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Cheryl's Sensible Cents - 7/01/2006 Newsletter
July 01, 2006

In this Issue:

Featured Articles
Budget Backyard Vacations - Cheryl Johnson
Six Ways to Get the Best Student L/oan Consol/idation
Changing Your Husband - Tawra Kellam
Home Bus-iness Ideas - Cheryl Johnson
DebtSmart Column: Ten Financial Questions You Should Ask Yourself Today

Beef Barbeque (using ground beef)
Potato-Corn Soup
Bean Salad

Money Saving Tips

  • Alternative Uses for Common Household Items: Uses for Pantyhose
  • Laundry Tips
  • Cleaning Tips

Craft Ideas
Silver Leaf Jar

Quotable Quote

Almost any man knows how to earn money, but not one in a million knows how to spend it. - Henry David Thoreau

Did You Know?

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

Featured Articles

Ten Financial Questions You Should Ask Yourself Today

To quote the very well-known motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins, "Questions are the answer." What exactly does he mean? Tony believes, as do I, that you have the ability to find the answer to any question. They key is to ask the right questions.

If you're constantly asking yourself, "Why was I so stupid to get into debt?", your brain is going to give you an answer like, "Because you're a loser."

The thing to remember is that your brain will keep working on your question subconsciously until you get an answer. We've all had the experience of waking up in the middle of the night with the answer to something you were thinking about earlier in the day.

The quality of the answer is directly related to the quality of the question. A better question is "What action can I take today to start reducing my debt?" Your brain will ponder this until it returns an answer. That may be something like, "Get financially organized. Look through all my credit card statements and see if I can determine if any one card is better than another."

Here are 10 questions whose answers, I am confident, will guide you to a better financial life:

1) What action(s) can I take today to start reducing my debt?
2) How can I start making more money within the next 5 days?
3) What can I do to start saving money?
4) What did I learn about finances today?
5) What day, this week, can I commit to going to the library and researching my financial options?
6) How can I use my computer to improve my life financially?
7) How can I double my income within one year?
8) What dreams did I have when I was younger that I should revisit today that would improve my life?
9) Do I have the right amount of insurance?
10) How can I enjoy the process of working to reduce my debt?

Scott Bilker is the founder of and the author of Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. Send your questions about money, credit, loans, mortgages, or debt, to him at: Scott Bilker, PO Box 563, Barnegat, NJ 08005-0563 or online at:

Budget Backyard Family Vacations

- Cheryl Johnson

When travel and lodging are cost prohibitive, you can still have a vacation right at home. Yes, in your own backyard. Many of us live within reasonable distance to museums, campgrounds, historic sites, and beautiful state parks. You might be surprised at what you find in your own local area.

Do some research in your area to find free or low cost activities and sites to visit. Schedule something for each day of the week, even if it's just a park visit for a picnic. Some areas have local public beaches. Plan an outing at a local public beach. Visit historical sites. Many of these are free, educational, and fun for parents and kids.

You can even plan activities at home just as if you were at an exotic vacation spot. Have a different theme for each day. For example:

1. Beach day - sun tanning, volley ball, make some fancy icy drinks to sip on in the sun, have a picnic.

2. Camp day - stay in a tent or sleeping bags under the stars, build a little fire if allowed in your area, roast marshmallows, make smores, sing campfire songs.

3. Have a backyard fair - create booths with games like ring toss or balloon popping to win little prizes. Make some funnel cakes and corn dogs!

4. Colonial day - dress, and live in another era!. This is great fun. I thought of this one purely by accident when the electricity went out one day. The kids expressed how "neat' it was to live like they did in the "old days." No lighting except candles and lanterns, no T.V. or radio, no video games or computer. Sounds boring, but believe it or not, they had fun coming up with ideas to keep occupied. A good teaching tool too! Shhhhhhhh….. don't tell the kids.

5. Cultural Day - Live, celebrate, dress, and eat as you learn about different cultures. Some examples might include an Irish, Native American, or Spanish Day. Another great learning experience. Try to include some ethnic games to make it even more fun and interesting.

These "theme days" at home will take some imagination and a little work, but will be loads of fun for everyone. Half the fun will be in the creation, so let everyone pitch in. With a little imagination and creativity you can have a wonderful vacation right in your own backyard. You may even have more fun than actually being in another part of the world!

Be Sure You Get the Best Student Loan Consolidation

Student loan consolidation can be one of the greatest resources for students to pay for their college fees. However, the rates may also be a burden. Especially, if you were not able to choose the best ra/te for your financial situation when you first applied for student loans. Before you sign up on any plan, always remember to consider the ra/tes involved with their plans and do a little research first... Read On

Changing Your Husband

Free e-book Money for Life
Hi Tawra and Jill! I need your help! I've learned lots and I feel like I've come along way on my road to becoming a tightwad! The problem is my husband. He's not a complete spendthrift, however, we have a lot to work on....Read On

Home Bus-iness Ideas

Yes, YOU can w/ork at home and be successful! Figure out what it is you love to do and find a resource that helps you use that passion to wo/rk at home. You will be successful if you work at something you ...

