How Eating Less Meat Can Increase Savings

How Eating Less Meat Can Increase Savings

With an expected inflation in the cost of basic necessities, families across America are looking for ways to save money. Industry executives have been warning the public to expect huge inflation, especially in the price of meat products. It may be time to consider how eating less meat can increase savings for your family.

Plant Based Diets and Eating Less Meat Increase Savings

While only about 5% of Americans claim to be vegetarian, a Gallup poll revealed that approximately 23% are already eating less meat in their diet. There are a number of reasons why people choose to become vegetarian, but let’s focus specifically on the financial benefits. It’s no secret that meat-free products are less expensive than their counterparts. According to a study in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, you can save $750 a year by switching to a plant-based diet or meatless alternatives. You can maximize your budget even more by choosing seasonal vegetables and using dry goods such as beans or lentils. When planning meals for a family, eating less meat can increase savings in the long run.

Increasing Price of Meat

Customers in the United States can soon expect to pay more for meat at local grocery stores. Some experts are predicting a 20 percent increase in the price of beef and pork from 2019. This is largely because of recent meatpacking plant closures due to coronavirus outbreaks. Widespread factory shutdowns have halted meat production in the livestock supply chain. In addition, many agricultural states across the Midwest experienced devastating flooding last year that wiped out millions of heads of livestock. This has all contributed to the meat shortage industry executives have been warning the public about for weeks.

All of these industry setbacks have also put additional strain on both farmers and local grocery stores. Producers are cutting their losses by aborting pregnant livestock. National grocery stores such as Costco and Kroger have also implemented a purchase limit for meat products. Grocers were prepared to see their meat supplies shrink by 30 percent following the holiday weekend as well. Despite the president’s urging to reopen, it seems the meatpacking plants will remain closed until workers no longer fear for their safety.

Making the Choice to Eat Less Meat

Limiting the amount of animal protein in your diet is beneficial for your wallet, your health, and the environment. Reducing our consumption on a national scale also has important economic effects. Meat and dairy cost more because raising animals is much more resource intensive than other sources of proteins. Beef and lamb are the most resource intensive meat sources. Pork and poultry have a mid-range environmental impact while seafood is relatively climate-friendly. Bivalves such as oysters, scallops, clams and mussels are the most sustainable animal proteins.

However, adopting an all-or-nothing approach to eating less meat could be setting yourself up for failure. If you are like me, denying yourself something makes you want it even more. That is why I started simple by tweaking my diet. While I still consume meat, I try to eat vegetarian at least once a week.  I also reduce the amount of meat I use when I am cooking, choosing to add more vegetables and grains to the meal. The meat is now a source of flavor rather than my daily caloric intake. In addition to costing me less money, it has also helped my lose weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Choosing a less meat-dependent diet does not need to be about deprivation; it can be a delicious way to experiment with new ingredients while reducing your carbon footprint.

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How to Spot Home Improvement Scams

How to Spot Home Improvement Scams

Hiring a contractor to complete home improvements can be a frustrating and confusing process. While most businesses are comprised of professional, hardworking people, there are plenty of scammers out there trying to make easy money. Home improvement scams are nothing new, but they become more common place during economic downturns. The worst part is they usually prey on the most vulnerable. Here are some of the most common home improvement scams and tips to help you avoid them.

5 Common Home Improvement Scams

1. Take the Money and Run

Be wary of any contractor who asks for large cash payments up front. If you receive a request for more than a third of the money upfront, there’s a good chance it is a home improvement scam. Any reputable company will guarantee their work and accept payment in installments. The FTC recommends using credit card or check in case you need to contest charges down the line. Otherwise, scam artists could run off with your money before they even begin or finish the work.

2. The Ol’ Bait and Switch

This is one of the oldest cons in the book because it is one of the most effective. People love to get a great deal so many will respond to local advertisements and mailers. The customer is drawn in by a low starting quote only to have additional services added to the estimate. If you are not cautious, you could lose thousands of dollars to this type of home improvement scam.

