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5/10/10 9:07 P

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16 Ways to Eat Healthy While Keeping it Cheap
Eating healthy is important.


Eating healthy:

•Lowers disease risks
•Increases productivity
•Gives you more energy
•Makes you stronger

You probably think eating healthy is expensive. I’ll be honest — it is. But there are tricks to keep it low cost. Here are sixteen ways to eat more healthy while keeping it cheap.

What is Healthy Food? Before we start, let’s define healthy food. It consists of:

•Protein. The building blocks of muscles, needed for strength.
•Fat. A balanced intake of omega 3, 6 & 9.
•Veggies. All kinds, especially green fibrous veggies.
•Fruit. Full of vitamins.
•Water. 1 liter per 1000 calories you expend.
•Whole grain food. Oats, rice, pasta, breads, …
On with the tips.

1. Switch to Water. I drank huge amounts of soda daily for more than 15 years. Then I started Strength Training and switched to water:

•It’s healthier
•It’s cheaper
Quit the soda & drink water. Take a bottle wherever you go.

2. Consume Tap Water. Check the price of water on your tap water bill. Now check the price of bottled water. Quit a difference, isn’t it? So why are you buying bottled water?

•Cleaner? Not necessarily.
•Better taste? No, simply a matter of Adaptation.
Bottled water companies get their supply from the same source you do: municipal water systems. It’s like selling ice to Eskimos. If you don’t trust the quality of tap water, filter it yourself. I use a Brita Pitcher. One $7 filter cleans 40 gallons water.

3. Eat Eggs. I always have eggs at breakfast:

•Full of vitamins
•High in proteins
•Low in price
Don’t believe the Eggs & Cholesterol myth. Dietary cholesterol is not bound to blood cholesterol. Want to make it cheaper? Buy a chicken.

4. Eat Fatty Meats. Fatty meats are cheaper & more tasty than lean meats. You think it’s not healthy? Check the Fat Myths:

•Fat doesn’t make you fat, excess calories do
•You need a balanced intake of fats: omega 3, 6 & 9
I’m on the Anabolic Diet, I buy beef chuck instead of sirloin.

5. Get Whey. The cheapest source of protein. 70$ for a 10lbs bag lasting 4 months. Nothing beats that. Use whey in your Post Workout Shake to help recovery.

6. Tuna Cans. Canned tuna is cheap & contains as much protein as meat. Alternate tuna with eggs, meat & whey. You’ll easily get to your daily amount of protein.

7. Buy Frozen Veggies. I mostly buy frozen veggies:

•Take less time to prepare
•You don’t waste money if not eaten in time
•Can be bought in bulk for discounts & stored in your freezer
If you can afford fresh veggies, then do it. I go frozen.

8. Use a Multivitamin. Pesticides lower the vitamin levels of your fruits & veggies. Two solutions:

•Buy organic food. Expensive.
•Use a multivitamin. $10 a month.
Choose what fits your wallet best. I take the multivitamin.

9. Fish Oil. Omega-3 is found in fish oil. Benefits of omega-3 consumption include:

•Lowered cholesterol levels
•Decreased body fat
•Reduced inflammation
You need to eat fatty fish 3 times a week to get these benefits. Time consuming & expensive, I know. Try Carlson’s Liquid Fish Oil with Lemon flavor. One teaspoon daily. You’ll be ok.

10. Buy Generic Food. The box might be less attractive, it’s certainly more attractive to your wallet. Brand-name food will always be more expensive. You’re paying for the name. Get real. Food is food. Go generic.

11. Buy in Bulk. Think long-term. Buying in bulk is more expensive at the cashier, but cheaper in the long run:

•Gets you discounts
•Saves time
•Saves car fuel
Invest in a big freezer. Buy meats & veggies in bulk and freeze them.

12. Go to One Grocery Store. This grocery store is cheaper for meat, that grocery store is cheaper for veggies, the other grocery store is cheaper for fish… How many grocery stores are you going to, trying to find the cheapest food? Think!

•Time is money. Stop losing a day shopping.
•Cars don’t run on water. Lower your fuel expenses.
I get all my food in a big grocery store near my place. It hasn’t the cheapest price for all foods, but it saves me time & fuel.

13. Make a Plan. A classic, but worth repeating. Everything starts with a plan.

•Make a list of what you need
•Eat a solid meal, don’t go hungry
•Go the grocery, get what’s on your list & get out
No need to take your partner or kids with you. This is not a recreational activity. Just get your food & get back home.

14. Take Food To Work. Ever counted how much money you throw away buying food at work daily? Start preparing your food for the day on waking up:

•Get up earlier
•Eat a solid breakfast (like Scrambled Eggs)
•Prepare your food for work in the meanwhile
Total time 30 minutes. No stress during the day about what you’ll be eating & you get healthy food while sparing money.

15. Eat Less. This one is obvious. The less you eat, the lower your grocery bill. If you’re overweight, get on a diet. Your health & bank account will thank you.

16. Don’t Buy Junk Food. The last one. Stop buying anything that comes out of a box, it’s:

•Unhealthy
•Expensive
If you actually find junk food that is cheaper than whole food, think long-term. Health implications


Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
7/5/09 8:34 A

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How to shop on a Tight Budget!


Buy food first. Check your refrigerator for the staples that need to be replaced. Milk, bread, eggs and cheese are all staples that should be available, and should go first on your shopping list. Expensive fresh fruit can be replaced with canned fruit, and macaroni and pasta are cheap, but not very nutritious. Meat is expensive in the short run, but packs a nutritional wallop that gets you a lot of bang for your buck.
Plan ahead and show discipline. Looking at the bins of cheeses can make you want to buy more than you really need, so write down on the list exactly what type of cheese you want, add it to your cart and then walk to another aisle.
Look at the ends of the meat and seafood section. There are often marked-down items there.
Make friends with the butcher. He or she may point out some great deals, or mark meats down especially for you. Same thing works with the Produce Manager. Being friendly is free, but pays great dividends!
Compare brands and check prices. There is usually a store brand version of most items that is cheaper and of comparable quality to the big name item.
Read circulars before you go into the store to see if what you need is on sale. Comparing circulars from different stores might help you get a better deal.
Clip coupons for items you normally buy and bring them with you.
Buy dry goods and toiletries in larger sizes to save money.
Remember what you went to a store to buy, so you do not have to walk up and down aisles. Zero in on the aisle or store you need to buy the item, enter, buy the item, and then leave. Impulse buying will ruin any budget, and when yours is tight, it will just be worse.
As you buy, write the prices on a pad that you keep with you. It might even be best to use a small adding machine, pocket size, and as you put the products in your shopping cart, calculate what you have spent, remember how much you have set aside to spend, and when you get close, then stop shopping. Remember, you still have to buy shoes...
Know exactly what type of shoes you need. Do not look around at all the different styles. Try on the proper size, and if they fit, then buy it and leave the store. Hanging around, looking at the handbags hanging on the wall might tempt you to buy something you really do not need.
Put all the costs into the little adding machine. If you note that you have gone over the amount you can spend, then return an item that you really do not need at the moment, and put it on another list of 'to buy next time'.


Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
6/23/09 8:40 P

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Budgeting on a Low Income

MONEY TIPS

1. Don't keep cash in your wallet if you can help it.

2. Use your cash card, NOT your credit card, for all purchases and keep careful account of how much you spend. And what you spend it on.

3. Use your credit card only when you already have the money for the item or service you are purchasing, or at least most of it. Nothing puts people on low incomes into debt as easily as incorrect use of a credit card. You need to be able to pay off the debt WITHOUT PAYING ANY INTEREST, which means the whole amount needs to be paid as soon as it's due.

If you have are not able to pay your credit card off as it comes due each month, the only solution might be to cut it up and throw it away.


MISCELLANEOUS TIPS

1. Preferably, cut out long-distance phone calls and ask family and friends to ring YOU. If you can't, at least cut down on the number of calls you make. Try to make all such calls when your phone company has a special "bulk" deal that you know you can afford.

2. If you spend $5 a week on your state lottery, you could save $260 a year--with a 100% chance of winning!

3. If you smoke, make a determined effort to give it up. This may be very hard but it's well worth the trouble: you'll feel better and pocket a huge savings.

4. Concerts, plays, films, video rentals, etc, may also be off budget. Remember, if it's not necessary to survival...

I do hope at least some of these tips help you. They may even lead you to some more ideas of your own to save money.

Finally, good luck with both your new budget and your search for a better job!






Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
1/28/09 9:09 A

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10 Food Storage Safety Tips

Storing foods can present its own set of problems. And different types of foods have different storage requirements to prevent bacteria from setting in. Here's some tips to protect your family and yourself.

Storing Vegetables

1. Vegetables should be stored in the vegetable crisper in the refrigerator. However, keep potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic in a cool, dark, well ventilated place, but not in the refrigerator. Tomatoes have better flavor if they are not refrigerated. Once cut, tomatoes should be refrigerated like any vegetable.

2. Store vegetables in the refrigerator crisper in plastic bags to prevent loss of moisture and nutritional values. However, eggplant and capsicums should be stored open in the crisper as they sweat if stored in plastic bags. Put mushrooms in a paper bag (not in a plastic bag) before placing them in the crisper.

Storing Fruits
3. Apples and berries should always be kept in the refrigerator for maximum crispness. Summer stone fruits and melons should sit at room temperature until they are ripe, then go into the refrigerator. Grapes & fruits that are not yet fully ripe can be left in a fruit bowl in the kitchen.

4. Citrus fruits are fine at room temperature unless it is very hot, in which case, put them in the refrigerator. Bananas should be kept at cool room temperature. Their skins become black if they are refrigerated, although the flesh is still fine to eat.

Storing Dairy Product

5. Always check the expiry date on dairy products, especially milk. Don't buy milk if it will expire in 2-3 days. Milk generally starts giving smell before its expire date even if you store it in the refrigerator! Generally, milk bottles at the front of the shelf in the supermarket have an expiry date of only a few days. Look for bottles at the back of the shelf.

Storing Frozen Foods

6. Pack all your frozen foods together in an insulated container to keep them frozen until you get home. If foods defrost on the way home and you re-freeze them in a domestic freezer, large ice crystals will form and can rupture cell membranes in the food allowing nutrients to escape. Keep frozen foods frozen to maintain quality, as bacteria will begin to multiply when the food is thawed.

Storing Meat Products

7. Fresh meat, chicken, and fish always carry some bacteria so these foods must always be kept cold. Bacterial growth slows down in the refrigerator; at room temperature, they grow rapidly. Cooking kills these bacteria. Store meat, seafood and chicken in the coldest part of the refrigerator. See that any uncooked products do not come into contact with other foods in the refrigerator. They should be stored at the bottom part of the refrigerator so that any juices that drip out won't contaminate other foods on lower shelves.

8. Make sure that fish or other seafood are wrapped and use as soon as possible. Throw them out if not used within two days.

9. If you are going to freeze meat, seafood or poultry, enclose it in freezer wrap and freeze as soon as possible after bringing it home. Store eggs in the refrigerator, preferably in their cartons, as it provides protection and prevents moisture loss through the shell.

Storing Other Products

10. Do not allow pet foods to come into contact with human foods. Pantry items (canned foods, cereals, etc.) should be stored in a dark place like in a cupboard or pantry. Keep oils out of direct light.




Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
1/6/09 12:02 P

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HEALTHY SNACKS ON THE GO!

In Your Car:

Almonds (unsalted preferably)
Animal crackers
Fruit snacks
Graham crackers
Mixed nuts
Trail mix

Your Desk Drawer at the Office:

Canned fruit
Fruit (apples will store the best)
Instant oatmeal
Canned shakes (e.g. Carnation Instant Breakfast, Slim-Fast)
Microwave soup cups (broth-based and low sodium preferably)
Peanut butter and whole grain crackers

In the Mini-Fridge at the Office:

Egg (hard-boiled ahead of time)
Low-fat or non-fat yogurt
Single serving orange juice bottles
Single serving tomato juice cans
Reduced-fat pudding packs
Sliced veggies and reduced-fat salad dressing

In Your Purse or Backpack:

Baked or reduced-fat potato chips in a zipper bag
Baked tortilla chips in a zipper bag
Cereal (low sugar preferably) in a zipper bag
Cereal bar
Granola bar
Mixed nuts in a zipper bag
Popcorn (preferably air-popped) in a zipper bag
Pretzels in a zipper bag


Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
12/17/08 1:41 P

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Food for Picky eaters!

Breakfast:

Are you being squeezed? - The USDA recommends two 8 oz. (1 cup) glasses of milk per day for a child. If you give your kids more than two cups a day, everything over the 2 cups is just calories, and expensive calories at that. The same is true of juice. The USDA recommends 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day for kids. Did you know that for children under age five, 3/4 cup of juice is one serving of fruit? How often do you fill a glass to the top with juice for your child only to find that the child doesn’t drink most of it? Limit the amount of juice served to one or two small glasses a day and serve the rest of their fruit and vegetables in whole form. Whole fruits are more healthy for them than juice.

