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Centsible Money Basics - July 1, 2005 Newsletter
July 01, 2005
This issue will be the last Centsible Money Basics as Roger and Cheryl have decided to revert back to publishing their individual newsletters respectively.

If you were originally a Cheryl's Sensible Cents subscriber you may want to subscribe to Roger's E-zine, Money Basics. If you were originally a subscriber to Money Basics, you may want to subscribe to Cheryl's Sensible Cents.

Sign up to recieve Cheryl's Sensible Cents at

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Roger's Comment about this last issue

Did You Know?....

Recycling one glass jar saves enough energy to watch TV for 3 hours

Featured Articles:

10 Ways to Save Money this Summer by Roger Sorensen

Gifts from the Heart, not Your Pocketbook! by Cheryl Johnson


Ground Beef Stew

1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion chopped
3 carrots peeled and sliced
1/2 head cabbage cut into chunks
4 medium potatoes peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 can green beans
1 can corn
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
water to cover

In a large pot, brown ground beef w/chopped onion until done. Drain fat. Add tomatoes, all vegetables, salt and pepper, and enough water to cover all about 1 inch. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer until all potatoes and carrots are done.

Great with corn bread.

Basic Corn Bread

Preheat oven to 400
Mix Together:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 cup dry milk powder (optional)

Make a well and add:
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil or melted shortening

Stir just until smooth. Pour into a greased 9x9 pan and bake 25 minutes.-More with Less


Tip: During the summer, opt for sandwiches, subs, or outdoor grilling when temperatures are high.

Share Money Saving Tips, Recipes, and Frugal Living Ideas

Money Saving Tips:

  • During tough times, an extremely low cost 3 day menu starts with 2 lbs of cooked pinto beans...

    • The first day serve beans and rice
    • The second day use leftover beans and 1/2 to l pound ground beef to make your favorite chili recipe.
    • The third day use leftover chili to make chili mac. Cook 1 lb macaroni and add chili.
  • **Offer shredded cheese for all three menus if available.

  • Avoid the disposable rut! Always opt for reusable items instead of disposable. For example, in the kitchen; plates, cups, and napkins. It may result in a little extra work on your part but, their disposable counterparts can really add up over time.

    Cleaning Tip

  • Soiled plastic shower curtains can be washed with towels in the washing machine. Add 1/2 baking soda or vinegar along with your regular laundry soap. The towels help scrub clean during agitation.
  • Mix 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup borax, and 3/4 cup salt to make scouring cleanser.
  • Recycling

  • Cassette tape holders make great business card holders. Simply open fully folding back so it creates it's own stand. Insert cards
  • Small dish liquid bottles with the pull tops make great water bottles. When I first tried this, I had trouble getting the soapy taste out of them. Now I soak them in a mixture of water and lemon juice and then rinse thouroughly. No more soapy taste!
  • Looking to save time or money? Visit The Dollar You'll find hundreds of helpful articles to stretch your day and your dollar. Copyright 2005 Dollar Stretcher, Inc.

    Review some of The Dollar Stretcher's Reader's tips at our Money Saving Tips Page at


    10 Ways to Save Money this Summer

    by Roger Sorensen

    Here are 10 easy ways to save money this summer.

    Slash supermarket bills by making a shopping list and sticking to it. Avoid the over priced extras placed at the end of the aisles where they can tempt you. (Tip: Leave the kids at home when you grocery shop.) Give the storeís own brand a try, their value ranges can cost a third the price for name-brand items and contain the same nutrition.

    Buy fruit and vegetables in local farmers markets in season Ė prices are competitive, you know the people who grow the food and you get to be outside for a bit.

    Make your meals at home and freeze portions for future meals. Often times the home cooking is lower in fat, sugar and salt than ready-to-eat meals and having the food in the freezer, ready to thaw will reduce the temptation to buy over-priced takeout.

    Take a good look at what you really use. Do you have a gym membership that you only visit occasionally but seem to always renew? Do you take the bus or taxi to work? Save a few dollars and get in some free exercise by getting out a couple blocks early.

