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Cheryl's Sensible Cents - August 1, 2005 Newsletter
August 01, 2005

Did You Know?....

Excessive use of cred/it is cited as a major cause of non-business bank.ruptcy, second only to unemployment.

*NEW: Low Budget Wedding Tips at

Your true value depends entirely on what you are compared with. - Bob Wells

Featured Articles:

Tenaciously Teaching Teens Mon.ey Management Skills by Cheryl Johnson
Got Fun? by Clyde Dennis, a.k.a. "Mr. How-To"


In this issue:

Squash Casserole (w/Zucchini)
Moist Chocolate Cake w/Cocoa Butter Frosting
Play Dough

Squash Casserole

Preheat oven -350 degress F.

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 medium yellow squash
2 medium zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 reduced-fat sour cream
4 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup saltine cracker crumbs

In skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 min. Increase heat to medium-high. Add yellow squash, zucchini, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 min. Stir in garlic and ground red pepper and cook 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low; sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook, stirring, 1 min. Add milk and heat to boiling, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream and 3 tablespoons Parmesan.

Spoon squash mixture into 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Sprinkle with cracker crumbs and remaining parmesan. Bake about 20 minutes, until edges are bubbling.

* About 130 calories per serving, 5 g protein, 13g carbohydrate, 7g total fat (4g saturated), 17 mg cholesterol, 307 mg sodium.-The All New Good Housekeeping Cook Book

Moist Chocolate Cake w/Cocoa Butter Frosting

This is absolutely the moistest chocolate cake recipe I have ever tasted! I'm confident you will love it.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot coffee
1 cup milk
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk

Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 nin-inch round cake pans. In a bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, and sugar. Add the oil, coffee, and milk. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes more. Batter will be thin. Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean. Cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minute. Remove from the pans and cool completely on racks before frosting.

Frosting: use electric mixer to cream the butter and cocoa. Beat int he confectioners' sugar. Beat in the vanilla and enough milk to maie the frosting of spreading consistency. Frost the cake. * Recipe credited to Carolyn Moreton, Flemington, New Jersey -- Best Home Baking:Irresistible Recipes from America's Blue Ribbon Bakers (Old Farmer's Almanac Home Library)

Play Dough

In a large pan mix together:

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
6 teaspoons Cream of Tartar

In a separate bowl combine:
3 cups cool water
3 Tablespoons Oil
food color if desired (can be kneaded into dough after preparing if desired). If you just want one color adding to wet ingredients is easier.

Slowly add wet ingredients to pan with flour mixture. Heat on medium setting stirring constantly until dough pulls from sides of pans. This will take about 4 or 5 minutes.Empty contents onto counter or table and knead to smooth play dough consistency.

Money Saving Tip: Unless you are able to purchase cream of tartar in bulk, it is quite expensive. Alum is much cheaper and can be used in place of the cream of tartar in this recipe. You will find it in the spice isle where you would normally find the cream of tartar.

Share Money Saving Tips, Recipes, and Frugal Living Ideas

A Money Saving Tip a Day - Keeps the Card Away! - Me

Money Saving Tips:

  • See if there's an Aldi's near you. You'll save money on groceries. For example: An 18 oz box of Corn Flakes is .89 cents. They taste good too!
  • Lay away is a great way to purchase an item and pay out the cost over a period of time. No interest and if item goes on sale during the lay away period, some stores will credit the difference to your account!
  • Dollar Stretcher Tips
  • Cleaning Tip

  • Socks with a "missing match" make great dusting mittens
  • Use fabric dye to give old curtains a new look when re-decorating
  • Soften harden paint brushes in hot vinegar. Wash with soap and warm water.
  • Recycling

  • Blue Jeans - Make a Blue Jean Book Bag.
  • Use fabric scraps to create a decorative mat for a special photo. You can make your own photo mats out of any stiff colored paper or cardboard. Dress it up with fabric instead of paint. Cut mat to desired size, glue fabric to mat.
  • Use rubberbands or clothespins as bag closers. Fold down open end of bag as usual, wrap rubberband around entire bag or, use clothespin as bag clip
  • Keep your eyes open for the upcoming "Recycling Tips" at Simple Debt Free Living.