French Toast Sticks - After cooking french toast, cut each piece into 4 strips. Kids love to dip these in syrup.

Present oatmeal in a fancy glass such as a sundae dish. Place some granola, fruit, honey, brown sugar or nuts on top.

Stir any of the following into oatmeal:

sugar
cinnamon and sugar
brown sugar
butter or margarine
molasses
maple syrup
applesauce
chopped apples
dried apples
raisins
berries
bananas
chopped peaches
jam or jelly
plain or fruit yogurt
wheat germ
dark brown sugar and 1 drop of maple extract makes oatmeal taste just like the store bought instant oatmeal




Snack Ideas:

Have a snack sitting at the kitchen table for the kids when they come home from school. This way they won’t be grouchy in the afternoon from being hungry. This will also prevent them from digging though the kitchen cabinets looking for something themselves and messing up your neat, well-organized pantry. It is also the perfect time for you to sit and visit with them about their day at school.

To discourage bad snack habits, don’t buy unhealthy snacks or keep them in the house.

Present your snacks with a plate, place mat, napkin and maybe a flower from the garden. This way your snacks always look inviting.

Have jars sitting on the counter with sunflower seeds, raisins, granola, prunes or peanuts for the children. If they see healthy snacks they’re more likely to want them.

Try these snacks on your kids:



Fresh fruit
Hard-boiled eggs
Apples, cut into quarters, with core removed
Popcorn balls
Popcorn
Bagels
Muffins
Dried apples or bananas
Breadsticks
Oranges, peeled and quartered
Pumpkin bread
Banana bread
Zucchini bread
Bananas
Crackers and cheese
Frozen grapes
Veggies with ranch dressing
Celery sticks, spread with peanut butter
Cherry tomatoes
Cheese
Strawberry leather

Cookies
Puddings
Yogurt Popsicles
Homemade granola bars
Beef jerky
Pretzels
Tortillas with cream cheese
Peanut butter snacks
Yogurt with fruit or wheat germ added
Milk
Chocolate milk
Cocoa
Creamy Orange Shake
Milk shake
Fruit shakes
Apples, quartered and cored with 1 tsp. peanut butter on each quarter
Bananas sliced in half and spread with peanut butter
Bread or toast cut into quarters and spread with jelly, jam, peanut butter, spiced honey or honey butter
Crackers spread with peanut butter and jelly or jam
Place some peanut butter and honey on a pancake and roll up for a snack. This is great for leftover pancakes.





Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
12/17/08 1:40 P

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Christmas On A Budget!

Between high gas prices and consumers' fears of a financial squeeze, many people assert a nice Christmas is out of the picture this year. But I say "Not so!" Here are a few ideas to help make Christmas memorable without breaking the bank!




Go Potluck! You buy the turkey -- Have everyone else bring the side dishes and drinks. Turkeys in our area are .39/lb this time of year. If you buy just the turkey, it will only cost you about $5-$10 to feed everyone for a large family gathering.



Celebrate Christmas the week after Christmas. Take advantage of the after Christmas sales and plan your large extended family gathering for the week after Christmas. Besides being less expensive, it is unlikely to interfere with anyone else's Christmas plans.



Don't give gifts or give inexpensive gifts to hairstylists, babysitters, teachers and others. I found several wonderful small scented jar candles on clearance for .25 each. I will put three of them in a small basket (purchased at the thrift store for .25) with some tissue paper, ribbon and nice note. A great gift for $1.25!



Break up gift sets. If you find an item that comes in a gift set at Christmas, give parts of it to different recipients. This is great for bath or perfume sets.



Yard sales and thrift stores equal great savings. You can find a lot of new or nearly new items for pennies on the dollar. For our son, we found a working telescope in the box. It cost $1.00, so we saved $24! He got what he wanted and we didn't have to take out a home equity loan!



Make memories, not more junk. Most kids get more than plenty for Christmas from grandparents, aunts and uncles. If you can only afford one gift for your child, make it a memory! Wrap a note in a box with instructions for a treasure hunt. Send your child all over the house with clues and then have the real gift sitting under the tree when they return. Simple, but a great memory for them!




Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
12/17/08 1:40 P

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Holiday Stress Bubbling Over?
By Jill Cooper


Do you usually find yourself stressed during the holiday season? Is trying to find inexpensive but nice gifts making you ache all over?
They say one of the most common stress busters is a candle lit bubble bath. I have tried that myself a couple of times but without much success, I’m afraid. Just convincing the family to let me into the bathroom- alone and with the door shut is a challenge.

I can never remember where I put the candles. (Being frugal, I only have a couple and after battling my way into the bathroom, I scarcely remember my name much less the location of the candles.) Finding them only complicates matters, since my claw foot tub and pedestal sink leave me no place to set them. Placing them on the floor ruins the effect since I have to climb up out of the tub to admire them. At last, I place them on the toilet seat- not the most attractive spot, but at least it’s flat.

I pour my new bubble bath, "Essence de la Gardenia", and I can’t wait to have my nostrils tickled with the scent of my favorite flower. I stand with my eyes shut and sniff - ugh! It wreaks of "Essence de la compost!" Still, I don’t despair. Maybe it’s that new stuff that has to mix with my own body oils to create my own signature fragrance.

I slide into the warm water (Have you ever noticed that no matter how full you fill the tub, some part of your body always remains exposed and ends up freezing?) I grit my teeth and assure myself that I’m enjoying this even though my beauty mask has turned rock hard, my smelly bubbles have disappeared and my water has turned cold. If I have done my 15 minutes of toe yoga, I can usually turn on the hot water, but what’s the use? By now my family is pounding on the door and if they aren’t, the noises coming from the other side of the door are scaring me enough that I know I need to get out there fast!

If your bubble bath is something less than relaxing and the stress of finding inexpensive but nice gifts overwhelms you, never fear! I have found something that everyone loves regardless of age, sex or nationality -- one size fits all -- and that’s food! Here’s an idea for candy that can be made early and are sure to please!






Party Mints
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg white -OR- 2 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. butter, melted
4 small lids peppermint flavoring
1/4 cup paraffin, shaved
1 pkg. (12 oz.) chocolate chips
Mix powdered sugar, egg white or milk, butter and peppermint flavoring. Make into small balls about the size of a quarter and then flatten on a cookie sheet. Put in the freezer. Melt chocolate and paraffin over a double boiler. When melted take mints out of freezer. Put a toothpick though the center of the mint and dip into chocolate. If mints on the cookie sheet begin to soften and thaw, refreeze because they are easier to dip. Put back on cookie sheet and let chocolate harden in the freezer. Wrap each mint in a piece of 5x5 inch foil.





Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
12/17/08 1:40 P

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Christmas Tips and Ideas

Keep things as simple as possible. If you find that you are unable to manage the twenty-five different cookie recipes you want to make, pick two or three of your specialties and just make large batches of those. Don't serve fifteen different dishes for Christmas dinner. Just do the five or six favorites.

Take scraps of fabric or felt and cut into Christmas shapes. You can do this by using cookie cutters or templates. Then attach them to twine, wire or ribbon and use for garland all over the house or on your tree.

When stringing popcorn for garland, let it sit for a couple of days to get stale. Stale popcorn is easier to string. (I sure wish I'd known that last year! We made popcorn and cranberry garland. It was very pretty!)

Put some vegetable oil on a rag and polish red and green apples. Place in a bowl and fill in the spaces with greenery. (Lemons look nice, too! ...Or is that a different time of year? ;-)

Wrap some of the pictures you have hanging on the wall to look like packages. This can be a really cute and inexpensive addition to your decorations!

Send your Christmas packages early. This may seem like an obvious tip, but many people don't do it. You can save a huge amount of money by doing this. Not only will you save money, but the more things you can get done and out of the way early, the fewer things you will have to do all at once at the last minute when too many tasks are already stressing you out!

When you have to send things through the mail, think about what you'll buy. Is it fragile, heavy or very large? None of these are good candidates for shipping. (Some of our family spend $150 in shipping to mail $100 worth of gifts.) Instead send smaller items like videos, CDs, or books, which can be sent inexpensively by Media Mail. If you're OK with gift certificates, you can usually send them for the price of one stamp.

Do you like to have fresh greenery in your home for Christmas? Go to any place that sells Christmas trees (tree lots, Lowe's, Wal-Mart, etc.) and ask for the branches and cuttings that have fallen off. They are usually glad to get them off of their hands since they're just going to throw them away. Besides using them for decorations, try tucking them in and around your artificial tree to give it that fresh tree smell. (We sometimes go to a local park after a windy day and collect freshly fallen evergreen boughs.)

For the kids' table at Christmas or just to use as a cute decoration, put a candle in a glass jar or bowl. Fill the rest of the bowl around the bottom of the candle with cinnamon candies, peppermints, nuts or colored gum balls or jaw breakers.

I like decorating my house in a Candyland theme each year. If you have the same type of theme, at each place setting for dinner, decorate a small glass jar with a ribbon around it and fill it with multi-colored candy. This not only adds to the table decorations, but you can write the person's name on the jar and make it a small gift for him or her to take home.

One of our traditions at Christmas is to always dress up. After all, we are celebrating Jesus' birthday, and in the same way that we would dress our very best if we were invited to the birthday party of the Queen of England or the President, why do any less for Christ's birthday? Besides, dressing up adds to the fun!

Buy your Christmas tree after December 15th when they are much less expensive.

Instead of a fancy tree skirt, use a white sheet. The colored gifts look great against the white. (Then your seven year old can decide she wants to wear the tree skirt herself! ;-)

Don't worry about the extra expense of a "tree extender". They don't really work. Your tree just needs lots and lots of water. Make sure the cut end is always under water or it'll seal itself shut and stop drinking. Check often! Your tree may drink gallons of water in the first few days.

Go to your carpet store and ask for the cardboard cores that carpet comes on. I wrap them in white plastic trash bags and twist red ribbon around them. That way I have instant giant peppermint sticks for my outside decorations (and they don't cost $50 each like the ones in the stores).

Are some of your Christmas decorations and ornaments looking a little battle-scarred and worn? Maybe you want to change from the country look to a more sophisticated look? Try spray-painting your older things with gold, silver or copper paint.

Recycle that artificial tree that you don't want any more. Bend the branches and connect them to make either one very large wreath or several small ones. If you're not ready to part with an artificial tree, you can still watch at garage sales for inexpensive trees to use for wreaths in the coming year.

If you send a lot of cards each year, consider sending postcards instead of Christmas cards. They are less expensive to buy and cost less to send. You can even recycle some of the fronts of old Christmas cards to use as postcards.

Got more eggnog than you can drink? Use leftover eggnog for French toast. Just add a little cinnamon to it and it works wonderfully.



Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
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 current weight: 180.0 
 
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10/26/08 9:54 A

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Pretty For Pennies

Frugal Bath and Beauty Guide
By Tawra Jean Kellam

Pretty for Pennies is a Frugal Bath and Beauty Guide that includes make-it-yourself directions for elegant, all-natural bath and beauty products. This 32 page booklet contains 33 recipes for items like foot massage oil, chocolate lip balm and almond lotion. It also contains 69 frugal tips.

Include Pretty for Pennies in your next gift basket. Make a few of the recipes and include them in a gift basket with a copy of Pretty for Pennies. Pretty for Pennies makes a great gift for wedding and baby showers, birthdays, Christmas or Mother's Day. The frugal lady in your life will love to make all these products and create her own frugal spa at home.

If you buy Dining on a Dime, please note that Pretty for Pennies is already included in Dining on a Dime.

Here are some sample recipes from Pretty for Pennies. Enjoy!!


Hot Oil Treatment

2 Tbsp. olive oil*
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Heat ingredients just until warm. Spread on wet hair, especially the ends. (Place only on the ends if you have oily hair.) Wrap a warm, wet towel around hair for 30 minutes to one hour. Shampoo and rinse. Alternatively, put this on before a shower and then put on a shower cap. Let the hot water from the shower run on your head to warm the oil. You may also use a blow dryer instead of the shower. Be careful not to make it too hot.
*Other oils you could use are: sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, sesame oil, almond oil, avocado oil



After Shave

½ cup rubbing alcohol
½ cup water
1 tsp. cologne*

Mix rubbing alcohol and water. Add favorite cologne.
*Or add one or two little cotton cologne samples (like Avon samples).



