Recipe for Chicken Teriyaki

How I make my chicken teriyaki recipe:
I make my own version of Chicken Teriyaki. I start out with a family pack of boneless chicken. The family pack should be about 2 pounds or more. Here is what you need:

2 tablespoons or more of olive oil
2 green bell peppers
2 or more pounds of chicken fingers cut in pieces
1 can of drained pearl onions
2 cloves of minced garlic
8 ounces of soy sauce
2 teaspoons of ginger
5 tablespoons of sugar
1 and 1/2 cups of Minute Rice
Here is what to do:

Make the rice as the directions on the box says and set aside.

In a frying pan add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and when it is hot add the chicken, bell peppers,and the drained pearl onions. When that is cooking well add the sugar, garlic and ginger. Let it cook for about 10 minutes and add the soy sauce and cook for 10 more minutes. Now just add the rice to the ingredients and serve it up. This is really awesome! I love anything with soy sauce in it. You can change this up however you want to. If you want to add more veggies to it you can.


Recipe for Fried Green Tomatoes

Green Fried Tomatoes are easy to make as a side dish. I serve them together in the same bowl. This is what I do:

I take 3 or more green tomatoes and slice them up fairly thin. While I am getting the tomatoes ready I have a frying pan getting hot with a good splash of extra virgin olive oil and a good dollop of butter to fry them up.

After slicing the tomatoes, you will need to make an egg wash. Just scramble up a couple of eggs with a splash of milk. I like to pour the egg wash into a Ziploc bag. Then I put the tomato slices in the bag and gently let the egg wash get all over the tomatoes.

Then I season a cup full of flour with garlic salt and pepper and put that into a Ziploc bag. Put in the tomato slices and let them get coated with flour. Once they are coated lay them out into your frying pan that is sizzling with the olive oil. Let them fry up until they have a firm brown coating on them. When they are brown, flip them over easily with a spatula. I hold them in place with a fork while flipping them. Let them finish frying. This recipe would also be good for diabetics.

When the fried green tomatoes are done they will be crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They taste so good. I love to eat mine with ketchup. Fried green tomatoes are good to serve with beef or chicken or any meal actually.



Recipe Tips for When you Have More Month than Money

When it is nearing the end of the month, my pantry is usually pretty close to empty. I know there are many others who are in the same boat. You have more month than you have money, but you still have a family to feed. Many times I think I have nothing to make a meal with, and I go to searching. Some foods you might not even think would go well together to make a meal, but when you try it, you find out that the concoction you made is really very good.

I made something the other night that was really more of a science experiment. I had 6 eggs, and 2 red tomatoes and 2 green tomatoes and some scallions. I had some left over rice in the refrigerator, so I just put that in the microwave to warm it up. In a frying pan I sautéed the scallions, and the tomatoes with a tad of salt.

This is what you do. In a medium sized bowl whisk the eggs until they were nice and frothy. When the onions and tomatoes start cooking down, add the eggs and scramble them all together until they are soft and frothy. You will want the eggs to be moist and not really dry so don't over cook them. When the tomato egg mixture is done, you just put it over rice. It would be good with oven broiled garlic toast also.

Another thing that I have done with eggs is add cream of mushroom soup to it and scramble the eggs until they are soft but not hard. We have eaten this with garlic toast. There are so many ways you can make eggs where you don't only think of them as a breakfast food. When you have to make your food stretch, you add filler ingredients to make enough to feed everyone.

A few months ago it was really tight here until payday, and I had almost nothing in the house. I did have corn meal, and I had milk and bread. I could have made cornbread, but I didn't want to. I really wanted something else. I remembered what my dad made us kids when we were small, and money was short. He made a cooked cereal out of corn meal. We called it corn meal mush, but I don't know if that is the real name for it.
All you do is put some water and butter in a pot and bring it to a boil. Start adding corn meal slowly and stir it. It will swell up just like cream of wheat. Add enough corn meal until the texture is like cream of wheat. I use yellow corn meal, but you can make it with white corn meal also. When it
is done, pour it into cereal bowls, add sugar or sweetener and add milk. You eat it just like you would oatmeal or cream of wheat. I like to eat it with strawberry jam and toast on the side. This country breakfast is really very good.

So if you think you have nothing in your pantry or your refrigerator, look again. You just might find something there in which to make another meal. I am always thankful for the way I was raised. My dad was able to always put together meals to feed our family, when it seemed we didn't have anything.


Recipe for Country Fried Steak

Those of you that are following my blog know that I pinch pennies wherever I can to make tasty dishes from recipes I have created. Meat is one of the most expensive food purchases; I save money by buying the cheaper, or budget cuts of meat. As you might know the cheaper cuts of meat are very tough;some might say the budget cuts of meat could be used to put soles on the bottom of shoes, rather than to serve for dinner.

Here is what you do to make my country friend steak recipe:

Open up a package of round steak and put it in a large skillet filled with water salt and garlic powder. I let the meat parboil for about 45 minutes. It needs to be tender, but not so that it is falling apart. Once it is tender enough take the meat out of the water and set it on a plate to cool so you can handle it.

In the mean time pour about a cup and a half of buttermilk into a bowl and add an egg. Beat the egg into the buttermilk so that it is creamy and set aside. In a Ziploc bag put about one-half cup of flour and season it with salt and garlic powder. When the meat is cooled enough cut the meat into serving sizes and dip them into the buttermilk egg wash, and then shake each piece of steak in the flour mixture.

To make country friend steak, pour some extra virgin olive oil (about one-half inch) into a frying pan and let the pan get fairly hot on medium heat. Once the pan is hot place the pieces of floured steak into the hot oil. They will start cooking right away. They won't have to cook but a couple of minutes on each side because the steaks are already done. When the steaks are browned on each side, pour out most of the olive oil and place about a cup of seasoned flour (salt, pepper, and garlic) into the frying pan to make a rue for the gravy. Pour a cup of water into the rue and blend it as it is heating up on the stove. Slowly add buttermilk until you get the right consistency for the gravy. Serve the steak and gravy with some buttermilk biscuits and a side salad and macaroni and cheese and you have a great meal for the family with very little money spent.



Recipe for Amish Friendship Bread from a Starter Mix

In order to make Amish Friendship Bread you have to have someone give you some starter. The starter mix is fade from flour, milk and sugar. In the place of flour I use Bisquick instead, and this works really well. I will write the directions using the word flour but if you prefer to use Bisquick it turns out even better. I got my starter mix from a friend who got hers from a friend and on the generations of friendship bread starter mix goes back. I'm not sure how old the original starter mix is, because I'm not sure how far back the line of friends go. There may be starter mixes several years old.

