money on everyday living expenses. Whether it be food, shelter or clothing, the costs associated with these daily essentials often eat into whatever budget we have, thereby leaving very little money for anything else at the end of the day. Sticking to a budget is difficult, and as much as we try to be thrifty and save money for a rainy day, it’s not always possible. In a world where reducing our spending and consumption sees no signs of slowing down, it can often be daunting and downright stressful. However, recent global data suggests that there is at least one way that we as a population can cut back on our spending, and that has to do with our food purchasing.

The Food Waste Problem

Year on year, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food is needlessly disposed of. That equates to approximately a third of all food produced each year. When you look at this statistic in more detail, this is broken down to 45% combined fruit and vegetables, 30% cereals, 20% dairy and 20% meat. This research is shocking and begs the question: ‘Why are we buying more than we need?’

Not only is this food waste extremely careless, but it’s also uneconomical eating up a significant amount of our household budgets. In the last twenty or so years in the United States, it is believed that the poorest 20% of the population spent between 28.8% to 42.6% of their pre-tax income on food. In comparison with the UK, particularly in 2016, the average British household spent 11% of their yearly budget on food. Shockingly, lower-income families spent 17% of their annual pay on food. There is a lesson to be learned here. No matter what income you ear, there is always room for savings by reducing your weekly or monthly spend on groceries. Not only will this benefit your wallet, but will benefit the environment, too.

save money and food

How You Can Make a Difference

You can simply do the obvious and buy less food, but there are other ways in which you can make significant savings to your wallet without having to drastically change your lifestyle. For example, buying locally grown fruit and vegetable is one way. There are plenty of farmer’s markets and fruit and vegetable stands throughout the UK, all offering the same quality produce, if not better, that a supermarket does. By supporting these independent stands and shops, you are encouraging local farmers and growers, and helping your wallet, too. As there are fewer costs associated due to the lack of necessity for heavy transport, it’s good for the environment, good for the seller, and good for you.

Secondly, there is always the option to purchase food with a longer-lasting expiry date. These food items tend to be similar to other mainstream products, particularly in terms of taste and appearance, which, at the end of the day, means you will be making less purchases over time.

Changing your eating habits is another way to save money, plus improve your health. If you are a regular meat eater, why not try substituting for a meat-free version of your favourite meal? Not only can this be good for your wallet, but also your health, as a reduction in red meat consumption is positive for overall cardiovascular health. There are plenty of meat-free alternatives which can be found at the supermarkets these days, from Quorn to tofu, and all with a very similar taste, texture and nutritional value to meat. It’s always a good idea to remain open-minded when it comes to food, since you never know when the next meat-free dish you stir up will become your family’s fave.

If you like to dabble with garden, then why not grow your own ingredients? It doesn’t have to be an entire field of potatoes or peas, it can be a small plot with an assortment of your favourite fruit and vegetables. Not only is this inexpensive and easy to maintain, but organic fresh produce is great for overall health. Don’t forget the importance of your 5 a day!

Take this a step further and consider composting your food. Again, this is quick and easy to do and involves your food waste being broken down, converted into nutrients, which can then be used as a fertiliser – even for your own garden. Free from chemicals and other additives, composting is a terrific way to put your food waste to beneficial use.

Conclusion

Take a step back and look at the amount of food waste that you are responsible for, not to mention the money that has burned a hole in your pocket and the damage to the environment. Although it may take a little effort at first, it isn’t difficult to make changes to your spending and food habits in the long run. Go on, give it a go, and once you realise the amount of money you’ve saved, you will wish you had only started sooner.

5 Ways To Save Money When Buying Your First Home

5 Ways To Save Money When Buying Your First Home

Getting on the property ladder is a life goal that many people share, unfortunately, this dream doesn’t always become a reality. Buying a house is expensive and complicated, which means many people will resign themselves to being renters for the rest of their lives. However, there are ways you can save money on buying your first home that will make your dream much more achievable. Follow these five tips to save money when buying and moving into your first home.

1. Find A Proactive Estate Agent

The economic climate means that only the most proactive and switched on estate agents will be able to survive. It’s no longer enough to list a property and wait for people to walk into your office, so look for the estate agents willing to got that extra mile to find you an amazing property. They should understand your needs and your budget inside out, and they should be able to bring your properties before they’ve even made it to the market. They should also understand the limits of the seller and know when you can lower your offer.

2. Use All The Help You Can Get

There are many government schemes designed to help first time buyers get on the property ladder so you should take all the help you can get. Even if it’s just a tax break to help you save a little more money every month, this will add add up to a bigger deposit and lower mortgage payments in the long run. Some newer eco-friendly developments have been know to help with the cost of things like conveyancing quotes and other solicitors fees.

