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Centsible Money Basics - June 1, 2005 Newsletter
June 01, 2005

Did You Know?....

About 30% of consumers use their credit card as their main means of buying Christmas goodies, 70% do not save to buy Christmas gifts and 86% of consumers do their Christmas shopping during December.

Don't be a statistic. Start Early!

Featured Articles:
My Cup Runneth over....But I'm Still Thirsty by Cheryl Johnson
Are You Ready to Be Fired? by Roger Sorensen


Chicken Pie

Amish version of Chicken Pot Pie. It is delicious and a great way to use up left over chicken.

1 Fat Hen - I used approx. 2-3 lbs of chicken cut into bite size chunks
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
5 Cups Chicken Broth
1 cup milk
2-3 cups cooked potatoes, peas and carrots, mixed together

Remove chicken from bones. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Melt butter; stir in flour. Blend in chicken broth and milk, and cook until smooth and slightly thickened. Add chicken to gravy.
Spread vegetables on bottom of greased baking pan. Pour chicken gravy over top.

2 cups flour
2tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sale
2 Tbsp. chicken fat or shortening
1 cup milk
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles peas. Stir in milk and mix well. Add egg and blend. Roll out dough, then spread over chicken. Cut slits in dough to permit steam to escape. Bake at 425 for 20-30 minutes or until crust is brown.
(The Best of Amish Cooking)

Cuban Bread

An hour and 15 minutes from start to finish.

5-6 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. dry yeast(or 2 pkgs)
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
2 cups hot water (120-130 degrees)
1 Tbsp. sesame or poppy seeds (optional)

Mix 4 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar, and salt. Pour in hot water and beat 100 strokes, or 3 minutes with a mixer. Stir in the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead 8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, and cover with a damp towel. Let rise 15 minutes. Punch down. Divide into two pieces. Shape into two round loaves, and place on a baking sheet. Cut an X - 1/2 inch deep on top with a sharp knife. Brush with water, and sprinkle with seeds. Place on the middle shelf of a cold oven. Place a cake pan of hot water on the lowest shelf. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake 40-50 minutes until deep golden brown.(Complete Tightwad Gazette, pg.542)

Share Money Saving Tips, Recipes, and Frugal Living Ideas, Here

"How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras teach patience to its young?" Paul Sweeney

Money Saving Tips:

  • Buy rice in a 30-50 lb. bag and store in the freezer or an airtight container.
  • Invest, Earn, and Save at the same time. Being a shareholder can sometimes have benefits you can take advantage of to help save you more money. Check with your companies to see if shareholders get a discount on their products or affiliate's products/services.
  • Cleaning Tip

  • To clean pots with burnt food. Put enough water in the pot to cover the stain. Add 2 tablespoons of any brand of powdered dishwashing detergent. Boil for 15-30 minutes. Also works for dirty burner plates boiled in pot of water. (Tightwad Gazette)
  • I buy small white utility towels, the kind used in some workplaces, at my local membership warehouse. They are sold in a large package of about 45 towels for a very reasonable price. These are small enough to be used for most cleaning chores, or used for hand towels. In a pinch, I've even used them as informal napkins for a really messy meal. They are cheap enough that if one gets ruined, you can just toss it!
  • Believe it or not, the cheapest laundry powders sometimes work best in hard water areas. New formulated (especially liquid types) laundry detergents are suited more to water that is chemically treated or "softened." We have an iron content in our water that is way above normal according to our health dept. We don't have a softening system. While it is not a health threat, it's staining abilities are quite annoying.

    I use 1/4 baking soda (I buy in large quantity at the warehouse for lowest price, look in the baking aisle)in each load of laundry to help soften water.

    I also use a product called "Iron Out" to help remove orange stains from the washer itself. Directions are on the container.

  • Recycling

  • I buy the large bottles of salsa from the member warehouse. They have a large mouth and are great for storing rice, oats, or beans. I also transfer pancake mix into one of these for easy pouring onto the griddle.
  • Thanks to my sister for this idea. Leftover quilting squares are the perfect size for decorating canning jar "goodie" or recipe gifts.

    Place seal on jar, put fabric square on top of seal so fabric is distributed evenly on all sides. Screw ring onto jar. Fabric lines the top of lid and drapes gracefully down the jar.