    I'm currently working on A Frugal Christmas so you can get a head start preparing for the holidays. When that's wrapped up, and it's looking to be a huge project, I'm planning a recycling tips section on the site.


    Tenaciously Teaching Teens Mon.ey Management Skills

    --by Cheryl Johnson

    Persistently teaching by example is a great way to "show" children how to manage finances. Including them in, and explaining the budgeting process, introduces the concept of managing and controlling money. But, when those children grow up and finally become earning young adults, we as parents, have an opportunity to help them put those concepts into practice relating to their own mon/ey.

    You will quickly realize that your teen values his/her own money more than yours! Once the realization of the meaning of the term "hard earned mon/ey" takes hold, they quickly place a higher value on "earnings." This is a natural process of growing up. I can't remember how many times I've used the old saying with my kids "If you had to go out and earn the money, you'd understand the value of it!" Well, now is the time they will learn the true value of money.

    Help your working teen develop good money management skills. Sit down with them and help them create their own spending plan and budget. Even if they have no monthly expenses to account for, they will spend and will have some future goals.

    Maybe they want to own a car in the near future, they will need to plan for expenses involved in car ownership and driving privileges. Could be there is something they want that you have not been able to acquire through your budget.Try some of these strategies to get your point across:

  • As a good starting point, show them where their money goes. Have them record their spending for at least a week. Then suggest that they try to cut down on unnecessary spending.

    It is possible for a young teen to eventually become comfortably independently weal.thy if they invest in saving their money from an early age.

  • Show them the possibilities, it can be a great motivator. Especially if they see how you struggle to maintain your family budget because of past mistakes. You can give them that shove in the right direction. A chance to do what you would have done then if you knew what you know now.

    Consider the following calculations. At a mere 20,000 annual income from the age of 16 to a retirement age of 70, a person will have earned approx. $1,08 0,000 dollars. That's with no increase in wages. Figuring in a modest 1% raise and cost of living increase, that same modest income of 20,000 starting at age 16 and estimating retirement year income to have grown to $57,126, the total amount earned increases to $1,913 ,461.44. You can play around with these figures using the calculator at

  • When your teen can see their own potential for earning to be in the mil.lions, then they can foresee that managing their money correctly and not letting it "slip through their hands" can make a big difference in their financial security and independence! You are giving them the opportunity to see the big picture.

    You can find a great variety of calculators to use in your "lesson" at; including a "lifetime savings calculator" that will show the savings over a lifetime if you switch from a higher priced spending habit to a lower priced spending habit.

  • Show them that "a penny saved is a penny earned!" Encourage saving money everyday! For example, if your teen currently spends on average $5 per day at the 7-11 for snacks. We can guess that if those same products were bought at the grocery store, they could cut that cost in half at least. Probably more, but we'll keep it easy for them.

    Let's say they do this five days a week. Saving $2.50 per day and investing that for a modest 2% annual interest return will yield a whopping $58,365.46 by a retirement age of 70.

    Play around with this yourself using your teens actually spending habits and show ways they can save on daily spending to encourage them to start saving. Use the life savings calculator at

  • Show them the favorable consequences of investing in savings. Visit the periodic savings calculator to show them that a mere $100 per month at a modest 2% interest, compounded monthly, will yield them $103,232.80 in fifty years; $43,132.80 in interest earned. That's $43,132.80 that they don't even have to work for. It's just earned through saving!

    Explain that this is the "minimum" amount that would be earned with $100 per month at 2%. As the savings grow, re-investing earnings at different threshold amounts provides greater investment opportunities, and higher interest, which would be the normal investment strategy. They will then see that the potential for earning through investing in savings is in fact there!

  • Teach them about cred/it. Hopefully, you've been doing this by example already. Tenaciously teaching your children how to manage cred/it wisely will pay off in the long run.

    Reinforce the principles of "short term" cred/it for purchases and not spending monies they have not earned. When they do use credit for anything short of an emergency, it should be a "planned" expense with a "planned" payment plan! Calculate the actual costs for cred/it purchases. Reinforcing that cred/it costs money and should be used carefully.

    Be sure they are clear on the difference between secured and un/secured cred/it. Also, provide examples of good cred/it use and bad cred/it use. Introduce the concept of living within your means if you haven't already!

  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I recently had a proud frugal moment when my oldest daughter took on her first babysitting job.

