Benefits Of Grinding Your Own Coffee (Other Than Money Saving!)

How do you like your coffee? Coffee is more than a great scent filling the thick air in your kitchen every morning. Some coffee lovers prefer ground coffee beans to grinding fresh coffee beans. This is because it saves them the time and extra expense incurred by coffee beans. However coffee is more beneficial when its seeds are ground right before brewing. The advantages of grinding your coffee beans outweigh the factors of time and expense. Let us take a peek on the pros of grinding your coffee beans.

Within a coffee bean are 400 volatile organic compounds and oils. These compounds and oils are responsible for the feelings of excitement and pleasure in your coffee. They are protected and preserved by the outer layer of a coffee bean. Exposing coffee beans earlier than needed releases the original freshness and flavor. If the compounds and oils are let out, there is a reduction of the desired pleasure and excitement. Grinding your own coffee beans eventually produces a well-preserved decaf.

In order to achieve the best-tasting coffee, freshly ground coffee beans are advisable. Grinding these beans way before brewing exposes their interiors to air and, the inner seed oxidizes. When you have ground the seeds and left them for the first 15 minutes, you eject most of the aromatic compounds. Crushed coffee loses its most precious gems; scent and flavor. On the other hand, when you grind your coffee shortly before brewing it keeps its aromatic compounds intact. Unknowingly, people prefer ground coffee yet it has insufficient flavor compared to their freshly ground counterparts.

Freshly ground coffee beans keep stomach acidity at bay. Individuals with such acidic reactions in their stomach tend to observe their diet. If they ingest the wrong foods, they are prone to other adverse health conditions. These conditions include Barrett’s Syndrome and GERD. They irritate the stomach and cause discomfort. The great news is coffee made from freshly ground seeds is good for an acidic stomach. People suffering from stomach acidity can enjoy their mug of coffee after all.
Coffee beans contain oils that are crucial to the freshness of the coffee. These lipids are often exposed to the air when the beans are pre-ground and, not brewed immediately.

They are water soluble and, thus get diluted by the moisture in the air. Additionally they evaporate into the air. Upon exposure for long periods, these oils attract contaminated odors in the surrounding. As long as the beans are ground and stored, they stand a chance of sustaining unpleasant smells. It is, therefore, better to grind your coffee right before brewing than storing stale pre-ground coffee.

Bottom line coffee is best to prepare by freshly ground beans. Ground coffee beans expose volatile organic compounds and oils to the surrounding. Such coffee is poorly preserved and loses much of its flavor. You should not expose the inner part of a coffee bean for more than 15 minutes before grinding. This way grinding your coffee beans prevents oxidization. People suffering from stomach acidity can get comfort from coffee made out of freshly ground beans. Finally, freshly ground coffee beans reduce the risk of contamination. The best cup of joe is from freshly ground coffee beans. And one quick tip – if you get up before the rest of the household, definitely go with a quiet coffee grinder as to not wake them all up when you’re getting your morning cup of java.

The Basics: How To Save Money On Groceries

There are a lot of people going shopping and looking for discount on groceries. This can become one of the biggest expenses in the home, but there are definitely other ways to save and spend much less when it comes to the money that is spent.

One of the best ways that a person can save money at the grocery store is by clipping coupons. This is always going to be at the top of the list when it comes to saving because a person can save on many different items that they may be using. It may be possible to even find coupons inside the store in different aisles on certain products that you like. Coupons are always going to make it easier for people to save money, but even more can be saved if they are going to grocery stores that have double coupon days.

A lot of people are interested in brand names, but it may also be possible to save money on food in the home by considering food that is not part of a name brand lineup. There are a lot of considerable store brands that may taste just as good as the name brands that are being purchased.

People definitely have to consider this because that can play a big part in the amount of money that is saved. Grocery shoppers do not have to cut out all of their name brand food items, but it definitely can help shopper save as much as half of the total amount that they are spending on a certain products if they will simply consider the benefits of acquiring some store brands.

