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Cheryl's Sensible Cents - July 15, 2005 Newsletter
July 15, 2005

Did You Know?....

About 70% of couples pay for part or all of their wedding costs today. The average wedding costs between $17,000 and $25,000.

Odd Fact or Fiction?

Chewing gum while cutting onions will keep you from crying. I haven't tried it yet. Let me know if you you do.

Featured Articles:

Low Budget Weddings: The Potluck Wedding Reception by Cheryl Johnson


In this issure:
Pizza Casserole
Left Over Mashed Potato Pancakes
Zucchini Bread

Pizza Casserole

Makes eight servings

1 lb. ground beef
2 Jars Pizza Sauce (or make your own with 2 cans tomatoe sauce and italian seasoning)(14-16 oz)
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 & 1/2 cups *Master Baking Mix
2 & 1/2 cups Milk
3 Eggs

*You can substitute any bisquick type baking mix for the Master Baking Mix or for this recipe use 1&1/4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup oil or shortening.

Cook and drain beef and place in 9x13 baking dish. Top with pizza sauce and cheese. Combine the Baking mix, milk and eggs. Beat until smooth. Pour batter over casserole, cover evenly. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes.

Serve with Salad.

Options: add veggies if desired.

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

1 & 1/2 cups mashed potatoes
2 Tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine

Shape potatoes into patties. Combine bread crumbs and parmesan. Coat patties with crumb mixture, patting to cover.Heat skillet and melt butter. Add patties and cook until golden and heated through. 2-3 minutes per side. - GH Cookbook

Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cups nuts, chopped
cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans. Beat the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and zucchini. sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder. Beat into the zucchini mixture. Stir in the nuts. Pour into pans and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the tops of the warm loaves.

-- Best Home Baking:Irresistible Recipes from America's Blue Ribbon Bakers (Old Farmer's Almanac Home Library)

Tip:It's that time of year when we try to figure out new ways to get rid of all that Zucchini! Zucchini can be shredded and frozen to use throughout the year in delicious baking recipes like the one above.

Share Money Saving Tips, Recipes, and Frugal Living Ideas

Money Saving Tips:

  • In the long run, monthly flea medication (i.e. Advantage) costs less. I have found that they work great as a preventative. It can costs hundreds of dollars to rid your pet and home of a serious flea infestation. Not to mention the discomfort for you and your pet.

    Read the instructions on your pet's flea medication carefully. Many of the monthly flea applications suggest that you may only need to apply every two to three months. I have found this to be true with my own pet. During the winter months you can cut back. I extend use in warmer seasons by applying every six weeks instead of every month.

    This doesn't work for everyone depending on where you live and, the extent of flea problems in your particular area. But, it's worth putting to the test to save alot of money on pet care.

  • Dollar Stretcher Tips
  • Cleaning Tip

  • If you buy liquid dish soap in the large size bottle, transfer part into a saved smaller bottle. Not only will it be easier to handle, it will last longer. I have two daughters that take turns helping with the dishes. I noticed that they are more conservative in using the smaller bottle than the larger one. When they think I have plenty of it they waste more.
  • Recycling

  • Use egg cartons and old ice trays for seedling starter pots when home gardening
  • Make your own compost using food scraps, leaves, and grass clippings. Make your own compost bin from palettes or wood scraps.

    Home Gardening Tips


    Low Budget Weddings

    Even low budget weddings can take a huge bite out of savings and often end in huge debt obligations.

    Planning a wedding yourself not only saves money but, gives that personal touch that provides lasting family memories.

    Personal touches like creating your own wedding favors and planning your own reception can be particularly satisfying. You will take great pride in your accomplishments when planning a low budget wedding. Not only in your creations but in the huge savings you will boast about.

    Why not commemorate the occasion with a White House Greeting? The White House Greetings Office honors citizens with special Presidential greetings and acknowledgements for many special occasions including, weddings!

    Most people are not aware of the White House service. Make your wedding day grand by displaying your elegantly framed Presidential acknowledgement at the reception for all to see.

    Just one of those nice touches that makes your special day even more special!

    Tip: This makes a great wedding gift also. Request one for the bride and groom. Have it mailed to your address, put it in an elegant frame, and you have a wonderful gift that the newlyweds will cherish!

    Get information on how to recieve your free special Presidential wedding acknowledgement

    Make a list to be sure you account for all wedding costs.

    A low budget wedding will have much the same wedding costs as the higher counterparts, but you can save money in each area to stay within your budget.

