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Cheryl's Sensible Cents - 11/15/2005 The Debt Cycle - Full Circle
November 15, 2005

Did You Know?....

The turkey was considered as the national symbol of America in competetion with the bald eagle.

You can hear a turkey gobbling up to a mile away on a quiet day.

What's New?

Our "improved" New Look!
Christmas Party Games

Every man is the architect of his own fortune. - Appius Claudius

If one wants to get out and stay out of debt he should act his wage. - Unknown

Featured Articles:

Debt: Full Circle - by Cheryl Johnson
How To Get An Instant Pay Raise - Leo J. Quinn Jr.

Featured Sponsor

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Turkey Apple Casserole
Sausage-Sweet Potato Bake

Turkey Apple Casserole

Saute' in skillet until soft, but not brown:
2 Tablespoons margarine
3 Tablespoons minced onion
Stir In:
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cup turkey broth
2 cups pineapple juice
Heat almost to boiling. Add:
2 cups soft bread crumbs
3 cups diced unpeeled red apples
3 cups cubed cooked turkey
Remove from heat and turn into casserole. Sprinkle with:
1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs
Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 Minutes.
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Sausage-Sweet Potato Bake

Brown in skillet:
1 lb. bulk sausage
Break up large pieces and drain off excess fat.

Arrange in 2 qt. casserole:
2 medium raw sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 medium apples, peeled and sliced
browned sausage
Combine and pour over:
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water

Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until potatoes and apples are tender.

- From the More-With-Less Cookbook

Send us Your Recipes

Need ideas for dinner?

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

ING DIRECT -High Yield Savings with 3.50% annual percentage yield!

  • Socks - I have a big problem with socks. As a matter of fact, I'd be perfectly content if they didn't even exist! Reality is however, they do exist. So, after many years of fighting the sock war, I finally gave up and resorted to purchasing the same color (white) and same style sock all the time. I have no more problems matching, no more boxes or bags of unmatched socks and no more color choices to decide on. This works great with 3 girls and myself who now can wear the same size. A bonus: Boys socks are cheaper than girls (don't know why, they just are.) I can buy boys socks (they even come in the popular anklet that the girls like) for even more savings.

  • T-shirts - Craft stores often have t-shirts in a variety of colors for $3 to $4. As with socks, boys t-shirts are generally a lot cheaper than girls. T-shirts can be decorated with paint pens, fabric paint, iron ons, DIY transfers (if you have a computer and printer), sequins, gems, etc.

    Cleaning Tips

  • Get rid of musty book odor - Shake dry starch on pages and wipe away excess

  • Remove oil based paint from clothes - Spray foam oven cleaner on polyester or cotton work clothes stained with paint. Let stand 30 minutes, wash as usual.

  • Spider repeller - Moth balls have been said to repel numerous pests including spiders, snakes, and raccoons. Place several in a sealed coffee can. Punch holes in the top and place in areas where you have problems with these pests. Caution: can be harmful to pets and children so place accordingly. (I recommend super glueing the top onto the can.)


  • Old wooden ladder - use for a towel rack in the bath or kitchen. Can be painted to fit color scheme if desired. Prop ladder against wall (attach with hooks, nails etc. if desired to make more secure) as if in climbing position and hang towels from the rungs of the ladder.

  • Plastic Shower Caps - Plastic shower caps can be purchased several to a pack at dollar stores at a much lower price than regular plastic bowl covers (also, are offered as complimentary personal care items at hotels.)

    My Favorite Survey Sites

    Both are free to join:

    Opinion Outpost

    American Consumer Opinion


    Debt: Full Circle

    What does debt full circle mean? When you get that first credit card in the mail, you know, the one you've been trying to get for soooooo many years. Just when almost giving up hope of every estab.lishing credit, there it is! You literally beam with pride. You have an exciting feeling of accomplishment and wealth.

    Then all of a sudden every cre.dit card company on the planet has faith in you it seems and here open the doors to a financial blessing. You swear to use your credit responsibly and manage your cre.dit wisely. You certainly have the best of intentions. But then, two things slowly creep in to take control of your senses. Self justification and instant gratification are just a couple of the reasons we let ourselves loose control of our finances and get consumed by debt. I believe they are the most powerful reasons!

    Instant gratification is the norm of today's society. We want it now, we want it fast, and we want the most up-to-date version. Technology is booming and consumer is keeping right up with the call to buy! Ultimately, we make our own decisions. However, for most people, society's expectations play an important role in the decisions we make. This is just human nature.

