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Showing posts from 2014

Fast & Easy Asian BBQ Sauce

This is my fast and easy go-to for BBQ sauce! In a desperate need to make chicken, I searched for a sauce recipe with ingredients I already have. Ketchup is the best base for the sauce, and I like the flavor from soy sauce. So, try this recipe for your next cookout.

1 cup ketchup1/2 cup cider vinegar1/2 cup brown sugar2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, optional2 tablespoons mustard, optional1 teaspoon ground ginger1 teaspoon garlic powder1 tablespoon canola oil
Mix all ingredients. Store in the refrigerator for several weeks or more.
For less tang, omit mustard and Worcestershire sauce. The sweeter the better!

Junk Drawer Organization

I just moved to a new city and state, and none of my storage space in my new apartment is like all my storage space in my old house. I downsized from 2,000 square feet to 900 square feet, so I am trying to cope.

The junk drawer is always a hassle. It won't open well, it won't stay shut, or you can't find anything.
Dollar Tree to the rescue! I purchased plastic skinny storage containers and poster tack (putty) all at the dollar store. For less than $5, I have this now:

No labels needed. Each container had very little in it. One for pens, index cards (used for shopping lists), measuring tape, tape and stapler, mini flashlight and box cutter, and letter opener and hole punch.

Simply cut a dime-size chunk of poster tack. Place it on the bottom corners of your containers. And, place the container in its rightful spot. When you open the drawer, nothing moves or jingles. So nice!!

Let me know what you've done to tame your junk drawer.

Finance Fridays: The Closet Diet

I do not diet or believe that diets work. I believe in changes in lifestyle and eating habits. The Closet Diet is a new and improved closet. A fresh spin on you everyday fashion. And all this coming from a gal with college t-shirts from 11 years ago!

1. Sort t-shirts, jeans, dress pants, blouses, sweaters, tank tops, dresses and blazers. Jeans are for super casual wear, not work. Keep just 3-5 pairs of jeans.
2. Go through each pile and ask yourself if you have worn it in 3 months. If not, start a donation pile and place these items there. Focus on keeping simple and classic pieces, preferably solid colored pieces. Keep one or two fun print tops for special occasions.
3. Have a small cheat bin. Keep some items that you like wearing around the house, or that are sentimental to you.
4. BUY NEW CLOTHES. You need to refresh your closet with new STAPLE pieces:     - black tank top     - white tank top     - white button-down ironed shirt with long sleeves     - black trousers     - black pencil ski…

Finance Fridays: Debt-Free in 30

To make something a habit, you should do it for a solid three months. 

You only need 30 days to live a debt-free life
I know what it's like it avoid collector phone calls and not open bills in the mail. Within 30 days, you can do the following:
1. Open ever bill that is unopened.
2. Hole punch each bill and place them in one large binder. This will be your finance binder. Get organized!
3. Sort each bill by 1) company and then 2) date due with the most recent in front.
4. Draft a letter to each creditor. There are hundreds of sample letters (templates) available online. I used the template in one of Suze Orman's books, which I borrowed from the library. The most important elements to any letter: your name, address, phone number, account number, signature, and amount you are willing to pay each month.
5. Include a "good faith" check or money order with the letter when you send it. Make sure to mail it from the post office with a confirmation request. This will cost $…

Finance Fridays: Moving

Moving is hard. Plain and simple. It is stressful, detailed, and chaotic. Oh, and to top it off, it is expensive. 

List of expenses you should encounter when moving:

security deposit on new apartment or earnest money & down payment on new homepacking supplies (boxes, blankets, dolly, tape, bags, etc.)truck rentalrelease of lease on apartment or sale of old home (various expenses here)change of address and possible lost mail
What you should NOT pay for:
Fee for a moving broker, someone who helps you find a realtor or apartment. If you are selling your house, you will pay your broker a commission (5-7%). A broker finding you a new home will not be paid a commission by you; she will receive a cut of the selling broker's commission.Phone company fees to change your phone number. They always want to charge you for changing your number, but you should threaten dropping them all together. Watch that fee disappear.Apartment cleaning fees, AKA your original security deposit. Don't lose…

Finance Fridays: Apps

They are addictive, fun, informative, challenging, and trendy. I'm talking about apps. Since having an iPad, I've noticed the free apps I download tend to have something to buy, especially in the case of games. I love games and I don't mind calling myself a gamer. However, I only play for free - only free. The game makers make it simple to have ads and power-ups pop up in the middle of your game when you can easily click it and end up with a purchase.