On July 12 I received a Ziploc storage bag with a portion of starter mix. The mix contained fermented starter mix that my friend Brenda had made and fermented from the starter mix she had received from her friend. Along with the starter mix I received a set of instructions. Now each person that gets the fermented starter mix records the day they received the mix. I received mine on the 12th, so it sits on my counter top in the original ziploc bag in which I received it.

Here's what you do to make the Amish friendship bread starter recipe:

If you don't have anyone to give you a starter mix you will have to make your own. In a ziploc bag put one cup of milk, 1 envelope of dry yeast, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of flour and it works really well. Close the bag and mash the bag until the liquid and solids are combined.

Now leave it on your counter. Make sure you mash the bag to mix the ingredients, and don't put any metal spoons in there to mix with. It works best to just mash the bag to do the mixing.

Record the date. Count this date as day 1.

Day 2 mash the bag

Day 3 mash the bag

Day 4 mash the bag-periodically you will have to unseal the bag to let air out because the bag will blow up like a balloon as the mixture ferments).

Day 5 mash the bag

Day 6 add 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of flour, and 1 cup of sugar. Now mash the bag until ingredients are mixed.

Day 7 mash the bag

Day 8 mash the bag

Day 10 mash the bag

Day 10 add 1.5 (one and one-half) cups of flour, 1.5 cups of sugar and 1.5 cups of milk. If you want to you can do this step in a non-metal bowl. It might make it easier when you have to divide up the batter.

Now split up the batter into equal 1 cup starter kits in 4 Ziploc 1 gallon bags. Keep one of the starter kits for yourself and give others away to your friends. Encourage them to do the same. Be sure to give them these directions so that they know how to make the Amish Friendship Starter mix.

Once you give away your starters, keep the one cup of starter and start the process over again, but leave out the yeast. You don't need to add any more yeast, because the yeast is still alive and growing as you keep feeding it with sugar and flour and milk. So every 10 days you will be making starter and giving it away. It is this chemical process that makes the bag expand with air.

If you don't want to use a Ziploc bag to make the starter in, you may use a non-metal bowl. If using a bowl to ferment the starter, use a wooden spoon to stir it with each day. Don't use a metal utensil because that will ruin your mixture.

Now here's the recipe directions for the making of the bread from the starter mix:

This is what you need to do:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Take 1 cup of starter mix and place in a bowl add 3 eggs, one-half cup of milk, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, one-half teaspoon of salt, 1 large box of Instant vanilla pudding. Also add 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of Diamond Walnuts chopped, and 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Now add three-fourths cup of melted butter or margarine, add 1 cup of sugar and one-half teaspoon of vanilla. Add 2 cups of flour. Mix well until all the ingredients are incorporated.

Grease to loaf pans with butter or margarine. In a separate bowl mix up a half cup of sugar with a half teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle the inside of the greased bread pans. Now pour or spoon out the bread batter into your loaf pans. You can also use a large bundt pan if you want to instead of the bread pans.

Bake the bread for 60 minutes. Be sure to let the bread cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the bread or bundt pans. Cooling allows for the bread to shrink away from the sides of the pans.

Now with the remaining 3 bags of starter mix, keep one for yourself and give the other two away. You will make lots of friends this way. As long as you have starter mix keep it out fermenting and every 10 days separate it and start the process again. Hope you don't run out of friends to give this to! If you don't have anyone to give the starter to you can freeze it. You won't kill the yeast. When you are ready to use the frozen starter just let it thaw for 3 hours to room temperature before using it.



Recipe for Great Snacks Featuring Hillshire Farm Smoked Italian Sausage

Recently I had planned a little get together for after church; all the sisters of the church were coming. As luck would have it I didn't get to the store in time to get what I needed to serve my guests. I usually go to the store way ahead and have the food in the freezer for when I need it, but I go
t distracted and by the time I thought of getting the food I was broke.

If I do say so, I think I can think on my feet. I looked to see what I had to work with and I saw that I had Italian smoked sausage by Hillshire Farm. I had plenty of that so I started looking around for something to go with it. I was able to pull off two great snacks to serve. The first one was something similar to pigs in a blanket, which I call sausage and cheese wraps, and the other one was what I called pigs in sweet sauce.

Here is what need for sausage and cheese wraps:

Grand's refrigerated biscuits
1 pack sausage
1 block Cracker Barrel cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the biscuit dough so that the pieces are lying flat on a floured surface; flatten them with your hand, so they can be filled. Cut up small pieces of sausage and small pieces of cheese and fold the biscuit over and seal each one so the cheese will stay inside. The biscuit dough should flatten to at least double in their circumference. Place your filled biscuits on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown. The biscuit dough will bake a little faster than normally because they are thinner, so you will need to keep a watch on them to make sure they don't burn.

Here is what you need for Pigs in sweet sauce:

1 cup current jelly
1 tbsp honey
1 cup ketchup
1 pack sausage cut up into small pieces

In a small skillet add the jelly, honey and ketchup, heat until it begins to boil. Lower heat and add the sausage. Let the sausage heat through for about 10 minutes. Serve hot in a bowl and let people serve themselves with toothpicks. This is especially good served with sharp cheddar cheese on the side.


Recipe for Jiffy Corn and Green Bean Casserole

Jiffy corn muffin mix is a staple that I can't do without. I never make corn bread from scratch, I always use Jiffy, because I like the sweetness of Jiffy yellow corn muffin mix. It makes great salads and casseroles.

Here is what you need to make Jiffy corn and green bean casserole:

1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

1 can whole kernel corn (drained)

1 can cream-style corn

1 can French-style green beans (drained)

1 onion chopped

1 red bell pepper

2 eggs beaten well

1½ cup sour cream

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (Put 2 cups in the recipe and one cup on top)

Here is what you do to make Jiffy corn and green bean casserole:

In a large mixing bowl, combine both cans of corn, onions, peppers, eggs, and corn muffin mix. Once they are all incorporated fold in 1 cup of cheese and green beans. Now pour the mixture into a lightly greased oblong casserole dish. Top with the remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake this casserole for 50 to 60 minutes or until done.

This is a complete meal, and you don't have to serve anything else if you don't want to. I sometimes like to slice some red ripe tomatoes to serve on the side with a dollop of mayonnaise. Hope you enjoy this as much as we do.


