Maybe this will help
From guest contributor www.VickiHeise.com
I’m often asked how I put together quick meals and save money on food. I cook at home and prep ingredients early in the week, so that meals go together super fast. At the end of the week, I use the bits and pieces of leftover veggies, meat and grains to make a quick frittata or soup.
By taking a little bit of time to do some home cooking, you can save money and feed you and your family delicious meals that go together quickly. Check out these 4 tips that you can start using today!
KEY ~ Feed Your Body
How To Save Money AND Get Dinner On The Table Fast!!
Did you know that not only can you save money by cooking at home, but it doesn’t have to be complicated? If you think you don’t have time to add another thing to your to-do list, with a little planning you can not only save money, but feed your family great tasting nutritious food and not spend lots of time in the kitchen.
Here are 4 tips to get you started:
- Use whole foods. Buy whole foods, the ones you find around the outer edge of the grocery store. That’s where you’ll find the fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and dairy. Add some things from the bulk bins like grains, beans and nuts (a huge money saver) and if you’re really pressed for time get some canned beans and frozen vegetables.
- Prepare them simply. You don’t need lots of recipes with long lists of ingredients. Save the complex, full of ingredient recipes for when you have the time to enjoy the whole cooking experience.
- Make large batches ahead of time of the things that take a while to cook like beans, grains and rice. Yes they do take time, but it’s on the stove cooking time, not you actively being involved time. By making these ahead of time, you’ll have ingredients ready when you get home so you can quickly put all the pieces for dinner together. If you’re making soup, make extra to so you’ll have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day or later in the week.
- Prep and freeze ingredients to save time later. What do you use often in your meals? Onions, peppers and other veggies? Chop these and put them in meal sized portion freezer bags. You could even cook bacon and freeze it to use as a garnish in recipes. When you’re ready to cook soup in the crock pot, just take out what you need and you’re ready to go! Also consider freezing meat, poultry and fish in meal size portions. My husband and I have different tastes, so I’ll freeze individual portions of beef and pork for him and fish for me. It makes for a drama free meal!
10 Minute Scrambled Eggs
I love making budget friendly 10 Minute Scrambled Eggs for dinner, using one pan and some freezer ingredients. There’s no chopping or prep time!
~ Saute frozen peppers and onions, in a bit of coconut oil.
~ Add frozen, already cooked, chopped bacon, then fresh or frozen spinach until it’s wilted.
~ Finally add the eggs with a bit of cheese if you want, and scramble it all together.
~ Serve with a favorite fruit and a piece of toast.
This is a dish that you can easily add in bits and pieces of leftovers from the fridge too.
Take a little time to plan ahead to save yourself time and money starting this week!
If you’d like other recipes ideas, you can check out over 1000 of them on my Live Your Healthy Life’s Pinterest page.
If you’re looking for weekly ideas to Live Your Healthy Life, you can sign up to receive my weekly email newsletter.
Are you as annoyed by unwanted sales calls as I am? The phone rings right when I want to relax, enjoy dinner, or watch my favorite show. The phone rings again when I’m in the middle of folding clothes, vacuuming or have my hands in soapy dishwater. I answer, expecting family or friends, and hear a recorded voice – so irritating.
It’s not just my land line. It’s happening on my cell phone, too.
We’ve been on the Do Not Call list for years. Once you’re on the list for 31 days, you’re supposed to receive fewer calls, but too many telemarketing firms ignore the rules. I report those rule breakers to donotcall.gov. It’s a small act of revenge, but it makes me feel better.
I also use my telephone provider’s block list, which works great as long as I have the number of the company that called me. But, I may not have the correct number thanks to spoofing.
In fact, a telemarketer was spoofing my own 800 number! I know this because someone in California contacted me and requested to be taken off my call list. But, I don’t have a call list. I have as much business as I can handle right here in Connecticut.
To be honest, I’m not sure if they believed me. I might not have believed them if the situation were reversed. It’s not easy finding the source of unwanted calls, so I feel for them. I have tried to find the real company behind some of the most irritating robocalls (Heather at Card Services, anyone?), and got nowhere.
About those robocalls…
I just found about, and registered at NoMoRobo.com thanks to my friends at LeBlanc Communications. It’s a free service, and your phone provider must participate. We just signed up, but it seems to be working. I’ll let you know how it goes.
How do you manage unwanted calls?
When you get a robocall, should you…
- hang up right away
- follow the instructions for removing yourself from their call list
- try to get through to a real person, then shame them for calling when you’re on the “Do Not Call List”
Although “C” was tempting, I used to do “B” thinking that it was the most logical way to get the calls to stop. But the calls actually increased! How could that be?
