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Cheryl's Sensible Cents - 2/01/2006 Newsletter
February 01, 2006

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In this Issue:

Featured Articles:
Cre.dit Card Payment Increases
Are they pushing people into ba.nkruptcy?
- by Cheryl Johnson

Ground Beef and Rice (Rice-a-Roni style)
Homemade Onion Soup Mix
Homemade Seasoned Salt

Saving tips

  • Grocery Savings Tips
  • Home Decorating Tips
  • Cleaning and Laundry Tips
  • Reader's Tips

Quotable Quote

Economy is half the battle of life. It is not so hard to earn mon.ey as to spend it well. - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Featured Sponsor

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Featured Articles

Cre.dit Card Payment Increases

While I believe that the new credit card payment guidelines are a step forward in getting consumer d.ebt under control, I wonder if it isn't too little, too late.

For years credit card companies have bombarded consumers with introductory offers, balance transfer specials, and numerous other "helpful" credit options. They have made it easier and easier for the sub-prime borrower to acquire credit. Keeping minimum payments low, made credit advances achievable to many families who in previous years would have no chance of acquiring substantial credit limits.

In effect, they have misled many consumers into believing they had the financial means to manage credit. Many in fact, did not actually have the means to pay off the high balances that these companies entrusted them with. Now, when consumer debt is out of control, the government and credit card companies "come to the rescue" with bankruptcy reform and new payment guidelines. While the new laws and new payment guidelines may be a great prevention tool for future debtors, it is doubtful that it will "rescue" current debtors who have gotten in way over their financial means. It may just be the last straw for many....

-- Read the Entire Article Including, my own experience when I called a bank for "help."


Ground Beef and Rice (Rice-A-Roni-style)

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup rice
8 ounces spaghetti, broken into1-inch pieces
4 Tablespoons margarine*
4 cups broth, or water and bouillon
salt and pepper

Brown beef and onion in a large skillet.
Drain (and rinse if desired).
Brown rice and spaghetti in margarine. Add in beef,Onion, rice, and broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice and spaghetti are fully cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

*You can use no-stick spray and reduce the margarine, or substitute olive oil.

More ground beef recipes

Substituting your own homemade mixes is another great way to stretch your food dollars. Shop around for best prices on spices and keep a good supply on hand to make your favorite spice blends, seasonings, and soup mixes.

Onion Soup Mix

3/4 cup instant minced onion
4 teaspoons onion powder
1/3 cup beef-flavored bouillon powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seed, crushed
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Mix all ingredients, and store in an airtight container. To use, add 2 Tablespoons mix to 1 cup boiling water. Or, 2 Tablespoons for 1 package called for in other recipes. (Stronger than store bought mixes, so you use less)

Seasoned Salt

8 Tablespoons Salt
3 Tablespoons Pepper
2 Tablespoons Paprika
1/2 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1/2 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and store in an airtight container (recycle an empty store bought spice shaker) -

Send us Your Recipes

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Money Saving Tips

Share Saving Tips, Recipes, and Frugal Living Ideas.
Send in Your Readers Tips

Grocery Savings

  • Ground beef dishes are a great way to stretch your food dollars. An easy method to greatly reduce ground beef's fat content:
    Brown beef over medium heat. If the recipe calls for them, you can also add onion or garlic at this time. Then use a slotted spoon to place the beef "crumbles" on a large plate lined with three layers of paper towel. Blot the top of the beef with a paper towel. Let sit one minute, blotting with an additional paper towel. (..the Beef Council advises you to use paper towels that are white and nonrecycled.)

    Then, place the beef in a strainer or colander and pour about 1 quart of hot tap water over it, stirring while the water pours. Drain for five minutes and use in recipe.

    The fat reduction accomplished by this method is impressive. A 3-ounce cooked portion of 70% lean ground beef has 18 grams of fat when fried in the form of a patty. But the same portion, fried into crumbles and then blot­ted and rinsed, has just 6.1 grams of fat.

    The Beef Council reports that less than 10 percent of the meat's protein, iron, vitamin B12, and zinc are lost in the process. - Minnesota Beef Council as cited by Amy Dacyczyn (The Complete Tightwad Gazette)

    Remember that it doesn't take much ground beef to make a satis­fying addition to a casserole.

  • A complete step by step guide to practical grocery sav.ings strategies.
  • Home Decorating

  • Group collections of similar themed items for display to avoid a cluttered appearance
  • Always check the mis-mixed paint selection at your local hardware, paint, or home improvement stores for reduced prices on paint
  • Cleaning and Laundry Tips

  • Use cat litter to soak up messy spills of oil or other car fluids in the garage or on the driveway.
  • Sprinkle the toilet bowl with baking soda, spray with white vinegar. Let sit for a minute and then scrub clean.
  • Reader's Tips

  • I found small noodle boxes at a party planning store that cost 50c each, paid $30 for 6lb of white sugared almonds and filled the boxes with them. If you attatch a name tag to the box when you decorate it doubles as a place card all for under $1 per head!
    Lisa - Los Angeles,Cal
  • Buy spoons in cordinating wedding colors. Fill them with two chocolate kisses. Wrap in tulle and write on the tag "A spoon full of kisses from the bride and groom"
    Sabrina - Arlington, Texas

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