3. Stick To Your Budget

Approaching every property with a bit of imagination means you will get a lot more for your money than if you try to find the perfect property that takes you out of your budget. Make a list of needs that you cannot compromise on, and then add to that your list of wants. When you see a property, it should meet all of your needs and some of your wants, but you will have to be willing to compromise.

4. Get The Right Insurance

When you become a homeowner, you will no longer have a letting agent or landlord to take care of your problems, so it’s important to cover yourself financially. Getting the right homeowners insurance won’t just cover you in the event of a burglary, but it will also cover unexpected events like flooding or storm damage.

5. Shop Around For Services

Many people make the mistake of using the first service provider that comes along because they think that the cost of professional services is always the same, but this simply isn’t the case. You don’t have to use the conveyancing solicitors that your estate agent recommends, and you don’t have to use a local solicitor either, so if you are buying a home in Leeds but know of a conveyancing Manchester solicitor, there is nothing to stop you from using them.

5 Budgeting Tips from Professionals with Irregular Income

5 Budgeting Tips from Professionals with Irregular Income

There are many advantages to not having a nine-to-five job, or indeed any job which sees you working a fixed number of hours per week. You might have more time to yourself, enjoy greater flexibility and sometimes even the luxury of being your own boss. The worst part, however, is the sometimes discomforting nature of an unstable or unpredictable income. Even if you are confident in always earning enough to accommodate for your lifestyle, budgeting becomes a nuisance when your income is continuously fluctuating based on variables such as performance, seasonal factors, consumer trends and pure chance.

Here are some tips on how to manage your bankroll with effective budgeting from successful people in a number of irregular-income professions.

 

J.D. Roth, Freelancer

 

A blogger for many years, and owner of Moneyboss.com; J.D Roth has a good deal of experience in budgeting and bankroll management. His tip for other freelancers? Be realistic in your budgeting and always account for a ‘worst-case wage’, thereby creating a safety net.

 

When I project my cashflow, I base it on my minimum monthly income from the past twelve months. Using my minimum monthly income instead of my average monthly income gives me a safety buffer. And when you have an irregular income, a safety buffer is vital,” he explains.

 

Your average monthly income might decline for a variety of reasons, so expecting it to be exactly the same as the previous year is dangerous and can lead to premature spending. Basing your yearly budget off your minimum monthly wage from the previous year forces you to budget according to a ‘worst case’ wage. This helps you deal with any nasty financial surprises or disappointments that might arise throughout the year, whilst also putting you in a better position to save money

 

Once you calculate your ‘monthly minimum’ from last year, J.D. Roth suggests having two separate bank accounts. One is your business account and one is your personal account. Your business account is where you receive all money earned throughout the month, and it is from this account you transfer the sum of your ‘monthly minimum’ into your personal account.

Think of your business account like the account of a company which pays you a monthly wage. This way, any extra money you earned above you ‘monthly minimum’ sits in your business account and accumulates interest. This method helps recreate the feeling of a stable income, whilst also providing you with an emergency fund, savings account, or end-of-year-bonus (how you percieve the money in your business account is up to you!)

 

Paul Wasicka, Poker Player

 

Poker is profession with one of the most unpredictable incomes of all – and therefore one of the most important in which to manage bankroll effectively. Professional poker players sometimes earn half of their annual income in just one week. Poker is also unique in that professionals have to spend money to make money. Paul Wasicka, whose main income derives from a mixture of online poker tournaments and live events, suggests the following;

 

I fully recommend that you never commit more than 10% of your bankroll to an individual event or ring game. To be truly safe…limit your investment to between 2% and 5%.

 

Knowing that you can survive a loss also helps your mentality and allows for better play and more success, Wasicka argues. “Because I don’t have as much of my bankroll invested in a tournament entry, I play the event without fear that I would be crippled if I failed to cash.

Chris Lott, Sales

When winning big in poker, it is understandably tempting to splash it all – which makes discipline in professional poker extremely important. Respect your bankroll. Keep tabs on how many hours you spend playing poker throughout the year, then divide your total earnings between those hours to get an idea of your ‘hourly rate’. If you win big, but then calculate that this win only accounts for a moderate figure per hour (considering all the hundreds of hours you have put into playing), then you’ll feel significantly less inclined to spend it all in one go. It will feel more like a much-needed payoff after hours of hard work, rather than a lucky big win.

 

Chris Lott, Sales

Chris Lott is a sales management expert and owner of LottSpace.com, with years of experience in commission-based sales jobs. For those starting out with no savings to their name, Lott suggests employing what he calls the A, B, C plan. This is merely a means of regulating income and getting a good grasp of how much you need to save – and how much you can afford to spend. Each month, you can be in one of the following financial positions;

 

  1. Easily afford to pay rent and bills with extra money for expenditure and savings.
  2. Be able to pay rent and bills but with little to no money remaining after necessities are covered. May need to tap into savings.
  3. Struggling to pay rent and bills – barely enough to survive on.