Grocery shoppers should also take the time to look for the sales. It is obvious that one can save during big holidays like the 4th of July or Thanksgiving when many people are buying large amounts of food to feed families, but there are other times throughout the month where people can save just as much as well. Shoppers just have to be mindful of the coupons and the ads that are available in certain grocery store advertisements.

There are a lot of opportunities for shoppers to get buy one, get one free deals if they buy a certain brand. Sometimes it may be worth it to actually consider another type of cereal or type of chips if you are trying to save money. There may be deals on certain beverages that may not particularly be the beverages that you would buy on a regular basis, but the sale on these items can lower your grocery bill.

Lastly, it can be a great idea to check out the advertisements and actually compare the prices between different grocery stores. Every store is not going to offer the same food for the same price. Sometimes the difference is so miniscule that it may not be worth your time to choose one store over the other. At other times, however, there may be a great difference in the pricing and it may be worth the effort to get out of your comfort zone and shop at a another grocery chain to save money.

Tips For Saving Money On Your Next Trip

You may save quite a lot of money on your next trip, and you will feel as though you have planned for a trip that is half the cost you thought. You may take a number of steps that will save you money, and you will find that your trips are much more fun because you have access to money that may be used on the trip. You are free to spend your money any way you like, and these few tips will ensure that you are saving as much money as possible.

#1: Reduced Fare Airlines

You must choose from reduced fare airlines that will give you brilliant fares to your final destination. You must be willing to look at airlines that offer a stop on your trip, and the trip may be much cheaper than it would have been otherwise. You are wise to shop far in advance before the trip, and you will notice that all the fares are cheaper when you are planning before the trip starts.

#2: Consider The Train

You may beaches the chance to take a train trip to many destinations for far less than you may travel on a plane. The train trip is quite a lot of fun, and it is much cheaper in many cases. You may consider a party bus or similar bus line, and you may choose from a number of lines that will take you where you want to go.

#3: Choose Conference Hotel Rates

There are many hotels that will give you a conference rate when a conference is in-town, and there are many that will give you a discount if you call and ask the front desk. The front desk will give you a better rate because they want you to come visit them, and they will offer better customer service if you are traveling for a specific purpose.

#4: Choose Local Restaurants And Shops

Shopping local will help you save money when you are on your trip, and you will run across many local businesses that you may want to support in the future. It is much easier for you to have a lovely time on your trip when you are going to locations that offer local hospitality.

#5: Use A Travel Agent

You must use a travel agent who knows the area you wish to travel to, and they will show you the best places to stay, the attractions to choose and places to eat. Your travel agent will save you quite a lot of money, and they will save you even more time. This is an important part of the travel process, and it prevents you from doing all the work on your own.

There are many people who will enjoy using the travel agency or simply shopping smart online. You may search for ways to save money that work for you and your travel planning style. You will alter everything just a bit to ensure that you are not spending too much.

Summer Vacation Money Saving Tips

How do you save money when traveling during the summer?  Well, here’s a step-by-step guide.

Step 1.  Airfare:  First, you have to get there, right?  The question that most people have on their mind is how to get the lowest fare.  The new lowest fare, for both international and domestic flights, is called, The Super Economy Fare.  They are the new, no frill, seats.  How do you know if you have one?  Well, they will not only be the lowest priced, but they will also, have you board the flight last.  Why? Because they are the last 2 -4 rows.  This means they are the seats by the bathroom.  They come with an absolutely, no refund-no exchange policy.  If you are certain you are going and don’t mind the above, then you will save some serious change.  Before purchasing, if you are an online, do-it-yourselfer, I recommend that you contact the airlines or a travel agent.  The seats have a code attached to them that you cannot see.  They can decipher the code and check it for you.  Finally, the airlines may limit your carry-on bag to zero.  There is, however, a way around it, shown in Step 2.

Step 2.  Amount of Luggage:  Purchase a luggage jacket.  It is a front-zippered jacket with both inner and outer pockets.  Some of the pockets are long, short, wide and narrow.  The pockets are expandable.  They are quite fashionable.  The vests are thigh length, colorful and chic, with long, short or no sleeves.  Now, you don’t have to carry on any luggage at all, or at the very least, you can get your two bags down to one.  Since they are re-usable, you will earn your small investment back in no time.  Once you arrive at your destination, you can empty those pockets and refill them with your passport or credit cards.  Look on the net under, Travel Jacket, for your favorite style.