    Leave the ATM machine card at home, and when you do use it, take less money out than you normally do. Itís harder to waste the money if you donít have it in your pocket. Join the local library Ė youíll spend less time in bookshops. Shopping for purchases can also save money Ė many major stores offer a price promise matching any local low price.

    Penny watching will save a small fortune over the years, but taking the trouble to re-finance or even find the cheap.est mort.gage available will save also save a small fortune.

    If you will recoup the fees in 2 years or less, mort.gage refinancing is generally a good thing. On $100,000 of mortgage a 1% change can produce $1,000 in savings each year.

    Identify the level of coverage you need and then shop around to find cheaper premiums based on that coverage. If you are willing to self insure more Ė that is pay the first $1,000 instead of $500 of a loss Ė you will find cheaper rates are much easier to find. Just beware, many of the small things like broken windows, a few shingles off your roof will not be paid by the insurer because they cost below that $1,000 deductible.

    Lower premiums are also offered by some companies to members of a neighborhood watch, or to the people with extra security. Good quality locks, alarms, dogs, and the like deter break-ins and some insurers discount for that.

    Donít forget your outbuildings when looking for insurance coverage. Many of the items in your garden shed are expensive to replace if they disappear.

    Fuel and depreciation can total nearly 60% of a cars cost in the first 2 years. The real cost of driving is depreciation so beware when you shop for a different car. Keeping the tires properly inflated and the air filter clean will help with your fuel miles per gallon.

    Depending on where you live the deregulation of gas and electricity means suppliers have competition now and deals are available if you go looking. Consumers stand to save nearly a third of their gas bill if they switch in most areas with competition.You can save more with energy-saving measures like drawing the curtains at dusk, turning the TV off rather than using standby, buying energy-efficient light bulbs and turning the thermostat down just one degree, says the watchdog Energywatch.

    When you go to renew your cell phone Ė shop around. The act of Congress mandating the option to take your phone number with you has proved many chea.per rates and more incentives to get you to switch from one carrier to the other.

    Life insurance rates have fallen the last few years, especially for the term rates. Get on the internet and search for the r.ate you can find. You wonít even have to deal with an insurance salesman.

    Credit is a way of life today, and many of us are paying through the nose for trillions in unsecured personal borrowing on credit cards and loans. APRs can reach almost 25 per cent for in-store credit, and many people struggle to pay the interest, adding punitive years to the borrowing term.

    While you are working to pay off your debts, look at low-cost loans to consolidate debts, or a new credit card with an introductory rate of zero per cent on purchases and balance transfers. You can even switch your borrowing from one card to another as the f.ree introductory rate expires.

    Competition means better banking deals, though you might need to find a small bank to get the rates of interest or lowest cost for services. Always pay attention to what your level of service is going to cost you, from how much the overdraft rates are if you accidentally bounce a check to how much youíll be charged to receive your paper checks back with your statement.

    Always make sure you are getting the interest rate you deserve for whatever savings youíve got. The rate will depend on your level of comfort dealing with the internet, telephone banking or if you need a live person to deal with.

    Check rates regularly Ė banks tend to be slower to raise their payment rate than when raising the cost of borrowing. Donít forget to max out your IRA, 401k, or whatever savings vehicle you have that is tax deferred or tax free.

    Using a website like (example only, not an endorsement) can mean you save a lot of money when buying a package deal. The savings can be really huge when shopping online at the last minute, too.Shop around for reasonable priced travel insurance Ė an annual insurance policy may be cheap if you take several trips a year.

    Roger Sorensen is a Financial Guidance Counselor, Speaker and Author. You may read other articles or ask him questions at Join his newsletter Money Basics at

    Gift Ideas from the Heart, Not your Pocketbook!

    Gifts should come from the heart, not your pocketbook! Coming up with gift ideas on a budget may seem difficult at first. Put some thought into your gifts and you will be rewarded not only with lower costs but more practical, useful, gifts for the recipient.

    Giving gifts from the heart, instead of the pocketbook can relieve a lot of stress during holidays and special occasions. Gifts thought out carefully and directed towards an individual's needs and interests are much more appreciated.