Recipe for Jiffy Cornbread Salad

Jiffy Cornbread is a staple I keep in my pantry. Normally, I am not fond of cornbread, but I love Jiffy! I bake Jiffy sometimes just to have cornbread and milk for breakfast or dinner. But I have experimented with Jiffy and found that I can make some very interesting meals with this wonderful staple. I can make a complete meal with Jiffy in the form of salads and casseroles. The first one is Jiffy Cornbread salad, and the other one is Jiffy Corn and Bean Casserole.

Jiffy - Cornbread Salad

2 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread Mix

12 slices bacon

2 cups sour cream

1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix

2 cups mayonnaise

2 cans kidney beans

4 finely chopped tomatoes

2 cans (drained) whole kernel corn

1 can button mushrooms

1 large onion chopped

1 bell pepper chopped

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

First step - Empty both packages of Jiffy Cornbread Mix into a bowl and mix as directed on the box. Let it cool and then crumble it all up and put aside until later.

Fry up the bacon until it is crispy. When the bacon is done, lay it out on paper towels to drain. When it is, cool crumble it up into little pieces.

Second step - In a small mixing bowl add sour cream, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing mix. Mix well with a wire whisk.

Third step - In a fairly large bowl or serving dish make layers of corn bread, beans, tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, bacon and cheese. You should be able to make at least 3 layers of each. Cover the salad with cling wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours before you are ready to eat. Some folks don't like mushrooms, but we do. You can add or leave out any of these ingredients and add some that you think of.


Recipe for Sauteed Scallops

I love seafood. I don't like just any type of fish, but I do like some fish like flounder, red snapper, and I love shrimp and scallops. My family isn't much into seafood, but I do try to offer them seafood at least once a month. I feel it is important to have seafood. I would eat it at least once a week if my family would be more receptive to it.

Today I will share a recipe for sauteed scallops. It is very important that you do not overcook scallops because they will get tough. You only need to cook scallops for about 5 minutes and they will be done to perfection. If a recipe calls for bay scallops you can use sea scallops if that is what your grocer's seafood department has, and vice-versa. If your recipe calls for sea scallops and you only have bay scallops, they are interchangeable. In this recipe I just refer to the scallops as "scallops" and not sea or bay scallops.

Here is what you need to prepare my recipe for sauteed scallops:

1 skillet for sauteing
2 pounds of scallops
1 package of shake and bake for fish
2 or 3 shakes of pepper
2 or 3 shakes of paprika
2 tablespoons of juice from a real lemon (not the bottled stuff)
2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup of buttermilk

Here is what you do to prepare my recipe for sauteed scallops:

Heat up the skillet with the butter. Allow the butter to melt and begin to sizzle of medium low heat; add pepper and paprika to the butter. Don't let the butter turn dark in the pan. If the butter turns dark it is burning and you don't want to burn the butter. Unwrap the scallops and run them under warm water to wash them. Then let them soak a few minutes in the buttermilk. Take the scallops out of the buttermilk and place in a bag with shake and bake coating mix.

Now place the coated scallops in the hot butter. Sautee for 2 to 2 and 1/2 minutes on each side. Don't let the time exceed 5 minutes total, or they will get tough. Plate the scallops and pour a small amount of the butter from the pan onto them. Squeeze lemon juice on top. That's it! Serve with corn and tomatoes, or your favorite salad, and baked potato. This recipe may also be good for people with diabetes.



Recipe for Mom's Potato Salad

Everyone has their own way they like potato salad. Many of us have had our recipes handed down to us from our mom's, and their mom's before them. My daughter makes the same potato salad that I grew up with as a kid. My mom's recipe for potato salad differed from all the people we knew. The ingredient that made ours different were olives and paprika.

Here is what you need to make Mom's recipe for potato salad:

1 large boiling pot
10 fairly large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of vinegar
1 finely chopped onion
1 large dill pickle finely chopped
5 hard boiled eggs finely chopped
1 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup of sliced olives
1/2 cup of black olives
Several good shakes of paprika

Here is what you do to make Mom's recipe for potato salad:

Boil the diced potatoes until they are tender, and then drain them. Run some cold water over them if you like to cool them off. When they are drained well pour the diced potatoes over into a large mixing bowl. Add the oil, vinegar, pickle, onion, black and green olives. Mince up the eggs (I like to put them through my food processor.) Put about half the eggs in the potato salad, and mix well. Add the mayonnaise and combine all the ingredients. Now transfer the salad into a decorative salad bowl. Top the salad with the rest of the crumbled egg and then shake on the paprika so there is a pretty red coating over the eggs. Cover the salad with plastic wrap, and refrigerate before serving.



Recipe for Southern Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad is another dish I grew up on. I think the recipe changes from one area of the country to another. My dad's recipe for macaroni salad contained green English peas, and you can use green peas if you wish, but I have expanded my macaroni recipe to contain black eyed peas, rather than English peas.

Here is what you need to make Southern macaroni salad:

1 large boiling pot
1 pound of your favorite macaroni (I use elbows or bow ties)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
3 stalks of chopped celery
1 large onion
Jalapeno peppers (as many as you want) optional
1/4 cup of salad olives (sliced)
1/4 cup of diced pimento
2 cups of black beans (canned or left over cooked from dry) or substitute the black eyed peas for green English peas if you prefer.
1 can of drained black olives (pitted and chopped)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of Louisiana Hot Sauce (optional - I like to stump my toe on the hot sauce.. I love it!)
1 teaspoon of salt
3/4 teaspoon of pepper

Here is what you do to make Southern macaroni salad:

Boil the macaroni in a large pot of water. I like to pour about a tablespoon of salt in the water as I cook the macaroni. When the macaroni is cooked drain it, and place it into a large mixing bowl. Add all the other ingredients. Mix well. Serve with garlic toast if you like. This is a complete meal.



Recipe for Fried Turkey

I was given this recipe for fried turkey from my former pastor. Until I had tried a slice of fried turkey I didn’t know what I was missing. It is just fantastic. To bake a turkey it takes hours, compared to frying which only takes less than an hour for most turkeys. If you haven’t had a fried turkey for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you will want to try this recipe. This is one of the best fried turkey recipes I have ever used.

Here is what you need to fry a turkey:

Turkey fryer

Turkey large enough for your dinner

Peanut oil

Propane fuel

Meat thermometer

Note: For safety reasons you will want to fry your turkey outside on a deck, patio, or other firm surface.