Also, weigh luggage before you leave home and subtract five pounds.  This is because the airlines scales can be a bit off.  You may be able to get them to re-calibrate their scales by asking them.  Even better, just request a different scale. This can be a huge money-saver.

Step 3.  Travel Insurance: Simply put, not recommended.  Why?  Because you have to go through a lot to get reimbursed and even then you may not.  They also come with pages and pages of conditions.  If you insist on getting it, read the Terms and Conditions, line by line.  They are sold with loopholes in favor of the Insurance Company and are pushed heavily by travel agents and the airlines.  They are a huge profit for them.  Instead, check out the membership cards and your own credit cards. Many people do not know that certain American Express comes with it.  Those dollars that you just saved can now be used for an upgraded, not so restrictive, airfare or for more fun in the sun.

Step 4.  Hotels:  How to save money on your hotel is easy.  Request from the hotel the room that is the most restrictive in change-ability.  You will get the room at the rock bottom, lowest price.  These will be the rooms with the no refund-no exchange policy.  Now that you’re at that price, check to see if you can upgrade to the same room type but with less restrictions.  To find them you can go online or have your travel agent search and compare for you.  If you decide to call the hotel, use their direct number.  The 800 or 866 numbers are usually out-sourced.  The reservationists may not be provided the proper codes to book them.

Step 5.  Apps:  Need a City Guidebook now that you’re there?  Download a free App!  Simply say the Destination City plus the word Guidebook.

Now, with these five easy steps, you’ve saved quite a bit of cash.  You can now enjoy the summer with more money left on your card.

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How to fly for free on Southwest

Over the past few years my wife and I (and occasionally our kids) have flown at least 10 domestic flights for free. At first we didn’t have much of a strategy. We would just utilize the bonus points from a new credit card to purchase flights whenever we were headed out of town. But over time a system emerged that made it easier for us to take full advantage of credit card rewards that allows us to fly for free. Always.

Our airline of choice has pretty much always been Southwest. The main reason is that they offer flights from Baltimore (BWI), where we live, to Rhode Island (PVD), where my mom lives, St. Louis (STL), where my mother-in-law lives, and Minneapolis (MSP), where my wife’s extended family lives. Another reason is that they typically have the lowest airfare, especially when Wanna Get Away seats are available. And the Rapid Rewards (frequent flyer) program is one of the best in the industry.

It’s important to realize that much of what I’m going to tell you requires excellent credit — and in many cases it’s going to cause you to juggle a bunch of credit cards at once. Do not attempt this if you are not a responsible credit user, or you do not trust yourself with more than one card.

Full Disclosure: I have no affiliation with neither Chase nor Southwest Airlines.

The best cards to accrue Southwest points.

As of right now, the 7 best credit cards to rack up Southwest Rapid Rewards are all issued by Chase; Chase Ink Plus, Chase Ink Bold, Southwest Plus Business, Southwest Plus, Southwest Premier Business, Southwest Premier, and Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Between all of these cards you can earn 260k bonus points. You would also earn — at a minimum — an additional 17k points by spending the minimum required amount to receive the bonus points. To put this into perspective, I can fly between BWI and PVD for as low as 8,726 points per roundtrip (4,363 one-way). This means that I can fly to Rhode Island and back 31 times on points alone (there is a minor charge called the “September 11th Security Fee” of $5.60 per one-way flight that you can’t pay for with points).

Ease into it.

If you are new to travel hacking and are moderately interested, but you don’t want to pay any money out of pocket to try it, then your best bet is to start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This card offers 40k Ultimate Rewards (UR) that can be transferred from your Chase account to your Southwest Rapid Rewards (RR) account at 1:1 (this means if you have 40k UR, you will have 40k RR after transferring). Plus, it doesn’t charge a first year fee.

Once you have been approved and receive your Sapphire Preferred card, you will need to spend at least $3k within the first 3 months to obtain the bonus points. If you don’t normally spend $3k in a 3 month period, then you shouldn’t increase your spending just to meet the minimum (this is illogical and a waste of money). You may want to wait until a large purchase is on the horizon (new appliances, skilled labor, etc) before signing up for this specific card.