It’s because some of these calls are from fraudulent companies who have no interest in following FTC regulations.
Like many of you, we’re on the Do Not Call Registry. (If you’re not, do this today at DoNotCall.gov.) It stops most unsolicited calls. The calls we do receive are from scammers like “Rachel from cardholder services” and the new “Life Alert” phishing scam.
While it does help to report these calls to DoNotCall.gov, you should know that some originate from outside the US, which makes it difficult for the FTC to prosecute them. It doesn’t help to try to remove your number from their call lists, because they don’t actually have a list. They’re just dialing random numbers hoping to get a live line. In fact, any interaction on your part could actually put you on a call list!
If you want to keep track of calls that violate FTC regulations, you can put in a formal complaint on the Do Not Call website or by calling 888-382-1222. We’ve started to do this. In fact, I did this yesterday as I received a robocall on my cell phone – which is against FTC regulations in every state no matter the circumstances.
Calls you shouldn’t report to DoNotCall.gov
- Political campaigns
- Companies that you do business with
Unless they’ve called your cell phone, it’s perfectly legal for companies to call you for these purposes. If you report them, you’re just wasting the FTC’s time, which is unfortunate around election time and the holidays.
While doing the research for this post, I came across some interesting tips for stopping the calls. Some people are suggesting starting your voicemail message with the three tones you hear when you call a disconnected number. Do you think the robocallers have programmed their systems to ignore disconnected phone numbers? I’m not so sure, but it’s a fun idea.
Let me know what you are doing to eliminate unwanted phone calls from your life.
This year my goal was to create a better work / life balance. Sound familiar? I know that others have tried it, and frankly I’ve tried before, too. This year I was determined not to fail. (Just like every other year.)
Well, we are in the 9th month of the year and I’ve actually done it. My daily routine has been reformed. I’m still going strong on my first small action steps, and I’ve added more over the year. I didn’t go from nothing to full speed ahead. Instead I made little changes to clear the road and aimed for forward movement.
The first thing I did was to start meditating each morning. What I do, is get my iPod out and listen to a guided meditation. My mind is always racing on to the next thought, then the next thought, and so on. I need help so I can set aside my mental to-do list and work on relaxing instead. I’ve enjoyed meditations by Collette Baron Reid and The 21 Day Meditation Challenge from the Perfect Health series by Oprah and Deepak Chopra
Next, I wanted to get a grip on my eating and exercising. I still have my garden for fresh vegetables. There is nothing better than picking the lettuce and tomatoes from my garden for a salad and eating it that very day. Sadly, it’s Fall and the garden is winding down for the season. What will I do this winter?
With the help of my good friend, role model and inspiration, Vicki Heise of Live Your Health Life I tried LoseIt.com. It helps me track my eating and exercise. Most of the foods Dave and I eat are already programmed in by brand and restaurant – and I can add my own recipes. It’s a website and an app, so I can use it wherever I am – no more pad and paper for me. I check the calories and nutritional break down to see if I am eating too much of the same types of foods. The best news? There’s a free version.
Now for the exercise portion – I have always been a walker but recent vertigo attacks have made me nervous about walking by myself. Then I found a program called WalkWithADoctor.org. It’s a health program where you can take your walking exercise with a real, honest-to-goodness, right-there-with-you physician. The nearest location to me is Stamford, CT. I walk with two cardiologists for 45 minute sessions. This program has locations throughout the US. Now that the weather is getting cooler, it’s such a pleasure to be outside.
As you can see, I am moving forward with my goals and making lasting changes versus quick fixes. I’m not letting distractions or disabilities get in my way.
All the little improvements have come at a much slower pace than I’m used to. I make one small change, get used to it, then make another. That’s worked much better than the all-or-nothing, go-all-out-for-30-days-and-fail routine. And, I haven’t spent a whole lot of money. That’s good for the budgeter in me and it’s another step towards maintaining my work / life balance.
Ever wonder why the cashier asks for your zip code? Maybe you thought they needed it for credit card approval (like a gas station). Maybe you thought they were looking to open a new store closer to the people who actually shop there.
Most of the time, they’re collecting zip codes so they can target you with marketing or to sell your contact information.
When you pay with a credit card, they can keep your full name in their records – add the zip, and they can find your exact address. They’re determining who their customers are, where they come from, what types of products they purchase, etc. They can develop a whole file of information about you with those two pieces of information which they can use themselves or sell to retail partners.