Here is what you do to fry a turkey:

It is important that you do not overfill your turkey fryer with oil. You will only fill your fryer a little over half-full. You need to have enough room in your fryer to displace the volume of the turkey. If you overfill the fryer you will end up with hot grease spilling out of the fryer and a grease fire would be very likely. Frying a turkey is very easy, but you just have to watch what you are doing.

Here is a little trick that I learned to know just how much oil to put into your fryer. Your fryer will have a level marked on the inside to indicate where the oil should not go higher than when the turkey is in place; therefore, before you ever fire up the fryer, place your turkey in the basket and lower it into the fryer. Then fill up the fryer with water until it reaches the optimum level. Now remove the turkey and see where the water level is on the graduated markings on the inside of the fryer. Write down where the water level is so you don’t forget it. If your fryer doesn’t have graduated markings, fill the fryer with water until it comes to about 1 inch above the turkey. Once you remove the turkey mark the water line with a magic marker or tape on the outside of the fryer. Now pour out the water and dry the fryer thoroughly. You must take care to make sure the fryer is completely dry before pouring the oil in because it will splatter.

Once you have dried the fryer add the oil to the mark that you had written down when you measured the water. This oil will be displaced by the turkey to the optimum level for frying.

Prepare the turkey:

You can prepare the turkey any way you want to. I like to use an injection marinade. I like to use the Cajun flavor, but there are other flavors also, such as lemon pepper. Some folks like frying their turkey without adding a marinade, which is perfectly okay to do, while others like to massage a rub into the turkey and let the turkey sit in the refrigerator for several hours to absorb the flavor. I like the injection marinade because it is quick and easy. Inject about two ounces per pound of turkey. If you have an 18 pound turkey, inject a total of 9 ounces of marinade into the turkey muscle. I like to massage the areas that I inject to help seal in the marinade.

Fry the turkey:

To fry the turkey, lower the turkey via the basket very slowly into the hot oil. The oil should be 375 degrees. Fry your turkey 3 minutes per pound. So if you have a 20 pound turkey you will fry it for 60 minutes. If you have a 16 pound turkey you will fry it for 48 minutes. Remember for a perfect turkey fry at 3 minutes per pound.

When the turkey is fully cooked, remove it from the fryer and let it stand to drain for about 10 minutes and then plate it, slice and serve.



Recipe for Spicy Chicken Wings

I love chicken wings; I buy them already separated into two pieces and the little wing tip is cut off. This recipe for spicy chicken wings is good for a lunch, dinner, snack or party. Bear in mind that I like my chicken wings hot and spicy. You can adjust this recipe to your own liking, if you don't like as much heat as I do.

Here is what you need to make spicy chicken wings:
3 pounds of split chicken wings

This is for the marinate:

1/2 cup of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of chili sauce
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons of Louisiana Hot Sauce

Here is what you do to make spicy chicken wings:

Pour all the liquid and dry ingredients into a Ziploc bag. Close the bag and mix up the ingredients well. Then open the bag and place all the chicken wings in the marinate. Let as much air out of the bag as you can before sealing the Ziploc, and lay the bag flat on a plate or pan in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

After the chicken wings have marinated for the 4 hours, take the chicken wings out of the bag and arrange them in a roasting or baking pan. Pour the marinate on top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until done. When done arrange the chicken wings on a plate and pour the drippings from the marinate over the wings. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing. Add extra hot sauce if you desire.


How to Live on a Budget

This article is written from my own experience as a woman that lives on a limited budget each month. I am writing from my own experience as a frugal shopper. I live from month to month just like everyone else, and I had to make some changes to feed my family. With the economy the way it is, you shouldn’t have to choose between eating and buying gasoline to get to work. So many families have to do without now, because they don’t know how to buy good food and still have money for the mortgage, bills and transportation back and forth to work.

Food shopping isn’t all that hard if you know what you are doing. It just takes a little ingenuity to shop smartly. You can learn to shop smart on a budget, and you can learn to be a wise shopper. Look for specials. Many grocery stores will mark down meats, fruits and veggies that will otherwise go bad. The store would rather mark these foods down to sell them, rather than toss them out. I shop for food bargains at Quality Foods when they have food items that are marked down. I also do quite a bit of my shopping at Walmart.

Don’t be afraid to haggle. Yes, you can haggle. I wanted to buy a case of Manwich Sauce, but I didn’t want to pay full price. I went to the manager of that section and asked for a better price. The Walmart manager gave me $5 off on the case from the original price. Haggling doesn’t make you look cheap or dumb, and makes you a wise shopper. Don’t be too proud to shop at the Dollar Stores. I get some really good bargains on food and merchandise at the Dollar Store.

Do you buy a lot of cold cuts? You can save lots of money to buy a piece of meat, cook it yourself and slice it for sandwiches. I like to buy a turkey every month. I roast it and slice it off for sandwiches, entrees, and sandwiches. I buy ham in the can and slice it for sandwiches. When considering the price of a pack of sliced ham or turkey, it makes so much more sense to buy smarter and cook, and repackage the meat in serving sizes for your family. I package, label and date the meat that I cook and then freeze them. Invest in a meat slicer. I got one at SAM’s Club. It was a good investment, and has paid for itself many times over in the last few years. You can prepare inexpensive meals if you are creative. Shop smart, and spend smart.

Before you determine how much money a month you can spend on food, take a look at your spending habits. What can you do without? Do you eat out frequently, or order pizza delivery? If you do, there is nothing wrong with that once in a while as a treat, but if your budget is so tight you have problems buying food; you might better rethink how you spend. If you work, and buy your lunch every day, consider bringing lunch from home. If you stop at a coffee shop every day you could save at least $60 a month just by bringing a thermos of coffee with you. The grocery store has some really great international coffees that you just add water and milk to, and they are just as good as the coffees for which you spend $2 to $3.

Do you buy tobacco products? I’ve lost track of the price of cigarettes. I’m told that the premium brands are up to $7 a pack in some states. Sure you can buy some off brands for about $2 or $3 a pack, but when you consider the cost to smoke for a month, that ads up to a lot of money. When I smoked I spent about $50 a month on cigarettes. I have not smoked now in 3 years, and from not purchasing cigarettes was like giving myself a raise.

We can often find where the money is leaking from our budget. I used to count cigarettes and soda pop as things I needed. These are not necessities. Eating out, stopping at Starbucks, and ordering pizza is not a necessity. Living on a budget, it is important to prioritize. What are your needs? What are your wants? Write them down in separate sheets of paper.

