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Cheryl's Sensible Cents, Issue #005 -- Frugal Freedom
April 01, 2005

Did You Know?....

About 2,500 million people, half the world's population, use wood for cooking and heating.

In This Issue:What a frugal life means.

Tips for:
Money Saving
Product Picks
Internet Resources
Money Saving Information Sites

Featured Article:
"Frugal Freedom"


Vegetarian Chili

7 1/2 cups cooked beans, like pintos, anasazi, adzuki or kidney (roughly four 15-ounce cans or 1 pound dried beans, cooked)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, diced
1 dried or canned chipotle pepper
1 tablespoon mild red New Mexican chile powder, or to taste
1 tablespoon dried whole oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, undrained
5 cloves garlic, mashed
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Chopped raw onion
Chopped tomato
Shredded lettuce

1. Drain beans in a colander.
2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat until they are soft and golden.
3. Crush the chipotle pepper if using dried, or mince if using canned.
4. Add the chipotle pepper, red chile powder, oregano, cumin and allspice to the onions. Cook for 2 minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes and beans. Simmer for 45 minutes, adding liquid if the mixture gets too dry.
6. Add salt and pepper to taste, and more chile if you want a hotter dish.
7. Serve in bowls with warm tortillas.
Garnish with cheese, chopped raw onion, chopped tomato and shredded lettuce, if desired.

Apple-Oatmeal Bars
(from Recipes of the Great Depression)

1 Cup Oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
2&1/2 cups chopped apples
1/2 Cup Sugar

Combine the first five ingredients, and pat half into an 8 x 8 inch pan. Layer on apples and sugar. Crumble remaining mixture on top. Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Whipped Topping
(Makes 2 cups)
1 teaspoon unfavored gelatin
2 teaspoons cold water
3 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup ice water
1/2 cup Dry Milk Powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons Oil

Chill a small bowl. Soften gelatin in the cold water, add boiling water, stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved. Cool until tepid. Place ice water and milk powder in the chilled bowl. Beat at high speed until peaks form. While still beating, add sugar, then oil and gelatin. Place in freezer for about 15 minutes, transfer to the fridge. Stir before using.


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

Money Saving Tips:

~Baking your own bread isn't always cheaper than purchasing. Especially if you live near a bakery outlet. Do your research! Of course, there's still no better taste than that of fresh baked bread! If you do bake bread be sure to buy yeast in bulk to maximize savings. Your savings will be in getting the best prices for ingredients. Buying yeast in bulk provides a tremendous savings. If you're using those little packages you're probably actually paying more to bake your own than purchasing. You can find bulk yeast at many health food stores and wholesale warehouses. Store in fridge in tightly sealed container. And remember, preparing and baking several loaves at a time not only saves energy costs but your valuable time! Dough can be frozen, or baked loaves can be frozen for future use.

~Don't buy what you won't use! A perfect example of this is from my own personal experience. A few months ago, someone purchased a bread machine for me knowing that I had been contemplating the purchase for some time. While it is a wonderful gift that also bakes quick breads and cake, it still sits in the box to this day. I have a family of six and almost never bake one loaf of bread or cake at a time. As I've mentioned before, baking several items at once in a large oven is much more economical in both time and energy usage. This is one of reasons I hadn't bought the item myself. After careful consideration, I had determined it would not be useful or economical for my lifestyle. Of course everyone's situation is different. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be a welcomed luxury for some families. But, this is a perfect example of why you need to give thoughtful consideration to any purchase and do your research. I'm sure I will find the perfect opportunity to make use of this wonderful gift at some point in time!

You can actually do a f.ree offer and cancel after the f.ree period! And, keep any gifts or rewards given for your consideration. I used to feel guilty if I did'nt continue with a service after accepting f.ree gifts or rewards. Don't fall into this guilt trip. Companies give these gifts merely as an incentive to "try" their product or service. I've saved hundreds of dollars on gas and small gifts by taking advantage of these kinds of offers. Read all the fine print to be sure you recieve your f.ree gift, even if you don't continue with the program. Then be sure to cancel during your f.ree trial period unless of course it is a service or product you really need ( or will save you money) and will use. Sometimes you will come across a service that you actually want to keep. That's exactly the reason these companies make these offers, so you can see if the service is beneficial to you. So don't feel guilty if a program just isn't for you.

Inbox Dollars is a service I use where I not only can find and take advantage of these offers, but earn m.oney from Inbox Dollars for doing so. You also earn just for reading e-mails about offers through this program.

Cleaning Tip

Control mildew in the bathroom by spraying your bathroom ceiling with a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Repeat approx. every six months. Peroxide is a safe bleach and won’t harm your lungs. Visit beauty or medical supply stores to save money on larger quantities of peroxide.

