Monday, September 29, 2008

I was surfing the net looking for information on the failed bailout and the next steps that our government might take. I came across a political blog, and on that I found this statement given by Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)

It details some of his core conservative principles, and resonates with my own thoughts about the bailout. Read the whole thing for yourselves at the link listed above.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bailout Frustrating...Pure and Simple

Our family is working toward becoming debt free. It's something we believe is not only the right way to live, but it's also wise. How in the world then can we move forward working toward this goal, when our country and the people making major decisions in the economic community continue to borrow against our future??? (Not only our future, but our children's future?)

I do not believe this bailout will help us in the long run, and I have some serious doubts it will help us in the short term. Our economy has not gotten to this point overnight.... so no one should believe it will be fixed overnight. It won't.

I guess what is frustrating to me most of all is that my ideals and what I believe to be right, are polar opposite to what our economic actions are in this country. I read something Paulson said.... "I won't bet against the American people ... We will work through this," Paulson said on NBC. "I wouldn't bet against the long-term fundamentals of the U.S. economy."

What long term fundamentals? Mr. Paulson will have to go way back in his memory to come up with some long-term findamentals he can bet on. Because for the past 40-50 years our society has put great stock in credit. Nothing for cash, everything for credit. And you know what? The average family is broke! There is little to no equity.

This article describes somewhat the $700 bailout process, and states: "If the Treasury tapped its full authority, the bailout would put every man, woman and child in the United States on the hook for more than $2,000." (Hey nice to know that even our infants will be on the hook for this one). The thing I find ironic in a very sarcastic that we just received a rebate check from the government in July. It's purpose according to the stimulate the economy. I'm thinkin' that didn't work very well. Oh, and now they'd like to take back that money and a bit a bailout for Wall Street...

And they wonder why our confidence is shot.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Leading economists from around the country oppose the bailout

The following is an article detailing an open letter sent to Congress by leading economists. I'm always interested in what experts in the field have to say: At the very end of the article below, you can click ona link that lists all the economists across the country who have signed this open letter so far.

Economists Send Open Letter to Congress Opposing Wall Street Bailout

Thursday, September 25, 2008

$700 billion bailout....

I'm concerned...are you concerned? I just wrote my state representative to ask that he carefully consider all the options concerning this bailout. (I know Dave Ramsey is advocating one method, and I truly don't have enough information to support or recommend it. That is why I asked that our state representative carefully look at all the options.)

I don't know what the answer to our country's economic problems are... but I DO know adding to our National Debt is not the answer. I am alarmed at how quickly such a huge decision is being rushed through, when Congress many times cannot agree on seemingly straightforward bills. This proposal has tentacles all over the place, and I wonder if anyone is looking carefully at all the ramifications.

Here is one article I found and I'm sure I'll be posting a few more in the days ahead. Click Here

Monday, September 22, 2008

Frugal Furniture

I posted about my husband's ability to change our brakes to save a ton of money. Well, let me tell you another area where we LOVE to be frugal! We are all about re-using an item. For instance in this photo of my children's bedroom...I bought this bed (headboard AND footboard) for $10. Yes, that's right, $10! (There is a matching bed right next to this one, just not in the photo, and it was the same price tag) I found both of them at a Goodwill store, and they did not look like this when I bought them. However, they were sturdy pieces of furniture that could be re-finished. And that is just what I did. This project was all mine as I sanded the headboard and footboard and re-finished them in a cherry stain. Two new beds for $20 plus the cost of a small can of stain and some sandpaper! Pretty cool huh? Oh and btw- the small bookcase I found 4 years later (same finish) at an antique store. It too was $10. :-)

Here is our latest project... I found these rocking chairs for $25 a piece. They are in very good condition other than the need to be refinished. They're sturdy and the seats are strong! So, I plan on sanding them down and painting them black to go on my covered front porch. I've been wanting black rocking chairs for awhile now. I think these will do nicely! I'm not sure when I will tackle this project, but when I do I'll be sure to post pictures!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My menu Plan

I finally got around to making my menu plan for the week.... It feels good to get that on the fridge and know what we are having for meals ...especially dinner!

