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Cheryl's Sensible Cents Newsletter - 10/01/2005 Budget Friendly Halloween Costume Ideas
October 15, 2005

Did You Know?....

If you look on the front of a dollar bill you will see the United States Treasury Seal. On the top of the seal are the scales for a balanced budget. What Happened?

Consumer's Advantage published an article recently discussing the One Dollar bill. After pointing out several features on the dollar bill the article stated this:"They say that the number 13 is an unlucky number. This is almost a worldwide belief.... But think about this:

13 original colonies,
13 signers of the Declaration of Independence,
13 stripes on our flag,

[the following are in reference to items on the dollar bill]
13 steps on the Pyramid
13 letters in the Latin above the Pyramid
13 letters in "E Pluribus Unum"
13 stars above the Eagle
13 bars on that shield
13 leaves on the olive branch (in the eagles talons)
13 fruits, and if you look closely,
13 arrows

My question is - Does this mean that we are wrong about the number thirteen or that money is bad luck?

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As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness. - Henry David Thoreau

Featured Articles:

Christmas after Credit Cards - by Cheryl Johnson
Get Into the Spirit of the Holidays: Volunteer! - Courtesy ARA content

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Quiche Lorraine
How To Cook Pumpkin
Pumpkin Pie

Quiche Lorraine

Serves 8-10
Heat oven to 375 degrees F

2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chilled margarine cut into 1/2 inch bits
3 Tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
5 Tablespoons cold water
Roll out and fit into two 9" pie pans. Prick pastry with fork. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 10 minutes.

Quiche Filling (enough for 2 pies)
Beat until blended:
6 eggs
2 cups light cream or evaporated milk
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
dash of nutmeg
2 cups grated Swiss cheese

Pour into pastry shells. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Add one of the following to the pie shell before adding filling.
- 1 chopped onion, sauteed
- 4 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
- 1 to 2 cups cooked ham finely chopped

From the More-With-Less Cookbook

Earn 3.40% annual percentage yield with the Orange Savings Account - No Fees, No Minimums & No need to change banks. FDIC Insured.

How to Cook a Pumpkin

*Make ahead to allow to cool for use in recipes

Microwave method:
Cut a small pumpkin (approx. 5lbs.) in half or cut a larger one into big chunks. Place the halves or pieces, flesh side down, in a microwave dish with a little water.

Cover with plastic wrap and cook until fork-tender. Check and turn pieces occasionally. A small pumpkin, cut in half, about 15 - 30 minutes on high power. Cool, drain off any liquid and peel. Purée in food processor or blender.

Pumpkin Pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Prepare or have ready one 9" pie shell uncooked.

Combine in blender or mixing bowl:
1 cup cooked, sieved, pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
2 egg yolks (reserve egg whites)

Beat until stiff:
2 egg whites
Fold egg whites into the pie filling. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375 and bake about 30 minutes or until filling is set.

Send us Your Recipes!

Need ideas for dinner?

Easy Crockpot Recipes


Cooking, especially baking, can be a good activity to do with your kids. It's a sneaky way to squeeze in some more "quality time" that we find so hard to enjoy in these fast paced times. Read more about how Time-Crunched Families can Turn Baking Time into Family Time

Try some fun recipes like our Funnel Cake Recipe or the Corn Dog Recipe

Go Bananas! Try one or more of our Banana Bread Recipes

Cooking is an educational family entertainment activity. But, you don't have to tell them that! So, go cook up some fun with your kids.

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

Thanks to all our readers who have been kind enough to send in their tips. It is our goal to one day have a large reader's tips resource for each of our savings categories. Please won't you help us by taking a few minutes to share your tips? Recipes, recycling and cleaning tips, crafts or other savings strategies are all welcome.

