September 28, 2013

Are You Enabling Adolescent Adults?

A few years ago I posted about this issue in an article, Have You Set Up Boundaries in Your Life?  Today I needed to elaborate a bit.  ;)

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It seems every family has them — these “adults” that never seem to grow up. They end up staying with relatives, eating their food, and not contributing a fair share of the bills. I am so puzzled by this. Why in the world would someone pay for an adult’s monthly expenses? I mean, if you go to work and work hard each day to earn a paycheck to pay your bills, why would you enable someone else not to do the same?

Eventually these families grow very irritated with these moochers and yet for some reason they lack the nerve to do anything about it. I honestly think they feel trapped. When they ask the person for money, the person usually says they can’t afford it.  It is strangely interesting though that many of these live-ins can afford a new car, going out for frequent lunch dates, new clothes, a cell phone with data package, and a whole list of other necessities that I don’t have.

couch potato

As you might imagine from this post, this is a very touchy subject for me. Many times I have seen my loved ones at the receiving end of these adolescent adults. Perhaps they are poor managers of money but usually, they are just not forced to grow up.  I mean why foot the bill when someone else will do it for you?  I honestly can’t imagine treating someone this way.  My parents raised me to show respect for others and sucking someone dry is not showing respect.

Sometimes these adolescent adults might even give a little money each month and they usually feel very good about it . . . as if they are somehow helping out or doing someone a favor. Let me tell you something — the $150 contribution is only a drop in the bucket for the electric, water, internet, phone, mortgage, and food.  Don’t let it ease your conscience.

Please understand that I am not talking about college students or adult children with health problems.  There are exceptions but these are few and far between.

These adult leeches are something I still see on a regular basis. It upsets me for many reasons – I think the major reason being that it is disrespectful to the people I love.

Personally, I think there are a few ways to handle this situation. 

1.  You could give the person a reasonable timeline to move out. That would enable them enough time to save up some deposits.  Honestly, I think they should already have some money set aside since they have been mooching off of others. They probably don’t though, since they are poor money managers.

2.  You could give them a reasonable amount to pay. Take into consideration the things they are using and if they are eating your food.  Come up with a fair amount.  If they are eating your food and stay there every day, you might decide they should pay $500 per month. If you live in an expensive area or have a mortgage payment, it might be more. Tell them that you can’t foot the bill for them and that they shouldn’t expect it.  Let them know that you expect that amount next month and every month after that or they can find another place to live.  This enables them to continue to live with you and have responsibilities at a fair and shared rate or they can decide to move out and pay a higher rate.

It’s time to quit enabling people and make them grow up!

A few other articles that might interest you:

Adolescence: A modern plague, but there is a cure by Matt Walsh

My child is gifted. He’s also 29, unemployed, and living in my basement.  by Matt Walsh

image by suitee


Karen

September 15, 2013

Freezer Cooking: Sausage Balls

The beginning of school is exhausting! It is the busiest time of the year for me.  Even experienced teachers that have been teaching the same grade level for many years are at school late each night.  This is my second consecutive year in first grade. Although it is a bit easier this year, there is still lots to do!

Last week I came home from work and had a prepattied meatloaf waiting for me in the refrigerator. This was something I had made during the summer when I had a little more time on my hands.  I only had to prepare mashed potatoes and green beans while the meatloaf cooked in the oven.

I have been on the lookout for some easy weeknight meals that are also inexpensive. While at Sam’s Club I noticed that they had a 2 lb. roll of Jimmy Dean sausage for only $5. I decided to pick some up so that I could premake sausage balls for the freezer.

I simply mixed 2 lbs. of sausage with 2 cups of baking mix such a Bisquick, and 1 pound of shredded cheddar cheese. Mix the sausage and baking mix together first until well mixed and then add the cheese and mix together. If you are only using 1 pound of sausage, use 1 cup of baking mix and 8 oz of cheese. Some recipes call for 3 cups of baking mix per pound of sausage. I found this to be way too bready for our family’s taste. Make these however you choose; the recipe is very adaptable.

freezer meal - sausage balls 1

After mixing up the ingredients, I rolled up the mixture in small balls. Normally I would put them on a cookie sheet and bake them. Since I was freezing them, I put them on parchment paper. I popped them in the freezer for 30 minutes or so and then put them in a Ziploc freezer bag and into the freezer for later use.

freezer cooking - sausage balls 2

Quick freezing the sausage balls is not necessary. Some people simply put them into Ziploc bags. I chose to freeze them first so that they wouldn’t stick together.