3. Passing Off Liability

If someone comes knocking at your door, do your research before you agree to anything. Check for online reviews of their work and official websites to verify they have the proper permits, training and insurance. One common home improvement scam involves traveling contractors who offer cheap labor around the neighborhood. Even if you hire skilled laborers, you – not the contractor – will be liable for any penalties or repairs if they are not licensed. It’s better to stick with certified and transparent companies who guarantee their work.

4. Getting What You Pay For

One cliché that holds true is that you always get what you pay for. If someone is offering ridiculously low prices, then it usually equates to bad or minimal service. Also turn away anyone using substandard or discount products. Trying to save a few bucks now could result in costly repairs. If the offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

5. Bullied by Insurance Companies

Even when you have done everything right, insurance companies present another potential source of home improvement scams. Beyond the threat of con artists are the legal ways insurance companies deny valid claims. Be sure to review your policy so you know what to do when contesting it.

How to Spot Home Improvement Scams

The best way to not become a victim is to know how to spot a home improvement scam when you see one. If you have any red flags such as high pressure sales tactics, cash upfront requirements, or no written agreements, run. To help you vet contractors, always ask for references and check reviews online. Lastly, know the laws and terms of any contracts or policies you sign. In today’s digital world, there is a wealth of information online to help you choose the best contractor for your home repairs.

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How to Get Access to Virtual Tours and Events

Free Virtual Tours and Events

Due to the public safety measures in places, many of us have had our summer vacation plans disrupted. Despite the closing of public spaces, some very resourceful and tech-savvy people have found a way for you to still enjoy world class virtual tours and events. This means that we now have access to the most loved galleries and landmarks around the world. The public can now tour some of the most famous sites and museums absolutely free. Here are ten amazing virtual tours and events that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

Museums

One major factor in my travel planning is the local museums. I always set aside a few days to immerse myself in the art, history, geography and culture of my destination. I had planned to mark another bucket list item with a visit to the British Museum this summer. Even though my travel itinerary has been indefinitely postponed, I can still peruse their extensive artifact collection. The tour includes photos and an interactive inventory for you to browse without worrying about closing times.

Another benefit of virtual tours and events is that I have the freedom to spend as much time examining the exhibits as I please. When I’m studying the masterpieces in the Louvre, no one is rushing me to the next display. I can also absorb the information and timelines of the fossil records as I explore the archives of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Best of all, there are no lines or crowds to contend with.

Astronomy

For the more scientifically minded crowd, NASA has published all its images online as public domain. You can search images, listen to audio, or watch videos discussing information collected using research satellites. If you decide to take a break from scanning the skies, you can return to Earth with virtual tours and events of NASA Research Center in Langley, Virginia. It’s also an excellent tool if you need resources to supplement you children’s science education.

Cultural Landmarks

As a student of history, cultural landmarks and ancient sites are my top priority when traveling. However, many of these locations are inaccessible until further notice. Thankfully, there are a number of sites that have published free virtual tours and events for these tourist attractions. You can now meander the subterranean tunnels of the Roman Colosseum or stroll along the expanse of the Great Wall with a few clicks. If you have more time to dedicate to the experience, you should consider a virtual reality trek and tour of sites like Petra. Once remote wonders of the ancient world are now at your fingertips.

National Parks and Zoos

Those who lead an active lifestyle and love the outdoors are especially suffering under quarantine. If you are aching to get back to nature, there a few online resources where you can take in the beauty of America’s national parks. Thanks to modern technology you can traverse the sequoia forests and famous peaks of Yosemite National Park. You can then continue on to the craggy canyons and iconic geysers of Yellowstone National Park.

Animal lovers can also enjoy the open-air habitats of the San Diego Zoo with live streams. You can observe the animals without combating weather and large groups of people. While it still remains the most visited zoos in the world, it is now available for people around the globe.

No matter where your interests lie, there are tons of virtual tours and events available online. Check out this complete list of free tours and resources to help you plan your next virtual vacation.

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