Whether honoring our fallen on Memorial Day or commemorating our founding on Independence Day, summer offers several opportunities to honor our country.
Although we are a nation of serious achievements, I like the fact that we don’t take ourselves too seriously in the process. Whether going easy or hard, most Americans keep things light and simple.
A good example of this is a cookout. As a straightforward way to enjoy friends, food, and traditions, it’s quintessentially American. As you are probably aware, Independence Day is this week. To help make planning easier and get the most value, this article will share some ideas to save some green while celebrating the red, white, and blue:
• Shopping list: Cookouts don’t happen everyday and a lot of details go into them. In other words, we have a perfect recipe for multiple trips to the store. If you hate taking several excursions when one would have worked, your ship has arrived! At this link (https://bit.ly/37VFGbE), you will find a comprehensive shopping list for cookout and party supplies that will cover most people’s needs. Just check off the items you want and you will be ready to go to the store.
• Food and beverages: With the shopping list in hand, the next item on the agenda is getting great prices. In case you aren’t aware, grocery deals and coupon matchups for Food King are highlighted every Wednesday in the A-J. This week, specials sure to come in handy for the Fourth of July are highlighted. In addition, a comprehensive list of deals is posted on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LubbockSavvyShopper or log on to Facebook and enter “Lubbock Savvy Shopper” in the search tool). Every week, you can follow the bargains and save as much as 70% on food and beverages.
• Ice: Among the grocery stores, Food King has the best price at $1.94 for a 10-pound bag. If you don’t live near Food King, you can to try “Twice the Ice” vending and get 16 pounds of bagged or 20 pounds of bulk ice for as much as 50% cheaper than many stores. For location information, go to www.twicetheice.com/machine-locations/. As a heads up, you probably shouldn’t bargain hunt for ice if you live more than two miles away from a better price. Typically, the lower price will be offset by the gas you use. To stretch the ice supply, refrigerate as many drinks as you can before placing in the cooler. Not only will this reduce your usage but also give the drinks maximum fizz and best taste.
• Propane: To save as much as 50%, refill your propane cylinder rather than exchanging it. Although this service is getting rarer, U-Haul (1613 34th St.) is one place you can still do this.
• Charcoal: For charcoal users, consider revisiting the issue of “briquette vs. lump.” For those who are unfamiliar, charcoal is offered in lump or briquette form. Where briquettes are identically shaped pieces consisting of wood along with additives to control temperature and ignitability, lump charcoal is irregularly shaped and consists purely of wood. Each one’s vices are also their virtues. For example, briquettes offer highly consistent temperature but limited versatility. Conversely, lump charcoal offers culinary versatility through a wide temperature range (up to 1000 degrees F) and varying types of wood for different flavor profiles. The downside is that they are high maintenance compared to briquettes. My main point is to highlight lump charcoal as an option. For more information on briquette vs. lump, go to www.seriouseats.com/2008/05/grilling-smackdown-lump-charcoal-vs-briquette.html and https://www.foodfirefriends.com/lump-charcoal-vs-briquettes/.
To avoid compromising the food’s taste and your health, consider using a chimney starter instead of charcoal starter. While the fumes from lighter fluid may not harm anything on the meat, it probably doesn’t help. Why take a chance?
• Bugs: Although our whether is typically dry, bugs still find a way to enter the picture. While there are all kinds of ways to control pests, consider using benign methods for keeping bugs away. A combination of cheaper and safer makes them worth a try. As everyone’s experience is different, definitely keep your proven methods as a backup. If the green way doesn’t work, you can always go back to the tried and true. If it does, you can save money and Mother Nature at the same time. For more information, go to https://learn.eartheasy.com/guides/natural-insect-pest-control/.
Hopefully, the above tips will enable you to save and have a better celebration. If you know of other great deals you would like to share, we at the Savvy Shopper would love to hear about it.
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SEAN FIELDS is the A-J’s Savvy Shopper. Read his columns Sundays and Wednesdays. Email him at SavvyShopperLubbock@gmail.com, like his Facebook page at Facebook.com/LubbockSavvyShopper, or see previous columns and deals at lubbockonline.com/savvy-shopper.