Data forecasts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture predict that beef and veal prices are expected to increase three to four percent over prices from 2013.
Why? Mother Nature appears to be to blame. Many ranchers blame the drought, saying no green grass means it’s hard to feed the cows.
That shortage of grass also means farmers are buying more corn for feed which is why corn prices are also up.
The USDA predicts if the drought in California continues, prices of other vegetables, fruit, dairy and eggs could also rise because we get a lot of what we eat from that part of the country.
However, later this year prices are expected to get back to normal. Until that happens, there are ways to save.
We found ways you can save up to 50 percent without a lot of stress.
First, money management experts suggest meal planning to eliminate impulse shopping and also wasteful items. Consider this: experts estimate most families throw away 15 percent of the food they buy and that’s a lot of money. They also suggest planning a night to dedicate to the use of leftovers.
Next, with that planning, buy the fruits and vegetables that are in season. You still eat healthy and save on the out-of-season items that will cost more. For instance, in February and early March, shoppers will find broccoli and carrots at a better price than tomatoes and peppers.
Many also suggest buying in bulk, but not everything. Top items: meat to freeze and toiletries to stock. You can also save by purchasing generic items: many of the ingredients from household goods to grocery items are nearly identical.
For coupon lovers, you can also save big bucks to get started. First, pick a source like the Sunday paper or your favorite store’s site. Then, get organized. You can do that with simply a binder or a system to separate different sections of the store.
Only clip coupons for what you need. Don’t just throw away more money because you have a coupon in hand.
For more advanced coupon clippers, when you know what you’re after, google that item, and type in the name of the product or store and then the words ‘Review coupon’.
You can also make sure you know store policies.
Finally, sometimes bulk is good but with coupons buying less can save you more. For instance, a dollar off on something at the smallest size allowed by the product will stretch farther.
If no size is specified you might actually get that product free! With coupons it can happen according to some store policies.
Many coupon apps are also popular. Some feature a certain store’s ads and cashiers can scan the coupon or type in a code.Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.
Here is another reason to plan your summer vacation now. SpiceJet has announced a three-day ‘Promo Code Summer Offer’ under which the airline is offering up to 75 per cent discount on travel between April 1, 2014 and June 30, 2014.
According to SpiceJet the offer is available on all domestic flights. The SpiceJet’s super-sale offer is available on bookings done between today (February 24, 2014) and Wednesday (February 26, 2014).
According to SpiceJet, the lowest sale fare from Delhi to Mumbai under the dicount offer is Rs 3,186 as compared to the last-minute fare of Rs 10,098.
The SpiceJet discount offer is not available on international and connecting flights. The discount is available on base fare and fuel surcharge only.
This is the third time in the last one month that the Kalanithi Maran promoted carrier has slashed fares to avail early summer bookings.
SpiceJet says normal change and cancellation policy applies on the discount offer.
SpiceJet shares ended 0.75 per cent higher at Rs 13.70 on the BSE. (With agency inputs)
By Betty Adams
When Michael Gove had an echocardiogram 14 months ago at a doctor’s office in the Northpark Professional Building in Augusta, the bill was $658. His insurance policy paid it all.
Susan and Michael Gove of Gardiner want medical consumers to know that shopping to find cheaper medical tests can save money.
Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal
Some 14 months later, another echocardiogram done at MaineGeneral Medical Center after the doctor’s office moved there cost $2,319 and carried a $220.35 coinsurance bill for Gove and his wife, Susan.
The Goves, who live in Gardiner, were astonished at the difference in cost.
"I started asking questions," Susan Gove said. "It was the exact same procedure that was done in the office." In fact, she said, it was the same technician. "I was extremely upset."
Gove, who works in a doctor’s office, understands medical billing and expected a hospital-based procedure to cost more, but not that much more.
Now she’s a poorer but wiser consumer. If another echocardiogram is ordered, the Goves will talk to their doctor and office staff and see if it can be performed at a nonhospital site where the cost will be less, likely only a $40 co-pay. “We will go to either Lewiston or Portland. Then I won’t get hit with a large bill,” Susan Gove said.
That practice of shopping around and comparing costs, which is second nature to most people when buying big-ticket items, is being encouraged by consumer and professional groups, medical professionals among them.
"The issue of cost can’t be ignored anymore," said Dr. Lisa Letourneau, executive director of Maine Quality Counts, an independent health care collaborative that encompasses hospitals, physicians, outpatient care and hospice providers, nursing organizations, insurers, governmental groups, consumers and the like.
The mission is to improve “health and healthcare for the people of Maine,” according to its website.
"We are trying to get involved in a way that’s helpful to driving quality," Letourneau said. Her organization and others promote a "Choosing Wisely" initiative that offers a list of "5 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before You Get any Test, Treatment, or Procedure." The list, developed by Consumer Reports Health and the Advancing Medical Professionalism to Improve Health Care Foundation, asks:
* Do I really need this test or procedure?
* What are the risks?
* Are there simpler, safer options?
* What happens if I don’t do anything?
* How much does it cost?
The final question also says: “Ask if there are less expensive tests, treatments or procedures, what your insurance may cover, and about generic drugs instead of brand-name drugs.”