Money Saving Tips:

  • Rain Checks - Be sure to ask for a rain check if an item you go to the store to buy is on sale but, out of stock. Most stores offer rain checks. Some expire in 30-90 days and some are good indefinitely. This gives you plenty of time to return to the store to take advantage of the sale. If you're using a coupon in combination with a sale, be sure to return before your coupon expires.
  • Lawn and Garden Supplies - If you're a gardener or know someone who is, now through November is the time to keep an eye open for clearance sales on lawn and garden tools and supplies. Hint: Know a gardener? Get your holiday gift now.
  • Halloween Clearance - Remember to watch for great deals on halloween supplies right after the holiday. Stores will be eager to unload costumes, makeup, acessories, masks, and decorations. Stock up for next year to save money.
  • Cleaning Tips

  • Water rings on wood furniture - Combine vinegar and olive oil in equal parts. With a clean soft cloth, work mixture with the grain to erase water rings.
  • Brass Polish - Mix flour with vinegar and salt to make a brass polish. Olive oil will protect brass from tarnish.
  • Recycling

  • Garden Hose - Use old garden hose to protect saw blades or blade protectors for ice skates. Cut a length of hose to fit, cut slit lengthwise to slip over blades.
  • Shoe Bags - Use a shoe bag (hanging kind with pockets) to organize small items where storage space is limited. Use for toiletries in the bathroom, organize mail and other office supplies, in children's rooms for personal items or small toys, etc. Hang in a closet, back of door, or wall
  • Aprons make great paint smocks for children
  • T-Shirts - Use an old t-shirt for a small child's bib. You can leave the shirt intact or cut for easier on and off to resemble a bib. Simply cut side seams and arms off and slip the neck over child's head.


    Christmas after Credit Cards

    A crucial time of year is approaching for families trying to reduce d-ebt. The holidays are always difficult to get through without increasing d-ebt. I've found this to be especially true with my own family.

    Reflecting on previous years it's hard to say where my troubles began. When I was a single parent I had the blessings of a great family infrastructure and a "secret Santa"; Both showered my children excessively with gifts at Christmas time.

    I call them blessings. However, had I a crystal ball at the time I would have definitely approached the subject of Christmas much differently. More frugally on the commercial side and more aggressively on the spiritual or celebration side.

    It is especially important during the holiday season to keep focused on financial goals. It's so easy to get distracted from goals with the excitement and anticipation of children mounting each day the holiday grows closer.

    I found it so easy, in the past, to switch priorities with the flip of a cre.dit card. My children's happiness and their expectations easily rose above the need to be d.ebt free each and every passing year. And there I was one day, still paying for Christmas's past and planning how I will approach a d.ebt f-r-e-e Christmas.

    For years I had been telling the kids " This year Christmas will be lean. We just don't have as much money to spend this year." I had already discussed with them the changes in our financial situation. I explained in every detail how we got in d.ebt, how important it was for our future to get out of d.ebt, and how I had planned to accomplish elim.inating the d.ebt. Needless to say it was a rude awakening for them.

    But, even though I had made the speech, my actions did not confirm my commitments at Christmas time. Each and every year I would over ride my sensibilities and splurge, always finding new cre.dit or increased cre.dit limits to subsidize the holiday. I knew this was a huge mistake. How could they take me seriously with such a blatant display of extravagance? But, I continued to do it anyway. Just a perfect example of how we let our emotions control our actions.

    But then came the year after. The year after I had maxed out every card and could no longer get additional or new cre.dit extended. The year that I had no choice but to live up to my commitment. I must say it was rough. But I do believe in hind sight that it was harder for me than it was for them.

    So what are parents who find themselves in this situation to do? Be honest! It's always the best policy.

    Of course, since my children were no longer under the influence of the "Santa" legend, my job was made easier. I sat down with them again but, this time I showed them the mo.ney, so to speak. Or rather, the lack of mo.ney.

    I explained each and every expense in the budget. I compared our total expenses to our total income. I showed them, on paper, that we were living on the bare minimum. Then I explained about our d.ebt and how Christmas's past had contributed greatly to the problem. I stressed that this was money I spent that I did not have and that now was the time I had to pay back.

    I also explained that this would be the first year that I would not have those cre.dit cards to turn to. I had no other option but to follow through with what I had been saying for years; This Christmas would in fact be very different.

    If you still have young children and you choose to de-commercialize the holidays, I recommend implementing some changes now. Focusing more on the actual celebration, or spirit, of Christmas and minimizing the importance of gifts.

    You will do your children a great service in helping them find satisfaction and enjoyment in the goodwill of the Christmas spirit. Volunteering is always an excellent way to encourage goodwill in children. Help community service organizations that help less fortunate families, assist the elderly, or visit those who have no family to enjoy the holidays with. Volunteer service, especially during the holidays, can be very rewarding for the whole family.

