Patience is a Virtue of Frugal Living

Sometimes Frugal Living is about taking action, but other times it's more about Not Doing something. Here's how being patient can bring great rewards.When I think about frugal living, I think of what I can DO to cut costs and conserve resources. The first things that come to mind are cooking from scratch, shopping thrift stores and reusing items.

These myriad active methods of being frugal are how I save every day. But there is another, equally important way. It isn’t as fun to talk about, share tips or write Top 10 lists about. That’s because it isn’t an action, but an inaction.

If the old saying “Patience is a Virtue” is true, then the true frugal lifestyle is a virtuous one indeed. In the big picture, I save more by what I am not doing, then by all the things I am doing.

Sound confusing? That’s because it is harder to analyze inaction. There’s no satisfying row of canning jars, no receipt that shows how much I saved today, and no cheapskate recipe to share. [Read more…]

Frugal Gift Giving Guide

How do you put a price on giving? Do you give gifts from the heart without concern for budget, or do you practice frugal gift giving? How to find balance.Do you give gifts from the heart or the head?

I was thinking about frugal gift giving as I considered what to give my mom for a Mother’s Day Gift.

After some brainstorming, I felt I had come up with a great gift (which I won’t spoil by mentioning here). However, I quickly went from feeling like I had found her a gift that was so perfect for her, to listening to an internal dialogue of self-doubt.

Was it enough?
Is it too much like all the other gifts I have given her?
Will it make her feel appreciated, and express how much I love her?

Wait, back up. Was I really thinking that? That a present could somehow convey the magnitude of love I feel towards my mother?

Aha! That’s the problem. All the references in advertising to showing someone how much you love them by buying them XYZ were getting to me subconsciously. [Read more…]

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

This delicious Chicken Enchiladas recipe shows you how to create the dish from scratch -- homemade tortillas to tangy sauce to baked cheesy goodness!Bored with Taco Tuesdays?

Try a little something different with these chicken enchiladas, made completely from scratch.

I’ll take you through the entire process: making homemade flour tortillas, creating a traditional enchilada sauce, sauteing chicken and peppers, and then baking it all together.

This recipe also lends itself to making part or all ahead of time, and then simply baking the assembled dish. No more store bought enchilada kits for us! Now they are allergy safe for me, and homemade so our family can enjoy this meal together.
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Stop Negative Self Talk

When we engage in negative self talk, we stifle our unique voices and personal growth. These exercises help change negative thoughts into positive actions.Imagine you are at a football game and in the moments before the field goal is kicked, the cheerleaders launch into a loud chant.

They aren’t shouting words of encouragement, however. They are hurling insults at the kicker:

“Do you REALLY think you can do this? You sure made a fool of yourself last time you came out here.”

“You don’t have it in you. Who do you think you are kidding?”

The kicker looks over at them. A couple of the girls exchange disgusted glances and roll their eyes.

Sounds ridiculous, right? Yet this is the way some of us have to face the challenges in our own lives. We have an annoying, and even cruel, inner voice mocking us. This is called Negative Self Talk.

Lasting Damage of Negative Thinking

Now I know that for some people negative reinforcement does help them to succeed, as they push to prove it wrong. Right now, I’m writing to those who are like me — who flourish when given positive reinforcement. [Read more…]

How to Improve Your Credit Score

What is your credit score based on? What's the best way to improve your credit score? Here are some tips you can use to improve your credit score.What’s the Secret to Having a Good Credit Score?

Recently, we looked over the type of information contained in credit reports, including personal information and payment history. Since credit reports are pulled by potential lenders, landlords and even employers, it is so important that you check them regularly to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date.

The credit score is another factor that many institutions will take into account when determining whether to lend you money, lease you an apartment, and what interest rate to charge you. If it wasn’t confusing enough that there are multiple credit reporting bureaus, there are even more types of credit scores. In fact, each institution can develop its own formula for computing a score according to the qualities they find most relevant.

Even the number range varies between scores, so your 800 may be excellent when the range is 350 to 850, but not as strong on a range of 500 to 990. To simplify matters, we’ll look at one scoring model, the FICO score, which is the most commonly used. It ranges from 350 to 800. [Read more…]

2015 April Meal Plan

The April Meal Plan transitions the palate from pasta bakes and stews to stir fry and salad. I'll be introducing new seafood dishes throughout the month.I would like to say that it feels like Spring outside, but it really is still pretty miserable in my neck of the woods. All I’ve wanted to eat is comfort foods, which has resulted in a quest for new jeans that fit. So, with or without nicer days, we are switching over to a bit lighter fare around here. No, we aren’t going to be eating salad every night, but we will have a couple.

I’m going to use up some of the enormous amount of veggies in the freezer in stir fry, pizza and fried rice dinners. I got a great deal on pork chops by buying an entire pork loin last month. Grilling them is healthier than our usual pan seared version and they take on a delicious flavor from the wood charcoal we use.

Lately, I’ve been making a delicious shrimp stir fry that gets its spicy flavor from Thai Red Curry Shrimp Stir Fry. I will share that recipe with you later this month. [Read more…]