If you’re married then you and your spouse can both open separate Sapphire Preferred cards essentially doubling your rewards — remember that this can only be done if both you and your spouse have excellent credit. It may be better to stagger this if your monthly credit spending averages less than $2k.

When it’s time to get another card.

When you are coming close to reaching the spending necessary to receive the bonus points, it’s a good idea to start looking for a new card. Since credit card rewards change so frequently it’s a great idea to keep a spreadsheet of the cards that offer either Ultimate Rewards or Rapid Rewards, their associated fees and the dates that you opened your accounts. This will help you decide which cards to sign up for and when, and how long your accounts have been open (important for deciding if/when to close accounts).

My wife and I will typically sign up for a new credit card every single month. This month I signed up for the Southwest Premier card which currently offers 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first 3-months. This isn’t hard for us to reach, especially considering that childcare costs us $1,290 per month. We essentially have to swipe our card once to receive these points. Next month she will sign up for this card so we can double our points.

Fees and “paying for points”.

A few of these high-tier cards come with both annual fees and first year fees. The Southwest Premier is a good example of this. Before I even received my card in the mail I had a $99 fee charged to my card for opening the account. This is enough to scare many people away, but it can make sense if you think about it in terms of “buying points”. For example, the 25k points that I will receive from this card will cost me $.004 per point ($99/25,000) — this is almost enough points for me to fly to Rhode Island 3 times.

The previous two cards that I’ve mentioned are consumer cards. The final consumer card that I’ll touch on is the Southwest Plus. Currently, they’re offering 25k bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months. With a first-year fee of $69, this equates to about $.003 per point ($69/25,000). This card also has an annual fee of $69.

By utilizing only these three cards you can rack up 90k bonus points and you will only incur $168 in first year fees, leaving you with an average of less than $.002 paid per point ($168/90,000).

Business-specific cards for even more points.

The remainder of the cards are business specific, so if you have a small business then you should definitely look into these cards. It’s possible to open these cards without being an employer by using your Social Security Number, however you should figure out if you qualify as a business owner first. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that you actually do have a business.

The Ink Bold and Ink Plus which have respective bonus points of 50k and 70k do not have first year fees. They do, however, have annual fees of $95 each. The Southwest Premier Business is directly equivalent to the Southwest Premier, and the Southwest Plus Business is equivalent to the Southwest Plus in every sense, besides the fact that one is a business card and one is a consumer card.

These 4 cards will allow you to rack up another 170k points, while only having to spend $168 on first year fees. This comes out to roughly $.001 paid per point.

Reducing or canceling cards.

As a consumer with excellent credit and a small business owner I am eligible to receive all of the above stated cards. With my inclination to frequently sign up for new cards with bonus points, it’s important that I keep a spreadsheet detailing when I would get hammered with annual fees (which would raise my paid per point costs).

About 2-3 months before each card reaches their 1 year anniversary I will contact the credit card issuer and ask them to either reduce my account to a lower-tier card with no annual fee, or ask them to cancel the credit card completely. One common fear is that opening and closing so many cards will damage your credit, but if you have excellent credit this should hardly have an impact.

It’s completely possible for a married couple to accrue as many as 554k points together, simply by each opening the 7 cards that I’ve mentioned in this article (and spending the minimum required amounts for the bonus points). If, for whatever reason, you wanted to blow through these points immediately, you would be able to fly every other weekend for an entire year, and still have points left over.

Bonus!

Another huge perk of flying Southwest is their illusive Companion Pass. This rarely obtained pass allows a named companion of your choice to accompany you for free on all flights for a full calendar year. The two ways to get this pass are to fly 100 one-way flights or by accruing 110,000 Rapid Rewards points. The three aforementioned consumer cards will get you up to 90,000 points. The remaining 20,000 points can be earned either through business cards or by your spouse transferring their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Rapid Rewards account.

For more info you can check out the Companion Pass’s terms and conditions here: Southwest Companion Pass