Where else is money leaking from your budget? Are you paying more than $80 a month on your satellite or cable bill? If you are, you may be paying too much. If you can’t pay your mortgage, rent, utilities as well as buy food and put gasoline in the car, you might better rethink how much you pay on your satellite or cable bill. It might behoove you to scale down, and ask for a smaller package to lower your monthly bill. You won’t have as many channels, but how many channels can you watch at once anyway? A lot of money is wasted on cable and satellite service.

Where do you get your Internet provider from? Some folks pay up to $150 a month for Internet service that is either connected to your phone, cable or Internet. Again, here is an opportunity to scale down. Call your provider and ask for a plan that will work for your budget. Chances are if you contact your provider and explain your situation they will lower their fee to accommodate you. For example, when my Internet provider was AOL, I was having trouble making ends meet. I asked them to lower their fee, and they said they couldn’t do it. I then said, okay, turn off my service. Do you know I got my service lowered to just $10 a month? They didn’t want to lose me as a customer, so they lowered the fee I had to pay each month. I was on dial-up at the time, and I just couldn’t make a payment of $27 a month. They offered to lower their fee to $17 a month. I told them I can’t afford it. Shut my service off. They then offered to cut their fee to $10 a month and I took it. I kept that dial-up at $10 a month for quite some time before I went to DSL through my phone company.

You would be surprised at how much you can save when you cut back on your spending. Save the going out to eat for special occasions. Retrain yourself to drive by McDonald’s and Burger King without having to turn into their drive through on your way home from work. If you are frequently hungry on your way home from work, bring an apple or a snack with you for your drive home. You don’t have to constantly buy something to eat or drink while driving home. Save that appetite for a home cooked meal when you get home. The key to having enough money to meet your needs is to live below your means.

Recipe for Cocktail Meatballs

When I was a kid and we were going to have company my dad always made stuff to eat. They played cards and snacked. One of the most memorable snack foods from my childhood was cocktail meatballs. We had them with chips and dip.

Here is what you need to make cocktail meatballs:

1 and 1/2 pounds of ground beef (you can use more or less if you like)
3/4 cup of flavored bread crumbs (the kind you use for turkey stuffing)
1 onion finely chopped
1 egg
1 envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1/2 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash
1 green pepper finely chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil

Here is what you do to make cocktail meatballs:

Place your ground beef in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and mix into it. Prepare your onions and green pepper. (I like to dice them up and put them in my food processor just for a second.) and add to the meat and combine. Then add the buttermilk (This gives the meat a good taste) and combine in the soup mix, Mrs. Dash and bread crumbs.

Pour olive oil in a skillet and let the pan get hot on medium heat. While the pan is getting hot, place about 2 ounces of meat mixture in your palm and shape into balls. Place them in the hot oil and fry with a cover on your pan. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Place tooth picks in each meatball and place on a plate. I serve cocktail meatballs with chips, dip and fresh fruit. Of all my recipes, this is one of my favorites.



Recipe for Chicken Salad Snack Treats

If you enjoy healthy snacks, then I have one for you. My recipe for chicken salad snack treats is one that my dad made for parties. My mom would ask my dad to make these so she could take them to work to share with her coworkers. I like chicken salad snack treats as a meal instead of having a sandwich. I like to keep chicken salad in the refrigerator so I can have them whenever I want them.

Here is what you need to make chicken salad snack treats:

3 and 1/2 cups of cooked chicken diced up in small bite sized pieces
2 hard boiled eggs
1 small onion
1/2 teaspoon of salt (optional.. leave off if you are concerned about sodium)
1/2 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash
1 cup of celery
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/4 cup of sour cream
1 teaspoon of chopped parsley

Mix the ingredients all together and serve on Ritz Crackers. I like to use salt and Mrs. Dash, but if you are on a low sodium diet you can substitute the salt with your favorite flavor of Mrs. Dash.



Recipe for Stuffed Hamburgers

I like to experiment with food, just like a lot of other people do. Everything, or almost everything comes out great when I just think it up. Last week I made stuffed hamburgers. Here is what I did:

I took 2 pounds of hamburger and put it into a mixing bowl (you can use how much you think you will need) because I like left overs for the next day.
Next chop up some onion (I like to chop my onions in in my little food processor). Add them to the burger. Add two beaten eggs and onion soup mix.
I like to also add a good dollop of steak sauce.

Next I work it in all together and I make my burgers into large, and fairly thin patties. I go ahead and make them all into patties and place them on a sheet of aluminum foil.

Next I cut some extra sharp cheddar cheese. I like the New York cheese the best. I cut them in cubes and place a cube on half of the hamburgers.

Next use the other half of the patties to go on top of the patties with the cheese on it. Now go around the edges and seal them. I line a large baking pan with foil and place the stuffed burgers on them.

Next place them into a hot oven 375 degrees and bake for about 50 minutes. Serve with salad and garlic bread and you have a great meal.


Recipe for Diabetic Friendly Strawberry Shortcake

I grew up on strawberry shortcake. My dad had the best recipe for diabetic friendly strawberry shortcake that I have ever eaten. This recipe is so simple. There is no added sugar. The shortcake is nothing more than a biscuit covered in mashed strawberries in artificial sweetener, and topped with whipped cream.

Here is my recipe for diabetic friendly strawberry shortcake:

This recipe is so simple. I use Bisquick to make the biscuits. Make however many biscuits as you want, and follow the directions on the box. Do not add any sugar to the biscuits. I find that Bisquick makes the best of all biscuit recipes that I have ever tried.

Prepare washed fresh strawberries by taking the green tops off them and place them in a bowl. Add 1 cup of Splenda (If you are not diabetic and want to use sugar you may). Mash the strawberries with a potato masher, so that the juice comes out of the strawberries. Now add a small amount of red sugar free strawberry syrup if desired.

Now split the biscuits in half and pour the strawberries onto the biscuits and top with sugar free whipped cream if desired. What is strawberry shortcake without whipped cream? You will love it whether you are diabetic or not.

Here is my diabetic recipe for whipped cream:

1 cup of heavy cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 teaspoons of Splenda

Whip this mixture with an electric mixer for about 3 or 4 minutes, or until the whipped cream is nice and fluffy.



Recipe for Breakfast Pizza

I was eating breakfast pizza before it was even popular to do so. Dad would make up extra pizza dough and keep in the refrigerator whenever he made his homemade pizza from the recipe he kept in his head. My recipe for breakfast pizza is almost homemade. I don't go to all the trouble that my dad did.

