Money Saving Tips for August

Looking for a great sale?  Here is a list of the best products to buy in August plus the national days where you can score free items.

Close out summer by buying summer products — look for end-of-season clearance sales.

Back-to-school supplies – The start of school marks the need to buy small items such as pencils and expensive ones like laptops. Generally, the closer to the start of the school year you buy, the better your chances of getting a good price.

Outdoor products. Look for end of summer sales with a big deal on lawn mowers and other seasonal outdoor equipment.

Swimsuits. There may not be many swimming days left by the time August rolls around, but that’s exactly why stores will have swimsuit clearance sales. Buy swimsuits for your family now for next year.

Mark your calendar: The first day of school is usually in August.

Freebie day:  National Waffle Day is Aug. 24.

By: Brenda Langdon

Protect Yourself from UV Exposure

Summer has officially arrived, and as always it’s hot and sunny! Spending time outdoors at the lake or pool are usually on the top of everyone’s summer fun list, but before you venture out in the sun follow these safety tips to reduce you and your loved one’s risks for harmful UV exposure.

Cover up: When you are out in the sun, wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher: Reapply at least every 2 hours, as well as after swimming or sweating.

Seek shade: Limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.

Lather up 30 minutes before outdoor activities: Apply 1 ounce (about the size of a golf ball) of sunscreen to all exposed areas.

Check the sunscreen’s expiration date: Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than three years, but its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures. (CDC)

Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps: Both can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.

Remember to protect yourself on overcast days: Up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV radiation can penetrate clouds and harm your skin. (www.SkinCancer.org)

Cover easily missed areas: This includes the back of ears and neck, and the tops of feet and hands with sunblock.

Avoid sunburn: It may seem like a temporary irritation, but sunburns cause long-lasting damage to the skin.

For more information about sun safety please visit https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm

By: Ashley Svaty

How to Pick a Ripe Melon

Telling when a melon is ready to be harvested can be a challenge, or it may be quite easy. It all depends on the type of melon.

Let’s start with the easy one. Muskmelons are one of those crops that tell you when they are ready to be picked. This can help you not only harvest melons at the correct time but also choose good melons when shopping.

As a melon ripens, a layer of cells around the stem softens so the melon detaches easily from the vine. This is called “slipping” and will leave a dish shaped scar at the point of stem attachment. When harvesting melons, put a little pressure where the vine attaches to the fruit. If ripe, it will release or “slip.”

When choosing a melon from those that have already been harvested, look for a clean, dish shaped scar. Also, ripe melons have a pleasant, musky aroma if the melons are at room temperature (not refrigerated).

Watermelons can be more difficult and growers often use several techniques to tell when to harvest.

  1. Look for the tendril that attaches at the same point as the melon to dry and turn brown. On some varieties this will need to be completely dried before the watermelon is ripe. On others it will only need to be in the process of turning brown.
  2. The surface of a ripening melon develops a surface roughness (sometimes called “sugar bumps”) near the base of the fruit.
  3. Ripe watermelons normally develop a yellow color on the “ground spot” when ripe. This is the area of the melon that contacts the ground.

By: Cassie Homan

Health and Food Behaviors During COVID-19

As the saying goes, timing is everything. The 2020 International Food Information Council Food & Health Survey was conducted in April 2020, right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, that backdrop must be considered when looking at the results. Yes, consumer beliefs and actions have made a major shift. The question is, will those changes remain?

It’s not surprising that cooking at home is the biggest change for 8 in 10 Americans. Along with that, they are snacking more, washing fruits and vegetables more, and just giving more thought to food choices.

Going to the grocery store has decreased since consumers make fewer trips to the store each week.  Online grocery shopping has gone up.

Food safety concerns about food have increased and more than a third of consumers avoid some foods and beverages. Keep in mind, COVID-19 has not been found to spread through food or food packaging. Consumers are more concerned about food safety when grocery shopping online.

In spite of all the challenges with COVID-19, 67% of respondents are at least somewhat confident in the overall safety of the food supply.

Download the entire report at https://foodinsight.org/2020-food-and-health-survey/.

By: Ashley Svaty

How to Save Money in July 2020

Looking for a great sale?  Let’s look at how to save money and plan your shopping from month to month in 2020.  Here is a list of the best products to buy in July plus holidays where you might find an extra sale and a bonus including the national days where you can score free items!

The temperature usually rises in July, but the prices of certain items drop. Consider buying these:

  • Apparel – If you don’t want to wait for end-of-summer sales, buy clothes now. You’ll likely find a better price than you would have at the start of the season.
  • Patriotic items – Retailers like a reason to celebrate. In the days leading up to the Fourth of July, there’s usually an abundance of sales on red, white and blue products (and items that are all three colors), as well as on sporting goods, jewelry and furniture.
  • Personal electronics – Black Friday is a big deal day that falls in November, but many retailers have added Black Friday in July sales. You can typically expect discounts in nearly every product category.  Amazons summer Prime Day sale has traditionally been carried out in mid-July, however, the coronavirus pandemic might cause a delay considering that Amazon hasn’t advertised the event as it has in the past.  If they do have the event, continue to watch as there may be short notice in advertising.

Mark your calendar: The Fourth of July is … July 4.

Freebie day: National Ice Cream Day is July 19, and National Lipstick Day is July 29.

By: Brenda Langdon

K-State Garden Hour

K-State Research and Extension is hosting a virtual garden hour! We hope you’ll join us each week on Wednesdays at noon for some horticultural refreshment and training. Follow this link to sign up. You can also find recording of previous topics. https://hnr.k-state.edu/extension/info-center/k-state-garden-hour-webinar-series/k_state_garden_hour.html

By: Cassie Homan