Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
It's just not worth it.
You are probably spending money on things that people don't want anyway. Now if it's something you were going to buy this holiday season, the price is right, and you enjoy hanging around grouchy people go ahead and go to the stores.
Not my idea of fun! I'll stay home and drink coffee, hang out with my family and read my book.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
It's amazing what has happened with our finances since we are now FOCUSED!!!
Saving money instead of spending money has been our focus the last 10 weeks and it's amazing what we've accomplished. I'm excited to see what our future holds. I love getting our paycheck now and I love discussing financial goals with my husband. I am so happy Dave Ramsey has very strong opinions and views. I don't agree with him on everything, but it's encouraging to see someone stand up for their beliefs.
Our last class will be December 3rd. I'm happy that we'll have our Thursday evenings free again, but I need to make sure that we stay FOCUSED! It's so easy to get off track. I might have to listen to his CD's over and over again!
I encourage everyone to listen to several of the financial people who are out there. Really listen to their advice - you don't have to implement all of their suggestions. Even if I used a few of the tips Dave Ramsey talks about, we'd be better off financially.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
For me healthy eating means eating a low fat diet, drinking a lot of water and trying to eat more veggies. When I bake I try to use applesauce when I can and when making homemade spaghetti sauce you'll find carrots, onions, garlic and whatever other veggies are laying around. When I eat carbs I try to make sure they are mostly whole grains like whole wheat or oats. Instead of cooking with a lot of meat I get protein in our diet through milk, cheese or other things.
For snacks I often eat peanuts, raw almonds or flax seed along with a piece of fruit. When I had a higher grocery budget I bought more pre-made stuff made from things I can't pronounce.
Now that I lowered our food budget, I don't buy or eat fewer fruits and veggies, I buy and eat DIFFERENT fruits and veggies. Bananas are always cheap and then I buy whatever is in season. Right now that means a lot of carrots and apples. I can't wait for oranges and grapefruit to be "in season". I'm trying to increase the amount of vegetables in our meals, but so far haven't been able to. This has nothing to do with my low food budget though! Serious lack of planning and thought on my part.
People often comment that they eat "healthy" because they are eating a lot of fruit, but if you are eating a lot of fruit you are also eating a lot of sugar (ie. watermelon). For this hypoglycemic gal that would be a terrible idea! Also, portion size is another consideration. When I eat an apple, often times I'm actually eating two servings of fruit.
I completely disagree (respectfully of course!) that you have to buy organic fruits and veggies. I disagree that I can't have sugar in moderation. Remember when eggs used to be horrible for you? Well now years later they are good for you if eaten in moderation! Or I've heard you must soak grains for them to be absorbed into the body, but lately I've heard oh no, you don't need to.
With our tax refund I am thinking about buying a side of beef from a local rancher - I would love to boost our local economy. If I could find a source for raw milk, eggs, etc. I would consider purchasing those items as well.
If I had a million dollars I'd probably buy a few more fruits and veggies that weren't on sale. I wouldn't change many other things, maybe more steak for my wonderful husband, maybe more fish for me. I still wouldn't buy organic :-)
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
My husband was given a 3% paycut in March of 2009 "due to the economy". He found out this week that they are giving the 3% back to them starting with the next paycheck in December.
The 3% that he'll get back will cover the cost of the $40 medication so there was never a need to be concerned about it in the first place. Amazing.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
- 1 egg
- 3/4 c milk
- 1/2 c quick cooking oats (I tried rolled oats last time and you could see big oat flakes, but no taste difference
- 1 c cheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1/2 c chopped onion
- 1 t salt
- 1 pound ground beef
- I also add 1/4 c bread crumbs because these were kind of mooshy (is that a word?).
Mix egg & milk together. Add bread crumbs and oats then let this sit a minute. Add the rest of the ingredients (I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer). Form into meatballs. Bake in the oven at 350 for 30-60 minutes depending on the size of your meatballs.
