Thursday, October 30, 2008

Recipe Websites and 100th Post!

I'm a picky eater and usually just buy the same couple of things to eat for dinner all the time (namely, potatoes!). My husband, on the other hand, likes everything (except beets and sauerkraut). I have been spending some time over this past year and four months of marriage locating recipes that are easy to make and that my husband will love. I've found quite a few winners. The problem is that a lot of recipes call for just a little bit of a fresh produce or dairy item that I buy and then most of it goes to waste.

I'm going to try to get better at locating different recipes that use some of the same vegetables. For example, last week I made a chicken rice casserole dish for my husband that called for fresh celery and onions. Of course, I had to buy a whole bunch of celery even though I only needed 1/4 cup of it!

Determined to not let all of that celery go to waste, on Sunday night I went internet searching for an easy recipe that had celery as an ingredient. I ended up at All Recipes, which seems to be one of the largest databases of free recipes out there (this is not a paid advertisement, by the way!). I was able to do a search by ingredient. I found another casserole dish that looked easy, but it also had chicken in it, so I thought it might be too much like the original dish I had made.

Searching around some more, I came across this Golden Potato Soup recipe. It looked pretty easy, and I definitely already had the potatoes on hand ;) It even calls for onion, so I was able to use more of that up!

I made it tonight, and it was a definite hit. From now on, whenever I make the chicken rice casserole, my husband will know that potato soup will be for dinner a few nights later :)

I really love the idea of grouping recipes together to keep food (and money!) from going to waste. The next time I make a dish that calls for a produce or dairy item that we won't use up, I'm going to go looking for a matching recipe to make later the same week.

Does anyone else do this? Do you have some favorite recipes that you like to "lump" together? I'd love to hear about them (with links if they're online!!!).

ps- Wow! This is my 100th post on Family and Finances. Craziness :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Best Financial Advice I've Received

Peter at Bible Money Matters posted on Friday about the best financial advice he's received. Peter says:

So the advice I got from my parents by observing them growing up:

  1. Be content in life by focusing on important things like faith and family.
  2. Live frugally, spend less than you earn and pay cash.

I thought I'd share the best financial advice that I've received!

When I was in high school, I took an accounting class. In it, the teacher taught a little about IRA's and other retirement accounts. I don't remember any of the details, but I do remember coming away from that class knowing that you should start investing when you're young and compound interest will work in your favor.

Because of this lesson, when I turned 18, I decided to put a little bit of money in an IRA. I didn't know anything about investing, so I just went to my credit union. Here's some advice for you: credit unions are not the best place to go for investing advice!

The woman I spoke with didn't tell me the difference between a Roth and a Traditional IRA, she didn't mention anything about mutual funds, she seemed to have no opinion at all. She just took my money and put it in a cd in a Traditional IRA. Looking back, this was about the dumbest thing she could have done. I was 18! I belonged in a good growth mutual fund in a Roth IRA! *sigh* (ps- that IRA has since been moved out of the credit union. I love banking with credit unions, but I don't keep my investments there!)

A few years later, I was working in an insurance office in the same building as an Edward Jones office. My bosses were friends with the Edward Jones adviser, so he'd come over and chat with me sometimes. He kept telling me that I should start doing a monthly investment, no matter how small, into a Roth IRA. He said that since I was young, time and compounding would work in my favor (hmmm, starting to sound familiar!). I eventually headed his advice and opened up a Roth, putting in just $25 a month, which was all I could afford at the time.

Fast forward another year or so, and I came across the book "Smart Women Finish Rich" by David Bach. In it, there is a really neat graph showing how investing when you're young pays off.

The message has stuck, and it's one I've passed onto my brothers and anyone else who will listen: Start investing when you're young because time and compound interest will work in your favor!

What's the best financial advice you've ever received?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hope Chest Legacy

Just a quick note:

I just read a post on MoneySavingMom's website today about Hope Chest Legacy. There are a group of women collecting items right now to send to orphans in the Ukraine. Items are due by October 15th to be included in the shipment going to the Urkaine. If anyone who knows me personally would like to send something, I'm planning on mailing a box out early next week. There is a page discussing the clothing needs and a page discussing the medical needs.

Remember the New Balance shoes I won? Well, I don't really care for how they fit, so I'm going to donate them! Fun!!!