When you’re ready for the sausage balls, put as many as you need into the refrigerator to thaw. You could probably cook them from frozen. I’ve never done it though.

freezer cooking - sausage balls 3

Spray your pan with cooking span and bake them at 350F for 20 minutes or so, or until brown. I like mine a little crispy.

Sausage balls can be eaten hot or cold. I have taken them out on a boat ride for an easy on-the-go lunch. You can serve them as appetizers, at a baby or bridal shower, or as part of a meal. I also put them in my children’s lunches to give them some variety. They are very versatile.

What is your favorite freezer friendly meal?


Karen

August 14, 2013

Ways That We Save Money Each Year

Sometimes when I see the way the rest of the world lives I wonder how they afford it. Sometimes I wonder what they think of me. I don’t drive a nice car. I don’t have fancy clothes. I try not to think about it much. I’m not living my life for them anyway.  It is very apparent though that there are some things my family does to cut back on expenses.  Sometimes we do these things just because we can and because we like to save money.  Right now though, many of these are necessities to getting by every month.

Some things on this list may seem crazy to you.  That’s ok.  I was considering a few titles for this post.  One had the word “crazy” and another had the word “extreme”.  I don’t think these are extreme or crazy so those didn’t seem to fit in the title.  Perhaps these items will make you think and wonder if you could do one or two of these to help save your family some money.

ways our family saves money

We don’t make coffee runs. I enjoy my coffee just as much as anyone but I just can’t justify spending that kind of money on an indulgence.  Coffee can cost $2-5 per cup. I can make a lot of coffee at home for that price. I know of some folks whose coffee habit cost them over $100 per month. That’s a lot of money!  I don’t mind getting a coffee treat every now and again, but these treats might be once a month. They are certainly not a daily habit.

We don’t have a car payment. You may be wondering how in the world I can have three cars in my driveway and no car payment.  I have always been a frugal gal, but about 7 years ago my hubby and I took Financial Peace University classes at our church.  We sold our van.  Actually we paid the dealership $1,000 to take it back. Yes, that hurt.  Since then we have been buying used vehicles. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $700 car to get us by for a year until we can afford something better or a $3000 vehicle that we can drive for a while, we pay cash.  Some people say that they want a car that they don’t have to worry about or they say they can’t afford to make repairs.  If I’m not paying $350-500 per month in a payment, I can easily justify making some repairs from time to time.

We limit hair appointments.  When my hubby was in the Marines, he got plenty of experience cutting hair while on ship.  He cuts his hair and my son’s hair.  That alone saves us about $200 or more per year.  I also limit my hair appointments.  To be honest, I don’t go to the salon as much as I would like.  It makes me cringe to spend that much money on my hair.  I have longer hair so I can get by without making frequent visits to the salon.  If you have a regular appointment scheduled for every six weeks, maybe try to go seven or eight weeks and see how it goes.  You might be able to go another week or two which will save you money over time.

We don’t get manicures and pedicures.  While nails look attractive, I can’t really spare an extra $40 for my nails to look good.

We don’t smoke.  Smoking is an extremely expensive habit. Enough said.

We haul off our own trash.  When we lived in the city, it was nice to roll our trash out to the curb every week and not worry with it.  Of course, we paid for trash removal in our city taxes.  Now that we have moved to another part of the state, they do things differently around here.  In some areas you pay per bag.  We just decided to make trips to the landfill.  Every two or three weeks my hubby and son haul off all of the trash and recycling.  I’m guessing that this saves us about $50 per month.

We do our own yard work.  Well, actually, my hubby does the yard work.  :)  He mows the grass, uses the weed eater, puts out grass feed, and whatever else needs to be done.

