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Cheryl's Sensible Cents - 8/15/2006 Newsletter
August 15, 2006

In this Issue:

Once again, my apologies for the last two incomplete Issues.

Featured Articles
Cheap Clothes
Back to School: Organizing Tips
Health Eating for Kids
Guest Article Column: Back to School, or Back to the Poor House? - Tawra Kellam

Sweet and Sour Steamed Cabbage
Best Beef Stew
Chicken Divan

Money Saving Tips

  • Alternative Uses for Common Household Items: Uses for Erasers
  • Household Savings Tips
  • Craft Ideas
    Hanging Mobile

    Quotable Quote

    Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions. - A.A. Latimer

    Did You Know?

    A third of the world's people live on less than $2 a day, with 1.2 billion people living on less than $1 a day

    Featured Articles


    Back to School, or Back to the Poor House?
    By Tawra Kellam

    Back to school is a time when many Moms witness their money sprout wings and take flight, finding their homes at retail stores across America. I know that consumer spending is good for the economy, but I donít take it upon myself to keep the entire US economy propped up. So, when my first-grade son announced that he wanted a backpack with rollers, I saw this as a wonderful financial teaching moment. His school is small, and he doesn't walk to or from school. He didn't need rollers.

    I told my son that I would give him $8 toward a backpack. I told him that if he wanted a fancier one, he could put up some of his allowance money for the difference.

    That's the rule at our house. Mom and Dad buy the basics, the kids buy the extras. It was amazing how my sonís perception of the need for rollers changed when his allowance was on the line. Yes, he has concluded, a regular backpack will do the trick this year.

    Thousands of parents are buying back-to-school supplies. From crayons and notebooks to calculators and lunch boxes, the list of what to buy can be as long as the list of your kidsí excuses.

    I know that you are anxious to get your kids back into school, but there is no need to take out a second mortgage just to get rid of them. Instead, use some of these money-saving tips from and you can happily send your kids to school and keep some of the cash for Momís back-to school celebration!

    *Wait for the list to come out and stick to it, otherwise you might buy things you don't need. Remember, the Bank of Mom doesnít pay for frills. Any extras the kids want will have to be funded from their own cash reserves. I do understand that it is nice for kids to have "hip" back-to-school supplies.

    I look at yard sales and thrift stores for brand-name finds. For instance, I recently found a gently used Barbie backpack and a Barbie lunch box and no one would know that I paid $1.00 each instead of the $32 that Becky Johnsonís mom paid. Who says stay at home moms donít make any money?

    *Donít buy back to school clothes. Children don't need an entirely new wardrobe every fall. Some moms act as if aliens clothes-napped their kidsí clothes the night before school and the fashion police will come arrest them if they donít buy the latest designer clothes right away. The kids wore clothes all year long, didn't they? If they need something like a new pair of shoes or new jeans then buy what they need, but donít just buy a new wardrobe because itís the thing to do.

    *Use back to school sales to your advantage. If you know your kids go through a package of socks, underwear or jeans every six months then stock up while they are on sale. The same is true of crayons, paper, notebooks, backpacks and lunch boxes. My son went through two backpacks and two lunch boxes last year, so this year we will buy two while they are on sale instead of waiting until the middle of the year when they are full price. We will also be checking garage sales between now and then to find any good deals on those items. Donít be tempted to buy things that you wouldnít normally use, though, just because theyíre on sale.

    *Go through last year's school supplies to see which things are still usable. If my student has a working calculator, the Bank of Mom will not extend credit for a new one.

    *Limit activities to one at a time. Activity fees can add up fast. One at a time is the rule at our house. If you canít afford the activity, it doesnít hurt for the kids to use their own money to pay for it. The best way to teach them money management is to let them manage their own money when they have nothing to lose, instead of after they have maxed out the credit cards someone persuaded then to sign up for in college.

    Tawra Kellam is the author of Dining On A Dime Cookbook. For more free tips and recipes visit her web site at In 5 years, Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 personal debt on an average income of $22,000 per year.

    Cheap Clothes: Smart Wardrobe!