    Giving the gift that "Keeps on Giving" is easy if you choose a gift that reflects the recipient's interests or needs and is useful to them. Consider gift ideas you can make yourself. Hand made gifts are almost always lower cost than store bought alternatives.

    Some Tips to reduce expenses, and relieve stress:

    Summer is a great time to start picking up gifts for the upcoming holiday. Now is a great time watch for bargains on winter clothing closeouts and other seasonal items that will be on sale.

    Start shopping now and you'll much more relaxed during the holidays and you will certainly enjoy them more.

    • Avoid compulsive buying.
    • Stay organized and calm - If you do your research, you'll know when it's a bargain.
    • Shop early - I know you always say you will. This time DO IT! Buy gifts one by one as you come up with good gift ideas and good bargains!
    • Make a list and check it twice! It always worked for Santa!
    • Plan ahead - Include gifts and holidays in your budget's variable expense account. You'll have the funds when you need them.
    • Stay within your budget - it is possible.

    Here are just a few great low cost gift ideas....

    Give someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen a personalized apron and/or a cookbook! Or create a basket with kitchen tools, recipes, mixes, spices, etc.

    Magazine subscriptions can be purchased for as low as $3.99/year.Give a gift that "keeps on giving" all year long! You can find magazines on just about any topic.

    New or gently used books.

    Family photos or personalized photo albums make great gifts for relatives or friends.

    DVDS/Videos - You can never lose with this one. Everyone loves a good movie! Buy when they're on sale throughout the year.

    Create a personalized gift basket based on the person's interests or needs.

    • Personal Care - fill with hair, nail or skin care products
    • Crafter's Supplies - yarn, ribbon, paints, paint brushes, glues, projects, knitting or crochet supplies, drawing pencils, etc. Just take a walk around the craft store for more ideas.
    • Food - This one is timeless! Bake a favorite recipe that you know the recipient is crazy about. Add a variety of cookies, fudge and candy. Homemade baking mixes and quick breads. If you bake yourself, it's a nice touch to add the recipe with the goods. Use decorative stickers or tie on with pretty ribbons. Baking mixes can be put in jars with decorative tops. Always include recipes for uses with mixes! Be considerate of those with health concerns or who are dieting. Include healthy varieties of the above or add fruits, nuts, and diet specific goodies.
    • Personalized Totebags or T-shirts - Great for kids or adults! This one is a favorite of mine. Create a unique design and/or saying on your computer that suits the person. Print onto transfer paper specifically designed for this purpose (available at most office supply or craft stores. Usually comes with instructions.)

    There's nothing more appreciated than a personalized gift. And, everytime it's used, you think of the person who gave it to you. It gives you a feeling of importance somehow. Shows that the giver "really" had you in mind when the gift was made or purchased. And, it's likely to be a gift that doesn't get tossed in the closet, attic, or basement, after you leave!


    Cheryl Johnson is a mother of four and publisher of Simple Debt Free Living the personal budgeting and debt management site at Look for our new "Frugal Christmas Ideas" coming soon!

    Personal Finance Q & A

    ASK A QUESTION: You Wonít 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,
    I recently heard about a life insurance company offering free insurance for low-income people. What do you know about this and is it for real?,br>Max

    A. Max
    Yep, itís for real. MassMutual Financial Group is one of the nations largest life insurance company and it has what it calls a LifeBridge program. 20,000 low-income people will be insured fro $50,000 with a 10-year term policy. If an insured parent dies during that time, the money will be placed in a trust fund to be used for the education of the children, paid directly to the educational institution. Now thatís a real benefit.

    I could type a long time about the benefits of life insurance, and how free really is free in this case. Instead of doing that, read about all the details at the company webpage

    Q. Roger,
    My lease is up in two months on my vehicle. I have been paying nearly $300 a month and donít know what to do. Should I buy the vehicle, lease another or find a new one with these low interest rates?

    Why not go with door number four Ė buy a good used car? They donít loose value as quickly, some program cars still have a warranty and none of them cost as much as a brand new one. Go car vehicle shopping over the next few weeks and see what you can find that will fit into your spending plan once the lease car is gone.

    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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