Thursday, July 30, 2009
Here is an idea that I admit I have not tried myself, but I have read of others doing similar strategies and finding it to work well.
First, make a menu for the week, include breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
For example, plan on inexpensive breakfast burritos for the week day mornings..... and write down everything needed to make enough for everyone in the family for the week.
Plan the lunches for every day of the week. PB&J, perhaps? Tuna? Bologna sandwiches? Write down every ingredient for each lunch needed during the week.
Finally, plan the dinner menu for the week. Again, write down every ingredient you will need, down to the Parmesan cheese for spaghetti.
When you do your shopping, do it alone if possible to avoid impulse/bribery buying that kids have a tendency to encourage us to do.
Now, the fun part. Sometimes just having a " menu plan" and necessary ingredients sitting in your kitchen are not enough to stop you from impulsively ordering food, or running out to pick up fast food somewhere. If you are too tired and frazzled to feel like cooking....you probably won't. So the more meals you can have made and sitting in the freezer ahead of time, the better. Taking out a casserole and heating it up is not as bad as having to chop, cook, bake, and finally eat. With some thought, cookbook browsing and creativity, you can make meals that can for the most part be prepared ahead of time and ready to go.
So after the shopping..... use some of Saturdays and/or Sundays to Cook! Make the breakfast burritos for the week ahead, and freeze them. Come a frazzled Monday morning, you will be less tempted to herd the kids into the car and stop for a quick breakfast "on the way" to school. Just grab the burritos out of the freezer, heat and eat--even "on the way" to school.
Then make as many of the lunches as possible for the week also. Depending on what is on the menu, you can make ahead the snacks, drinks, cut up veggies and fruits and have them ready to go for each day of the week. Less chance of pulling out the wallet for cafeteria food if lunches are set and ready to go.
Same routine with the week's dinner menus. Plan and cook and freeze as much as you can. Have lettuce washed and separated for easy salad making. Freeze spaghetti sauce. Make the casseroles and freeze them. If you have desserts, plan and prepare as much of those as well.
The main thing is to have meals ready-to -go as much as possible for each day of the week. If you do this on the weekends, you should find yourself avoiding spur-of-the moment pizza ordering (adding tips..expensive impulse move!), picking up fast food, and eeeek....going to a restaurant when you really can't afford to, just because you are too tired to grocery shop and cook. And if doing this for each day of the week sounds too daunting...try for it for two or three days of the week. Or just do it for breakfasts or for dinners. Just try to incorporate some cooked ahead meals into your week to give yourself a break and your wallet!
It does take some time, planning and energy cooking on the weekends, but your weekly budget so get some relief, and you may even lose some extra calories skipping on the fast food dinners and lunches!
check out: Black Bean Casserole Recipe to make ahead and freeze.
Monday, July 20, 2009
When bad things happen....they can be costly. Car repairs are one of the things that can wipe out our budget in just minutes. And when you or your spouse are not exactly mechanically knowledgeable, car repairs become essential from time to time. You want to get quotes, referrals, testimonials and quality work of course, if you do unfortunately need work done on your car, such as auto body shop irvine offers their clients. You need to know that you are getting the best work done for the best price possible. Reviewing previous customers testimonials will help you know if quality work is provided by the car repair shop you choose. It is also imperative to make sure your car insurance is kept currrent so when bad things happen, you are covered.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Saving money doesn't mean cutting out yummy desserts. There are lots of delicious dessert recipes that are simple and inexpensive to make for special occasions (or just whenever!)
Lemon Chiffon Dessert
1 package white angel food cake mix
2 cups boiling water
1 package lemon flavor jello
1 6 ounce can of frozen lemonade
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
Make angel food cake as directed on box.
Pour boiling water into jello mix, and stir well. Refrigerate about 10-15 minutes or until mix is thickened but not set.
Mix cold water with lemonade concentrate to make 2 cups.
Add this mixture to the jello mixture and blend until frothy.
Beat the whipped cream until firm, then add to jello mixture.
Divide cake into small pieces, about 1 inch each piece, and fold into jello mixture as well.
When all cake pieces are in the mixture, pour the mixture into a baking dish (ungreased)
Cover and refrigerate about 4 hours. Cut cake into squares, serve and enjoy!!