Here is what you need to make breakfast pizza:

1 tube of Grands Biscuits
1 pound of bacon
4 eggs and a splash of milk
1 cup of your favorite cheese (I like to mix 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar and 1/2 cup of blue cheese)
1 package of frozen hashbrowns
4 ounces of drained crushed pineapple

Here is what you do:

Open the tube of biscuits. Flour your hands and press the biscuits down onto the pizza pan. Flatten them together where they form the crust. Scramble the eggs in a sauce pan until they are setting up, but not completely cooked. Then spoon out the egg mixture over the pizza crust. Crumble up the hash browns and cover the eggs. Fry the bacon in advance and let it cool. Then crumble the bacon and add on top of the hash browns. Spoon pineapple over the bacon and hash browns, and lastly, cover the breakfast pizza with cheese.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is done to your liking. Slice and eat. Serve your breakfast pizza with your favorite juice or beverage.



Recipe for Healthy Homemade Pizza

When I was growing up I didn't know we were poor. We had a home and food on the table. Almost recipe dad made was homemade, rather than packaged. He had a garden all my life as a kid and young adult. Unlike Dad, I don't have a garden; so most of my recipes are almost homemade. The next recipe I am going to share with you is my almost homemade pizza.

First you want to make the crust. It's not hard. Here is what I do:

This recipe will make two large pizzas or 6 small ones. You can always freeze the extra pizza if you aren't going to eat it right away.

2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 and 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 envelopes of instant yeast
1 and 3/4 cups of cold water
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Nonstick olive oil spray (I like PAM spray)

This is an easy recipe to make. In a large mixing bowl add your dry ingredients. Add the oil to the water and pour it over the dry ingredients. You can use a bread mixer if you want to, otherwise just mix it with a fork until the wet and dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

When you are through mixing the dough, sprinkle some flour out on a dry surface. Knead the dough for about 5 to 7 minutes. Then cut the dough in half, or if you want to make personal sized pizzas cut the dough up into 6 even pieces. You can do that by shaping the dough into a log and then cutting it.

Press your pizza dough onto your pizza pan. Spray a light coating of olive oil. If you choose to make 6 individual pizza crusts flour your surface and press out the dough into small disks, and place them on flat baking pans. Lightly spray them with olive oil just like stated above for the full size pizzas.

Now for the sauce:
This part is easy. Use your favorite brand of pizza sauce. I like to use Rago or Prego brand of spaghetti sauce in my pizza recipes. Spoon on the sauce until all the crust is covered except for about a half inch border around the pizza. Top with your favorite veggie and/or meat toppings. I like to top my pizzas with onion, peppers, mushrooms, and pepperoni.

Make your pizza recipe your way.


Recipe for Stir Fry and Rice

Being on a budgeted amount of money each month, I can only allot so much money toward food, so I need to make due with what I have been able to purchase at the beginning of the month. I buy several 3 to 5 pound bags of mixed veggies every month at Walmart, and I buy 10 pound bags of rice at a time.

I have found by eating less meat each week we are all getting healthier and losing some weight. Here is the recipe that I follow to make stir fry and rice.

I boil 2 cups of brown rice and set it aside.

Next just add some olive oil to a frying pan or wok and let the pan get hot. Then open a bag of stir fry veggies and cook up as much as you will need for your meal. I like to cook enough to have leftovers.

On the side I like to serve garlic toast. I just butter one side of the bread and shake some garlic powder on it and toast it on both sides in the broiler. Garlic toast goes really well with this simple meal.

Recipe for Maple Rice Pudding

I wanted to make some rice pudding yesterday and I didn't have any vanilla, or raisins, so I improvised and found that what I had made was a delicious delectable treat! Instead of using vanilla, I used maple syrup and it was simply awesome.

Here is what you do:

In a large mixing bowl add 4 eggs.

Add 1/2 cup of milk

Add 1/2 cup of sugar, or Splenda to equal 1/2 cup of sugar

Add 1/3 cup of maple syrup

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Beat the egg mixture of the above ingredients with a wire whisk until the mixture is all incorporated.

Add 2 cups of cooked rice (left over rice is perfect for this). Fold the rice in until it is mixed up really well. Pour this mixture into a pie plate that is coated with olive oil (this keeps it from sticking to the plate).

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes. To tell if it is done jiggle the pie plate and if the mixture does not move it is done. Serve hot or cold.

Recipe for Chicken Pot Pie

When I buy meat, I will buy the cheapest cuts of chicken that I can find. I often purchase the thighs and drumsticks, because they are cheaper than the breasts. When I do buy the breast I buy it with the skin on and remove it myself. There is no sense in paying for the butcher to remove the skin, when I can do it for free.

Sometimes I find that buying a whole uncut chicken is cheaper to buy than one that is cut up. When I find a buy like that I buy several of them. My son-in-law is a former meat cutter, so he does the sectioning and skinning for me, if I ask him to.

This is what you will need to make chicken pot pie:

1 family size of chicken thighs or your choice of cut.
1 chopped onion
1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables ( I use these: Peas, carrots, corn, and celery)
1 envelope of white gravy mix
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoon of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 cup of sour cream (or plain yogurt if you prefer)
1 cup low fat milk

Here is what you do:

Heat up a skillet on the stove with the olive oil and butter. When the pan gets hot place the chicken in the pan to cook. Let the chicken sear on the outside and then lower the heat and cook the chicken until tender. When the chicken is fully cooked, remove the pieces from the pan and put them on a plate to cool. While the chicken is cooling add the onions, vegetables, milk, soup and gravy mix to the chicken drippings. When the chicken is cool take the meat off the bones and cut up in bite sized pieces. Add the pieces of chicken back into the skillet. When the vegetables are done, add stir in the sour cream.

Spray an oblong baking dish with nonstick spray. Pour the mixture into the dish and smooth the top and let it sit until you make the crust.

Now for the crust:

I make the crust out of biscuits. Sometimes I use Grands biscuits, sometimes I make them. When I make biscuits from scratch I like to use Bisquick.

1 and 1/4 cups of Bisquick or self rising flour
1 stick of butter or margarine
1 and 1/4 cup of low fat milk

Add the Bisquick or flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour. I like to use my hands, but you might want to use a fork or a utensil for cutting shortening into flour. Work the milk into the flour mixture.

You can make the biscuits by hand or roll them out on a floured surface. I like to roll them out and cut them out with a biscuit cutter. Place the biscuits all over the surface of the pie. Place the biscuits close together, but not touching. I usually place the biscuits about 1/4 inch apart. When the pie bakes the biscuits rise and fill out covering the pie.

