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Cheryl's Sensible Cents, Issue #003 -- Defensive Saving
March 01, 2005

Did You Know?....

The first credit card was issued in 1951.

In This Issue: Defensive Saving

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

Featured Article:
"Did You Let Your Piggy Bank Get Away?"


Make Circus Treats at home! Great for kids parties or a surprise treat.

Funnel Cake
(makes 4 cakes)

1 Egg
2/3 Cup Milk
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 & 1/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
vegetable oil for frying
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting
One Funnel

Beat egg in a mixing bowl. Stir in the milk. In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt, sugar and baking powder together. Beat the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour oil into a heavy pan or skillet until it is 1 inch deep. Heat to 375 F.

Hold one finger over a funnel end, keeping the opening closed, and fill it with batter. Open the end of the funnel and allow batter to run out in a stream into the hot oil. Move funnel from center, swirling outward in a circular pattern. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Using tongs, turn over the cake to cook the other side. Cook until golden brown and remove to drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar while still warm.

Corn Dogs

Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (for dredging)
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, well beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
10 frankfurters
10 wooden skewers (tip: I used new popsicle sticks I had on hand in place of skewers. Worked fine.)

Place oil in deep-fat fryer or deep pot and heat to 375 F. Place 1/2 cup dredging flour in pie pan and set aside. Mix cornmeal, 1/3 cup flour and salt in 2 cup glass measure. Add milk, egg, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Mix well and set aside. Insert wooden skewers into the frankfurters. Roll in dredging flour to coat, shaking off excess. Dip frankfurters, one at a time, in cornmeal batter, then fry in oil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.


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

Money Saving Tip:

Purchase a permanent coffee filter basket for about $5 and stop buying paper filters!

A 28 oz can of tomatoe sauce, puree, or crushed tomatoes is usually cheaper (especially when on sale!) than spaghetti sauce. Add "Italian Seasoning" (Tones makes a good one in large economy size bottle)or spaghetti seasoning to make your own sauce.

Cleaning Tip

Pour 1 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar in drains followed by a pan of boiling water to keep drains running smoothly. As needed or once a month for regular maintenance.


The tops of plastic jugs/bottle make great wide mouth funnels. Collect a variety of sizes for different uses.

Old plastic credit cards (or the ones you recieve in junk mail credit card offers) make great scraping tools for cleaning. Use as dish and pan scrapers in the kitchen.



Did You Let Your Piggy Bank Get Away?

I think most of us have at some point in our lives. Some how we forget to feed the little piggy. And, like most neglected “pets”, your piggy bank will disappear if you don’t feed it. A personal budget is important to create fi.nancial independence and setting goals for feeding that “piggy bank” should be an important part of your budget!

The most successful fi.nancial plans allow you to INVEST IN YOURSELF! It just makes good sense. A plan to build fi.nancial security should always be considered essential to any budget.

Even if you’re on a plan to reduce debt, you need to include plans to build a foundation for future fi.nancial security. A good savings routine and variable expense account are essential to building a strong foundation for fi.nancial independence.

A variable expense allowance in the budget is important to save for those expenses that seem to “hit us unexpectedly”. Funny thing is, we know these expenses will occur. They are an inevitable fact of finances for most of us. So, why do we call them unexpected? I can’t explain why, but there are many of us who make this very BIG mistake in our budgeting.

Some expenses don’t occur monthly. Some are paid out every now and then, quarterly, yearly, or bi-monthly, or semi-annually. These are expenses like car insurance and maintenance, home insurance and maintenance, property taxes, income taxes, medical expenses (prescriptions, deductibles, co-pays), pet care, school expenses (supplies, trips, activity fees, books), and clothing. Some of these are huge expenses that can put a ripple in any good budget if not planned for.

Most of us have good intentions, but it’s easy to fall prey to the credit card companies without a plan to cover all of these “unexpected” expenses. The term still makes me chuckle. I mean, don’t we “expect” to wear clothes? It’s even funnier to me knowing that I was guilty of this very thing. Poor Planning! Not expecting what should be expected.

Lesson ……….Don’t forget about this expenses in your budget. They will sabotage the best of intentions!

The other essential ingredient to a successful budget is a savings plan. A good savings plan should have a goal to reach at least the minimum amount necessary for you to survive for a three to four month period. It may take time, but this a strategy that provides a fail safe against a financial crisis. Crisis such as serious illness or job loss.

Trying to save money by cutting your savings budget out will eventually backfire on you. It is essential to build fi.nancial security, in order to remain debt free, you must not compromise your savings expense.

Only if there is no way to avoid it should you reduce the amount of your monthly savings commitment.

Start with 2-4% of your monthly income if you have to. A little is better than nothing, and then you can build it up from there to at least 10% of income as funds become available.

Some Important Points: Applying extra funds to your debt first will not help you gain fi.nancial security. Emergency savings and variable expense savings goals should be met before debt is reduced in order to remain debt free. After all, these sources will be the foundation you will fall back on in order to remain debt free. If you can build a reserve for emergencies you won’t have to use those nasty credit cards. This is an important defense that builds fi.nancial security. If you use a good debt reduction plan, debt will reduce, and in a reasonable amount of time. As long as you stop creating debt. Just be patient.

Paying more on your debt, instead of saving, is not going to help you pay for that major car repair when the car breaks down. It will most likely do the opposite of your intended plan and send you running for the credit card to bail out.

Of course once you have reached your goals for savings and your variable expense account, then you should start applying extra funds to your debt reduction plan. Using money saving tips reduces expenses in your budget in an effort to help you build that financial security. Through saving money on everyday expenses and living a frugal lifestyle, you free up monies to apply to your savings and variable expense account. These are the defenses that build a strong foundation for your fi.nancial independence.

These "defenses" prepare for the inevitable expenses that will arise. Many of us had just forgotten to plan correctly for these types of expenses. That's how we got in the "big red mess" to begin with. Properly preparing for necessary variable expenses is your defense against feeling the need to use the credit cards.

Once you have balanced your expenses with your income, you have created a Budget for Debt Free Living. Congratulations! You are on your way to fi.nancial f.reedom and security. Enjoy! This concept is simply “living within your means.” Something that many of us in today’s “plastic society” have forgotten to do.

Live Debt F.ree to Be F.ree. You Deserve It!


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Top Product Pick

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Favorite Money Saving Information Sites

Learn from others and 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.

Financial Fitness Quiz

Live Debt Free to Be Free. You Deserve It
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