    If fabric is too thick, simply place fabric over sealed jar instead. Secure around bottom of lid with a rubber band. Wrap with ribbon to disguise rubber band

  • Ask, or look for, discarded carpet samples at carpet stores. Use for car mats, or combine several samples to carpet a small area in your home.


    Roger's Comment

    Are you ready to be Fired?

    By Roger Sorensen

    Your boss has just informed you that your department is being reduced by two and you are fired. After he leaves, what are you going to do?

    This is not about finding a job. It's about being prepared for financial change. How you prepare for employment change is different for everyone. Being prepared for financial change is the same person to person.

    • 1. Build an Emergency Savings Account
      Everyone should have a passbook savings account with money to use in Emergencies. This money is to never be touched except when your car needs repairs you can not afford, your basement floods and you need to pay to clean it up, or your Great-Grandma Ruth is dying and you need to go to her bedside.

      Use your Emergency money, and immediately start rebuilding it by paying yourself. A good amount to have in this account will equal six months of your net income (after taxes). This will provide you with a cushion for when you receive the pink slip. If you have a little time to search, you will be able to find enjoyable, quality employment.

    • 2. Prepare a Spending Plan
      You already know you should be living on a spending plan now. Have you thought about how you would live after a job loss? Take time today to create a "Job Loss Plan" so you will have an idea what spending you will reduce as soon as you know you our out of work. Then as soon as you are told those two little words ("You’re Fired") you can pull out the plan and start conserving your money. Do not deny what happened and continue trying to live like you did before.
    • 3. Carry No-Debt
      This is good advice for everyone, but as it pertains to this article no-debt is really wise. If you are out of a job, you do not want to be paying $500 a month in non-mortgage bills. By keeping your credit card and even your mortgage debts to a minimum, read zero, you will be able to stretch your Emergency Savings Account money further. Even if you have a good job that you will never loose, if you are not carrying debt, you will be able to put more money into your retirement, children's college or vacation fund.
    • 4. Know Your Creditors
      If you do carry debt, be sure you know who your creditors are. This sounds silly, but a lot of people receive a bill from XYF Credit Co and pay the minimum without looking to see who XYF is. You should know your creditors and how to contact them, so that if you are laid off you can call them right away and let them know. Most will work with you to create a repayment plan that fits into your new spending plan.

    When the hammer falls and you are let go, it will be shock, no matter how prepared you are. If you have been working on these four things, your finances will be better able to withstand the time between jobs.

    Roger Sorensen is a Financial Speaker and Author as well as webmaster of the website You can ask questions through the website, read articles he has written and join his newsletter Centsible Money Basics

    My Cup Runneth Over. . .But I’m Still Thirsty

    By Cheryl Johnson

    Most of us, especially those of us who have debtor's disease (if you have it you know what it is!), have commented or at least thought, "If I could just win the lottery, or sweepstakes, everything would be better." Unfortunately, even if that big dream did come true things probably would get worse instead of better.

    It's a strange phenomenon. It seems the more money you have, the more you need. It makes perfect sense. Given more money, most people would increase their standard of living. My question is, "If you haven't properly managed the money you have now, how do you expect that you'll be able to properly manage two, three, four, five or hundreds of thousands times more money?" A good question, huh? Food for thought. Maybe you need to start learning to properly manage what you have now while it's on a much smaller scale. Then you'll be prepared when that big lottery win, or sweepstakes, comes through!

    Now you may think this is a crazy, nonsense theory. Surely a million is enough for anyone to be on easy street! I'm sure you have at some time heard rumor about people who fall into great wealth by some means or another, and just a short time later are back where they started or in even worse financial condition. Many of these instances end in bankruptcy.

    Not convinced? Let me tell you about my own, smaller scale, experience with this strange phenomenon. Once upon a time, I was a single parent raising four children on an income of just under $20,000 per year. My children did not do without, and while I did begin my journey into debtors demise during this time, I had everything under control. Or so I thought.

    By my understanding now, I certainly was not managing my money well. I was not properly preparing for variable expenses or emergency expenses that were sure to arise. Thank goodness for a great family infrastructure that gave help and support when needed! My monthly payments were well within my income, including debt payments. I monitored my debt to be sure I maintained a comfortable debt to income ratio. I felt that I had the proper perspective on my finances.

