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Cheryl's Sensible Cents, Issue #004 -- Budget Friendly Home Decorating
March 15, 2005

Did You Know?....

Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the US Treasury.

In This Issue: Low Cost Home Decorating

Tips for:
Money Saving
Top Product Pick
Top Business Pick
Money Saving Information Sites

Featured Article:
"Budget Friendly Home Decorating"


Our family calls this recipe “Campfire Rice” although I don’t know why. Maybe, because it’s a one pan meal. It’s sort of a Spanish rice with ground beef added. A great low cost, one dish, meal and one of our favorites. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my kids love it!

I feed a family of six and we like to have leftovers of this particular dish. So, you may want to reduce the recipe if you need to accommodate a smaller family.


1 ½ to 2 lbs. Ground beef
½ onion diced or 1 tablespoon of onion powder
4 cups uncooked rice
1 (14-16 oz) can of Diced Tomatoes w/Green Chilies
1 (28 oz) can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can of Tomato Paste w/about ¾ can water (you can substitute more crushed tomatoes instead if desired or needed)
1 to 2 Tablespoons Hot Sauce
1 tsp salt (optional)
¼ tsp pepper (optional)

Cook 4 cups of rice according to directions

While the rice Cooks:
Brown 1 ½ to 2 lbs of ground beef in a large skillet with ½ diced onion or 1 tablespoon onion powder

Add to cooked meat:
1 (14-16 oz) can of Diced Tomatoes w/Green Chilies
1 (28 oz) can of Crushed Tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can of Tomato Paste w/about ¾ can water (you can substitute more crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes w/green chilis if desired or needed)
1 to 2 Tablespoons Hot Sauce (adjust accordingly to your tastes) We like it spicy!
1 tsp salt (optional)
¼ tsp pepper (optional)

Simmer until rice is done.
Add cooked rice to beef mixture and stir until mixed well. Serve with salad if desired. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

Money Saving Tip:

~For each degree you lower your thermostat below 73 degrees during the heating season, you can save 2-4 percent on your heating costs.

~When baking goods, double, triple, or even quadruple recipes and cook more than one at a time in the oven. This not only is a more efficient use of the energy but will save you time in the long run. Baked goods can always be frozen and thawed or warmed (if necessary) for later use.

Cleaning Tip

Keep supplies such as Baking Soda, Bleach, vinegar, and ammonia on hand. All are age old cleaning agents sworn to clean just as efficiently as those expensive cleaning formulas.
(Remember, never mix bleach and ammonia)

Here's some examples:

All-purpose cleaner

Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 gallon lukewarm water.
Label and keep out of reach of children. Use straight in a spray bottle. No rinsing needed.

Glass Cleaner

Add 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/2 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water.(Tip: Save money on paper towels, use newspaper to clean windows)


~Save unwanted clothing that can potentially be used in decorating projects or crafts.

~Small amounts of leftover paints can be mixed to create a "custom" blend. Mix paints of like bases (oil w/oil, latex w/latex). Finish (glossy, semi-gloss, flat) should not matter. Mixing similar colors bring best results. Make sure you have enough for the project at hand or save for small project(s) or accessories. Most likely, you won't be able to match this color again!

~Dye lighter fabrics, curtains, or pillow covers to achieve a desired colored for redecorating. Use cloth napkins to make throw pillows.

~A strip of picket fence makes a great headboard. Look around, use your imagination, you'll be surprised at what items you might find that would look great as a headboard.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Budget Friendly Home Decorating

Spring is almost here and for many of us it’s the perfect time to organize and decorate. As winter passes into spring, it’s out with the old look and in with the new look. This is a great time to bring some new ideas into your home and liven things up!

Spring is a great time to find bargains on decorating accessories at yard and garage sales. As the seasons change, many times your local thrift and consignment stores will have a change in inventory. This is the time when many folks finally donate unwanted merchandise that’s just been sitting around the garage or house. Spring cleaning!

My advise……..have your own yard or garage sale and make some extra money on those items. But, lucky for us frugal shoppers, there are some folks who just don’t want to take the time. So, be sure not to miss out on decorating supplies, furnishings, accessories, paint, wallpaper, and fabrics that can be found at many thrift stores.

Before you buy , shop at your own home. If you have “stuff” laying around the garage or home that can compliment your desired decorating theme, use it. Sometimes pulling items from one room to another and simply re-organizing, fixing up, or just using an item in a different way can be enough. Add a fresh coat of paint, different window dressings and replacement of furnishings, and WHA LAH! You have a new room.

Need some paint? If you can be flexible about color, check the mis-mixed table at your local home improvement, hardware, or paint stores. You can find high quality paints for a fraction of the original retail cost when colors don’t turn out exactly as they should have. Sometimes you can find a slight variation of just the color you’ve already picked that will work just as well with your selected color scheme and save you lots of m/oney.

I buy these mis-mixed paints (usually for $2-3 per gallon or less) throughout the year and store them appropriately for later use. This way I go shopping in my own paint department first to see if I can accommodate the decorating plan I have chosen. Planning ahead and grabbing these types of decorating supplies when they’re a bargain is a great way to maximize your savings.

Collecting fabrics for future use is also another great idea. Even unwanted clothing can be used to create small window dressings, pillow covers, and accessories. Many people give away scraps of fabrics or sell them at yard sales. Be sure to check clearance and end piece items at sewing and fabric shops. It’s really so simple to make a curtain. Usually only requires sewing simple seams.

For more complicated tasks, if you can’t figure it out for yourself, you’re sure to find a how to book at any library or search on-line for free information. Check out Denver Fabrics free instructions at You can learn the proper method for measuring windows for curtains here also. No sew curtains are a wonderful concept. View some how to’s on No-Sew Curtains here:

I’ve found some excellent ideas for decorating on a budget, do-it-yourself projects, and some great decorating theme ideas from HGTV (Home and Garden Television) . Even if you don’t get this wonderful T.V. channel in your home, you can go online at to benefit from some wonderful ideas and projects by professionals. There’s a lot for do-it-yourselfers here! You can get some great ideas for areas of your home where you just don’t know what to do with it.

Before you make your plans, check out several books at the library on home decorating. You will find no shortage of books on this subject. Glance through them and grab ideas to incorporate into your own decorating task. If you have a specific challenge to overcome, likelihood is someone else has already encountered it, conquered it, and written a book or web page about it. Use their knowledge! It will save you time and frustration of figuring it out.

My last words, of course, DO YOUR RESEARCH! Know your options.
Remember……..Informed Consumer=More Savings.

Happy decorating.


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Favorite Money Saving Information Sites

The Federal Trade Commissions 66 Ways to Save Money

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Join the forum! Share ideas with others at

University of Illinois Extension "Thrifty Living", provides a wealth of information on Consumer Economics. You'll find lots of great money saving tips.

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