    Purchasing good, but cheap clothes will help tame the closet monster that's eating a big chunk of your budget pie. Your clothing expenses can take a big chunk out of the budget if you're not careful. Especially if you have kids or require business work attire. So, before shopping for your back to school wardrobe review our clothes shopping tips.... Read On

    Back to School: Organization Tips

    Ginny Bean, a mother of three boys ages 11, 15 and 17, offers some ideas for whipping the household back into shape after the relaxed summer months. When kids are back in school, get organized to tame the paperwork, homework, and supplies... Read On

    Healthy Eating for Kids

    Pack your kids lunch to be sure they are eating healthy at school. Here are some tips for providing healthy foods that kids love for back to school and everyday!...Read On


    Save on Groceries and Cook Great Meals
    The Grocery Book
    Just $19

    Sweet and Sour Steamed Cabbage

    1 medium-sized head of cabbage
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
    3 Tablespoons sugar
    3 Tablespoons vinegar

    Cut cabbage in narrow wedges and steam in small amount of water until tender. Stir in butter.

    Combine sugar and vinegar. Pour over cabbage and heat thoroughly. - The Best of Amish Cooking

    Best Beef Stew

    1 1/4 pound cubed stew beef
    3 cups boiling water
    6 small onions
    2 celery stalks
    1 Tablespoon Salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    6 carrots cut up
    1 roll prepared biscuits

    Coat meat with flour and brown (in large oven proof pot) in a small amount of fat. Add water, salt and pepper, cover and bake in preheated 350 degree f. oven about 45 minutes. Add onions, carrots, celery and potatoes. Cover and bake about 25 minutes. Increase oven to 425 degrees f. Place raw biscuits on top of bubbling stew. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until biscuits are browned.

    Chicken Divan

    2 packages frozen broccoli
    2 (10 1/2 oz.) cans cream of chicken soup
    6 chicken breasts
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    1/2 to 1 teaspoon curry powder
    1 cup grated cheese

    Cook broccoli as directed on package. Place broccoli in 1 1/2 quart casserole. Boil chicken for 5 minutes, (remove bone andskin if necessary) Break into pieces and place over broccoli. Mix together soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice and curry powder. Pour soup mixture over chicken and broccoli. Top with grated cheese and toasted bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees f. for 1 hour. Serves 6.

    Send us Your Recipes

    Need ideas for dinner or recipes? -Go to Recipes & More Section
    Recipe Secrets
    Free Recipes at ClubMom!
    Country Cooking Recipes
    E-Cookbooks Library

    Menus On A Dime: Quick Dinners
    The Quick Dinners eBook is designed to help you with meals you can prepare in 20 minutes or less. includes 24 recipes, 34 tips, 10 menu plans, dessert ideas and a weekly menu worksheet. Order it today for only $6.95

    Money Saving Tips

    Share Saving Tips, Recipes, and Frugal Living Ideas.
    Send in Your Reader's Tips

    Visit our money saving tips directory here

    Household Saving Tips

    1. Store matching sheets inside the pillow case. They'll always be together and you won't waste time searching for matching sheets.

    2. Remove corner cobwebs using an broom covered with an old pillow case.

    3. Clean resin lawn furniture using a damp sponge dipped in baking soda. Rub in a circular motion then rinse.

    4. Brighten up white shoes or sneakers by rubbing with a cloth dipped in a solution of half ammonia/half water.

    Alternative Uses for Common Household Items

    Uses for Erasers

    1. Pin Cushion - Keeping sewing pins in a box can be risky. Spills are messy. Stick pins in an eraser for easy handling.

    2. Clean crayon marks off walls.

    3. Clean hard to reach sides of piano keys to remove fingerprints and smudges.

    4. Remove scuff marks from vinyl floors.

    5. Glue to corners of picture frames to keep straight.

    6. Remove sticky residue from labels.

    Reader's Tips

    Please share your tips

    Craft Ideas

    Hanging Mobile

    You will Need:
    popsicle sticks
    yarn, string, or fishing wire
    art supplies for drawing or creating items to hang on your mobile
    small items to hang on your mobile

    Note: if you have a theme for your mobile, collect items relating to the theme (i.e. frogs, beads, small stuffed toys, etc.)

    1. Crisscross two popscicle sticks and glue together or tie together to make the top of your mobile. You can paint them or color them with magic markers if desired.

    2. Tie a hanging loop in the center of the crisscross on the popsicle sticks to use for hanging your mobile.

    3. Tie your items or created decorations to the strings on one end and then tie to the popsicle sticks so they hang straight down.

    4. Hang your mobile!

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