Breakfast –Waffles/Fruit/OJ
Lunch – Salad with baked Chicken
Dinner – Pot Pie

Breakfast – Cereal/Fruit/Toast
Lunch – Deli Wraps/yogurt
Dinner- Fiesta Chicken

Breakfast- Eggs/Toast
Lunch- Nachos/ Salad
Dinner- Cracker Chicken

Breakfast- French Toast
Lunch – Baked Potato/Broccoli
Dinner- London Broil/ Rice

Breakfast- Cereal
Lunch- Pizza/Salad
Dinner- Leftovers

Breakfast- Pancakes
Lunch- Sandwiches/Fruit
Dinner- Dinner Out

Breakfast- Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch- Chinese Chicken Salad
Dinner- Ravioli

Friday, September 19, 2008

Behind the 8 ball

Once again I find I am a little bit behind the 8 ball regarding my menu planning. I have all the grocery fliers so I will be going through those this morning and trying to come up with a menu plan for the week.....

So, menu plan coming soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

Well, what is working for me lately is my crockpot. We have been super busy with all the kids activities! So, last week I broke out my crockpot twice. Both times on football nights... Last week I made Italian sausage in the crockpot which we all enjoyed after practice. But the beauty of that, was I made a double batch, so that we could have it the next night served over pasta with a side salad. Two nights where I barely had to cook!

This week I decided to make homemade meatballs. (They rock by the way!) We had meatball subs last night and they were delicious! Rave review by all the family. The best part again is that I doubled the batch. We can have meatballs with spaghetti tonight and another salad. All I have to do is make the pasta as the salad is already done!

As the weather is turning cooler, definitely break out your crockpot and start utilizing it! You'll be thankful for the stress free dinner, and you'll probably save money too from pre-planning and not eating out as often! There are some great recipes at All Recipes .com Check it out, they have ratings and tons of reviews too! Oh and for more great ideas go to Works for me Wednesday hosted by Rocks in My Dryer!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Proud of me!

Just wanted to say quickly that I was soooo tempted to eat out this evening. It's been a l-o-n-g day, and the chicken that I planned to use was still frozen. (I didn't take it out in time). But I decided at the last minute to just use the microwave to thaw it, and I could make my chicken fried rice. I'm so glad I did.... I stuck to my menu and saved about $40 by not eating out! Plus it was a hit with almost all my family. Ds1 was not thrilled, so I'm thinking this would be a dinner for every once in awhile. Then my husband could take the leftovers to work!

Another way to save it yourself!

A lot of times saving money is about doing something yourself. My husband and I have become pretty adept at this over the years. It doesn't hurt that we enjoy doing things ourselves. (Like remodeling for instance).

Anyway, below is a photo of my sweet dh changing the brakes )both front and back), on my van. We've been incredibly busy, and so I was going to have the dealership do it when I took the car in to be aligned. The brakes were going to cost $190 for rear brakes and $170 for front brakes!! Holy moley that is $360 total for new brakes!

Even though we were busy, it wasn't worth THAT much money. So, dh went and bought the brakes at Advanced Auto Parts. Cost: $60.00. Total savings $300! Oh, I am so glad that he can do this sort of thing!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saturday Savings

My grocery budget for the week was $100. That was what I was hoping to hit. Wednesday I went shopping for everything on my menu plan. My bill was $67.xx and I knew I had around $23.xx left to spend on some BOGO items later in the week when my coupons arrived. They arrived in the mail, and so I made a quick run to Publix to do a little stockpiling.

Since I haven't posted this in a while, here is what I bought for $25.xx. I actually saved more than I spent, which I haven't done in quite awhile!

Note: Unfortunately with my additional $58. Sam's club bill, I did end up being over budget by $60. I am going to try and be under budget next week, utilizing the things I have in the fridge, freezer and pantry.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I wanted to link to another opinion on warehouse stores like BJ's, Cosco etc. I mentioned my friend Jeannie has a large family and stores like Sam's club work for her and her family. I won't re-write it all.... I'll just send you over to her blog and you can read it in her own words.... Click Here.

Budget Blown

Okay, here is my dilemna and how I think I'm going to handle it.... I had to stock up on tons of necessities at our house. We were out of papertowels, and toilet paper completely. My stockpile has been long gone for awhile. We also were completely out of paper plates and cups. Unless there is a mjor deal somewhere I will typically buy these in bulk at Sam's club.

