Ok so I know it’s been awhile…..
As I was making my grocery list and reading my new copy of Eating Well Magazine I realized there is a tremendous link between what we eat and how much we spend on groceries.
Now, I know you could be an Extreme Coupon-er, but how is that saving money when you’ve just bought your 1,000th toothpaste….I mean come on…no one brushes their teeth that much, EVER.
According to the June, 2011 Eating Well Magazine this is the first time the Food and Drug Administration has put out their new dietary guidelines to a prominently obese America. So their main message is to enjoy your food, but eat less. I LOVE this way of thinking because the minute someone tells me I can’t have chocolate all I’m thinking about is candy bars, chocolate milk, and cookies. I also think the idea of having a “What you can’t eat list” is a major factor in why diets don’t work. Think about what you CAN eat!
A couple of years ago I thought I’d become vegetarian, not simply because of animal rights but because I thought vegetarian meals to be very fresh: juicy tomatoes, freshly tossed salads, lentils, and other fresh garden veggies. I will tell you now, two years later I’m not vegetarian. In fact, I believe it only lasted two weeks. But, what I learned from that two weeks was that cutting back on meat, focusing on fresh ingredients instead of processed ones, and eating everything in moderation sparked something in me that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I feel INVIGORATED. I never realized how sluggish I felt after eating meals until I cut out the meat and processed stuff.
Another statistic I found in the June, 2001 Eating Well Magazine is that “people who ate meat only occasionally were 20% less likely to die of heart disease.”
So what does this have to do with saving money?
Fruit and Veggies are some of the cheapest items at the grocery store! In fact, ” a study comparing a week’s worth of vegetarian meals to a week’s worth of non-vegetarian meals found that the vegetarian meals cost 20% less than the meat-based ones.” according to Rachael Moeller Gorman of Eating Well. So that means if you spend $100 a week on groceries, by the end of one month you could save $80! Not only that but I guarantee you will feel better about yourself and what you’re putting into your body.
I’m not going to just leave you with that thought. Here are a couple of recipes that are standbys at our house. They are easy, quick, cheap and most of all, flavorful!
You can plan for this meal or plan to use leftover veggies from previous dinners. Also you can use whatever you want, this is just our standard.
Onion; red, green or yellow
1 can of beans for two people, any kind
bell pepper, red, yellow, green, or orange(different colors have different nutritional value so use something out of the ordinary for you!)
Jalapeno one split between two people, take out seeds for less heat
Saute everything in a pan. We use two different pans because I like mine spicier. ( this would also be a great way to separate if someone in the family didn’t like the same veggies, etc.) In the saute pan add whatever spices you like. I add oregano, basil, extra garlic powder, cumin, and chili powder. Saute until tender, remove from pan. put one tortilla shell in pan until bottom is warm then flip over. Top with favorite cheese, veggie mix, more cheese on top, maybe a squirt of lemon juice then top with another tortilla shell. Flip when bottom is crispy.
If I’m using a 12 inch tortilla I usually have leftovers for the next day’s lunch too!
So I took a break from writing and as I’m writing now, we are using the leftovers from the quesadillas to make burritos. This is a big tip, always look for ways to use leftover bits of food
Eggplant Parmesan: this serves 4
This one’s so good you won’t even notice there’s no meat!
one large eggplant sliced into 1/2 inch thick round slices
2 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 25 ounce jar pasta sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
preheat oven with baking sheet to 375
coat eggplant with egg then with bread crumbs
spread oil on hot baking sheet and place eggplant on in single layer, bake 15 min.
flip and bake 10 min.
increase oven temp to 475
in and 8×10 dish layer pasta sauce, then eggplant and top with cheese. Repeat once finishing with cheese
Bake until cheese melts and is golden in spots about 15 min.
Give these recipes a try and let me know what you think! I’m also interested to hear your ideas and tips on great recipes! Food is fuel for your body, but nobody said you can’t enjoy what you’re eating!
So, I decided to pick up this Suze Orman book…mainly because she’s one of Oprah’s advisors. I wanted to look at her ideas, try them and see how well they work. So far I’m only on Step 5. Here is Step 1:
Step 1 Think back to your formative experiences with money and consider what these memories have taught you about who you were then and how they affect who you are today.
-Suze explains your past experiences with money, as a child, affects how you handle money today. Ask yourself/ write down the answer to these questions:
What were the best presents your recall receiving when you were a child?
Did your friends have things you didn’t?
Did your parents fight about money?
Did you steal, from piggy banks, your parents, or a dime store?
Did your mother have to work when others didn’t or not have to when others did?
Did you get allowance? Did you have to earn it?
Did you feel like your friends had nicer clothes than you?
She explains this step may take a while as we often block out unhappy memories, she says this is the ABSOLUTE first step to handling your money correctly as you need to understand your past to understand your future.