My notes: I always double this. Last time I used 4 pound of burger, didn't add the cheese and chopped up the onion in my food processor to make it much easier. To make even sized meatballs, I used my Pampered Chef cookie scoop. One lady on Frugal-Families mentioned that she pats the meat into a rectangle shape about an inch thick and then cuts the meat into even sized squares and form into a ball.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I love having meatballs in the freezer. I can easily make Swedish Meatballs, Nebraska City Meatballs or add them to my homemade spaghetti sauce if we haven't had much protein lately.
Using 4 pounds of burger, I made meatballs on Tuesday and they are almost gone! I really should have frozen some of them, but I served them for dinner twice and I will probably send them for someones lunch as well.
They are time consuming so I actually prefer making meatloaf or mini meatloaves instead, but for some reason, everyone loves meatballs here! Last time we had some people over after a football game I served meatballs with BBQ sauce on top and they disappeared quickly!
I saw premade meatballs at Sam's Club today - they are filled with a lot of soy (bad for someone who is allergic to it!), but in a pinch it'd be an easy dinner - cheaper than homemade too.
Money saving idea: keep "fast food" in the freezer for the nights you are tempted to eat out. This will definitely help your budget!
PS. Recipes coming soon.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Or as momma would have called them "Sour Milk Pancakes". Just sounds disgusting though doesn't it?
My mom made these pancakes the entire time we were growing up. I didn't even know you could make pancakes from a box.
- 2 c. white flour (I use about 1/2 c rolled oats and the rest whole wheat flour)
- 2 T sugar
- 1 t baking soda
- 1 t baking powder
- 1 t salt
- 2 eggs slightly beaten
- 2 cups buttermilk
Note: mom always put 2 T vinegar in milk to sour it; Buttermilk is much much better!!!
- 2 T oil
- Food Coloring (now this is considered bad for you, but seriously people are WEIRD who haven't had colored pancakes. Sometimes we have three different colors of pancakes!)
Combine the dry ingredients and then add the buttermilk, eggs and oil. Stir until combined. Put 1/4 cup on a hot griddle. Flip when the edges look dry and little bubbles are forming on the pancake. Eat a ton of them while cooking.
The fewer items you have to buy at the grocery store the less money you will spend, the fewer items you have to carry into your house, and the fewer items that go into the landfill. With the basic ingredients listed here, you can make soooo many things. There are so many money saving ideas out there and this is such an easy one! I usually "feed my freezer" when I make this recipe... While I have all of the dry ingredients out, I put the amount needed for two other batches in two ziplock baggies and put them in the freezer. The night before I make pancakes I take out one of the baggies and add the wet ingredients. It saves a bit of time in the morning when I'm bleary-eyed and trying to get breakfast ready!
Add 1/2 c store bought buttermilk w/ live cultures to a glass quart canning jar
Add regular milk to the top of the jar
Let sit out overnight on top of the fridge
The buttermilk (if warm enough) should clabber/get thick. If it's not warm enough you might have to let it sit out longer. One time I tried to make this it didn't get thick overnight, but eventually it did - our house was just too cold!
I got this idea/recipe from Frugal-Families . There is a forum there with AMAZING people there who will help you in every area of your life!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
For example, when I make pancakes, I use whole wheat flour and rolled oats. In my bread recipes however I've had a hard time NOT including white flour. Until I found whole wheat WHITE flour...
Some day I hope to get a grain mill, but in the meantime I have to be satisfied with what I can buy at the store. Apparently this flour is created by using white berries instead of red berries. I'm still experimenting with this, but as long as I include gluten in my dough and decrease the amount of flour I use a bit, it seems to be a hit with the family!
Works for me! Check out other helpful hints at Works For Me Wednesday!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
My hair is curly so it's VERY forgiving. I don't mind cutting my own hair, however, every couple of years I get a professional cut just to even things out.
My kids (DD13 and DS10) are getting very particular about their hair. They actually care what their hair looks like now! Today they were home with me so we decided to cut hair. For my daughter's hair I found a youtube video to follow and her hair turned out so cute!!!