    Teaching children how to choose or create gifts based on interests or needs is the best practice. A few specially selected or created gifts are more appreciated than an abundance of senseless short lived gifts.I learned the importance of choosing just the right gifts out of neccessity. I also realized how senseless it is to over give. It is the few truly cherished gifts that stay the course. Abundance is discarded almost immediately! I saw it with my own eyes year after year.

    I know in an ever evolving technological society, the task of creative giving becomes more and more difficult. However, I also believe that the more technological our society becomes, the more we will miss, and long for, the simpler days of living. I'm already missing them and we've only just begun the technical revolution. Much technology today is short lived and constantly updating. It's hard to keep up without going into d.ebt if you live on a modest in-come.

    Since hind sight is 20/20 here's my advice for those of you with young children. Show your children a modest, more meaningful, Christmas when they are young and they will have modest expectations. Put it in perspective before it gets out of hand and everyone is saved a lot of disappointment and reality shock!

    Everyone deserves the right to live d.ebt f-r-e-e. Being financially secure and independent is an option everyone can choose. Review the Three Simple Steps to Successful D.ebt Elimination

    If you use all the D.ebt F-r-e-e Living strategies together you will be successful in achieving a d.ebt f-r-e-e life...

  • Budget your money to live within your means.
  • Use money saving tips and strategies to save money everyday on everything you buy and do.
  • Eliminate d.ebt and learn to manage cre.dit properly.
  • Recommended Reading

    Gift Ideas

    Get Into the Spirit of the Holidays: Volunteer!

    (ARA) – Whatever the occasion -- Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or simply the arrival of the New Year --‘tis the season for creating new memories and building on old traditions. To make this season even more memorable, consider spreading goodwill through volunteer service. Thanks to the Internet, and a nonprofit Web site called VolunteerMatch, finding an organization in need of volunteer help has never been easier. VolunteerMatch is dedicated to bringing community service organizations and volunteers together.

    The simplicity of the VolunteerMatch service has already helped more than 35,000 nonprofits post tens of thousands of volunteer opportunities online. As a result, VolunteerMatch has generated nearly 2 million new volunteer referrals to these organizations since 1998.

    “VolunteerMatch is great,” says Arizonan Spike Taylor. “I have been a hospice volunteer for 3 months now, and love it. My life is very rewarding because of the privilege of being able to help people, and I thank VolunteerMatch for exposing me to so many great opportunities.”

    Visitors to the site simply enter their ZIP code at to find local opportunities. Volunteers can also search by interest, date and keyword to generate a personally customized list. Once an opportunity of choice is found, the volunteer simply clicks on it to contact the organization and get involved.

    Any nonprofit or tax-exempt organization can list volunteer opportunities on VolunteerMatch. Participating nonprofit organizations have found that the service streamlines their volunteer recruitment efforts.

    “Until we signed up for VolunteerMatch, our efforts to recruit volunteers had been nearly fruitless, and we were becoming disheartened,” says Leslie Ray, vice president of For Pets Sake in Northwest Arkansas. “But within just a short time of signing up with VolunteerMatch, we began to receive referrals! VolunteerMatch has been the answer to our prayers!”

    The VolunteerMatch service is without cost for both volunteers and nonprofits. VolunteerMatch relies upon grants from charitable foundations for most of its funding, and also licenses its technology to companies like Charles Schwab, Dell, and Target to make it easier for employees to volunteer. The revenue derived from corporate licenses preserves VolunteerMatch's financial stability, and strengthens its capacity as an effective public service -- one of the few online social services available.

    So whether you can spare an hour a week, a day per week, or a week per year, you can make an important contribution. Donate to a food bank, shop for toys for needy children, serve food at the local soup kitchen, mentor a child, clean-up the local park. Regardless of how you decide to get involved, nothing beats the combination of holiday spirit and volunteer service.

    If you're ready to make a difference, visit VolunteerMatch at You’ll make your holidays -- and the holidays of those in-need -- shine that much brighter. - Courtesy of ARA Content


    Household Budget Calculator
    See how your spending compares. offers discount certificates for about half the cost. For example you would get a "$25.OO off dinner" coupon for $10.

    Quilting is said to be good for the soul. It is a great stress reliever and everybody loves quilts. Use them, display them, give them. Quilting is an activity that will can be enjoyed by the whole family. A Beginner's Guide to Quilting can help you get started or improve your current quilting skills with tips and tricks.

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