Suze tells her story: Her family was poor. Her and her friends always went to a local hotel to swim and it cost $1. One day she asked her mother for a dollar to go swimming and her mom looked at her. Suze could tell she was holding back tears as she said. “Suze I’m really sorry but I don’t have a dollar to give you” She can’t remember what she told her friends that day but she never wanted them to know they were poor. Whenever she got money/occasionally stole money from her parents, she always spent it on her friends instead of herself so they would never know that she was poor. When Suze became an adult, she thought she’d learn from her parents mistake…she became filthy rich. However, she realized she wasn’t happy.
My earliest memory of money, I think, is when my sister and I used to play “house”. Our game always consisted of me being a shop owner… and my sister would have to come to my shop to buy things for her family, we used Monopoly money and she would buy various things set up in my room. I realize I was probably an unusual child. About once every other week I’d empty my piggy bank out and count it, organizing all the money. I was very frugal (in the bad sense). I didn’t spend any of my money. I disliked clothes shopping/ shoe shopping. I can’t remember if I thought we were poor or not, but I never thought it was necessary to buy clothes. I think I learned a lot about money from my mother and her stories about how her family grew up. I ACTUALLY thought they didn’t have a roof on their house until an embarrassingly old age.
I generally had to work for my allowance, I think my parents took it easy on me a few times. I didn’t always get EXACTLY what I wanted for Christmas, but I don’t remember ever wanting a lot. One specific time I remember wanting a Sega Genesis right when they first came out. My mom told me I’d have to save up for it myself. At first I was disappointed. But then I went to my room and counted my money. I gathered up $150 and asked my mom to drive me to Toys-R-Us.
Suze tells us that the answers to these questions could be why you’re scared to invest, why you’re ashamed of your money, or why you feel unworthy to have money. Suze says you shouldn’t hide your money if you have it or act like you have it if you don’t. You should look your financial situation straight on so as not to be in denial.
I think this is an amazing first step to financial freedom. What does your past financial experiences tell you about how you handle your money now?
This is a friend of a friend of a friend type story….
I work with a girl who is in a personal finance class and her teacher has a loan calculator that she takes with her everywhere. When she went to buy a car they gave her the figures: Purchase price, loan, monthly payment, etc. She brought out her calculator and started doing the math. It didn’t add up. She confronted the finance guy, who had to get the salesman, who had to get his boss. Everyone was doing the math. It turns out they were charging her $200 more a month than what she needed to pay!
The salesman said “I knew when you pulled out that calculator…we’d run into something.”
After I heard this I immediately questioned if I was being taken advantage of with my car payments.
With a large purchase like this don’t be afraid to do the math yourself and ask questions! With interest you could be paying thousands of dollars more than necessary.
So, my friend gave me this website : www.dinkytown.com . It has every calculator imaginable from debt consolidation, IRA, 401K, investment calculators, personal finance, tax, auto, mortgage, debt, savings, insurance, student budgets, net worth, and even a life expectancy calculator!
I think when most people are confronted with a loan or car payment they go along with whatever the loan officer is saying because they are not familiar with the language, but you need to take initiative in order to save money and not pay more than what is necessary.
This is a neat incentive to recycle!
The way the program works is that you pay for your garbage by bag instead of a hidden fee in your taxes or a flat rate charge. So basically if you aren’t on a “Pay as you throw” pay scale you are paying for everyone elses trash if you don’t have a lot.
Instead of throwing away you can compost, recycle, or reuse.
Compost: This can be as little as starting a pile in your backyard. A less smelly option would be to get a composter. Composters can range from $40 on up. You can use worms or not….(I bet I know a few people who would think the worms are pretty cool though!) And, you can use the composted material to fertilize your garden.
Recycle: You have to check your local recycling facilities to see what they take. Not all recycling facilities take the same items because like all things, it’s based on demand. For example my area does not take glass because they have nowhere to store it or anything to do with it.
Reuse: Since my area doesn’t take glass, all of our glass jars we get from pasta sauce, salsa, etc are being used as drinking glasses…not my favorite use but we also store small veggies in there and it’s handy to transport.
All this saving the environment AND some cash as well
Maybe this is incentive to become a community activist…or just get to know your friendly government sustainability worker!
If parents can’t live within their means how will your children learn? If your child sees you swipe a credit card, how will they know that’s a bad thing?
Teach your kids budgeting, make them buy some of their own toys. More simply put, learn to say “No.” to your children.
They will learn the gratification of the hard work it takes to save and then be able to enjoy their toys more fully because they put so much into it.
My name is Erin and I’m a 20 something, or Gen Y if you want to be less specific, interested in finance and budgeting. Particularly interesting is the current money “crises” in America today. You don’t have to be a Gen-Y, 20 something to feel the heat on debt, on the job market, or on the ability to have a social life that doesn’t cost.
Money issues and the taboo word “budgeting” crosses generations, ethnicities, and genders. It affects the recent college grad, the retiree, and the parent saving for college.
I’m living on a minimal income, in an inflated housing market, living within my means, and still enjoying life and saving for my future. If I can do it, so can you!
I will take tips from the pros and make them into realistic goals that anyone can achieve. Budgeting has allowed me to help the environment, improved my health, and allowed me to enjoy life more- all without money concerns.
Please post on this site any of your tips or tricks that you’ve found to help you save money. Debate is open and welcome.