 

Obviously, the goal is to never reach C. Evaluating which letter you are on each month helps you plan for the future. If you are regularly on B, you might need to disperse savings more equally between months or rethink your budget so you find ways to spend less money. If you hit C then you’ll need to consider how and when you are going to be able to raise your monthly income as quickly as possible, and whether you are able to cut back on certain lifestyle costs or even take on a second job.

 

Aside from budgeting, Chris Lott offers a tip on how to survive on a commission-based sales salary. He explains that, “having your self-esteem intact is mandatory. To stay in a commissioned environment day after day, month after month, year after year takes a kind of faith in yourself. You really need to believe in not only your abilities but that successes will come. You need to know that the efforts invested will eventually come to fruition.”

 

Sandra Garth, Business Owner

 

Sandra Garth owns an online business specialized in providing tableware and decorations for parties. Though she has a good grasp of the minimum profit the website will make each month, she keeps detailed records on the times of year that weekly or monthly profits rise above average. Her business does especially well during holidays like Halloween, Easter and Christmas – so she budgets accordingly.

 

If the income pattern differs dramatically one month, and our profit does not meet expectations, then we analyze why our sales might have fallen from this time last year. Looking at these patterns help us evaluate whether we are effectively capitalizing on seasonal trends and whether our range of products are continuing to effectively meet demand,” Garth explains.

 

Paul Drayson, Musician

 

For a performer whose workdiffers month to month, the priority for me lies in landing gigs and immediately receiving non-refundable deposits. That might mean spending some money on promotion and agents, the cost of which needs to be factored into your budgeting,” Paul Drayson, a musician, explains. You should always have gigs booked a minimum of three weeks in advance. Something unexpected and impromptu might get scheduled short-notice – but see that as a pleasant surprise. Never bank on it.”

 

You never know when a show might get cancelled, so Drayson suggests basing your budgeting on deposits only. Ideally, you should get to a stage where you could live off your deposits alone – the second part of the payment will go towards your savings. It’s not easy, and requires a lot of discipline, but it will put you in a great and comfortable position.

 

Becoming an effective budgeter of an irregular income, to the point where you can put aside some cash each month and never have to stress, is no easy task. But with a little time and practise you’ll see that detailed bankroll management is well worth the effort.

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8 Ways To Boost Warehouse Productivity With Conveyors

8 Ways To Boost Warehouse Productivity With Conveyors

Conveyors are complicated machines that should never be taken for granted. They can affect productivity, especially when integrated into large parcel handling systems. In order to get a return on investment fast, save money and keep productivity high, you need to consider the following:

1. Know your load

When choosing a conveyor belt system, it is very important that you consider the kind of load you will be transporting. This is why you should come up with a list of intended load and note their width, height, length, width and weight. These factors could end up affecting the conveyor’s performance.

Consider load orientation. If an operator does not place an item on the conveyor properly, the load width may end up becoming its height. You need to check the load’s bottom configuration known as its footprint. This is because of the fact that this part can affect the design and cost of the conveyor.

Loads can act erratically on roller conveyors and cause the system to jam. Look for feet or runners on boxes and pallets, soggy or bulging bottoms on cardboard cartons, and protruding nails on wooden cases.

2. Select the right incline conveyors

Incline conveyors are used for moving goods between two different elevations. They are useful for sites that incorporate mezzanine floors or loading bays. You need to be very careful when choosing incline conveyors as they can affect your system’s performance.

Some of the factors you need to consider include load characteristics, throughput requirements, proximity to employees, in-feed or discharge points, safety devices and interface with horizontal conveyors. Be careful of incline conveyors that exceed a 30-degree angle as parcels may either slip or tumble.

3. Testing

Conveyors usually have millions of moving parts and new systems require extensive testing. Visually inspect conveyors to check if safety guards and stickers are in place. Check if the emergency stops are easily accessible.

Thoroughly test controls and see what happens in case operators were to make errors such as pushing two buttons at once. Since downtime can be a costly affair, ensure that you check how long it takes for the system to recover. Test conveyors with a small number of items placed at in-feed points.

Check rollers, belts, diverters, and merges work in a proper manner and look for parcels hanging up on bends. Load the system to capacity and evaluate its performance. Check carton spacing on conveyors and overload areas to find out where bottlenecks could possibly occur.

conveyor belts

4. Regular maintenance

Scheduled servicing ensure that conveyors function as they should and minimize the risks of breakdowns. Replace components at regular intervals or as they start showing signs of wear. This is what is known as predicted maintenance. Regular housekeeping (preventative maintenance) is essential to maintaining conveyors.