Staying healthy is something everyone wants to do, but also something we probably all need motivation with. Spending time and money on our health now may help prevent catastrophic health problems later on. Even when we are trying to cut costs and save money, our health is one area that we shouldn't cut corners on. Getting the best medical services we can is so important whether it be for regular check ups to stay healthy, or for major surgery such as what lap band houston offers people that need to lose weight to improve their health. Eating well, exercising regularly and being proactive when it comes to our health are things we should all be doing everyday to help prevent expensive health problems from taking over our lives and wallets.
So here is tip I learned from a wise person once--
When you have extra money to use towards paying credit card debt, use that extra money on just one card. Pick the credit card you have the lowest balance on, and then work towards paying it off completely. Send in extra money along with the minimum monthly payment, as often as you can, until that card is paid off.
Then start paying off the next credit card the same way. Use the money you would have sent on the first card, the minimum payment due each month, along with the regular payment you send in each month on the second card, and you will get that card paid off faster too.
Move on to the third card. Keep budgeting credit card payments for the first two cards that you have already paid off. Just use those monthly payments for your third credit card now. You should see the credit card get paid off much quicker now.
The key is: when you pay off a credit card, and no longer have a monthly payment to make on your card, don't just spend that money elsewhere. Keep that budgeted payment and use it to pay other debt each month.
Keep doing this, one card at a time, until all are paid off.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
One way to save some money each month is by saying goodbye to cable, and hello to free TV online.
Free TV Online sites such as Spreety TV Online : Watch TV Shows Online Free is a free service that offers news, sports, classic tv shows, movies, and more. I know many people are opting to do this great money saver, and are happy they did. Even if it is a temporary cutback, not paying the cable bill each month is going to definitely save you money!
So this is a simple and cheap dinner recipe my kids love! English Muffins are usually inexpensive, and you can top them with many different things, but with my kids, English Muffin pizzas are a big hit!
All I do is heat the English Muffins in the oven with some grated cheese and pizza sauce (spaghetti sauce works well). Add pepperoni slices or meatballs cut up in small pieces, if desired.
And of course add toppings like olives, pineapple, apples, ...whatever works!
With the pizzas, I usually have cut up carrots with some ranch dressing for dipping (this is pretty much the only veggie I can get my kids to eat right now!).
Add some vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert.
Inexpensive and simple dinner to help save some money for Christmas!!
I know...it is mid-July. I know--it hot outside and the last thing on your mind is probably Christmas shopping. But did you know there are now appx. 165 days left till "The Big Day?" Start Saving for Christmas NOW--if you haven't already!
All you need to do to get a Christmas Savings going is simply put some money aside every night or morning, whichever works for you. The more the better of course, but try to aim for at least a dollar a day.
Make a commitment to NOT TOUCH that Christmas Money.
Now look at what you can save between now and December....of course when you start shopping will affect how many actual savings days you will have...but get out your calendar, mark down the day you would like to start shopping (say Dec. 10th), and count exactly how many days you have between now and then.
For approximate amounts, take a look:
151 days of saving-- which is the number of days between July 12th and December 10th:
$1.00 = $151 (ok..not alot, but still..something, right?)
$2.00 = $302
$3.00 = $453 (looking good, uh?)
$4.00 = $604
$5.00 = $755
And that is of course just saving the money at home -- without added interest from a savings account.
So if you haven't started saving for Christmas, get started today. Even putting .50 cents away each night will give you stocking stuffer money.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Pick a day of the week, and every week on that day, say Tuesdays for example, make it your personal "No Spend Day." You will still spend some money most likely, but focus on making this day each week one where you seriously reconsider spending money on things.
If you are focused and aware of your intentions, saving money that one day will happen more consistently. For example, rethink buying a newspaper that day. Or driving thru a fast food place for french fries. Skip the dry cleaners. Avoid grocery shopping if you can, and make do with left-overs at home. Skip the Frappacinos and bagels. Whatever you might pull out your wallet for on that day, try and do without it if you can.
At the end of that "No Spend Day," put the money you saved in a special jar or such, and each month, deposit the funds in an account!