Spray mixture on and leave. No need to rinse or scrub. If you currently have mildew, follow above directions. Wait two hours and respray. Then wait 24 hours and spray a third time if necessary. (

Recycling is a fast growing organization that offers a means to acquire or give away unwanted items. It is strictly used as means for people to offer up items for f.ree that they no longer want. You can even request items you might be need. Please, no soliciting allowed. A great, environmentally friendly, way to keep our landfills from filling and get the most out of our resources. The variety of items offered are unlimited; Appliances, clothing, crafting materials, furniture, even a few cars have been offered. Most areas have a membership already formed. If there is not one in your area, freecycle offers you the option to start one in your area.

Many times in our local group we have been invited to yard sale f.ree-for-alls by fellow freecyclers. Usually a time will be arranged at the end of the day for yard sale items not sold to be offered up for the taking to fellow freecyclers.

This is a valuable resource to get rid of useful but unwanted items or to acquire needed items. You won't want to live without it now that you know about it. Follow this link to find a group in your area

~It's yard/garage sale time! Bring in some extra c.ash while doing your spring cleaning. Pull out all that stuff that you never use in those closets, garages, attics, and basements and have your own sale. It's the absolute best way to recycle goods. Everybody wins, you get extra money and buyers get a good bargain on needed items.



Frugal Freedom

That most of us are considered poor is no disgrace, but does us credit; for, as the mind is weakened by luxurious living, so it is strengthened by a frugal life.(Minucius Felix, 3rd century A.D.)

People who live a frugal lifestyle often live with less stress. Typically, those who take control of their money feel they have more control over their life in general. You've heard the old cliché "Money is Power." What most of us fail to understand is that the power isn't in having the money, or how much you have, rather in the ability to control what money you do have!

With that power comes peace of mind. It's the peace of knowing that all you have is truly "yours". With that peace of mind comes Frugal Freedom. Freedom from debt. Freedom from envy. Freedom from ridicule, shame, and loss. Loss of what you might ask. Sanity, for one thing. Trust me, when the walls of financial ruin come tumbling down around you, it's easy to loose your sanity! And, no matter how much money you have, if you can't control it, you are headed for financial ruin. I've mentioned before the numerous stories of those who have become wealthy and eventually fell to financial ruin. These are people who let money control them instead of responsibly managing their money.

Much of the transition from spendthrift to frugal is within the mind. It's not so much a physical shedding of the luxuries of life. Rather, it is the ability to accept that you don't have to "keep up with the Joneses." This can be a huge mental leap living in today's world of material values.

It takes an understanding of what you really need to be successful. Focus inward to what drives you to want more money. Is it necessity or just appearances that drive you to spend more, have more and, consequently, owe more?

In review of your own unique situation you might find the answers very enlightening. Hopefully, seeing the true origin of your desires and re-evaluating what you "need" will lead to change. Then again, you may not like what you see and in denial exclaim that it’s all baloney!

I hope you have the courage to make the changes needed to achieve financial security and peace of mind. Many of us forget that we do have the ability to change. It's never too late! There is no truer realization of how hard it can be, and how we may need help, to change, than the following well known serenity prayer……..

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change....The courage to change the things I can and.....the wisdom to know the difference.

Now whether you’re a religious person or not, the above statement is true in all aspects of our lives. I often think of it when presented with life's little dilemmas. It reminds me that I do have choices. I need to evaluate the situation carefully and research my options. Some things we can change, some things we cannot change. Figure this out, have the courage to fix it, or peace of mind to accept it. I can tell you from personal experience that financial ruin is something you can fix. It is rarely an easy fix, but always will bring peace of mind!

So, when asked what I think frugality is.....It's Freedom. Peace of mind. Re-evaluating what life really means. Knowing the difference between necessity and wants. Shedding appearances in exchange for reality. Taking control of my finances. Getting back to basics, and focusing on the "really" important things in life.... family.... friends.... children..... learning....and teaching.


Do you know how many pieces are in your personal finance puzzle? Allow me to tell you that there are eight. To learn what they are, join the short email course titled "The Eight Pieces to the Financial Puzzle". Available from Enroll now by sending a blank email to Financial Course 1


It’s when you find and work your passion in life that you begin to live. Your work naturally becomes your life.

Here are some folks who know exactly what I'm talking about.

Product Picks

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Favorite Money Saving Information Sites

The Federal Trade Commissions 66 Ways to Save Money

Get a f.ree e-book

Join the forum! 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 F.ree to Be F.ree. You Deserve It
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