Sunday, September 15, 2019

Six Tips for Thrifty Living

Plan inexpensive, healthy meals
It's so tempting to eat out. For those of us who work outside the home, we might not feel like cooking. And for those who are home all day, we might want to get out of the house. I'm not going to tell you to never eat out. But the more we eat at home, the less money we spend. The same goes for a work lunch.

If you don't know how to cook, start small. Also, there are a great variety of sandwiches or salads you could put together easily.  One of my sons buys bread and peanut butter for lunches. You can dress up a peanut butter sandwich with jam or sliced banana or raisins. It's fun to get creative. 

Buy some things second hand
There are things I will buy second hand and things I won't. I never buy shoes or underwear second hand. Some other people might buy shoes, but my feet are picky.

If I need something for a particular occasion, I usually start with a thrift shop or two first. If I'm not successful, then I try discount department stores (I've been pretty lucky with Ross Dress for Less). Then I will try regular department stores (I'm thinking J. C. Penney or Kohl's). If I'm still not successful, I look at the sales at more expensive department stores (for example, Macy's).

Fix What We Are Able to Fix Ourselves
Here, it's good to take into consideration our talents and time. Some people can do some light carpentry or car repairs, and others cannot. Some of us can sew and mend or re-make clothing, and others don't know how. Some things can simply be super-glued or duct-taped or safety pinned. There are videos online describing repairs for just about anything we can think of. If it's doable, and you can put in the time, you can usually save quite a bit of money by doing it yourself.

Spend a little to save a lot
This one might be tougher for someone who is really pinched, but it's a good principle to have in mind when you are able to pursue it. Here is one example of what I'm thinking. If you have a car and you get regular oil changes, the car will need fewer repairs and/or last ever so much longer. Incidentally, checking the oil and the antifreeze/coolant, on the other hand, should only require the expense of buying a little oil (if it needs it) or antifreeze or windshield wiper fluid. If you don't know how, find someone who will show you or you could probably find it online.

Work and do most business close to home
This is one that might not be possible for everyone. Some jobs require commuting. But if we have a job where the choice is between somewhere close or somewhere further away, personally, I would take the one that is closer in order to save on gasoline and wear and tear on the car. Not everyone can do this, but could we find some of our doctors and businesses near our home…or perhaps near our place of employment?

Grow some food
This one can be hard if you don't have a house and yard…or at least an apartment with a patio or balcony. It's also hard if you've never grown anything before. I hadn't grown food since childhood, and then only once, but this year our neighbor gave us a couple of cherry tomato plants.  It's been really nice to have those fresh tomatoes. My plan is to start small and try to grow more next year. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Facebook Efficiency

We all like to save money, but sometimes saving time can be worthwhile too. For those who use Facebook, I found out this morning that I could actually clean my Facebook newsfeed for better efficiency.

I just did an analysis of my Facebook feed. What better thing to do on a Saturday morning, right? And you know what I found? It was out of control! But I also found that there are ways to control it a bit better.
Out of 100 posts, 10 were from friends. Ten! Only 10 posts from friends, out of 100 posts!
Out of 100 posts, 48 were news articles, not news articles shared by friends but just news articles.
So I went back and made some adjustments. News? Had I actually liked and followed news venues? I can pursue it elsewhere. So I Unliked (which automatically Unfollows).
Next I went for several Groups or businesses which I have no recollection of having joined and no reason to think I would have. I went to those and I Unliked them.
Next I went to Groups and businesses which I joined for a reason but no longer interact with (especially ones where the posts are mostly off topic) and I Unfollowed them.
I went to businesses which I might have joined to help them get to so many likes, but which I don't currently enjoy. And I Unfollowed them. You can do that without Unliking. It's actually a thing.
And so, I have cleaned my Facebook house. Now I can actually scroll and see a few posts from FRIENDS...which is what Facebook was supposed to be for. Am I right? 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

MM's Meat Loaf

From the Myers Family Cookbook

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine these ingredients in a large bowl:
2 pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
1 small onion, finely chopped OR 1 tablespoon minced onion

Add these seasonings and mix thoroughly:
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon thyme

Sauce (set aside to put on top of loaves after they are formed):
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

From into loaves in two ungreased baking pans (can be bread pans, with loaves touching the sides or can be pie pans, with loaves in a circle just away from the sides). Spread the tomato sauce thinly over both loaves.

Bake uncovered for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours. To check doneness, watch out for over-browning on the outside and/or run a knife through the center to check that there is no pinkness inside. If meat loaf was mixed ahead and is going from refrigerator to oven, allow an additional 15 minutes for cooking.