Leg Wax

(This is the same as the stuff you can buy in the store.)
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. water

Mix ingredients in a saucepan and boil for 8-15 minutes, or until mixture reaches 250° (soft ball stage). Then pour it into a container and let it cool down. Keep refrigerated. Heat in the microwave just until warm. Be careful not to make it too hot so that you don't burn yourself. Test on your hand first. Lightly powder the area you wish to wax. Pull skin taut and spread wax on using a tongue depressor or popsicle stick. Place a 3x5 piece of cotton cloth* over the area to remove hair. Pull off quickly against the grain of the hair. Cloths may be re-used simply by washing in hot water. I have not personally tried this recipe but friends say it works great. I have never had to courage to try and wax my legs. If you're not familiar with how to wax I would go to a beauty school and have them show you how to do it first.

*Old t-shirts or flour sack dish towels torn into strips work well.





Bath Bombs

1 cup baking soda
½ cup citric acid
½ cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. oil (almond, sunflower, coconut, mineral, canola
or baby oil may be used)
2 tsp. water
1-2 tsp. essential or fragrance oil
¼ tsp. borax
food coloring

Mix baking soda, citric acid and cornstarch. Mix the wet ingredients and the borax and slowly add to the dry ingredients, mixing constantly. Mix slowly or it will bubble too much. Pack into mold; let set for a few minutes and then remove from molds. Let dry another 24 hours. In humid climates you may need to dry longer. Use 1-3 per bath. Store in an airtight container. Wrap in cellophane bags for a nice gift.
* The mixture is very crumbly and dry. Mix as well as you can and then pack tightly into molds. If the bath bombs won't hold their shapes, add one teaspoon oil.
If you want to make Bath Seeds instead don't pack into molds. Just place in a pretty jar and label. Use 2-4 tablespoons per bath.






Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
10/10/08 8:53 P

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Secrets of the Organized

1. Never stop picking up.

Try picking up during TV commercials or while you are waiting for something to boil on the stove. You will be amazed how much you can get done in five minutes.


Have the entire family spend five minutes picking up the family room or living room before they go to bed. Set a timer for young kids so they don't get overwhelmed.

If your family members go to bed at different times then have each member pick up his or her items before bed time. Once this becomes a habit, you will be amazed how much easier picking up becomes.







2. Stop making messes.

Keep a trash can in every room. No one likes carrying one small piece of trash from the family room to the kitchen so it usually ends up on the floor. Keep small trash cans everywhere. In our office we have two trash cans, one next to the desk for throwing away regular office trash and one next to the shipping table for throwing away envelope tabs, extra invoices and other shipping trash. If you need two trash cans in a room put them in there. Make it easy to keep things clean.


Throw that sticky food wrapper straight into the trash. Don't lay it on the counter to make another mess that needs to be wiped up later.


Don't lay that dirty spoon on the counter. Rinse it and put it in the sink or dishwasher.


As you're undressing, don't throw your dirty clothes on the floor or on the furniture. While they are still in your hand, put them in the hamper or if they're still clean, hang them up.


Keep the hamper close to where you undress at night. If it is convenient, you will be more likely to use it.


Before you leave the bathroom, hang your wet towel on the rod. Don't drop it on the floor or leave it in a pile.
3. Think ahead.

What are you having for dinner?


Are the kid’s papers signed and ready for school?


What clothes are you wearing tomorrow?
4. Never, Never Procrastinate.

Keep straightening things all the time. For example, when you put away groceries and you see that the cans of soup have fallen over, take two seconds to restack them.


When you put linens or clothes in their drawers, make sure everything in those drawers is neatly stacked.


Pick up as you go. Each time you walk through a room, pick up something.


Stop thinking about it! Just do it.





5. Don't give up. Practice makes perfect.

Train family members to rinse their own dishes and stack them in the sink (or better yet to put them directly into the dishwasher). It may take a while to develop this habit. For kids, you may want to do something like charge each member a dime for every dish not rinsed or make them responsible for doing all the dishes for a week.


Remember Thomas Edison? What if he had given up after his first 5, 10, or 100 light bulbs? Where would we be now if he had thrown up his hands and quit at his first failures? The same is true with getting and staying organized. Keep practicing and you will create a productive new habit.
6. Attitude, Attitude, Attitude.

Stop dreading taking care of your home and start taking pride and pleasure in it. Think of an organized home as a special gift of peace and pleasure that you are giving your family. A disorganized one causes turmoil and frustration. Besides -- You probably spend more time worrying about it than it would take to clean it.
7. Use rooms for their intented purposes.

Don't let kids get undressed in the family room - that's why they have bedrooms.


Eat food at the kitchen table or bar, not in bed. This alone can save a huge number of messes.


Fold laundry in the laundry room immediately after taking it out of the dryer and put it away immediately.


8. Be a wise steward of your time.

If you see something that needs to be clean, clean it as soon as possible.


If something doesn't need to be cleaned, don't waste your time. If there is no dust, don't just dust because you dust every Saturday.


Don't overbook yourself volunteering at schools, churches or charities. Learn to say "no". Notice that I didn't say don’t do these things at all, just control how much you do so they don't take over your life.


Don't overbook your children with their activities, either.


Get rid of fruitless activities. Many of us spend way too much time talking on the phone, watching TV, shopping unnecessarily or killing time on the computer. These are all time robbers when you devote a lot of time to them.
9. Keep on top of things.

If you do small cleanings every day, you'd be surprised how much you can accomplish. In ten minute increments, you can do each of the following: wash the dishes, vacuum, file a pile of papers or clean your purse. It shouldn't take more than ten minutes for each child to pick up his room before bed and to lay out his clothes for the morning.


Don't let the laundry, dishes, toys and paperwork get out of control.


Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
10/10/08 8:52 P

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Fix It Yourself!
by Michael Kellam


I've never been considered a mechanical genius. In fact, I was afraid to try virtually any do-it-yourself project as a teenager because I had seen my dad electrocute himself countless times on the simplest projects and I had concluded that do-it-yourself work was a dangerous business.



I tried a few car repairs when I was younger, but I had limited success, mostly with changing oil, belts and other simpler things. My dad and I once tried to change the water pump, but after spending two full days working on it, we ran into a snag and it ended up costing twice as much to fix what we did to it! ;-) After a few years, I tried again. I bought a new radio for my car and tried to put it in myself. My brother and I successfully installed the radio, but it would not work when we tried it. Finally, I realized that I connected the power to the wire from the light on the old radio and the new radio would only turn on when the lights were on, too.



Many of you may not have considered fixing things yourself, but most home repairs are easier than most people realize and a lot cheaper than paying someone else to fix it.



My first real attempts at repairing things came after we moved to Idaho. We lived in a pretty remote part of Idaho and it was nearly impossible to get a plumber or an electrician out there. One night while watching the Red Green show, I got inspired!



