Archive for Mrs. Not Made of Money

Apple Pie Spice Muffins – Dairy Free!

Dairy Free Apple Pie Spice MuffinWith Fall in the air, it’s a perfect time for baking!   I’ve been making these muffins for many years now, and originally got the recipe when cooking for a milk allergic child.  Notice that the recipe is dairy free! You won’t miss the milk in the recipe though – These little muffins are so good to eat and a snap to make.  I like to bake double or triple batches and then freeze some of them for later.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons apple pie spice
1 Egg
1-1/2 cups of water
1/3 cup canola oil

Preparation: In a large mixing bowl thoroughly combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and apple pie spice. Then add the egg, water and canola oil and stir until the batter is well combined. I like to make my muffins large size, so this mix makes 12 large muffins. I also like to use the paper liners but if you used a cooking spray and a nonstick muffin tin that should work fine too. Bake the muffins at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. I usually start checking the muffins at the 15 minute mark to see if they are done. You’ll need to make your own time adjustments according to your own oven but usually 20 minutes is the most amount of time you’ll need. Enjoy these muffins for breakfast, as a snack, or as part of “breakfast for dinner.”

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Your Budget Goals – Is It Time To Revise?

bgbudgetOdds are that you routinely re-evaluate the big choices that you make in your life all of the time. As you become more educated about the benefits of a healthy diet, you might make changes to the foods you eat. Completing a degree might make you reconsider your career choice. A change in your family situation might even make you rethink the house you own. As the circumstances around you change, it only makes sense to re-evaluate other parts of your life.

Re-evaluating your budget than re-evaluating any other part of your life. As you achieve your goals you will need to set new ones – and be sure to be on the lookout for anything that could be a budget helper. As you struggle to make some goals, you may realize that you might need to reconsider those goals. Whatever the outcome of your old budget goals, it’s always a good idea to assess them and determine which ones still work for you and which ones need replacing.

Savings Goals
Savings goals commonly need to be re-evaluated every time you meet your goal. For instance, if you were saving to pay for a winter vacation, you don’t want to simply stop saving after you have paid for you trip. Think ahead to your next vacation, or other major purchase, and start putting away the money you’ll need for it. If your income increases, you may want to consider putting all of that increase (or at least a good portion) towards your savings goal to fund it faster.

Debt Reduction Goals
Debt reduction goals are another type of goal that is in constant need of updating. If you set a goal to pay off one line of credit, maybe a consumer charge card like a Lowe’s card, you’ll need to set a new goal once you’ve paid that account in full. Tackle the next debt on your list of debts and make paying it off your new goal.

Unaccomplished Goals
Sometimes, through no fault of your own, you just can’t make one of your goals happen. Maybe your goal was to pay off your credit card debt in 2010. Then you were laid off from your job in June and took three months to find a new job. It’s just not realistic to think you would still be able to pay off your credit card debt in the time you originally allotted. The important thing to do in these situations is to recognize that your original goal isn’t going to happen and set a new goal in its place. Instead, try something like not accumulating any additional credit card debt while you’re between jobs. You just need to make sure that you’re working towards something.

Re-evaluating your budget goals doesn’t have to be a monumental task. By simply keeping in touch with your financial situation, you won’t find it hard to recognize when you’ve met a goal or when a goal has been placed outside of your reach. Keeping your budget goals in line with your changing life is the best way to guarantee financial success.

6 Tips To Reduce Your Grocery Bill

Grocery ShoppingOne of the areas of our spending that I must constantly monitor is our food expenses. With the continuing food price creep, I found our spending can really spiral out of control if I’m not really watching it closely. I keep a running total of how much I’ve spent to help me stay on budget throughout the month. When I see the grocery budget is running low, I get really creative with the meals. Here are a few ways that I’ve been able to whittle our grocery bill down every month:

Plan a Menu
I’ve found that making a weekly menu (and forcing myself to stick to it) has really helped to lower our grocery bill. Every Sunday I sit down and look through the pantry to see what I already have on hand, then I make a daily list of what we’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I post it on the fridge so everyone in the family knows what to expect for meals the coming week.

Meatless Meals
Adding a few meatless meals into our week has also helped to decrease our grocery spending. Egg or bean burritos, salad and soup nights, as well as “breakfast for dinner” have all been favorites in our household.

Cooking From Scratch
I’ve mentioned several times in the past that I’m not a great cook, but I do know how to make a few of the basics. My bread machine gets used every day. A fresh loaf of bread or breadsticks combined with a salad and simple soup makes a complete and filling (but inexpensive) meal.

Buy One Get One FreeStock Up on Sales
Every week when the grocery sale ads come out I look them over to see what items are on sale that I regularly use. When I find a good sale on an item I stock up on it so that I won’t be buying it again until it comes back on sale. Since I do a lot of my shopping at Publix, I really like their buy one get one free sales (BOGO). I’ve been most successful using this method with cereal – I don’t think I’ve paid full price for a box of cereal this year.

Freezer Meals
Inspired by some other bloggers, I’ve taken to preparing meals that I can store in my freezer. This has been tremendously helpful not only timewise, but dollar wise as well.

Coupon Codes
Of course, any discussion about grocery savings wouldn’t be complete without mentioning how coupon codes can also help you to save money. To really maximize the savings with coupons, I always try to pair them with an existing sale. Some of the best deals I’ve gotten have centered around coupon stacking – a method whereby you combine a store sale, with a manufacturer’s coupon. I can save quit a bit using coupons when I purchase the items during Publix’s BOGO sales. I usually find my coupons in the newspaper inserts.

What are your best tips for keeping your grocery budget in check?