Tag Archives: budget

Thrifty Thursdays #2

 

·       If you are paying for extra cable channels AND a service like Netflicks, perhaps you are paying twice for the same enjoyment. Consider getting rid of one (or more if you are really indulgent).  If it were up to me, I’d ditch cable altogether and watch things on youtube and hulu.com.  I find enough to keep me busy at the latter which is an ad-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, FOX and many other networks and studios.

·       One frugal thing I do is buy clothes that can be washed by me—I hate paying money to a dry cleaners. I handwash delicates and have even washed my husband’s suits and pressed them myself –although I DO generally pay for suits and coats to be cleaned. I do know I’ve saved tons over the years on this one item

·       Speaking of clothes, I am terrible about staining the front (ok, sides, back, sleeves) of my clothes. I keep a lot of white and beige tops that go with anything in my mix and match wardrobe, but It’s hard to find these. When I see white or beige tops on sale I buy four.

·       I bought small fancy flavored coffee grounds for holiday gifts and saved back a few for me. I add a couple tablespoons to my sale coffee and spread the luxury a little.

 

·       The FDIC has a nice publication called Practical Advice for Everyone on How to Save and Manage Money

 

·       Gardenweb has many great forums, but my favorite is the frugal gardening forum. Here is a link to what these folks think are their best frugal gardening tips.

  • ·       I’ve had good experiences buying contact lenses online with http://www.1800contacts.com/  While my eye doctor’s office has rebates, they are a hassle and nowhere near the savings I get online.  The online service beats *mart prices even.

·       One of the ways that I have saved money over the years is to have a homesteading mindset.  You can do this in the middle of the city and on a little acreage. I could say more but there are some nice explanations and links here:

·       Even if you live in a first floor apartment with a patio you can have a garden.

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Pantry and Freezer Challenge

     After Christmas, I try to eat out of the freezer and pantry so we have very little grocery expense.  It makes it easy to pay off credit cards that we used to buy holiday gifts.  We keep a budget and do all our shopping with credit cards that we pay off each month so we incur no interest expense. (see previous post about “loan” being our f-word).

     Another reason to do this is to make room for filling the freezer and pantry again with homegrown items.  It ensures that we are not wasting food by throwing away items that are past their due.

   Some of the things we have eaten this week include sesame chicken noodles made with frozen whole wheat noodles, one large frozen grilled chicken breast and a splash of peanut sauce.  I’ll try to post my frugal version of this recipe later. Since I live in outer Podunk, I have to make due with terribly mundane grocery products so I will post a recipe for this using what I can get locally.

Sesame Chicken Noodles

   I save the last couple of tablespoons of peanut butter in the jar for making this dish. I almost always have cooked noodles and chicken on hand in the freezer for quick meals.  To the jar of peanut butter I add 1/4 cup of soy sauce, a tablespoon of sugar, a little hot sauce (I like Tiger Brand) and a little water. I microwave this on defrost (so the plastic doesn’t melt and just enough for the peanut butter to unstick to the sides of the jar) and shake the jar like mad. Pour this over the leftover noodles, add diced, cooked chicken. If you have planted onion tops in the garden, go looking for them now and add them to your dish! Wa La!

     I’ve been enjoying some free roasted herb turnips from the garden. I peel and cook the turnips they aren’t hard anymore, then toss with a little olive oil, paprika, salt pepper, garlic powder and basil and roast under the broiler until they are a little browned. Yum!

     Since I noticed that there are several packages of veggies that were at the back of the freezer from year’s past I cooked them up in a stir fry. To the frozen broccoli and greenbeans, I added sliced onions and carrots leftover steak.  I mix up homemade teriyaki sauce and keep it in the fridge so I can quickly make stir fry anytime I want.  I’ll try to post that later…

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Be Your Own Bank

     Anyone can see that a 700 billion dollar bailout of the banking industry has to have some effect on our schools and pocketbooks.  It will be difficult to pay for these budget deficits with taxes alone—especially if you expect that there will be some loss of jobs due to the economy going south (you figure, there HAS to be some effect there.) I predict that one of the first places that budgets will be cut will be the education system.

     It’s much easier to weather the coming storm if you are in a good financial position. I agree with both Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman about having a couple months pay saved (in a safe bank?)in case of emergency.

     In our case, it has allowed us to be our own bank. If a car needs immediate repair, we are able to pay for it without putting it on the credit card (what we consider to be a loan).