    It was not until the household income increased due to marriage that I somehow lost that perspective and my real problems began. I blame a good deal of this accelerating financial ruin to "over confidence." This "over confidence" lead to an arrogant disregard of proper money management. Looking back, you know hind sight is 20/20, if I knew then what I know now, I would be way ahead of the game!

    Since my new husband earned more than twice the income I had, I quit work to become a stay at home mom. I've been working since I was fourteen years old (and I'm no spring chicken now) so when he expressed the desire for me to stay at home with the kids, I jumped on it! But, this was not a contributing factor to my finan.cial demise. It was the mindset I acquired when the household income increased.

    My mindset was this, "If I took care of a family of five on my near poverty level income, surely I have no finan.cial worries now." Life was good! At least for a while. Our standard of living changed of course.

    Typically, my cup runneth over……and I thirsted for more. Now we could afford to charge those things we "needed?" (I question it because, my definition of this word has greatly changed) and wanted without fear. I had that fear before. The fear of not being able to pay back the d.ebt. I believe that's why I kept it under strict control. With that fear now gone and a new sense of false security replacing it……..debtor's demise set in quickly.

    Before I knew it we were living paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes, I even found myself juggling funds around to make the budget balance. It didn't seem like so much money any more. I can laugh at myself now that I understand exactly how it happened. That delusion of grandeur mindset I had let little ol' me fall into. After all my research, I now know that I am not unlike millions of other people in this world. It's an easy mindset to get into. This is why more m.oney will never make everything better until you learn to manage first and then spend.

    Your best preparation for that big winning day is to start planning now. Even if that big money dream never comes true, you may be surprised what a little forethought and planning can accomplish. A good debt free spending plan and monthly budget that encourage frugal living will, at the very least, provide you with more finan.cial security and independence.

    Why heck, if you're young enough, you can plan your way into millionaire status. It can be done. It has been done! It's the guy next door who you may not even be aware classifies as a millionaire. He or she probably doesn't brag about it, and their lifestyle doesn't hint of it. But I bet that's one happy, stress free, millionaire who has everything he needs and wants. He's probably just about the nicest person you ever want to meet. Simply because he manages his m.oney and refuses to let his m.oney manage him!

    So what are you waiting for? Quit wishing for more money and make a plan to manage and take control of what m.oney you have! Then you'll see your wish come true. You'll be surprised at how much mon.ey you f.ree up, once you start managing the mon.ey you have.

    Cheryl Johnson is a mother of four helping herself and others become, and remain, debt free. Publisher of the budgeting and debt management site at

    Personal Finance Q & A

    ASK A QUESTION: You Won’t Know Until You Ask

    Do you have a question about money, finances, or the economy? Send Roger your financial questions and comments. All will be answered, a few will be published. Email to:Ask a Question

    Q. Roger,
    Last week I bought a variable rate life insurance policy as a way of saving for my child's college. I am now thinking I shouldn't have. What do you think?

    A. Jason
    (Roger’s note: I emailed Jason with my answer, which I will repeat for you)Read your policy and see if you have a grace period, an opportunity to back out without penalty and do it immediately! Life insurance is designed to provide assets for ones family after you die. College savings plans are designed to provide money for your child to use for college. The two mix as well as water and fire. Life insurance is too expensive in fees to provide the same return you could get through more traditional methods.
    Cancel your policy if you are still within the grace period and buy a term life policy. Use the difference in costs between term and variable to participate in a 529 plan or a Coverdell Education Savings Account.

    Q. Roger,
    My wife was just granted a divorce. I am in the process of changing my will to exclude her. What else do I need to do to keep her hands off my estate?

    Your will is only one document that can have limited ability to protect your assets. Your will does not dictate who receives any money from your IRA, 401(k), or company pension plan. You will need to find all of your documentation for everything of any value you may have. This includes the retirement savings plans above, plus things like your life insurance policies, mutual funds, investment clubs, whatever you might has asked you to name a beneficiary. So long as your ex-spouse has a copy of your death certificate, she can claim any assets naming her as beneficiary even before your estate is probated! It doesn't matter if you've been divorced 2 weeks or 22 years. So remember to find all your assets and change the name of your beneficiary.

    Have you been to the newly refabricated website

    Go there now. You'll find articles by Roger Sorensen, personal finance software, newsletter archives and lots more at


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    Favorite Sites

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