Service routines are machine specific and tailored to operational demands but consider testing and emergency stop controls, lubricating components, cleaning the conveyor and checking belt (if fitted) tracking and condition. Look for rollers (if fitted) that do not rotate or rotate irregularly and check electrical components.

5. Know fixes to common problems

Due to the fact that problems may look worse than they really are, it is important that you assess the situation before calling an expensive service engineer.

If you find that items have accumulated in one area of the conveyor, just clean or adjust photo eye sensors if they are fitted. If the conveyor shuts all of a sudden for no apparent reason, just reset the emergency stop buttons. If the drive on a belt conveyor runs but the belt does not run, check for overloading.

6. Safety

Compared to other warehouse or industrial equipment conveyors move slower and do not appear threatening. However, they are powerful machines that can be very dangerous. This is why it is very important to clearly mark the start and stop controls and train workers in all aspects of safety. Keep the surrounding area clean and free of obstructions.

Accidents can injure employees and cost companies thousands of pounds in terms of lawsuits and lost productivity. Ensuring safety around conveyors contributes to a fast return on investment.

7. Reduce energy consumption

The more the costs of running a conveyor, then the slower the return on investment. It is very important to conserve energy and keep utility bills down by turning conveyors off when not in use. There are timer controls that can help automate the process. Use gravity roller conveyors where feasible to reduce energy consumption.

8. Design conveyor workstations should be ergonomically designed

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are strain injuries which affect the neck, back or legs. MSDs are usually caused by prolonged periods of standing, improper manual handling or repetitive movement. They can have long-term health implication for workers and can cost a business a lot.

Even though conveyors help reduce repetitive lifting and carrying, they can lead to MSDs if they are not designed for the task and users in mind. You have to carefully consider the physical aspects of conveyor workstations. Employees should not assume awkward postures such as twisting or stooping at any given time.

GBP May Stand More To Lose Than EUR After Terror Attack

GBP May Stand More To Lose Than EUR After Terror Attack

Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France were interrupted tragically by an attack that took the lives of almost 100 people. That terrible action is undoubtedly a terrorist attack, one which joins the sad roster of similar assaults that already includes Brussels and Paris. Read more

How To Have A Great Summer Vacation On A Budget

How To Have A Great Summer Vacation On A Budget

Have you ever sat there looking at photos on your computer wishing that you were sipping espresso in Paris or relaxing on a beach in the Carribean? If so, you need to stop dreaming and make this your reality. You and your family deserve some time away, and there is no better time to plan than right now. Here are some summer travel tips that will help make planning a simpler process. Read more

How First-Time Homebuyers Can Save Money

How First-Time Homebuyers Can Save Money

It can be very exciting purchasing your first home. However, even for home buyers who are more prepared, the cost of a house can cause a lot of fear and trepidation. Making an investment into a multi-unit property that has a mother-in-law apartment or another type of rental can provide you with extra income that can help ease any financial anxieties you might have and help with covering your mortgage.

So be sure to take the time to look into all the benefits that are in making multi-unit property investments and consider whether you are prepared to accept all of the responsibility that comes with it. Read more

Water Heaters- How to Reduce Energy Costs?

Water Heaters- How to Reduce Energy Costs?

Heating your home can be expensive. Heating water can also cost a lot of money. Most people think about their heating system when they are trying to cut energy costs; however, many people do not think of how much energy a poorly functioning water heater can expend. In fact, according to the website Energy.gov, your water heater costs approximately 18 percent of your total energy bill. Water heaters are the second largest Read more

Cut Down on Your Bills: How to Save Money Today!

Cut Down on Your Bills: How to Save Money Today!

1. Adjust Your Thermostat

When the weather is cold, make sure you turn down the thermostat to a temperature that is cool but bearable. Similarly, when the weather is warm, make sure the thermostat is turned up. While you don’t want to be sweating in your home in the heat of summer, there is no Read more

Insulate Your Home And Save Money

Insulate Your Home And Save Money

You probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about insulation. After all, it just sits in our walls, silently biding its time. Then, along comes a chilly draft, a three digit utility bill, or super-hot or sub-zero weather. Suddenly, you are thinking about it all the time.

You find yourself sitting at home wondering if it is a good idea to add insulation to your basement, walls, and ceiling. You wonder which density is best, which width, thickness, and type would delver the best value. And, once the installation is complete, you wonder if you have done enough. Read more

Alternative Energy Sources

Alternative Energy Sources

Alternative energy sources (also called “free energy”), are here to help us reduce pollutants, greenhouse gasses, and preserve many of the natural resources that we currently use for energy production.

These renewable energy sources include solar power energy, wind power energy, geothermal energy, and hydroelectric energy.

Not only are these great ways to save energy and our environment, but two (2) of them, in particular, are an excellent money-saving ideas for home energy savings. Read more