You may have noticed that some retailers will ask for your zip code no matter how you pay. They’ve asked for my zip code when I pay with cash. They might not know my exact address, but they may choose to target my neighborhood with flyers.
You can choose to be a part of this by giving the cashier your zip code – you’ll most likely get more mail and/or coupons. Or, you can decline to give your zip code to the cashier. I am vigilant about my mail (and privacy), so I personally choose not to give out my zip code. The choice is yours to make.
Note – this is not the case with unmanned transactions, such as self-service gas stations. In an unmanned transaction, you may be required to enter your zip code on the key pad to authorize the credit card transaction. In this case, the credit card company itself is attempting to verify your identity. This is NOT zip code harvesting because the gas station isn’t keeping your information.
Remember the choice is yours.
Is your phone ringing when you sit-down to dinner? Do you come home to find your mailbox overflowing with junk mail that you’ll have to sort, shred and recycle? Do you want it to stop?
I’m vigilant about my family’s privacy and do what I can to protect our personal space. I don’t want to waste a second of my precious spare time on unsolicited calls or credit card offers. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle. Between social media, email, the phone and your mailbox, it’s like being pressure-cooked in sales offers.
First, make the calls stop!
We have been registered on the Do Not Call list since 2003 (www.donotcall.gov). But, they can’t protect you from charities, political campaigns, surveys, or companies that you have a relationship with. You’ll have to tackle those individually. When they call, take a moment to ask to be removed from their list. They’re supposed to comply with your request.
Reduce the sales flyers
We’d been getting unwanted mail and realized we’d gone over the 5-year limit at www.optoutprescreen.com. When we renewed our preferences, we were pleasantly surprised to find that you can now opt-out permanently. It’s a similar process to the 5-year opt-out with one additional step: you have to mail in a confirmation. This should cut down on all unwanted mail and offers… forever!
Stop the credit card offers and checks that you’ll have to shred.
We fill out the privacy options for all of our credit cards. You can find these on the inserts that come with the bills. You may have tossed them out without looking.
How did you get on these mailing lists in the first place?
So, you opted-out a year ago and suddenly you’re receiving mail and phone calls? Why? How? Well, there are quite a few ways to get back on a company’s mailing list. For example, we just went to a home show and almost every booth was offering a “free give-away”. When you fill out the form, you’re giving them permission to contact you with sales offers. Think twice before signing up. Are the odds of winning worth the unwanted calls and mail? For myself, the answer is no. But, we do take any literature they may be offering so we can contact them if we want to.
I want my home to be a sanctuary not a fortress where I’m forced to fight off unwanted contact. Here’s hoping that we can come home to minimal mail and eat a cozy dinner in peace.
“If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.” If you want to make changes with your life and finances, then you need to do something different.
When I imagine my perfect life, it’s like a sunny day at the beach – calm and bright with a peaceful, beautiful feeling. This year, I’ve decided to do some things differently, in the hopes of making my real life closer to my ideal life.
My Morning Meditations: I have trouble quieting my mind. When I finish one task, the next item on my to-do list pops into my head. Since January, I have started my day with a guided morning meditation. Maybe someday I’ll be able to meditate on my own, but for now it works best to listen to someone guiding me to a state of relaxation.
Results: This is really new to me. So far, I’ve seen changes in the amount of stress in my life. I am much calmer and more easily cope with my long appointment driven days. I have noticed subtle changes in my body. I now have trouble keeping my purse on my shoulder. Less stress has lowered my shoulders.
My Intention Journal: I’ve kept a gratitude journal for years, ever since reading Simple Abundance. It was difficult to think of even 5 things to be grateful for at first, but now I have to stop myself after one page. This year, I added an intention journal to my routine. In the morning, I set an intention for what I want to happen that day, and then I journal about the results before bedtime. My intention can be anything from “I easily completed this project” to “I achieved this outcome for this meeting.” I word it as an affirmation as if it already has happened.
Results: Setting my intention in the morning gives my day focus. Writing down the intention helps to keep it foremost in my mind. This compliments my gratitude journal. I recommend it to everyone. It’s worked great for me.
Going Paperless in the Kitchen: I am continuing to get rid of more paper. This year I am organizing all of my recipes in a folder on my hard drive. This includes all the old family recipes that I had on scraps of paper or recipe cards and the new ones from magazines or friends that I want to try.
Results: No more recipe cards, or notebooks with torn out recipes in my kitchen. That’s been really nice. Have you ever wanted a specific recipe, but couldn’t remember if it was in a book, card box, or ripped-out magazine page? It’s not fun.