My son's hair cut(s) are another story. Poor kid. I did not like how the first one turned out so I made him get back in the chair for another cut. It's shorter than he wanted, but I couldn't stand his mop of hair any longer. Next time I need to do more research on how to trim long "cool boy" hair.
I do love to save money...I'm just not sure I love to cut hair!
Check out more Frugal Friday ideas at Life as a Mom!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
We have an extremely tight budget right now. We're doing all we can to send money to savings and pay down debt. My son needed a prescription re-filled. On Wednesday my husband called the pharmacy at the company he works for and they said they could fill it for $40. Last time I think we paid $57 so we were happy with the $40 cost.
On Thursday the pharmacy left a message wanting to know how we were going to pay for it. GULP! Pay for it? Truly hadn't crossed my mind!!! My husband pays the bills so I didn't know how much money was in the checking account or how much cash we had on hand. I think we have $57 in the checking account until he gets paid on Thursday. I saw we had $5.00 cash. This is our plan - when we have ANY extra money we put it in savings.
My first instinct was to get mad that we have no buffer. We need to have extra money in the checking account and some extra cash. My second instinct was to ask God where the money was going to come from. Considering the fact that God used to be separate from finances in my eyes, I have come a long way, but in the future, I sincerely hope that my FIRST instinct is to ask God.
So big light bulb moment - call the pharmacy and ask them to hold the prescription until Thursday and I'll mail them a check since we're not using credit cards anymore. When I called they told me that the easiest way is to sign up for payroll deduction and my husband could do that at the clinic he works at then they'll send the prescription. Yee Haw!!! Problem solved. God solved my problem - think he cares about me and my finances? Yes, so do I.
While I had them on the phone I asked them about a prescription that I have. I only pay $9.00 every month at Walmart so I figured it was useless to ask them. They looked up my prescription and it's $10 for 3 MONTHS!!! WHAT?!?!?
I hung up the phone and just sat in amazement with tears running down my face. You see I thought people were idiots to tithe (give 10% of their gross income to the church). My opinion was that the church certainly didn't know what to do with MY MONEY. I figured they'd spend it foolishly. In fact I think I used to say that "I'm my own best charity." Over time, as I actually read the Bible and listened (really listened) to the sermons my heart has changed. I have become more and more generous, but this is not natural for me at all.
I think it was about 2003 when we first started tithing. God was amazing and opened doors for my husband that weren't even there before. In 2005 my hubs went back to school and we lived without an income for a couple of years. We lived off of student loans and our savings. After he graduated in 2007 we looked at the budget and decided there is no way we could tithe so we went back to giving monthly and a big chunk out of a bonus. This time the money just wasn't there. The money was there in 2003 I just didn't want to give it. However, more Bible reading, another sermon where the pastor said "Is God bigger than your spreadsheet?" More heart change ... we decided to do it.
Back to Friday...all day long I felt very overwhelmed because I truly felt like God cared about ME. I knew the Bible said He did. I knew in my head He did, but sometimes I get too busy to "feel the love."
When I went to the mailbox I found a letter and a check from my amazing Father-in-Law. Gramma (his mom) had passed away last year and they just sold the house and finished paying everything off. He GAVE away the money that was given to him. Talk about more tears and feeling even more overwhelmed than before!
You know, My Father-in-Law doesn't claim to be a Christian, he ACTS like one. I want to be like him when I grow up.
PS. Last night I found some cash in an envelop that was earmarked for our trip to Denver. I had money all along! Silly girl.
Find out what others are grateful for at Heavenly Homemakers.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
- "I saved $35.00 on this shirt."
- "I saved $52.00 at the grocery store."
- "I saved $2,000 when I bought this car."
What I REALLY want to say to them is this "No, you didn't save that much money. You spent money!!!"