One winter, the true test presented itself. We had a faucet out in the yard sticking up from a metal barrel partly buried in the ground. One day during the winter thaw, we heard the sound of water running in the house. The outside faucet had frozen and the metal elbow behind the faucet had cracked. When the thaw came along, the crack produced a narrow gusher of water that had already flooded the yard around it.



It was the first day of a three day holiday weekend. The chances of getting a plumber were slimmer than usual. I had no tools for this kind of work and the nearest hardware store was 70 miles away. Somehow, I was going to have to do this myself.



After a lot of praying and pondering, I came up with some ideas. It just happened that Jill, who lived across the street from us, had the elbow piece that we needed to replace the broken one. Once I knew we had the part, I gave it some thought and figured out a way to remove the faucet using a piece of pipe, some inferior tools and some skills I learned watching "MacGyver." After that, it was simple to turn off the water, put the new elbow on the pipe and replace the faucet. That project saved us at least $200 if we could have found someone to do it at all.



We recently tried blowing insulation into the attic of the older part of our home after discovering that there was only four inches of insulation up there (as opposed to the fifteen inches it should have been.) Had we had the work done by an insulation company, it would have cost around $2,000, but doing it ourselves, it cost us $250 and about 8 hours of work.



This type of project might at first seem too difficult to do yourself, but any time you consider the potential of doing it yourself, consider that there are lots of free resources on the Internet where you can learn what you're about to get yourself into. In recent years, I have spend a small amount of time researching exactly what it will take to do a project before we try it. For the insulation project, I went to Lowe's to check prices and to read the information on the insulation packages. Blown in insulation was much less expensive, so we decided to do that. We found that once you buy a certain number of bags of insulation that the store lets you have a 24 hour rental of the machine to blow it in for free.



The insulation that we planned to use was cellulose which is made from recycled newspaper. I was concerned about whether or not it was safe since paper burns more easily than fiberglass, so I went down to the local fire station and asked the firefighters. They said that cellulose insulation has a fire retardant to reduce the possibility of a fire and they weren't worried about it. Also, between the firefighters and stories on the web, I learned that I shouldn't blow the insulation on top of certain recessed lights.



Once we learned enough to feel comfortable with the project, we bought the supplies, including masks and goggles and did the work. It took us a total of 8 hours and cost just under $250 including all of the supplies, renting the Lowe's truck to get it home and buying $7 worth of Chinese food at the grocery store since we were too tired to cook after doing it! It was messy work, but not especially difficult and we saved about $1750 over having an insulation company do it. Not only that, we estimate that we will save at least 200 gallons of propane a year, which works out to a savings of over $400 PER YEAR that we would have spent had we not done the work.



Some problems appear bigger than they really are. Last summer, we had to spend a lot of money having a new septic system put in at our new house. No, we didn't do that ourselves, but I did stay around while they installed it and paid a lot of attention to how the work was done. Though I was sure that there was nothing wrong with the new septic system, we started to notice the smell of sewer gas around the outside of our house, which seemed to be coming from the sewer vents on the roof. The company that installed the system assured us that there was nothing wrong with the installation, but they couldn't offer any insight about what might be causing the problem.



One day, we started to notice the smell inside the house and we were very unhappy about it. We found that the smell was coming from a drain in one of our closets. We called out three plumbers and they gave estimates ranging from $1000-$2000 each. Our dilemma was that each plumber had a different opinion of what would solve the problem, so we were pretty certain that if we spend $1000 or more, the problem would still not get fixed.



I thought that most drains were supposed to have traps, where a bend in the pipe allows water to stand and prevents sewer gas from coming into the house. One of the plumbers said that the drain in question did not have a trap, so we were surprised we had never smelled it before. When I thought about it, I realized that the only thing that put water into that drain was the air conditioner, which we had not used the previous two months. I poured a couple glasses of water down the drain and the problem soon cleared, meaning that there really was a trap and the water had simply evaporated, allowing the smell to come through.



We had solved the problem of the smell in the house, but we still had the problem outside. After spending a number of hours looking on the Web, I found a document explaining how the chemistry works in a septic tank. Without explaining all the details, the writer recommended flushing baking soda down the toilet each week. We tried it and it solved our problem completely. Rather than spending thousands of dollars, our total cost is 78 cents per week for system maintenance.



We once had a problem where our garage door opener would not work. The door was stuck in the "up" position. After I tried a lot of things, our son, who was 8 years old at the time, noticed that the safety sensor that prevented the door from closing when something blocked it was not lit, but he was sure it had been in the past. The sensor sends an invisible beam of light to another sensor on the other side of the garage door. I checked it and realized someone had bumped the sensor and the light beam was pointed the wrong way. After a small adjustment, it was fixed.



Some of our other do it yourself projects have included:

Re-roofing our house. It took some work, but saved us thousands. Like the insulation job, it was well worth it.



Replacing toilets. We have personally installed toilets nine times since we've been married (not all at our house, thankfully!) and though it is mildly unpleasant, it is not a particularly difficult thing to do if you approach it with a plan.


Changing electrical wall outlets (It's easy, but if you try it, make sure you turn off the power at the correct breaker. Electricity is dangerous so be careful.)



Replacing light fixtures (As above, be careful to turn off the breaker!)



Minor plumbing repairs - Sinks, garbage disposers, etc.



Painting the house, both indoor and outdoor painting. (See Tawra's story about Painting a room at http://www.livingonadime.com/articles/10-t
ips-painting-a-room.html )



Replacing outdoor sprinklers. We had an underground sprinkler system at our old house. Instead of paying a few hundred dollars to fix a bad sprinkler, I simply purchased one off of the Web for $19.95 and changed it myself. It required about 15 minutes, including digging a small hole and then doing same type of work as screwing a sprinkler onto a garden hose.



Fixing door and window problems, including replacing doorknobs and doors that didn't close properly. We've discovered that often when doors don't close properly, the screws in the hinges are a little loose and the door simply sags. Tightening the screws sometimes solves the problem.



Building and repairing outdoor steps and decks.



Wiring lamps (OK, if starting a fire in the house is a problem, this wasn't one of the more successful projects. Even though wiring a lamp is pretty easy, Tawra didn't realize that the little cardboard piece in the fixture is important, so she forgot to put it back in and discarded it. ;-) Another lesson we learned here is that when the breaker trips, there is a problem, even when the neighbor thinks the breaker is just defective and holds it in the "on" position. By doing so, he allowed the short circuit in the lamp to start a fire. For the record, we got everyone out of the house and put out the fire. The lamp didn't survive, but the house did. Circuit breakers are our friends!)



