Economy calls for better budgeting

Published 3:52 am Wednesday, February 4, 2009

By Staff
From time to time articles are submitted to Extension Agents for republication to the public. This article was written by one of my colleagues, Parico Osby, a regional agent in Human Nutrition, Diet and Health with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. The message is so timely that I wanted to share it with all of you.
Benjamin Franklin said those who buy things they have no real need for will soon be selling their necessities.  Although that has not reached wholesale effect in our troubled economy yet, many people are planning to avoid Franklin's prediction.
The Food Marketing Institute reports that 83 percent of consumers are preparing and eating home-cooked meals at least three times a week.  Eating out less and stocking up on store or generic brands is highly recommended.  Consumers are encouraged to visit multiple stores for sale items of frequently used products.  Spam is a big seller and more ways to prepare it are being found.  Look for the light or low sodium type Spam to reduce the sodium and fat in the meat.
Many shoppers complain about the escalating costs of products like fresh chicken, fresh strawberries, beans, and other fresh produce.  Consumers should look at these same items from the frozen food and canned food sections. These frozen foods do not include frozen prepared meals.  These foods are more affordable yet fulfill the nutrient requirement the body needs.  If you must purchase fresh food items to satisfy your taste buds, buy in smaller quantities and less frequently.  Make more meal stretchers, such as chili and spaghetti and include meatless meals more often.
Lastly, don't forget to search the newspaper, sale inserts and magazines for coupons of items you buy often.  Also, look for buy-one, get-one-free meat items.  Supermarkets advertise these bargains frequently to consumers.  Look for items that can be used in many ways in many recipes, such as ground beef or ground turkey.
The Escambia County Extention office is located at 175 4-H Ag Science Dr., Suite D. The building is located just off U.S. 31 South behind the Southern Pine Electric Cooperative offices.
The Extension office offers a variety of information and services dealing with issues of food, nutrition, health and financial issues.
To contact agents at the Extension office call 867-7760 or drop by the offices.
Printed materials on a variety of topics are made available to the public by the Extension Service.