Letourneau said asking those questions can help bring about a culture change among health care consumers accustomed to having insurance that offered first-dollar coverage. “People didn’t have a reason to pay attention,” she said. Now they are becoming more aware of it because of increased out-of-pocket costs.
She also said patients should not be surprised if a physician’s office can’t answer the cost questions. “Billing has been somebody’s job somewhere,” Letourneau said. “It’s entirely conceivable nobody in the office knows about the cost.
"I still just think just plain ‘What does it cost?’ is important, not just ‘What does it cost me?’"
By law, in Maine, hospitals and ambulatory facilities must provide a Deal Of The Day list.
MaineGeneral Medical Center, for instance, posts a list of the average charge for the most common inpatient services and outpatient procedures on its website along with the per-day room and board charges.
A spokeswoman, Diane Peterson, said the prices of procedures at the new hospital have remained constant despite the hospital’s consolidation of its inpatient services to Augusta. She said the charges were set at the beginning of the medical center’s fiscal year, July 1, 2013.
The Consumers for Affordable Health Care, an advocacy group, receives a number of calls from people facing unexpectedly high medical bills. Executive director Joe Ditre said few show price differences as stunning as that encountered by the Goves.
"Prices here in Maine for hospital services are higher than for other states," Ditre said. However, specific instances are difficult to glean from the charts offered by the federal government on the website of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Ditre, too, has suggestions for health care consumers. He said he directs many people to the Maine Health Data Organization, which offers a Maine HealthCost website that gives average costs for various procedures and even estimates what a particular insurance company will pay for it.
And he offers a caution: “No. 1, it is good to check to see if it’s an elective procedure and not urgent and an emergency.”Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:
You are in your favorite store and you have just spotted the best, the most perfect and cutest bag you have ever seen. You think about how amazing you are going to look. It must be yours. Buy it. Buy it now!
But wait just a second.
Do you have to have it this very moment? Is there a better way? Can you avoid paying full price? The answer is probably a resounding yes.
There was a time when I never gave a second thought to what something cost. Then my parents decided to help me learn to manage my money well by giving me an allowance and requiring me to purchase all of my clothing. That definitely changed my perspective. I quickly learned to scout clearance racks, use coupons and look for any way that I could make my limited funds go a little further.Sign Up With Your Favorite Stores
Recently, I developed a plan for making sure that I get the Price Compare possible whenever I go shopping
NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/
Google’s smartphone has been very popular since launch and after a number of months on sale in the US Google-owned Motorola has decided to bring the to the UK. See how these to mid-range priced smartphones compare to each other in our Nexus 5 vs Moto X comparison review.
If you can’t afford smartphones like the HTC One, Sony Xperia Z1 or Nokia Lumia 1520 then the Nexus 5 and Moto X are two great alternatives. The devices have decent spec but without a premium Discount tag.
See also: The 17 best smartphones of 2014.
Despite launching in the US last year with a price of $199, the Moto X has come to the UK with a SIM-free price of &;350. Rip off Britain right?
This means it costs a fair few quid more than the Nexus 5 which starts costs &;299 for the equivalent model - an outrageously low price for a flagship smartphone.
With the Moto X coming into the UK market at a higher price than the Nexus 5, does it stand any chance? Read on to find out.
With a slightly bigger screen and a higher resolution, things are looking a bit better if you opt for the Nexus 5. Its got a 4.95in screen with a Full HD 1080 x 1920 resolution. The Moto X’s display is only slightly smaller at 4.7in which isn’t a big deal but at 720p there’s less detail on offers. It’s 312ppi vs 445ppi in the pixel density stakes.
Moving onto internal components and the Nexus 5 is on top in the power battle with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 a 2.3 GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM. That’s a set-up found in much more expensive flagship smartphones.
The Moto X is equipped with a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro dual-core processor, also with 2GB of RAM.
Things are a dead heat on the storage front since both the Nexus 5 and Moto X are devoid of a microSD card slot and both come in 16- and 32GB storage options. Just make sure you pick which size carefully.
Motorola gets one back with its 10Mp camera which outpaces the Nexus 5’s 8Mp camera - on paper at least. Both have HDR modes and can shoot at up to 1080p video, though.
Both front facing cameras can take Full HD video, too, but the Moto X is able to offer more pixels for still photography at 2Mp against the Nexus 5’s 1.3Mp.
Things are on a similar level in the connectivity category with each smartphone offering dual-band Wi-Fi with the latest 11.ac standard, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS, NFC and support for 4G LTE mobile networks. The main difference is that the Nexus 5 also includes wireless charging.
Software is an area in which the Nexus 5 and Moto X only differ slightly. The Nexus 5 has Google’s vanilla Android 4.4 KitKat which has an exclusive launcher with Google Now is one swipe away from the main homescreen and other features include a full-screen mode for apps and artwork.
Meanwhile, the Moto X has Android 4.2 Jelly Bean (upgradable to KitKat) with a few tricks of its own. Active display feeds information onto the screen in a discrete way while Quick capture means you can launch the camera by twisting your wrist twice.
Beyond the handful of exclusive features, the Nexus 5 and Moto X both offer a pure Android experience.Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.