Yard and garden projects - We almost always do all of our own yard and garden projects. We love getting out in the garden and building things to make the yard feel more park-like. Some projects are bigger than others. We have also had to cut down a number of dead trees and significantly trim large hedge rows.



Some projects are definitely worth hiring a professional to do. I don't have much patience with cars, so we almost always pay a mechanic to fix them. You will no doubt find that there are some things that are too much trouble for the cost savings, but if you have something that needs to be fixed, consider whether you can do it yourself before hiring someone to do it.



If you've never tried to do basic home repairs before, start with something small. Once you have successfully done some small things, you'll have the confidence to try something bigger. One thing we've discovered is that a lot of the projects that we expected to be difficult turned out to be easy and cost us nothing.



If you're saying, "That sounds like a lot of work," consider this: We saved $1750 doing 8 hours of work on the insulation project. That works out to $219 per hour. If you divide that by the fact that two of us worked on it, that's $109.50 per hour we didn't have to earn to get the work done. Another way to look at it is that assuming that I get paid $20 per hour, that's 87 1/2 extra hours I DIDN'T HAVE TO WORK to pay for someone else to do it.



By repairing and maintaining things ourselves, we have saved tens of thousands of dollars. If we had paid to have someone do all of the things we have done, we would have had to earn more than twice our income every year that we have been married to accomplish the same thing.

Not only did we save a lot of money, but there is a tremendous amound of personal satisfaction in successfully completing a project. I highly recommend trying it yourself!






Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
10/10/08 8:19 P

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Homemade Gifts and Other Such Things
by Jill Cooper




If you have gone to the trouble to make someone homemade gifts, go the extra mile and make the presentation and packaging special too. It can make the difference between an "oh, thank you" gift and a "how cute is this, I love it, it's adorable!" gift.



If you are giving cocoa mix in a mug tie peppermint sticks or candy canes onto the mug to use for stirring. Even one or two spoons dipped in white chocolate can make the difference between a "ho-hum" gift and a "wow!" gift.



Copy the packaging and presentation ideas you see in magazines or on TV. There is a reason they can sell $.50 worth of cocoa for $25.



Instead of just giving someone a plate of brownies, cut them into Christmas shapes with your cookie cutters. Things like stars, trees or bells work well. Go a step further and covering them with frosting or sprinkles.



Take everyone's favorite rice crispy treats and cut them into shapes with your cookie cutters. There is even Christmas cereal available now. Try using that instead of regular rice crispies or add red or green food coloring to spruce up the rice crispies. Make a separate batch of red and green rice crispies before making the rice crispy treats.



Instead of giving someone a plate of cookies, buy cellophane bags to put them in and tie with extra pretty ribbons. You can get clear cellophane bags at party stores or flower shops.



When giving cookies, put a different twist on them by pressing a lollipop or popsicle stick into them before you bake them. If you use a popsicle stick, personalize it by writing the person's name or a special message on the stick. Once again, do something cute for a package. Slip them into a cellophane bag or cover with colored cellophane paper and tie with a bow. You can get lollipop or popsicle sticks at any discount store in the crafts or cake decorating section.



Tie little jingle bells to the ends of the ribbon you use on your package or just for fun, put your gift in a box before you wrap it and throw in a couple of hands full of wrapped peppermints or Christmas candy.









Here are some recipes for homemade decorations, which also make great gifts:



Scented Cinnamon Ornaments

1 cup cinnamon
1 Tbsp. cloves
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
3/4 cup applesauce
2 Tbsp. white glue
ribbon

In a bowl, mix the spices. Add applesauce and glue, stirring until well blended. Work mixture until dough is smooth and ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Divide into 4 portions and roll each portion on floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut dough with cookie cutters of desired shapes. Using a straw or toothpick, make a small hole in the top of each ornament. Place on wire racks and allow to dry at room temperature for several days. (For more uniform drying, turn ornaments over once each day.) Thread ribbon through holes to form garland. You can also glue to a wooden hoop, forming a wreath and decorate with ribbon as desired. Makes approximately 32 two-inch ornaments. DO NOT EAT!



Clay Christmas Ornaments

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 tsp. powdered alum
1 1/2 cups water

Mix ingredients well in a large bowl. If the dough is too dry, work in another tablespoon of water with your hands. Dough can be rolled or molded and can be colored with a few drops of food coloring.

To roll: Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured board. Cut with cookie cutters dipped in flour. Insert wire or make hole in top about 1/4 inch down for hanging.

To mold: Shape dough no more than 1/2 inch thick.

Bake ornaments on ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes in 250° oven. Turn and bake another 1 1/2 hours until hard and dry. Remove and cool. When done, paint and seal with spray varnish. You can lightly sand before painting to make the paint adhere better.

*Alum can be found in the spice section of your store.





Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
10/10/08 8:17 P

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Stop Eating Your Way Into Debt!
by Jill Cooper


At this time of year, there are usually 3 things people are panicking about: how to lose weight, how to save money, and how to get organized. We have already touched on losing weight so this week I would like to touch on saving money.

Hopefully most of you realize that you can get into deep debt if you buy a house or a car you can't afford. That seems to be pretty obvious, although a lot of people do it anyway. But that is not what I want to deal with today. The Bible talks about the little foxes that spoil the vine. What that is talking about is the little things that sneak into our lives without us realizing it. They start picking away at the vines in our lives until it destroys us. One of those "little foxes" is eating out.

Eating out is among the of the top causes of personal debt. Most of us hunt for the best interest rates on our mortgages and we complain about the awful price of gas the whole time we are pumping it.

Interestingly enough though, I have yet to hear one person groan about the awful prices they had to pay for lunch today or tell how they were "duped" into having to pay such high prices at their favorite restaurant. I mean really, the government should step in and make all restaurants take steak off of their menus so I won't be tempted to order it. Of course then there are those fast food places. They shouldn't be allowed to build so close to the road and make it so convenient for me to drive in there each day. They have a lot of nerve expecting me to be a responsible adult who knows what I can or can't afford and should or shouldn't do.

Tut, tut. I had better behave or I will have to fire myself. HA! HA! But I do feel so much better for getting that off of my chest.

Anyway where was I? Oh, yes -- saving money and eating out. I know most of the excuses we use to justify eating out when it doesn't really fit in the budget: "I don't have time", "I'm too busy", "I don't know how to cook", and last but not least, "it's so much easier to eat out".