I absolutely love it when I feel like I'm getting a good deal. Doesn't matter where it's at, the grocery store, clothing store or Walmart. I would come home from my shopping trip and show my husband with excitement telling him how much I saved. He would respond with one of the following phrases, "Yes you saved some money, but do you like what you bought? Did you plan on buying it? Did you want it? Did you need it?"
When we were newlyweds I would get offended because he wasn't excited about my deal. Now fast forward 17 years and I understand where he is coming from. He's so stinkin' smart...I think I'll keep him!
Just because something is on sale, doesn't mean it's a great deal for me or my family. It does however, mean that I spent some money and now that money is gone.
One way of saving money is to not spend it in the first place.
This post is linked to Money Saving Mom.
Friday, November 13, 2009
When shredded cheese goes on sale for $1.00/8 ounces I buy a few packs and put it in my freezer. It's handy for those nights when you want to make a quick pizza or quesadilla. Even though I prefer shredding a block of cheese, sometimes I run out or I just don't want to do it!
It doesn't go down to this price very often so when it does I stock up.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
We have lived on very little the last eight weeks so we could pay off our credit card bill as usual AND fund our cash envelopes as well. The other major thing we did was to start tithing with every paycheck instead of giving big chunks twice a year with our bonus. Among other things, neither one of us has taken any blow money or allowance, whatever you want to call it and we haven't put money into our entertainment envelope. We are truly "living like no one else" so later we can..."LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE!"
We're both excited about the plan and we are both very active in our financial situation. My wonderful husband pays the bills, balances our checking account online every night and we both do our budget plan in excel every month. It's been fun and a exciting to watch our snowball get bigger and bigger by doing the small things.
Since we have a ton of student loan debt and received a 3% pay cut last year, we are building up our savings a bit more before we attack the student loan debt. We both feel comfortable with it though and Dave has stated if it's going to take longer than 2-3 years to pay back your student loans to build up more of a savings before attacking the debt.
We've had more conflicts over money than we've had in the 17 years we've been married! Thankfully that was just the first couple of weeks. Now we talk about our budget often and look forward to going to our class. We've really grown as a couple over the last eight weeks - I am excited to see what the next five weeks hold!
I would encourage everyone to listen to the CD's or watch the DVDs. Reading the books just isn't the same! I know that I resisted listening to him for YEARS because I disagreed with ONE thing! Silly girl! Even if I would have done HALF of what Dave Ramsey talks about I would have been better off.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I know I know it's not quite Thanksgiving, however, I was able to buy a 21 pound turkey at Safeway for $6.88. We're not having Thanksgiving at our house this year so we won't have those wonderful leftovers.
In an attempt to see how much the turkey meat costs, I decided to bake the turkey and measure how many cups of meat I got from one bird.
$6.88/ 24 cups of meat!
Monday, November 9, 2009
If most people would literally WORK AT HOME then we wouldn't need the "work at home job".
You are a home manager. In order to save the most money you need to become a planner. This doesn't need to take hours of your precious time, but a few minutes planning will save you hundreds of dollars per year.
Today your job is to start a menu plan for the week. Notice I didn't say finish, but to START a plan! In order to be successful as a home manager you MUST make a plan for your family. I'm assuming most families are like mine and like to EAT!!!
Here is my MENU PLANNER. You can use mine or something you already have. The most important thing is to write something down. I don't plan my meals a week in advance, but the weeks that seem to go better are the ones where I start working on my menu plan on Sunday or Monday.
- I start my menu plan by filling in the date at the top and any activities we have going on.
- The next thing I do is look in my freezer, fridge and pantry to see what meals I can make that fit our schedule.
- Write down ideas that you have and anything you need from the store.
If you are a homemaker, you have work at home you need to do!!! Get busy - start the MENU PLAN now!
Read more at We Are That Family for many helpful ideas!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Just look at the things you always end up running to the store for and buy a few extra. Better yet, wait until they go on sale and buy enough to last until the next sale.
For example, I'm ALWAYS running out of eggs. Now really these aren't in my kitchen pantry, but it's the same concept. I know there are egg substitutes, but my husband likes to have them on hand and I make scrambled eggs for dinner when I didn't quite get my act together to get dinner done.
