Gasoline prices are going up and there is no outlook of it coming back down. Today on local news channel, KTLA, it was reported that the average driver in California is paying 3,000 dollars a year in gas. I thought my monthly budget was high–and it is, but I never thought to figure out the annual cost of gasoline. (Is ignorance bliss?) I wanted to check my figures and plan for this impact on my future living expenses so here we go…
My husband spends $400 dollars a month and I spend around $240 dollars a month, excluding business travel which varies. So let’s look at just the personal budget for now, 640.00 a month which equals: drum roll, wait, cancel the drum roll, I can’t afford it! It equals $7,680 a year!! $7,680 a year fellow travelers!! That does not include weekends, vacations, or trips out of the ordinary. I’m sure if we add those factors in, our budget must be around 8,000 dollars!
There are a few things I can do to save some money on gas, not many, but every little bit helps!
And a special note, looking for that great gift idea, think gas cards!
Happy motoring my friend!
Those of you who follow me, know I am a fan of Dave Ramsey. My husband even commissioned a friend (Karine Ramirez @ Make It Snappy Bags) to make me a darling fabric envelope system so I don’t have to carry all my envelopes. Well, it is Tuesday the 29th and payday isn’t until the first of the month. After a busy weekend, I looked in my grocery section of my wallet and two presidents and one Secretary of treasury looked back at me! Washington, Lincoln and Alexander Hamilton were at the ready! Sixteen dollars! Sixteen dollars to last the next four days until payday Friday.
I usually “shop” out of my freezer on Sunday to defrost the week’s food, but had forgotten. In fact, we had breakfast for dinner last night. Eggs, bacon, oranges and Eggo toaster waffles.. Which, by the way the family loved!
I have a planned shopping trip to the big box store after pay day to replenish what we went through during the holidays but had to make due with what was in the freezer. I had 2 links of Polska Kielbasa, center cut pork chops,and a roast (Hallelujah!) . The frozen meat went into the fridge for a safe slow thaw. Now, what was in the pantry? I had instant potatoes, tostada shells, tortilla chips, re-fried beans, and our favorite salsa in a jar. I had fresh carrots and celery, 1/2 head of lettuce and 1/4 brick of cheese. Thank goodness all I needed for lunches had breakfast was some fresh fruit.
I made a list of what I had, what I planned on making and what I would need to buy. I was feeling creative so, I made a chart and used my new colorful markers to lay out my plan of action. There are four columns; “Entree”, “Groceries I Have At Home”, “Meal Idea” and “What I Need” in the last column. (see photo above)
I know this reads like a lot of work, but it actually took me less than a half hour to get this all together. I listened to my new favorite podcast, the Stupendous Marriage, (average length of their podcasts are around 24 minutes) as I made the food inventory, decided on some simple meals, and made my grocery list. By the time the hosts were signing off, I had everything ready for my shopping trip. The positive message about marriage and family also was cool to listen to while I was serving my family.
I invested a half hour and my grocery list is minimal which is great for both time and money management!
This one’s a family favorite. One of the best parts of this dish is just how easy it is to prepare. Sure, there’s some sous chef work involved in the salsa part. But it’s not that bad when you consider you’re only cutting up a mango, some tomatoes and cilantro. Oh, and the lemon to drizzle over all over the plated meal.
Crab Cakes: No hero here! I buy the pre-made, frozen ones from Smart and Final. I get 10 in a bag for around 12 dollars.
Put all ingredients into a glass bowl and toss. Refrigerate.
Special notes: This salsa is so colorful and delicious, it can be used on a variety of foods. I use lime for pork and beef and lemon for chicken, fish and vegetarian dishes. This salsa refrigerates and keeps well for approx. 2 days. This beautiful salsa can be used to top a number of dishes and I have even doubled the batch for potluck tables!
Cook crab cakes according to directions, either in the microwave or oven. Cooking in the microwave allows you to have this dish on the table by the time you make the salsa. Make the salsa the night before and you can have dinner on the table in 9 minutes!
My husband recently returned from a business trip with a horrible cold. I guess shaking 300 hands at a trade show will expose you to some pretty nasty stuff. (Seems like someone didn’t use the hand sanitizer I packed in his carry-on.)
None-the-less, he’s home now and I’ve got a weapon in my arsenal that will help kick his immune system into gear to get rid of this bug and raise his spirits with some home-cooked comfort food. I’ve got a variation of this called Chicken Soup Without The Soup but the broth is part of the magic in this steaming bowl of goodness.
* I buy a large bag of individual skinless, boneless, chicken breasts. They thaw in no time under cold water. Also, as a Weight Watcher, I can always quickly prepare just one for myself for a healthful lunch or if the rest of the family is indulging in pizza! This chicken also reduces the calories and fat you get from using a whole chicken with skin. A soup laden with fat can be too heavy for a tummy that is already upset or empty tummy.
Cook noodles according to directions, drain and put aside, You can use and pasta you like or even white rice!
Place thawed chicken in a large pot, cover with broth. Add water to cover chicken by 4 inches. Add seasoning to taste. Bring chicken to boil. add vegetables and let simmer for an hour. Take out chicken and shred. Return to pot.
I prepare the noodles ahead of time and put in the bowl as I ladle in soup. This keeps the noodles from becoming water logged and swollen! Ths way you can store our soup for a few days in the fridge or even in your freezer without it becoming mush!
It’s also one of the most customizable drinks too. For instance, I made this Sangria in the Fall so I added some pumpkin liqueur and green apples to it for an extra, seasonal kick. In case you’re wondering, it tasted amazing! Feel free to experiment because the ingredients are pretty inexpensive!
Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the orange into the wine. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add liqueur, sugar and brandy. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving. If you’d like to serve right away, use chilled red wine and serve over lots of ice.
Addition ideas: sliced strawberries, peaches, handful of fresh blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, a shot or two of gin, brandy or rum