Minimizing My Possessions: Over the last few years, I’ve been streamlining and simplifying my life. I used to keep too many things, “just in case”. But, going through things can lead to new piles because I want to give them away to just the right person. This year, I am giving myself a one-week time limit on the stuff. If I think that someone, or an organization, can use the item, I have one week to contact them, and get it to them (if they need it or want it). Otherwise, it’s at the curb.
Results: As I clear things out of my home, I’m making way for new energy (not things). I have several new projects on the horizon and have given three talks to new organizations just in the month of February alone.
I can’t wait to see what’s next. What are you willing to change in your life to get different results?
Having trouble controlling your spending? Try something new – control your mail!
You heard me. Control your mail. For the past five years, I have worked extremely hard to get off advertisement mailing lists. My mailbox is no longer stuffed with unwanted fliers and catalogs. Oh, I still get catalogs and fliers, but only from my favorite stores. And, I have asked each of my favorites not to share, rent, sell or do anything else with my contact information. Thanks to privacy laws, I can completely trust all of them to keep my personal information to themselves.
This has reduced my mail considerably.
You are probably wondering, “What’s the connection here? I thought you were talking about controlling spending not junk mail.” Easy. What I don’t see won’t tempt me. No more impulse buying because a slick ad has convinced me I need it. If I didn’t know I needed it before, then I will probably live without it. And if I do need it, I won’t need a glossy image to sell me on it.
I don’t think I’m weak minded. These ads are designed to make you hunger for the kind of ideal life that only an expensive food-processor can give you. If you’re like me, you’ve spent many a weekend morning browsing through Sunday fliers, lusting after small appliances and “just in time for spring” capris.
Now, I have less mail to go through and more money saved. This is a bonus for my time and my budget. Try it yourself. You won’t believe how much less spending you have to list on your budget tracker with this little step.
How did I do it? By contacting these companies:
- Direct Marketing Association, Mail Preference Service, P O Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735
- Mail Preference Service, Preference Service Manager, Direct Marketing Association, P O Box 3079, Grand Central Station, NY 10163
- Companies that I receive subscriptions from (example – magazine subscriptions)
- Store credit card companies and banks – request not to receive offers from them or their partners
- www.OptOutPrescreen.com or 1–888–567–8688 to limit the offers you receive for pre-approved credit cards
That’s all you have to do! Yes, it takes some work, but it will pay off in the long run. You don’t have to tackle this every day or even during precious relaxation time.
What I did, was set aside the junk mail and take it with me for those annoying “hurry up to wait” appointments. Then I would make the phone calls from my cell. You know, when you’re sitting in the doctor’s exam room for 20 minutes waiting for a physical. Or when you have to leave early to meet someone across town “in case of traffic” then end up sitting in the parking lot waiting for the other person to show up. If you do it that way, you’ll be regaining time, not just saving time.
Does this sound familiar? You come home from a long day and decide to pay bills. You sit down and find that you have to shred 20 credit card offers before you can find your actual credit card bills. While you’re shredding, the phone begins to ring with unsolicited calls. Then you check your fax machine and find pages of unwanted offers. You didn’t ask for any of this stuff. How can you make it stop?
Many choose to simply ignore the problem by hanging up on solicitors and throwing away junk mail and faxes. However, you can eliminate the problem altogether. If you haven’t heard the phrase before, it’s time to opt-out.
Opt-Out from Junk Mail. Following these steps will eliminate a good portion of your junk mail. First, go to http://opt-out.cdt.org/ and follow the directions there. This should stop most mailings. Next, pay attention to those annoying extra fliers and forms that come in your bill envelopes. When you enter a billing agreement with some companies, they take your contact information and share or sell it so that other companies can send you junk mail offers. Most of these accounts should include an “opt-out notice” form with your bill. By completing and mailing the form, you’re telling the company that they can no longer share your information.
Opt-Out from Phone Calls. Your telephone numbers (including your cell phone) can be added to the Do Not Call List. This should eliminate most sales calls. Unfortunately, this does not apply to non-profits and political campaigns. A few of the so-called “non-profits’ that call your home regularly asking for donations are barely legitimate, but that’s a story for another Quick Tips. Go to www.DoNotCall.gov, or call 800-382-1222, to join the Do Not Call list.
Opt-Out from Faxes. The Junk Fax Protection Act of 2005 worked to stop unwanted faxes from being sent to private fax numbers. If you do get unwanted faxes, the fax must include an opt-out option.