    Krista is 13. Her first earnings, outside the home, amounted to $47 dollars. I am very proud to inform you that she managed to purchase:

  • A $50 name brand purse (BCBGirls Logo Jacquard Superstar Handbag) - $14.99 + $1.00 s&h= 15.99
  • a music cd (list price $19) - 12.99 less $10 off coupon = 2.99 + $1 s & h= $3.99
  • *Both the above items were purchased through after she carefully searched other options like Classic Closeouts and

    She utilized the shopping around technique quite proficiently. And, she shopped around at the discount resources most likely to provide the lowest prices. I'm so impressed! The $10 coupon offer at Overstock was for first time registration.

  • Three pairs of name brand jeans (easily $80 plus at new retail prices) for $23 at our favorite thrift store. I have boasted about this store before. It has a great inventory of name brand jeans. Trust me. My daughter wouldn't wear anything that wasn't "In Fashion" or showed visible signs of being "used." They have a great selection of gently used jeans.
  • The other $4 she spent during her roller skating outings.
  • I am a proud frugal mom today! At the very young age of 13, she obviously has learned there is value in careful spending. She managed to purchase a list of items that could have cost $150 or more for $47. The best part is, I did not interfere with her decisions. I wanted to see how she would spend the money. A little experiment to see if my persistent teachings about frugality had paid off. The results proved to me that tenaciously teaching teens does pay off!

    If she had not done so well, I had planned to review with her the options she overlooked to get the most for her money. I think she was just as happy as I was with the final outcome. Though you may think you sound like a broken record, consistently teaching your kids about smart money management and frugality pays off. Keep it up. Don't give up!

    Share Your Proud Frugal Moments!

    Free Budgeting E-book

    Got FUN?

    --by Clyde Dennis, a.k.a. "Mr. How-To"
    I just canít help but notice, some people just don't seem to be having any fun. I mean I know sometimes you gotta be all serious and get down to business but jeez, even that can be fun. And, the truth is even in business. The more fun you have doing it, the more effective you are at it.

    Fun is one of those things thatís totally free, and you really donít even have to work at it to have it. Another really neat thing about it is that itís always right where you are. Wherever you go, fun is right there with you. Maybe not always readily visible but right there just below the surface, there it is. Sometimes you just have to adjust your view a little to see it.

    I guess the thing that makes it seem so illusive to some, is the fact that you do have to choose it. Fun only pokes itís head above the surface when actively called upon to do so. Itís a state of mind. One of those things that can be either induced or suppressed at will.

    Iím reminded of a story here:

    Two brothers went to ride ponies on their uncleís ranch, but first the uncle insisted that they shovel a large pile of manure out of a stall. One brother hated the project, and grumbled his way through a few halfhearted scoops. The other brother was laughing and singing and shoveling with abandon.

    "What are you so happy about?" the first brother asked. "Well," the second brother replied, "with all this manure, there must be a pony in here someplace!"

    The second brother gets it. Lifeís the same way. Even while shoveling the manure that comes along with living a full life, get yourself to focus on what lies on the other side of the pile youíre dealing with. You will clear the way to have fun while getting to it.

    This week, just like last week and the days and weeks that will follow, you will be in situations where youíll have to make a choice. Do this thing and be miserable the whole time Iím doing it, or get focused on the pony ride on the other side of the task at hand and really have some fun with it.

    I invite you to join the ranks of those of us who take our parties with us wherever we go. That way wherever you are thereís a party going on. Another side benefit to having fun is that itís contagious. The more fun you have, the more fun everybody around you has.

    How many people do you know who have more fun in their lives than they can stand? They have so much fun that theyíre standing in line trying to return some. Iíll venture a guess and say not many. I donít even have that much fun! (I'm working on it though.)

    Make it a goal this week to see how much fun you can generate no matter what youíre doing. You'll probably surprise yourself.

    Thanks for stopping in. Live some... Love some... Learn some... Everyday.

    About the Author: Clyde Dennis, a.k.a. "Mr. How-To" has been writing and publishing Articles and Newsletters online since 1999. Clyde's company EASYHow-To Publications provides "How-To" information on How-To do, be or have just about anything one can imagine. For more information visit

    Email correspondence for Clyde should be sent to: cdennis at easyhow-to.comArticle Source:


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