The problem is I went $58 dollars outside of my budget for this. Typically when I stock up like this it will last us 3 months. So I calculated 13 weeks to the 3 month point. I will have to reduce my budget by $4.50 a week. I know that sounds crazy....but it is what it is...

Now about Sam's club. I went in for 6 items, and when I came out I was shocked at the bill! I know shopping there can save money especially for larger families. But I also know that I can sometimes get a better deal at my local grocery store, or Walgreens or CVS using an advertised sale and coupons. Like TP.... I know I can do better, but for convenience sake I needed to stock up now. I will not have time in the coming month with a trip overseas to locate the deals and stock up. (And while my parents are here I'd really like for them to have TP). :-)

Anyone have thoughts on warehouse stores like Sam's Club, BJ's and Cosco? We don't have a Cosco around here, but I have friends who live near one, and I have heard great things about that store! They have some pretty nice stuff. How does it work for your family? I know my friend Jeannie has a large family and the larger quantities work for her. Unless Publix is running a major sale, I find that Sam's has the better price on meat and chicken. But I also have to be focused and stick to my list, or I'll come out of there with stuff I don't necessarily need.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gas Hike

Oh my word! I never thought I would see this... really I didn't. I had heard of it happening in the 70s, but I was too young back then. People are circled around the block for gas in our neck of the woods. My dh just ran down to fill up both our vehicles while gas is still $3.59 gallon.

I heard from several parents at football that gas is supposed to jump $1.50 tomorrow, on account of Hurricane Ike. On our way home this evening at 8:30pm when the roads are typically clear, I noticed traffic busier than normal. Then I saw all the cars at the pumps. TONS! One parent told me that a few stations are closed because they ran out. One station we went to this morning had gas at $3.49/gallon. Tonight as we drove by it has already jumped to $4.09, and we understand it's headed up even more tomorrow!

It's crazy... and we aren't even in an area with a high cost of living. I can't imagine what it is jumping to in NY, California etc. What's it running where you live? Leave a comment... of what state you live in and how much gas is running right now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Menu Plan

Well, since my last post was all about how I'm lovin' having my menu plan back in action. Here's another one for this coming week. It's already on the fridge! Tomorrow is another crockpot day because we have football practice at two different fields. We haven't had a pot roast in a l-o-n-g time, so this should be well received by all the men in my family.

I am trying to use up some staples that I have on the shelf.. I haven't made Hamburger helper in a while either, and it's not exactly a favorite here... but it is easy and except for the meat, it's already paid for. :-) Meatball subs close out the week with the leftover meatballs being used for Italian night on Wednesday. (At least I can say I'm prepared!)

Breakfast –Muffins/Fruit/OJ
Lunch – Sandwiches/Fruit
Dinner – Pot Roast with potatoes and carrots

Breakfast – Eggs/Toast/Fresh Fruit
Lunch – Baked Potato/Broccoli/cheese
Dinner- Stir fry Chicken and vegetables

Breakfast- Biscuits and Homemade apple butter
Lunch- Hot Dogs/Baked Beans
Dinner- Hamburger Helper

Breakfast- Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch – Omelet/Breakfast Sausage/Brunch
Dinner- Ravioli/ garden salad

Breakfast- Cin. Raisin French Toast
Lunch- Pizza and salad
Dinner- Chicken Fried Rice and Vegetables

Breakfast- Eggs/Toast/Fruit
Lunch- Deli Wraps/yogurt/fruit
Dinner- Meatball Subs

Breakfast- Waffles/Fruit
Lunch- Mish-mash whatever is leftover....
Dinner- Spaghetti and Meatballs

Works for Me Wednesday- Menu Plan!

What has been my biggest asset this week on the frugal forefront? My Menu Plan! I have loved getting into the swing of things again! My menu plan has kept us all on track, foodwise and spending wise. Everyone in our family automatically knows where to look if they want to know what’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s right there on the fridge spelled out in black printer’s ink. No more guessing… no more wasted breath. I just have to say a few words…… “Look at the fridge”.