We drink water. When we go out to eat we always order water. The exception is if the kids’ meals come with a drink.  Think about it — If your family of four goes out to eat and orders four drinks, that will cost you around $8. There’s quite a bit of savings for choosing water.  Even at home we drink water. Sodas and sugary drinks aren’t good for us anyway.  We have a water system in our house and another filter on our refrigerator so we just drink it from the tap.

We pack our lunch. When I was in college and worked at a restaurant, I would see people that came in to eat lunch every day.  Every day!  Eating out every day is so expensive. I’m not saying I don’t like to eat out. Trust me, we like to eat out.  When we do, it is using coupons, sharing meals, or as a treat. It is not an every day thing. I have also seen people eat in the school cafeteria every day.   Those $3, $5 or more each day add up quickly.  I try to pack leftovers, a sandwich, and I try to keep things like peanut butter and hummus at school for those days when I’m extra hungry or I don’t have time to prepare something.  You know what?  I’ve heard Dave Ramsey say he also packs his lunch.  He can afford to go out to eat and chooses not to because it’s not a frugal option.

We limit costly entertainment options.  I can’t even tell you the last time I went to the movies.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy going to the movies. I just can’t see paying such high prices just to watch a movie.  We have learned to look for free and cheap events in our area.  Whether it be a trip to the beach, a museum, state park, parade, or a festival, we find things to do.  I look online for happenings in our area.  There are also free pamphlets and papers listing events. Do a google search and see what you can find.  These kinds of events are more memorable for our children and are certainly better for our budget.

We don’t have a dog. I know that dogs are like a part of the family and if I had a dog, I certainly wouldn’t get rid of it just to save money. But I don’t have a dog and right now another animal is not on my list of priorities.  Dogs are expensive — the shots, deworming, medicines, vet bills . . . whew I am seeing visions of dollar signs.  I love animals and I have two cats. This is just one of the things my husband and I have agreed not to spend money on right now.

We constantly look for good deals.  My husband and I tend to be conservative on our purchases. Rather than going out and spending $200 on a camera we see in store, we’ll spend two or three hours at home reading about the camera and looking for reviews. Instead of buying our clothes full price we shop the clearance racks or look for great sales.  I just shopped a back to school sale on a tax free weekend and used a $10 coupon and bought myself some shirts for work.  I try to know the cycles for when items are at their lowest prices. For example, I know that Target has deeply discounted toys twice each year.  I know that November and December are the months when cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soups will be the cheapest.  We try to be good stewards of our money and make it go the farthest that we can.

We don’t have the latest in technology.  In fact, I don’t even have a smart phone. I just can’t see spending $30 or more each month. This equals almost $400 per year!  We don’t have iPads or iPhones. My son just recently got a used DS. haha. Contrary to what many people think, technology is not a necessity.  It’s not air and water.  If your job requires you to have a smart phone, then so be it. Checking facebook, twitter, and email on the go is not essential.

When possible, we buy used.  This can include toys, furniture, bicycles, etc. (The exception is used mattresses.)  Some of my favorite pieces in my home are used.  I like the thrill of finding a unique item.  I am also teaching my children the value of buying used.  A few years ago my daughter wanted some Polly Pocket toys.  She went to Target with her birthday money and came home with one small toy for $14.  She was sad at how little she got for the money.  I told her I would look online to see what I could find.  We ended up finding a big box of Polly Pocket stuff – mall, pool, clothes, dolls, etc for $40.  The cost of these things would have been over $200 new.  My children have learned that they get more for their money this way.

We pay cash. This is probably the biggest way that we save money.  We just moved into our new home seven months ago. I would love to have new blinds and curtains throughout my home. New wall hangings, shower curtains, rugs, I could go on. If I just swipe that credit card I can have it all now.  The problem with that is, there comes a day to pay our debts and with interest.  I choose not to be in bondage of debt.  Sure, I would really like to have those things but for now, I am trying to be thankful for all of the other wonderful things I have and know that in time I will furnish my home.