To avoid this, do not store your credit card information on your iPad, iPhone, or other smartphone or tablet. Never, never purchase anything. Your financial information will be saved, and these apps are highly suspectible to hacking. 
If you absolutely have to purchase something in a free app or purchase an app for that matter, use a very low balance credit card. I have a $200 maximum balance card that I got a long, long time ago. I keep it because I use it at sketchy places, like my favorite gyros restaurant and an internation…

Free Printable - Daily Journal

I journal everyday. I jot down a few sentences or bullet points that help me set the tone for my day, and then I reflect on my day. It creates self-awareness and motivation. It helps me understand what is really important to me.

I have been through a rough few months due to a job loss that, which was really a blessing to lose. I was bullied excessively by a manager for 11 months. It took a lot of strength for me not to quit and stay motivated. This journal is what helped!

Download here!

1. Visit link.
2. This is a PDF. So, print page 2 in color (or black and white), double-sided. That will give you four days of journaling per page. Print as many pages as you want. I printed 90.
3. Print the cover page as the cover of your journal.
3. Three-ring hole punch or spiral bind hole punch the top of each page.
4. Bind in three-ring binder or spiral binding.

Duffin Recipe - Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffin

I found this eggless recipe on and it seemed easy enough. Plus, I had all the ingredients. If you have a doughnut tin, by all means use it. Since I don't, I used my regular muffin/cupcake tin. Mini muffin tins work well here too. If you use a regular muffin tin, fill 12 halfway.

Yield: 18 mini muffins, 12 regular muffins
1/2 c granulated sugar1/4 c unsalted butter, melted1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or cloves1/2 tsp vanilla extract1/2 c milk1 tsp baking powder1 c all-purpose flour
Sugar coating:
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted1/2 c granulated sugar1 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. 2. Grease muffin tin. Set aside. 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Set aside. 4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar. 5. Add spices and vanilla, whisk well. 6. Add milk and whisk again. 7. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. 8. Fill the muffin pan. 9. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 17 minutes, …

Finance Fridays: Luxury at Home

I don't want to suggest that you do not splurge on anything. A spa or mani/pedi day is great when you really need it. However, a financial burden arises when it becomes a habit.

1. Get in the habit of picking 1-2 hours per week on a certain day each week to pamper yourself at home. This includes a facial, nails, and even long bath. I choose Sunday evenings as the perfect time to do all the above. I purchase my face masks and nail polishes at CVS.
2. Say "no" to massages. I get at least two coupons each week for $45 for a 30-minute massage to a chain massage parlor. I have had massages, and I know how soothing they are. However, I suggest soaking in hot bath or even having your spouse give you a massage. These massage parlors are a huge cash-suck.
3. Do not purchase salon products at the salon. Instead of buying Aveda products at an Aveda salon, look for those or similar products online or at Ulta. Salons provide huge mark-ups on their goods. It is tempting when the stylist …

Simple Vegetable Soup

I use a very simple soup recipe to get a soup starter on the table before the big meal. I also eat it alone with crackers for lunch. De-lish!

Simple Vegetable Soup


4 cups of water1 cup pasta (macaroni or ziti works well)2 chicken bullion cubes2 large carrots, diced1 stalk celery, diced1 Tablespoon parsley flakes1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper Directions: Combine all in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes to keep pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
That's it! So simple. I keep all these items in my pantry as staples.
What simple recipes are your go-tos?

Finance Fridays: Department Store Credit Cards

We have all heard the shpeel before: sign up for our store card and receive 15% off your total today. I was one of those cashiers who said that over and over again, all in hopes of receiving $3 bonus per card signed up for at my register.
TRUTH #1 Store cards are HARD inquiries on your credit report. Your credit standing is reported by three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. This inquiry is not as negative as having an outstanding bill unpaid, but it does contribut to lowering your score a bit. How much lower is really part of a matrix used by each company. Try to hold on to every point of your credit score.
TRUTH #2 Store cards have high interst rates. Interest rates are charged to your total balance due, and most of these cards charge 15% to 28%. This annual rate (APY or APR) will be charged on ANY balance you have. And, to top it off, it accues DAILY. Word to the wise, if you have these cards, pay them off in full each month. Pretty please!
TRUTH #3 …