Saving money by stocking up on items you know you will use, will save you money. In my egg example, the cheapest I can find eggs for right now is $1.19 for 12 large eggs. Regular price is $1.39. Big deal you say, it's "only $.20" per carton. If I use 12 eggs every week then I would save $10.40 this year by buying them on sale - not too shabby considering you haven't done anything extra! If you do this with 10 items that are on sale, saving you "only $.20" you would have an extra $100 this year.
However, the BIGGEST savings you'll see is because you'll stop running to the store for eggs that end up costing you $20.00 because once you were in there you realized you also needed bread, milk, bananas, a toy, cereal, etc.
For other Frugal Friday tips go to Life as a Mom!
To make this cute project you have to buy some supplies, but you don't have to have a creative bone in your body!
You need the following:
- A cheap clipboard (about $1.00 from Walmart)
- Enough paper to cover the clipboard
- Modge Podge glue (at Walmart or craft store)
- Optional items: magnets, string, pen, ruler
Here's a picture of the finished project (magnets on the back and it's attached to my fridge):
On this next clipboard I sprayed chalkboard paint on the bottom half and attached a piece of chalk.
A few final notes: in order to make this more cost effective, make several of them...then the cost of the modge podge (I think about $4.00?) isn't that high! Go to Splitcoaststampers.com for some fancy schmancy ideas! You can create them as simple or complex as you want!
This post has been linked to:
Life as Mom - check out other $10 gift ideas
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I just received a notice that my $5.00 Amazon card has been applied to my account. I haven't done anything extra out of my normal daily routine in order to earn that amount of money.
Instead of using google, ask, or yahoo as my search engine, I use swagbucks.com. Periodically you will earn 1-3 swagbucks (I usually earn one in the morning and one in the evening).
Once you get up to 45 swagbucks you can cash them in for a $5.00 gift card to Amazon (there are other prizes as well). I have earned $40 since July 2009. This will definitely come in handy over the next month or so as I finish up with my Christmas shopping.
Sign up at Swagbucks today!
If you click on that link then we both earn swagbucks! If you don't want to sign up under me, find someone else to sign up under so you can bless them at the same time.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This is the front of my dryer. The dryer came with the house when we bought it so I'm not sure how old it is. We use our dryer about two times per week so I hate to spend any money fixing it. After the knobs broke off, I decided I could either buy new knobs or use a handy dandy pair of pliers when I needed to use my dryer.
I like "cost" of my handy dandy pliers - works for me!
This tidbit is linked to WFMW - at wearethatfamily.com.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
During our Dave Ramsey class he had said that there was a study done where people were hooked up to a device that could measure their reaction when they made a purchase. When people paid with cash:
- PAIN was the reaction
- debit card - less pain than with cash
- credit card - NOTHING - no emotion or reaction!
The other advantage to paying cash is that it's so much easier to see how much we really have at the end of the month now that there isn't a huge credit card bill coming due (yes, we used to get 3% cash back on purchases too, but those small earnings are NOTHING compared to what we are saving!)
If you aren't currently using cash, I'd strongly recommend using cash in one area of your life and see if it's an improvement. The grocery store would be the biggest improvement - when the money is gone, it's gone...might make you think twice about throwing in the extra bag of chips, sodas, or candy bars.
By the way, saving the change is the best part about using cash! I save my grocery money change to buy my running shoes and the rest of the change is saved for Fair Time! My kids will even put money into that jar.
Read what other people are grateful for over at Heavenly Homemakers.
Monday, November 2, 2009
GET MAD!!! BE STUBBORN!!! Yes, I'm yelling! I decided on 10/24 that I had spent enough money on groceries for the month of October. Did I WANT more groceries? Yes! Did I NEED more groceries? NO!!!
I had to get really stubborn (with myself) so I wouldn't give in.
Success! I haven't gone to the store at all.
Apply this money saving tip to your situation and see if you don't have success!