I know that these tips may not work for everyone but they help my family out tremendously.  I’m estimating that these things alone keep my family from spending over $10,000 each year!  In what ways does your family save money?

image source: kwod from sxc.hu


Karen

August 6, 2013

Remembering Chris Campbell Today

It’s hard to believe it has been two years since the helicopter was shot down in Wardak province, Afghanistan killing 31 U.S. troops.  Of the Navy SEALS that were killed 15 were members of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, also known as SEAL Team Six.  A long time family friend Chris Campbell was one of those killed.

chris campbell

Chris’ request was that if anything happened to him in combat, that his family wouldn’t focus on his loss. His wish was that people would focus on wounded troops. Chris requested that 100,000 people donate $1 to Wounded Warriors to help our wounded troops that have given so much for their country. Chris’ family and friends are dedicated to seeing his request fulfilled.

Read more


Karen

August 5, 2013

Organizing Dilemma Solved: Medications

We just moved into our house about seven months ago.  It has been a continual process to get everything like we would like for it to be and to find a place for all of our stuff.  Some days it seems like we will never be completely settled. But then comes the satisfaction of seeing little projects completed and watching everything come together.

One of our recent easy projects was hanging up some wire door shelving.  Ok, there was no “we” in this project.  Hubby hung the shelving without my help.  ;)  I’m pretty sure we didn’t buy this shelving.  I think it was something that we had in our garage waiting to be used.  If we had purchased it, we might have bought a piece big enough for the entire door.

After my hubby hung the shelving, I wondered what I would use it for.  I could put spices on it, but then again, I like my spices being in the cabinet next to the stove.

I looked around a bit in our cabinets and then decided I would try out our medicines on these shelves.  We have our medicine shoved in a corner cabinet of the kitchen.  It is functional, but I keep looking in that cabinet and trying to figure out how I could better organize it.  I’ve thought about using $1 clear plastic shoeboxes and small plastic bins.  I just couldn’t come up with a solution.  I figured I could put them on these door shelves and if I didn’t like it, I could always move the medicine back in the kitchen cabinet.

Before

Before organizing

Here is the before picture.  As you can see, everything is in one big dark corner cabinet. There are kids’ medicines, some pain meds, and prescriptions.  I couldn’t stand this cabinet.

After organizing

After organizing

And here is the after picture.  I was concerned about the bottles falling through the bigger openings on the sides but that hasn’t been a problem.  I put all of the kids’ medicines on one shelf.  I put more frequently used meds on the bottom – paid meds, prescriptions, antacids, etc and put the less used items on top.

So far I am liking this new organizing system!  I know that everything can’t be done at once.  Finding systems that work and getting settled into a home take time.  I’ll try to be content as we journey through this process.

How do you store your medicines?

 


Karen

August 3, 2013

Hobby Lobby 90% Off Clearance Sale

If you have a Hobby Lobby, be sure to stop by to see if they have any of their spring and summer clearance items left.  We were in there yesterday to purchase some wreath making materials and found a few deals.

First up is this enormous wall hanging.  I saw the $13 price tag and did a double take.  The original price was $130!  I immediately texted a picture to my cousin to see if she wanted it for her apartment.  The wall hanging measures approximately 5’6″.

hobby lobby summer clearance 1

After I saw this deal, I spent some time rummaging through a bunch of random things. It didn’t look like there was anything worth having, but I managed to find some tattoos for my classroom prize box and also some temporary hair color for this year’s crazy hair day.  I’m sure my son will be happy to boast green hair.  I got the tattoos (36 pk) for 30 cents and the hair color for 80 cents.

hobby lobby summer clearance 2

Happy shopping!


Karen

August 1, 2013

Freezer Cooking: Banana Muffins and Meatloaf

I had six brown bananas sitting on the counter in the fruit bowl. That is not a normal occurrence in our home but last week was busy. We had a weekend marriage conference at church and my parents had the kids. Hubby and I enjoyed some date time and so no one was here to eat the bananas.

I try to never let bananas go to waste.  I usually make banana bread with them.

bananas muffins

This weekend I saw Christy’s banana bread recipe on her website, Southern Plate. I have no trouble trying something new so I decided to do so.

I used the six bananas to make a double batch of muffins. I ended up freezing 28 muffins for later use.  These will come in handy for breakfasts or snacks.

meatloaf

Please overlook this horrible picture. I was in a hurry to put these into the freezer and did not realize how bad the picture looked until later. And why does the meatloaf look yellow? I have no idea.