    The only way to avoid the costs is simply not to have a formal wedding. If you're footing the bill yourself and just can't see yourself starting your married life with a financial burden, you could always opt for a courthouse ceremony and intimate dinner.

    A formal ceremony can then be planned well in advance. A re-taking of wedding vows is common practice today, and it's a very romantic anniversary date! Consider this if your funds are extremely limited and you will be financing most of the wedding budget.

    However, if it breaks your heart to forego the formal ceremony, and you have limited funds, save as much money as possible using these low budget wedding ideas.

    The Wedding Reception

    The reception alone will bust your wedding budget if you're not careful. Of course, the most obvious way to save money on the reception is to keep it small.Where you host this grand occasion could make or break you.

    Your low budget wedding remedy? Find a reception location that's free or low cost.

    A free location may include, your home, or a friend or family member's home. A low cost option might include the Church reception hall, the local fire department's reception room, and club hall rentals. Most will have a kitchen area for preparing and serving food.

    Sometimes you will even find a local restaurant that specializes in low budget wedding receptions. These will likely offer a package for the reception which may include dinner and limited beverage with the rental of restaurant space or banquet rooms. Check hotels in your area for banquet rooms as well. Some may rent the banquet room alone and/or offer reception packages as an option.

    Leave no stone unturned in your search! You may happen upon a gem of a deal that will save you alot of money. Ask around. Get recommendations from friends and family. Do a local search on the internet. We have several plantations in our area who offer wedding reception packages. These are elegant locations and are usually competatively priced; Including options for the low budget wedding.

    Make a list or chart to record all your findings. Record not only price but services available, and packages available. Then you can compare where you will get the most for your money.

    For instance, you may be able to rent a space for a really cheap rate and hire outside catering for the dinner. But, if you find a location that costs more but will offer you a package that includes the catering, it may be the better deal in the long run.

    The one big exception to this scenario is if you opt for a potluck reception. Many guests may be pleased, if not relieved, to be given the choice to bring a reception dish in place of a wedding gift. You will find that low budget reception packages usually come with a low budget menu as well. If you choose this option, you will save greatly on catering expenses. I am certain your guests will be more pleased with the menu selections. This would be your best low budget wedding option and will save the most money.

    The Potluck Reception

    Don't be shy to pursue this potluck reception idea. It is truly the traditional way to celebrate. And, it is truly the number one low budget wedding option.

    Today's weddings are so commercialized. You will learn that caterers offer very limited menus to very limited budgets! Guests will likely be very pleased and welcome the idea of a potluck reception.

    If you are shy about approaching this option you can simply call it an "Old Time Traditional Wedding Celebration" The potluck dinner will suit this theme quite naturally and no-one will even question it!

    You may even want to pick an "Old Time" theme for your decorating and favors. This will further incorporate the idea of an old time tradition theme. Perhaps a 50's theme or a 20's theme. These are both popular old time themes.

    Simply slip an added note with the invite, or on the invite, to give guests this option. For example the note might read...

    Our reception will be an "Old Time Traditional Celebration" with a potluck dinner. ____ Please check here if you would like to bring a dish for the reception in place of a wedding gift. Call with dish suggestions please.

    Have them call to get or offer suggestions on a dish so you have control over the menu. No one is obligated to particitpate, but I'm sure you will be surprised at how many guests will opt for this.

    You and your guest will be equally surprised at the great variety and quality of the dishes provided. Guests will want to bring only their best recipes to a grand occasion such as a wedding reception!


    Start Your Married Life Together Right! Financial Tips For Newlyweds


    Learn to Become a Great Money Manager"Living Within Your Means The Easy Way" - by Terry Rigg

    F/ree Budgeting E-book

    Learn more about Countrywide Mort.gage, a well known and respected leader in the lending industry.A Vision Becomes Reality

    You Don't Own Money - 2nd Edition by Roger Sorensen - Revealing e-book guides you through the basics of personal finance, providing you with the knowledge you need to achieve your financial goals today. Find out more at

    YNAB (You Need A Budget) in Excel

    Webmaster Tools

    F.ree Webmaster Tools

    Favorite Savings Sites

    Savings Secrets

    Budget Stretcher

    Torn Bread - Fun, helpful and informative sites.

    Tips on Saving Money and Energy at Home - Provides a wide variety of areas where you can potentially save money on home expenses.

    The Dollar Helpful articles to stretch your day and your dollar.

    Need a Home Loan? Don't be a victim of home loan fraud. Before you make a final decision, take the time to review these 11 Tips on Being a Smart Consumer

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