     “Loan” is the f-word in our vocabulary. We avoid paying interest like the plague. While we now have a smallish house loan, we are paying extra each month so as to avoid thousands in interest. I’d rather have that money to invest in things that will improve my quality of living.

 

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Thoroughly Thrifty Thursdays

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How’s that for a nifty (thrifty) title!

I think it’s a good idea to keep track of what you are doing to get ahead. There are many ways, but here is a little tracking method I learned from Justice Desserts Blog:

Let’s see what I can come up with using her formula:

Planting: I’m putting the 1/4 inch root part of every onion I cut for cooking back into the garden for future onions (yes it works!) Also, planting the eyes off every potato I cut up for cooking back into the garden. Yes! They will make FREE potatoes.  I jog out there, making it a little exercise routine as well.

 Harvesting: swiss chard, green onions, cabbage, rhubarb, ground cherries,

Preserving:ground cherries, hickory nuts from the woods

Prep something: Cooking sale turkeys and putting the extra meat in the freezer for future quick casserole dinners after long days at school.

Manage Reserves: Going through what is left of last year’s canning extravaganza to see what needs to be eaten up. Rotation, rotation, rotation!

 

Saw this on another frugal blog:

Office Depot has a 15% off your entire order code. Valid through Nov. 22, 2008 on-line and over the phone. Enter code 19574436.

You may also enter code 32776683 (on-line only) if you are spending $100 or more to receive a free Coby CD Radio Boombox.

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Packing a Lunch…or….Pennies Add Up to Dollars

 

There are several ways I save money by taking my lunch that don’t end up costing me too much time.  The last thing I need is one more thing to add to my to-do list!

 

On Sunday, I brew a large pot of coffee. Since I’m the only one who drinks it, I have my first cup and then store the rest in a quart-sized canning jar in my fridge. There the coffee stays fresh and I microwave a cup every morning for breakfast while I get ready for work.  This saves time and money (the cost of electricity.)

 

Also on Sunday, I put several potatoes and eggs in a large pot and bring to a boil and turn off the heat.  When cooled, I have cooked eggs and potatoes to use in many ways. The hardboiled eggs are quick to grab and eat on those early morning bus-duty days or days when school clubs are meeting.  The potatoes can be used for fried potatoes for breakfast, or for topping with chili for a super easy dinner. If there are potatoes and eggs left by Friday, I make potato salad for dinner.  I should note that my eggs are freshly laid on Saturday by our hens.

 

While I could always fall back on school lunches that cost $3.20, I try to have some fallback things at my desk in case I forget to take my lunch. My pennypinching budget plan is to always spend a dollar or less per lunch or breakfast meal. 

 

Frugal fallbacks for me are a jar of peanut butter and a box of crackers, and cans of soup that I buy when they are $.50/can. 

 

One of the healthiest, cheapest and unusual lunches I have eaten often during the fall are sweet potatoes.  I learned this from a dieting teacher friend who would microwave a sweet potato every day for lunch. 

 

When another teacher offered a boxes of sweet potatoes for us, I kept ten in a box in my room closet—dark and cool.  I ate about two a week with salt and butter.  I never had to remember to pack a lunch and they lasted through the winter!! By spring the couple that were left began to sprout –so I planted them and…..

 

Now I have LOTS of sweet potatoes to harvest for my lunches this fall. 

 

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Eliminate debt

Today’s post is about saving money at home–a good thing whether or not you are a teacher!  Because teachers are used to researching things, they tend to have great ideas about stretching a dollar! I’ve learned a lot by watching my coworkers.

Personally, I believe that you should eliminate debt from your financial picture.  That way, you can mount any financial problems that come your way. And the problems WILL come your way.

Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman have great plans for doing this.  Dave uses the snowball debt method that involves paying the smallest loan off first, then start applying that to the next largest and so on and so on….  In our case, we started with the largest interest rate and did the same thing.

It’s important to have a nest egg of a couple month’s pay. In this way, you become your own bank and do not have to rely on your credit card for emergencies–thereby paying someone else interest.

In our case, we have a car fund that we pay into instead of paying a car loan. When we have enough money in it to replace our car (and it needs to be replaced) we do it. We research used cars that last a long time and then service our cars regularly. It has really paid off in the long run. The money that could have gone towards interest on a loan is in our pocket!

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