Every Monday, I answer a few of the questions that my readers send me. If you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future Q&A post, just leave me a comment here or email me (thefrugalgirl [at] gmail [dot] com) and put Q&A in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you!
I buy produce at the farmers market, but when the market is closed for the season my choices are: A) shopping at an local but expensive organic store to buy items in bulk and produce that is in not packaging, or B) shopping at Aldi, where I can get cheaper items and produce but it is always wrapped in plastics. Given the choice between spending less for prepackaged produce vs. more for un-packaged produce, which should take priority? I am torn between saving a dollar or saving the environment.
I would say that if you can afford to buy unpackaged produce, and it’s a high priority for you, then you should buy the unpackaged produce guilt-free. I think it’s awesome that you have access to packaging-free organic produce, as it so often comes heavily packaged in plastic.
Here’s how I typically decide what produce to buy at Aldi and what to skip.
- If I can get it unpackaged at Aldi, I’m totally happy to buy it there. Cucumbers, melons, avocados, grapefruit, pineapple, and a number of other types of produce are packaging free (hallelujah!)
- If Aldi packages it just the same as other grocery stores, I’ll buy it there. Things like grapes, spinach, celery, grape tomatoes, and berries come in plastic packaging in almost every grocery store, so I might as well pay less for those items by buying them at Aldi.
- If I can get it packaging-free at a regular store, I usually don’t buy it at Aldi. I can easily get produce like asparagus, peppers, broccoli, and zucchini without packaging at almost any regular grocery store, but at Aldi, they usually come in shrink-wrapped packages (boo.)
I wish Aldi sold all of their produce without packaging, but I do understand that their business model requires efficiency, and that the packaging does sometimes prevent food waste because the food is more protected in the packaging.
And packaging notwithstanding, I appreciate that Aldi makes produce affordable for families who live on really limited budgets because I think that a person’s choice is between buying packaged produce and buying no produce at all, the packaged produce is a better choice.
I know you home school, and I admire that, and I have an education question of my own. My son is almost five, and he starts school in the fall, and we have been doing lessons through the summer. He is showing signs of LD. I myself am dyslexic, and ADD, and my husband has ADHD. My son gets frustrated so easily, and I try to encourage him, without luck. I know you must deal with frustration daily from your kids, trying to teach them something and they get frustrated or bored. How do you encourage your children? I try to make it fun, but it seems the only way to get him through something (besides the fun things) is to bribe him. Please help, I am open to any suggestion.
My kids definitely do get frustrated with their work, so I can sympathize (though of course, what you’re dealing with is probably more tough than what I deal with, since my kids don’t have the same learning challenges.)
When my kids start to lose it over a school subject, I’ve found that it’s often helpful to take a break. This could mean working on a different subject, or taking a little break from school altogether (go eat lunch, take a shower, play outside for a half hour, etc.) Sometimes a little time is all it takes to get them back into a decent frame of mind.
If it’s a particularly tough subject, breaking it up into two segments can help too (do half the math lesson before lunch and half afterwards.)
I also remind my kids that they’re not going to be perfect at things the first time they try them, and that imperfect efforts are ok. You just have to keep trying and practicing.
Even when they’re struggling with a subject or lesson, I try to find something to encourage them about. For instance, if they’re having a hard time forming a letter during handwriting practice, I find the best letter of the bunch they wrote on the page and point it out.
I’d also just add that sometimes, kids are flat-out not going to want to do school work, just like they’re not always going to be thrilled about taking baths or brushing their teeth or doing their chores. So, while I try to make things fun and try to remove stumbling blocks for my kids, there are times where they just have to buckle down and do the work whether they like it or not.
Readers, how do you handle the produce packaging dilemma? And do you have any tips for encouraging frustrated children?
Today’s 365 post: Dear Children: Next time you have this much trouble opening a tuna can…