My family enjoys eating meatloaf but there is a part of it that I do not like — I do not like touching the raw meat. It is so cold and when you mix all of those ingredients together it feels slimy.  Yuck!

A few years ago when ground beef went on sale, I decided that I would premix some meatloaf and put it into freezer containers.  If I remember correctly, I premixed five meatloaves.  A few days before I needed one I simply placed the container in the refrigerator to thaw. Then I slid the meatloaf from the freezer container into my meatloaf pan.  It made such a huge difference in meal time preparation.

Unfortunately, my summer is almost over.  Soon I will be busy working late, grading papers, working on lesson plans, etc and taking care of my family.

Recently, I remembered how easy it was to have the meatloaf premixed and so I have been looking for a good deal on ground beef.  Food Lion had their ground chuck on sale this week for $2.49/lb so I picked up about 8 pounds.

Due to an unexpected eye doctor’s appointment today (there was a cancellation and we got a call to fill in) I wasn’t able to patty up all of the meatloaves but I did two of them.  I have a usual meatloaf recipe that I use but decided I would search the internet for a different once.  I decided to try Paula Deen’s barbeque meatloaf recipe.  I ended up using a little over 2 lbs of meat so I just kind of guesstimated how much of each ingredient to use.  Most of the recipes I make are just to use as a guide anyway.

I have some more ground beef in the refrigerator that needs to be used this evening so I will probably patty up a few more tonight.

It is nice knowing that I have banana muffins and meatloaf prepared in the freezer. I hope to prepare a few more freezer meals before school starts back.

What is your favorite freezer meal to prepare?


Karen

August 1, 2013

Printable Coupon: $1 Off Wisk Detergent

wiskJust saw this on the Wisk facebook page. Right now you can get a $1 off printable coupon.  Simply click on their facebook page and then on the coupons tab at the top.

Wisk is one of my favorite detergents for treating stains.

Enjoy the savings!

 


Karen

July 31, 2013

Favorite Reads: July 2013

Here are this month’s favorite reads. Some of them keep appearing each month. You might also want to check our June’s favorite reads.

fruit pizza 1

 

1.  Easy Do-It-Yourself Luau/Beach Cupcakes

2.  Do-It-Yourself Pacifier Baby Shower Favors

3.  Bugs in My Yogurt?!

4.  30+ Ways to Clean with Vinegar

5.  Wordless Wednesday: Lazy Fat Cat

6.  Dayspring Customer Appreciate Sale (expires today, July 31)

7.  Menu Plan Monday: July 14, 2013

8.  How to Save Money on Laundry

9.  Laundry Tip: How to Keep up with Kids’ Socks

10.  Easy Fruit Pizza Recipe

Which articles are your favorites?


Karen

July 31, 2013

Product Review: 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips

A few months ago, my mom decided to give me my grandmother’s old pie pan. She knows how much I like vintage, antique, and unique items.  I set the pie pan in my china hutch until I could decide how to display it.

pie pan 1

I decided I wanted to hang the pie pan on my wall and soon discovered that it would be difficult to find an easy solution.  I looked at Michaels and Hobby Lobby. I looked at those plate wall hangers. I didn’t like the brass ones. I didn’t like the black ones. I didn’t want a colored hanger to take away from the look of the pie pan.

After much thought, I remembered that I had an assortment of 3M Command products that I won at Blogher two years ago.  I looked through the products and found the picture hanging strips.  They look sort of like a plastic velcro but unlike velcro, they have the 3M removable strips.  To me, this means that I could hang the pie pan without worrying about damaging my walls or damaging my grandmother’s antique pie pan.  There really was an easy solution to my dilemma.

pie pan 2

3M command strips

 

3M Command strips are great for college dorms, renters, or anyone that doesn’t want to damage their walls. It’s an easy solution to hanging pictures. 3M also has many other affordable hooks and hangers to match your décor.

I was searching on their website today and found a printable coupon.  Enjoy!

Have you tried the picture hanging strips?

 


Karen

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