Consumers in the United States are slowly turning to home-grown food to combat rising prices of food and gasoline.
With gas prices inching toward four dollars a gallon -- up 25 percent in just five months -- and domestic food inflation up 6.3 percent, the American media is full of practical advice on reducing everyday expenses.
AdvertisementThe country known for its afficionados of 4X4 trucks and sports-utility vehicles is dusting off old books of advice on saving and reducing consumption, including recipes on making soap and detergent.
"Make a grocery list and stick to it. Don't shop when you are hungry," the Kansas City Star advised its readers.
"Eat less ... Drink tap water instead of sodas and bottled water ... Use what you have. Set up one week a month as a use-it-up week and plan all your meals using only what you already have."
Janet Fox Kreielsheimer, a financial consultant, said there were things people could do to free up extra cash to add to their savings.
"People must learn to make wiser long-term decisions concerning their finances," she said.
"They must avoid impulse purchases, which is the granddaddy of the black hole. That's where your money disappears, and you don't know what happened to it."
Clipping out discount coupons is back in fashion, even if, as North Carolina bargain hunter Michelle Harrison noted, the search for the best deal can turn into something like a part-time job.
Practical advice on reducing gasoline consumption is also everywhere. Media tips include reducing the time you keep the engine running idle, driving more slowly, car pools and combining several small errands into one big trip.
In some communities and companies, a four-day working week is beginning to take root, designed to save fuel by reducing the number of trips to work and thereby cutting the weekly gas bill by 20 percent.
The frugal lifestyle of the Amish, a religious community that shies away from electricity and other technological advances of modern life, is now gaining more admirers, as are discount stores run by Amish entrepreneurs.
The religious group operates a network of discount outlets, to which they bring slightly damaged products or things that went out of fashion, and sell them at unbeatable prices.
Meanwhile in backyards across the United States, flowers are being pulled up to make way for vegetable gardens featuring cucumbers and tomatoes.
According to the Garden Writers Association, about 40 percent of garden owners plan to use their patch of land this year to grow vegetables, a five-percent increase compared to last year.
Sales of vegetable seeds have seen double-digit increases.
Overall, Americans spent a total of 1.4 billion dollars on vegetable producing plans for their gardens last year, which is a 25 percent increase compared to 2006, said the National Gardening Association.