I totally understand. I too don't have time to do things. I don't have time to take care of my yard, so I will hire a crew of gardeners to do it. I too don't have time to clean my house so I will have a housekeeper come in every day and do it for me. I don't know how to cook so I need a chef (the best French one, of course) and it is so much easier to hit my garage sales if I am chauffeur driven.

Obviously my examples are tongue in cheek but, as ridiculous as that all sounds, that really is what a lot of us are doing. In the same way that I can't afford a gardener, housekeeper or chauffeur and I would be pretty foolish to go hire them, many of us can't afford to go out to eat but do it anyway. I don't think most people really realize how much they spend eating out each month and would be shocked to find that they could probably hire a housekeeper or a gardener for that same amount.


Take one week and write down how much you spend eating out. That includes all those coffees, soft drinks, things from the vending machines and snacks you buy throughout the day. Be sure to write down the amount of anything that goes into you and your family's mouths for an average week. I'm afraid you may be unpleasantly surprised. Multiply it by 4 to get a monthly estimate and I think you would be just plain shocked.

I'm beginning to wonder if another reason we eat out so much is that it has just become a habit. Like many bad habits, we get so comfortable with them that we don't want to change them. Even when we know that a habit is destructive to us (physically, financially and even emotionally), we still do it.

Some of us look down our noses at other people with "bad habits" like drug addicts and alcoholics and can't understand why they don't just kick their habits. "Don't they see what they are doing to their families????"

What is the difference between other people's destructive habits and our repeatedly going out to eat and charging it? We know the food isn't as good for our families, we know we don't have the money to pay for it, and we know on bill paying day we will be so stressed that we will take it out on everyone around us. We so proudly display our bumper stickers that say "Say no to drugs." but how many of us could proudly display a bumper sticker that says "Say no to debt, I'm debt free".

(Please do not e-mail me about drug addicts and alcoholics. If you do, you are missing the point of the article and are only making it more clear to me that you are not willing to own up to or face the real issue --your debt.)

I know those words may sound harsh to some, but if you have seen and dealt with as many families as I have, whose homes have been or are being destroyed because of financial irresponsibility, you would understand why I can't always sugar coat things. We sink into a fog of apathy, hopelessness and discouragement and just give up trying. I really want you to understand you can fix your finances, but it will take a little bit of work and effort on your part. Don't just throw up your hands and give up.





Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
ANGELMOM37's Photo ANGELMOM37 SparkPoints: (48,907)
Fitness Minutes: (23,195)
Posts: 5,299
10/10/08 8:15 P

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Frighteningly Frugal Fun!!

By Tawra Kellam

The average American family spends over $100 per year on Halloween goodies. As your kids drag you through aisles full of ghosts and goblins, the scariest thing about Halloween is threatening to leave bite marks in your pocketbook. No wonder so many moms flee screaming from the store...

It can be much less expensive and a lot more fun to devise your own chilling creations.

Halloween On A Dime is a 32 page booklet that gives you ideas for making your Halloween more fun and creative. It is full of tips for making your own costumes, decorations, party games and more!

Here are a few tips from Halloween On A Dime that you can use to stave off the greenback gremlins and exercise your creative muscle. It won’t hurt a bit!

Order Halloween On A Dime e-book!

Face Paint

1 tsp. corn starch
½ tsp. water
½ tsp. cold cream
food coloring

Mix all ingredients together in an old muffin pan and you are ready to paint. This amount makes one color.



Fake Wound

1 Tbsp Vaseline tissue
cocoa powder
2-3 drops red food coloring

Place Vaseline in a bowl. Add food coloring. Blend with a toothpick. Stir in a pinch of cocoa to make a darker blood color. Separate tissue. Using 1 layer, tear a 2x3 inch piece and place at wound site. Cover with petroleum jelly and mold into the shape of a wound. The center should be lower than the sides. Fill the center with the red petroleum jelly mixture. Sprinkle center with some cocoa. Sprinkle a little around the edges of the wound to make darker.




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Fake Blood
Mix 2/3 cup white corn syrup, 1 tsp. red food coloring, 2-3 drops blue food coloring to darken and 1 squirt dish soap (helps blood to run well).

Abrasions
Dab brown, red and black eye shadow on area. Dapple blood over area with cotton balls. Use comb to gently scratch area in one direction. Dapple cocoa or dirt over wound with cotton balls.

Black Eye
Apply red and blue eye shadow to depressions around eyes.

Bruises
Rub red and blue shadow over bony area to simulate recent bruises. Use blue and yellow eye shadow to create older bruises.

Look Old
Cover face with baby powder. Draw dark lines on your skin for wrinkles. Smooth edges to blend. Cover again with baby powder. Add baby powder to your hair to create gray hair.

Deviled Eyeballs
Make deviled eggs. Add a green olive with pimento in the center for an "eyeball".

Radioactive Juice
Mix equal parts Mountain Dew and blue Kool-Aid

Spider Webs
Use the tape from old cassettes or black yarn to make spider webs.

Glass Jack-o-Lantern
Outline a pumpkin face on a spaghetti or pickle jar with black paint. The paint around the outside of it with orange paint. Place a candle inside for a jack-o-lantern.

Edible Slime
Pour lime gelatin into a glass bowl. After it is partially set, add gummy worms. Chill until lightly set. Then serve slopped all over the plate.

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Halloween Guess It Game
In this game, you challenge the participants to reach into mystery boxes filled with creepy things and try to guess what each item is. The person with the most correct answers wins the game. An example is if you want them to guess "grapes", you might try to confuse them by saying, "I think it’s eyeballs..."
Cut a hole in the top of a shoe box or laundry box for each item to be used. Cover the box with black spray paint. Decorate each box with pumpkins or spiders for a more festive flavor. Place the following items inside, one per box. Be sure to place enough of each item so the guests can adequately "feel" the guts.


Eyeballs - grapes or peeled cherry tomatoes
Intestines- Cooked Spaghetti
Skin- oil a piece of plastic bag
Brains- scrambled eggs
Hair- an old clown wig
Bones- thoroughly washed chicken bones placed in some sand
Vomit-chunky salsa
Fingers-hot dogs cut into finger sized pieces
Teeth- corn nuts, pine nuts or popcorn



Tracy -Guelph,Ontario


I'M ON MY WAY!

My highest weight: 303.4
Current weight : 180
Mini goal: 200
Goal weight : 140
Total weight loss so far:125.4 lbs
Team:
Eating on a Budget


 current weight: 180.0 
 
303.4
262.55
221.7
180.85
140
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