Here’s an example of how having a menu plan has benefited us this week. As I mentioned before, football has us all incredibly busy, and it has been hard to figure out meals, and quite frankly easier to just dine out. But that was killing our budget for the month. On the menu yesterday was a crockpot meal. Having that on the fridge allowed me to be prepared... ahead of time. So, yesterday evening I actually had a crock pot recipe waiting for us, when we all arrived home at 8:30pm! Let me tell you, with a ravenous husband and two equally hungry boys, this was a huge help! DH was quite pleased and it was just a great time to de-stress, have some dinner and talk about our day as a family.

It’s helped our budget too. There is no question about what’s for dinner… and so no last minute decisions to eat out. There are also fewer stops to the grocery store as we try to buy what we need ahead of time. I do need to improve in my number of trips to the store. My goal is to only go to the grocery store once. But if I have to go back for milk as a staple later in the week then I’ll cut myself some slack. I think part of my problem is our grocery store is like 5 minutes from my house, and is a social place. I always run into friends there! So, who wouldn’t want to shop there more often? LOL!

So, this week’s success for me is my Menu Plan. It has saved both time and money, plus helped me to feel a lot more organized!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Savings $10/week- Does it make a difference?

I absolutely loved this article on savings! And not just because it talks about coins in your couch making a difference.... (but that was pretty cool!)

No, this woman talked about how $10 could really make a difference. The same advice I was given when I was just starting out newly married... that I chose to ignore. I wish I had this article that could have explained it logistically to me back then. I'd be better off today.

She has written and shown how much money you would have accumulated after 30 years if you saved $10 a week. Here is the quote:

According to MSN Money's Savings Calculator, if you saved just $10 a week, or $40 a month, you'd end up with almost $60,000 in 30 years, assuming an 8% return. (Historically, that's been the long-term return for investing in stocks.)

Now doesn't $10 a week sound rather insignificant? I mean, I thought the same thing.... how can a measly $10 make a difference? But look at how it adds up! I am re-evaluating my savings plan today and starting small.... even $10 because with all the adoption stuff etc... I can at least afford that. $40 a month is dining out one time for my family. I can forgo a restaurant in favor of socking that money away.

How about you? Care to take a savings challenge? Even a small one? Take a look at this article and and see if you can save $10 a week..... even a small amount can make a big difference!

How $10 Could Save Your Retirement.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Inspiring Article

I found another article that is pretty inspiring. It's from Parade magazine, July 13, 2008.

How America Saves- Secrets of Thrifty Families

Interesting Article

I found an interesting article on MSN money entitled, Why Can't Americans Save a Dime?

Saturday, September 6, 2008


How much money does the average American save each month? Well, according to Forbes Magazine, “In 2005 the personal savings rate as a percentage of disposable income in this country was negative 0.5%”.

The average American is living paycheck to paycheck. If you are saving anything at all, you are above average. Even those whose income indicates they could be saving aren’t. Why? Because they are up their eyeballs in credit card debt. Why are they in debt? Because they are living beyond their means. Now let me qualify that I know this is not everyone’s scenario. But, it truly does represent our current buy now, pay later mentality.

I know a little bit about this…. from personal experience. There was a time when dh and I were considered D.I.N.K.S.- (Dual Income No Kids). I don’t even know if they call it that anymore, it’s been a long time since we were DINKS. Anyway, we both worked outside the home, in fields that paid pretty well. Seriously, now that I think back on it, for the first 4 yrs of our marriage, we brought in about ½ of what we are making now. Our house payment was actually less than it is now, AND we had no kids. That means none of the expenses that go along when you add two more to your family.

Here is the worst part… we saved NOTHING! That’s right absolutely NOTHING. And that my friends is sad. We probably had the ability to save almost ½ my salary or more. That’s a huge chunk of savings over a four year time period! But instead we lived like most Americans today, paycheck to paycheck. We ate out a lot, because we could afford to, and quite frankly because I didn’t like to cook and didn’t feel like cooking. We also bought on credit. Any major purchase to remodel our home, was bought using our credit cards. Holiday shopping was also pretty bad, and like most people we racked up some pretty steep bills come January. Typically when a bonus or tax refund came through that money was earmarked to pay off credit cards. Sound familiar? It’s not a fun way to spend that refund or bonus, let me tell you…..