  • do well
  • believe in
  • are passionate about
  • simply enjoy and love to do

Here are a few home bus-iness ideas to get you thinking... Read On


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

Beef Barbeque

2 lbs. ground Beef
2 Tablespoons vinegar
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
2 Tablespoons chopped celery
1 26 oz. bottle Catsup
salt and pepper

Brown beef, breaking into small pieces with fork. Add remaining ingredients and cook together over low heat for 15 minutes. Serve on warm sandwich rolls.

Potato-Corn Soup

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 leek, sliced (or 1/4 cup chopped onion)
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups pared, diced pototoes
1 cup pared, sliced, carrots
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
1 (1lb. can)whole kernel corn, drained

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add leek (or onion) and cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except corn. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add corn and heat for 5 minutes. Makes 4 one cup servings.

Bean Salad

1 cup chopped celery
1 can green beans, drained
1 can yellow wax beans, drained
1 large jar pimento, chopped (optional)
1 large onion, chopped
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can chick peas

Make sauce by combining:
1 & 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 cup white vinegar
1 Tablespoon salt

Combine all vegetable ingredients. Heat sauce until sugar melts and then pour over vegetables. Let stand overnight in refrigerator before serving.

Send us Your Recipes

Need ideas for dinner or recipes?

Best Home Baking: Old Farmer's Almanac Home Library -Go to Recipes & More Section
Recipe Secrets
Free Recipes at ClubMom!
Country Cooking Recipes
E-Cookbooks Library

Money Saving Tips

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

Visit our money saving tips directory here

Cleaning Tips

1. Use rubbing alcohol to remove hairspray from mirrors.

2. To clean a narrow vase - Drop a denture cleaning tablet in vase filled with water. Let soak (as with dentures) to remove dirt and debri from hard to clean vases.

3. Deodorize a cutting board by rubbing with a cut lemon.

4. All purpose cleaning solution:
1/2 cup ammonia
1/3 cup vinegar
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 gallon water

Alternative Uses for Common Household Items

Uses for Pantyhose

1. Find a tiny lost item - Lost an earring, earring back, small stone from a ring, contact lens? Find it easily using a pantyhose vacuum filter. Cut leg of pantyhose (keeping toe section in tact) to fit over the nozzle of your vacuum hose. Slip it over the hose opening and attach tightly by wrapping with a rubber band. Now carefully move the hose over the area where lost item is with vacuum on. It will pick up the lost item which will be attached to the pantyhose filter.

2. Use as toy stuffing to repair or make stuffed toys.

3. Cut small circles from legs to make ponytail holders.

4. Cut in small squares and store to use for nail polish removal (instead of cotton balls).

5. Buff shoes. Shine freshly polished shoes. Works just as well as chamois cloth.

6. Make potpourri sachets. Hang throughout the home or in the car as freshner.

7. Keep deer out of the garden. Make human hair sachets and hang around the perimeters of the garden to deter deer.

8. Use to tie young trees, tomato plants, etc, to stakes. They are flexible enough to allow for easy growth.

Laundry Tips

1. Breck shampoo can be used as a stain treatment for grease, blood, grass stains, ink, etc.

2. Use a five gallon bucket w/lid to soak diapers before laundering. Control odors in diaper soaking pail by adding 1/4 cup borax.

3. To prevent ring around the collar, wipe neck with rubbing alcohol before dressing.

4. Laundry soap booster - adding 1/4 cup baking soda to front loading machines or 1/2 cup to top loaders will boost laundry detergent cleaning power.

5. Scrub underarm stains from shirts and blouses using equal part water and lemon juice (or white vinegar)

6. Toss used dryer sheets in the clothes hamper for odor control.

Reader's Tips

Please share your tips

Craft Ideas

Silver Leaf Jar

You will Need:
collection of small fresh leaves
jar with screw top lid
piece of silver foil
piece of thin cardboard
old, soft toothbrush

1. Cut foil to fit around outside of jar, leaving enough at top to fold inside the top of jar.

2. Dry leaves with paper towels and glue onto cardboard. When dry, cut leave shapes out of cardboard.

3. Glue the cut leaves, cardboard side down, to the outside of jar. Cover as much of jar as possible, let dry.

4. Very gently crush the foil in your hands, then smooth out. This makes it easier to handle. Spread glue all over dull side of foil. Carefully press foil all around the sides of the jar (do not cover base) and tuck the excess inside the tip of jar. Using the soft toothbrush, gently tap all the leaves so that their pattern shows through the foil. Cover the lid with foil and screw it on to jar.

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