Bake the pie at 375 degrees for about 18 to 20 minutes. When the biscuits are done the pie is done and ready to eat.


Recipe for Ham and Cheese Macaroni Soup

This is a comfort food that was one of my father's favorites. If you like sharp cheddar cheese you will love this recipe, but if you don't like sharp cheese you can use the milder brands, and you can use Velveeta processed cheese if you want to. I have made it with sharp and processed cheese and both are very good.

I like to use canned ham in this, but if you have any left over ham from another meal you can dice that ham up also. I've even used SPAM in this soup when I was totally out of money and had to make do with what I had. I am nothing, if not resourceful.

Here is what you need to make ham and cheese macaroni soup:

1 pound of elbow macaroni (or any shape you like best)
2 and 1/2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese (I use Cabot cheese, but you can use any kind you like)
2 and 1/2 cups of diced ham
1 and 1/2 quarts of V-8 Juice (or tomato juice if you prefer)

Here is what you do:

Boil the macaroni until it is almost done and drain it. Return the drained macaroni into the skillet and add the V-8 juice , ham and cheese. Cook on low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the ham is hot.

Note: when melted, cheddar cheese is sort of stringy in the soup. It has a wonderful texture. If you like cheese you will love this. This soup sticks to your ribs. I like to top my soup with a little hot sauce and crackers.


Recipe for Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's pie is another of my dad's easy recipes, and it is a one dish meal really. You don't have to have anything else, if you don't want to. I like to have garlic toast with mine though. Different people make shepherd's pie differently. I make it quick and easy.

Here is what you need to make shepherd's pie:

1 pound of ground beef
1 onion
6 mushrooms sliced
1 box of onion soup mix
1 envelope of brown gravy mix
1 and 1/2 cups of water
instant potatoes
1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese (you can substitute with or add Parmesan cheese if desired)
3/4 cup of sour cream

Here is what you do:

Brown the ground beef with the onion and mushrooms. Drain the grease from the meat and add water and onion soup mix and the gravy mix. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes until it is of a rich gravy consistency. When the meat mixture is done pour into a round or oblong casserole dish. Put half the cheese on the meat layer.

Now make enough instant potatoes according to the directions on the package. You want enough to cover the the meat mixture, so you might want to make 3 servings to be sure you have enough. Before you spread the potatoes add the sour cream to it and blend it in; and then spoon them on top of the meat mixture and spread it around so it all is covered. Top with the other half of the cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes and serve.


Recipe for Zesty Lasagna

I learned to cook from my dad. He was the chief cook and bottle washer when I was a young girl. Mom worked at night, and slept in the daytime, so dad was sort of Mr. Mom. He came up with all kinds of recipes that tasted great. He put his own spin on foods that we had eaten in restaurants and he fixed them at home.

We were rather poor growing up, but I never knew we were poor. We had a house, and not an apartment. Dad built 3 houses that we lived in. It seemed to me, as I was growing up that there wasn't anything that he couldn't do. He could build, cook and even help me with science experiments that involved making generators and electricity.

Like I said, we didn't have a lot of money, and dad taught me how to pinch pennies. The title of my blog is cooking on a shoestring budget; those are actually his words. He used a Betty Crocker Cookbook to teach himself how to cook and bake when mom went to work to help support us. I helped him prepare a lot of meals and he talked to me about how to make good meals on a shoestring budget.

To make dad's zesty lasagna you will need an oblong baking dish or pan. I like to use Pyrex, just because it is so pretty in the dish when it is baked.

Here is what you need:

1 box of lasagna noodles
2 large jars of spaghetti sauce (I like Prego or Ragu the best)
1 and 1/2 pounds of ground beef (you can substitute with ground turkey if you wish)
1 package of hot Italian sausages (you can use mild if you prefer)
1 onion finely chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional... this gives it good heat)
16 ounces of ricotta cheese (you can use small curd cottage cheese if you prefer)
8 ounces of sour cream
1 and 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese
1 and 1/2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese as desired

Here is what you do:

Fill a large pot with water to about 3/4 full. Add about a teaspoon of salt and a small splash of olive oil to the water so that the noodles will not stick together. While your noodles are boiling, saute the onions, and peppers until they are tender and brown. Take the onions and peppers out of the frying pan and set them aside; now you will fry the ground beef and sausage together until it is done. It is very important to know that the meat is cooked thoroughly.

In another pot pour in the spaghetti sauce, and cayenne pepper; add the onions, an peppers. Drain the meat from the frying pan and add to the meat. Cook for about 20 minutes so that the flavors blend in with the sauce.

In a small bowl mix the ricotta and sour cream together. You will dot this mixture by the spoonfuls onto each layer.

Now that everything is cooked it is time to build the lasagna. (I like to take a little olive oil and spread it around the inside of the Pyrex baking dish to keep the noodles from sticking to the glass.) Now line the bottom of the dish with noodles. Spoon a layer of meat sauce on top, spoon on some ricotta cheese and sour cream mixture, and sprinkle with some of all the kinds of cheese.

Keep making the layers until you come to the top of your baking dish. On your last layer cover well with all the cheeses. I like to bake it until the cheese is a little brown.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes and then cut and serve.

Add a salad and garlic toast and you have a zesty meal. Depending on the size of your baking dish, you may have enough noodles and meat sauce to make 2 lasagnas. I always make one for later. You can cover it with plastic wrap, and seal in aluminum foil and freeze for another time.


Recipe for Blueberry Walnut Cereal Bars

I like to have breakfast in the mornings, but sometimes I just don't have the time to sit down to a cooked meal. On the days that I don't want to take time to eat at the table, I choose to have my homemade cereal bars. I love cereal bars, but being on a shoestring budget, but I don't always have the extra money in my budget to spend on them.

I got the idea for this recipe from my dad. Without dad we might not have eaten as well as we did. Dad could bake or cook anything. He made up recipes in his head, and when he tried them out they turned out wonderful. We never had a lot of money, but we were more fortunate than a lot of people. We always had food on the table, and we always had clothes to wear. My mom's talent wasn't in the kitchen, but she could make some of the prettiest clothes that looked as good as the clothes my friends wore.

I hope you will love my blueberry walnut cereal bars as much as I do. They are easy to make, and they are ready in 15 minutes, if you are in a hurry. They are delicious cold or hot. When they get cold they have a firmer texture; when warm the cereal bars have the texture of a cake or muffin. We have a blueberry farm in the family, so we don't have to buy our blueberries. My family and I pick blueberries during the harvesting season and what I don't use right then I freeze for another time.