    Then, even while knowingly teetering on the edge of over extending our finances, we can always justify a purchase. Why, at one time I was a real pro at self-justification. Certainly...

    • I deserved it
    • I worked hard for it
    • the recent raise would suffice to handle the extra expense
    • I needed it
    • that's what the cre.dit was for (to buy things I couldn't afford with cash right now)
    • it would certainly cost me more later
    • it would save mo.ney in the long run
    • etc., etc., etc....

    The reasoning of self justification is endless. Driven only by your wants and desires. Once you've given in to self justification no purchase is forbidden. Anything goes!

    Then comes the, worry. Maybe I'm getting in too deep. Do I owe too much? It is getting difficult to make ends meet. Then as you realize you're living paycheck to paycheck , despite your newfound wealth. The stress factor moves in. You start to realize your mistake in losing control over your cre.dit.

    When you realize the magnitude of the problem, worry and stress quickly turn into regret and shame. How could you let this happen? Where and when did it go so wrong. You promised yourself you would handle your cre.dit responsibly. But, instead you used your credit with no control or planning.

    It is truly humiliating when you realize you've screwed up your finances. Many go into denial and simply keep on spending as if nothing is wrong. Then cre.dit limits catch up and there is no more to spend or they cannot keep up the payments any longer. Some will get the message sooner rather than later but, most will find a way to come back to reality.

    It is a struggle, at this point, to take control of your money and make a plan to recuperate. But, it can be done! Millions of people have done the very same thing you have. That can be comforting, to know that you're not the only one who lost control of their money. It is even more comforting to know that millions of people have found there way back as well!

    Relief comes in knowing that all is not lost. You can take control and make a plan to take control of your money. As you continue to follow your plan for financial recovery, you will see your finances improve.

    Your decreases and your savings increase. Your financial future looks brighter and more secure. You are less stressed and no longer worry about how the bills will get paid. You feel wealthy again.

    With that last payment comes a sensational feeling of accomplishment and a warm feeling of pride. The cycle has now come full circle.

    This cycle is a tough journey to have to take. But, one that you certainly will learn a valuable lesson from. Pass that lesson on to your children, your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and anyone else you can get to listen.

    Acknowledging your own weakness can be difficult. But, if you can keep even one person from making the same mistakes, then it's worth telling the tale. Be proud of yourself for the strength within you to endure the journey back.

    Debt - full circle:

    Pride - accomplishment - wealth - instant gratification - self justification - worry - stress - regret - shame - humiliation - relief - wealth - accomplishment - Pride

    How To Get An Instant Pay Raise

    - by Leo J. Quinn Jr.
    As a gentleman was leaving my class recently, he wanted me to clarify something I had said. He was making sure that he should take his four or five thousand dollar tax refund and pay off d.ebt.

    I was stunned. This money represented $400-$500 that could have been in his pocket every month. A survey of my friends this week revealed one who was getting back $2800 and one getting $3300 back this year.

    Getting a large tax refund (over $500) means you are having too much money withheld from your check every pay period.

    Many people use this as a forced saving plan and it does not make any sense. You are loaning the government YOUR money, interest free. Every $1200 in refund is an extra $100 per month you could have used to eli-min-ate d.ebt or invest for your future.

    I'd venture to say that most people who do get large refunds could use this money every month to ease their d.ebt burden. This burden frequently leads to late charges and higher inter.est rates. Instead, they like the feeling of getting that big in the mail and figuring out how to spend that chunk of money.

    The ideal situation is to either owe or get back $100.

    If you get a big tax refund then you should adjust your allowances. The more allowances you claim, the less money is withheld from your check for taxes. It generally does not matter how many allowances you claim. If the government gets it's money they really don't care how many allowances you claim.

    Here is how to get it right. Take the time to complete the appropriate worksheets included on Form W-4. The worksheets will help you determine your withholding allowances based on your in.come, adjustments, deductions, exemptions and tax credits. The worksheets can help you figure the right amount so you don't have too little withheld.

    If you need help ask your payroll administrator at work or an accountant.

    Keep your mo.ney working for you!

    - Leo J. Quinn, Jr. is a financial educator from the Albany, NY area. For the last eight years he has been stunning audiences by showing them that paying off their highest interest rates debts first and/or paying extra on more than one debt is often the SLOWEST way to get rid of those debts.

    Leo has a special offer for Cheryl's Sensible Cents readers at:


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    How to Own Your PayCheck Again

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