If you are a newly married couple just starting out I encourage you to sit down together and think about what you make and how you can save. Someone once told me even a small amount saved over a long period of time can make a big difference. I didn’t listen, and here we are just now beginning to work on our savings plan. I hope you won’t make the same mistake we did. We were fortunate and have been spared so many of the financial disasters that couples can get themselves into. If you really don’t know where to begin I recommend grabbing a copy of The Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples by Larry Burkett. This is a good basic starting point to learn about managing your finances together. I also recommend you listen to Dave Ramsey on the air or on the net. There are many couples that have come through very difficult financial situations, and become free from debt. Fridays are a great day to hear those success stories! Also, if you are seriously in debt., don’t try to start saving money yet. The first step is to get out of debt. Here is a link to Dave Ramsey’s website where he talks about the Debt Snowball- The truth about how to get out of debt.

My goal is to kick the very last of our debt out the door, (except for our house) and to start saving more of our money. I'm not sure how soon that will happen with our international adoption.... but I'll keep you posted!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Head above water.

I finally feel like my head is slowly coming back above water.... I don't know why I went down under, but I'm making my way back up!

The menu is on the fridge, and a mammoth pile of bills are paid and ready to go out the door. Plus, we have a separate account payment system for medical bills. Those are also completely caught up and d-o-n-e!

It's such a good feeling to be caught up.... but also to know where every dollar is going. To say that the month of August was over budget would be correct. Our dining out expenses alone pretty much killed our budget.

It is SO easy to just forget about the budget and go out to dinner. Going anywhere for dinner seems better than cooking at the time. (Until you get the bill.) I can see why folks use the envelope system now. It definitely would have helped curb the dining out expenses we incurred this past month. No doubt about it!

So, even though this month has already begun.... I am starting our own envelope system, for groceries, dining out and gas. Those are the three main ones that we seem to go over on in regards to our budget. That should really help us to stick to our budget this month. As I mentioned before we have been using our credit card to earn points for our hotel stay in Moscow. But, I believe we have enough for now... and it's more important in my mind to curb some of that spending and see how well we can stick to our budget.

I will say that thankfully we have still been able to pay off our credit card bill each month. Unfortunately, it hasn't left a whole lot of anything for savings. I'll write more about savings and that mindset in a future post. :-)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Did it!

It feels sooo good to have a menu done, and to have it on the fridge! I've already stuck to day one.... success!

Breakfast- Cereal/Fresh Fruit
Lunch- Ravioli/apples/yogurt
Dinner- Tacos/Taco salad

Breakfast- Eggs/Toast/Fresh Fruit
Lunch- Pasta Broccoli Salad
Dinner- Margarita Chicken/rice/fresh fruit

Breakfast- Pancakes
Lunch- Sandwiches
Dinner- Hamburgers/baked potato fries/salad

Breakfast- Cinnamon Rolls
Lunch- Omelets/French Toast/Bacon/Fresh Fruit
Dinner- Sandwiches

Breakfast- Cereal/Muffins/Fresh Fruit
Lunch- Pizza/salad
Dinner- Grilled Chicken Salad

Breakfast- Waffles/Fresh Fruit
Lunch- Sandwiches/yogurt/grapes
Dinner- Pasta/Italian sausage/salad

Breakfast- Cinnamon Raisin French Toast
Lunch- Veggie/Deli Wraps
Dinner- Chicken Stir Fry

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Publix Deals

Well, since I'm not posting Publix deals on a regular basis, I thought I would at least direct you to a place where you can find those deals.

Click this link to find the latest deals at Publix and the coupons you can match to them: (This is sooo much easier than typing it all out!) lol!

Publix Deals (Sept 3rd-Sept9th, 2008)

Menu Plan...It's coming!

I have everything on paper for all my menu ideas this week. I am very excited about it. It goes all the way through next Wednesday. Hooray! Now I just have to put the meals together and get them on my blog. I am planning to succeed this week! Not only on the frugal front, but on the eating front. My meals are all fairly healthy and when I know what I am cooking... I tend to stick to the plan.

Now onto one other piece of information. I can't believe I didn't know about this sooner. I never noticed this, but my friend Kris has had this blog listed on her website. It's called a Year of Crockpotting. One year!! There are some pretty good looking recipes on this site. The chewy peanut brittle looked awesome. (Yes, I did just say I was eating healthy, so naturally my mind is gravitating to the sweet treats that I haven't had in a while!) Anyway, check it out!

(Especially posted for my friend Becky who is looking for crock pot meals!)