Here is what you need to make blueberry cereal bars:

1 cup of all purpose flour (you can substitute with whole wheat if you wish)
1 cup of plain quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of sugar (or Splenda if you prefer)
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 egg
1/4 cup of oil (I use olive oil)
1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (blended in with mix or on top as pictured)

While you are getting ready to make the blueberry walnut cereal bars, get your oven preheated to 425 degrees. Spray a baking pan (one that you would bake brownies in) with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside. In a medium to large mixing bowl add all your dry ingredients, except walnuts. Add the egg and the oil and the milk. Mix well until the egg and oil is well incorporated into the mix. Now fold in the walnuts, and the blueberries.

Pour the cereal bar mixture into your baking pan. Give the pan a little shake to even out the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. You know it is done when you insert a knife or fork and it comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into single serving bars.

I like to wrap my cereal bars up individually in plastic wrap and then keep them in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. When I want something quick for breakfast or lunch, when I don't have time to eat, this is perfect.


Fun Vegetarian Oatmeal Breakfast Recipes

I am slowly becoming a vegetarian. I still do eat meat twice a week; however, when my body becomes accustomed to the changes I have made in my diet I will go to being a vegetarian full time. It can be
challenging to find things to eat for breakfast that don't come from an animal.

Breakfasts can get kind of bland if you don't have a plan. I've made some really neat changes in breakfasts. This morning I am having peanut butter oatmeal, cantaloupe and a strawberry and banana shake.

I have two ways I like oatmeal. One is peanut butter oatmeal and the other is oatmeal mixed with soy yogurt. For the peanut butter oatmeal I just make one serving of the quick cooking oatmeal as directed on the package. When the oatmeal and water start to cook together I add 2 tablespoons of chunky peanut butter. That's it. I don't add anything else. This is so smooth and creamy.

For soy yogurt oatmeal I take 6 ounces of plain soy yogurt, and add strawberries or a half of a banana and blend them in a blender. I make the oatmeal according to the instructions on the package and then add the blended fruit and soy yogurt. This is good with blueberries, or any kind of fruit. I like to have cut up cantaloupe on the side.

For the shake I put 8 ounces of vanilla soy milk, and 4 ounces of crushed ice in a blender, along with 1/2 of a ripe banana and 4 large strawberries. I like my shake a little on the sweet side, so I put two packets of sweetener in it and blend for about 30 seconds. I pour the shake into a glass and drink it with a straw.


How to Save Money Without Really Trying

Aside from talking about how to cook inexpensive meals, I want to also talk about frugal living in these trying times. It's great to know how to cook the meals but I want to talk about other things that pertain to frugal living. I will be entering articles about saving money, shopping smart and also spending smart.

It is hard for many people to save money. I know it has always been impossible for me to have any money left at the end of the month to have anything saved. I have had good intentions for years, and still I had not ever saved a single dollar until recently. It is extremely easy to save if you have a
savings plan that puts a dollar into your savings account whenever you use your debit or check card. I have a Way2Save savings account at my bank. Your bank most likely has one too. The savings account such as the one I am speaking of may not be of the same name as mine is, but most banks have this kind of savings account. You cannot deposit money into this account; it only adds money to your account when you make a purchase with your bank card.

In two months time I have $46 in my Way2Save account. I am saving money to have for my income taxes when they come due in April. The more you use your card the more dollars will build up in your savings account. My Way2Save account also puts a dollar into my savings account every time I use the online bill pay feature that my bank offers. One more way your bank puts a dollar in for every transaction is if you use an automatic teller machine. The other day I went to the hospital for a test. I was there early, so I decided I wanted to go to the cafeteria. I didn't have any cash so I used the bank's teller machine, and I was surprised to see that my bank saved a dollar for me due to that transaction also. So I have tree ways to put money into savings.

It would be very easy to just add this saved money into your checking account and spend it; you just do an online transfer, or you call your bank byphone and they do it for you. I would suggest though that you fight the urge to transfer this money and let it build up. Depending on how many online bill pays you do a month, and how many times you use your check card could mean earning up to $50 or more a month. I don't make that many transactions in a month, but if I did I could save up to $600 a year just by using these paying features.

Ask your bank if they have a Way2Save account. They may have another name for it, so just ask if they have a plan that saves a dollar for you every time you use your card or use your online bill pay feature. It is a way to save money without even trying. It doesn't hurt at all. Whether you are saving for your future, or for taxes like I am, you will be surprised at how fast your savings grow.

Wachovia and Bank of America has this type of savings account. The Bank of America may have a different name for their savings account. Check to see if your bank has such a savings account.

What are the advantages of having a savings account such as the Way2Save account?

1. You never miss the dollar coming out for your purchase. When you enter your purchase just add $1 to the price of your purchase in your check book.

2. It builds up quickly depending on how often you use your check card (online or offline), use the online bill pay feature, or use the ATM. The ATM is any ATM, it doesn't have to be from your particular bank.

3. It's easy to access your saved money if you need to. Just do an online transfer from your savings to your checking, or call your bank and they will do it while they are on the phone with you.

4. Your savings account is listed right under your checking account so you can see how much money you have in the bank total. Let's say if I have $800 in my checking account and I have $50 in my savings account there will be a total of $850 showing, so you never have to guess on how much money you have in the bank.

5. You start saving the same day your start your savings account. If you use your debit card, use the online bill pay feature, or use an ATM machine the next morning you will have a dollar saved for every transaction you made the day before.

6. Your savings account will never cause you to have an overdraft. If your savings account is too low, the savings account will not take any money from your checking account.
In Summary

Savings accounts, such as the Way2Save account, are painless. You never miss the dollar that goes into your savings account. If your checking account balance is extremely low and it would cause you to go into the negative on your checking, the bank will automatically omit taking out the dollar. The system is smart that way, so it will never cause you to be charged a non-sufficient funds fee.

Though you will always have access to your savings, you will want to resist the urge to transfer the money into your account if you are saving for something specific. I plan to let my money build until the amount saved reaches $100 and then I will transfer that money into my main savings account to save toward my taxes.
Think about how you could save money for big purchases. You would not ever have to use your credit card again. You could always live within your means by saving money for the bigger purchases. We become more affluent when we spend less than we earn, so a savings account, such as a Way2Save account will help you to achieve your financial goals.

Thanks for reading!

Blogger Templates by OurBlogTemplates.com 2007