Thursday, December 3, 2015

Eating Well

Rachel Jonat has a book out on minimalism, but it also has many good tips on frugal living. The two frequently go hand in hand. Do Less. You can find it on (Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to link you directly to the book.)

One of the tips that has proven to be most helpful to me has been Jonat's idea of specializing in just half a dozen dinners. Preferably ones that are cheap and that you really enjoy and that are nutritious. This version is more of the plant based kind.

In the morning have oatmeal for breakfast. You can make your own just as easily as buying those little packets with the added ingredients. If you must have cream and sugar, add half and half or milk and sugar from the bakery section. It will save you a great deal of money in the long run. If you pop it in the microwave it really will take no longer to cook either!

For lunch, take a sandwich or leftovers to work. Since I usually have twice the food I need at dinner from living alone, I eat leftovers for lunch each day.

For dinner on Monday: Italian curry. This is made with brown rice and lentils. Add fresh onion, garlic and curry powder with other seasonings halfway through the boiling process. When the lentils are soft enough to eat (not before!) add a can of diced tomatoes or puree.

Tuesday: Poor Man's Meal. Fry onion and two potatoes. Then add eggs, your favorite cheese, and a little salsa. This can be good with bacon or other breakfast meats as well.

Wednesday: Vegan chili. Simply made. Add a can of corn, a can of black beans, and a can of tomato sauce. Cook well and season to taste.

Thursday: Whole wheat spaghetti with homemade sauce. Saute a diced onion in olive oil or canola oil, then add tomato sauce and seasoning. Serve over spaghetti, topped with cheese.

Friday: Tuna rice casserole. Cook brown rice, mix in can of condensed cream soup with one can of water, add spinach or broccoli and can of drained tuna. Top with cheese.

Saturday: Soup made of precooked mashed potatoes, spinach, and chicken stock.

Sunday: French toast, leftovers, or repeat favorite dish.

By sticking to this menu, you can avoid lunching out due to necessity. You also know whether you need a certain item and can cut costs on unnecessary things when you shop. It also helps when you buy in bulk to save money.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thriving on $30,000 a year gross income

A good rule of thumb in budgeting is that gross means big. Therefore gross income is more than net income--or what you have after Uncle Sam takes his share of the bacon.

$30,000 annually is what you have before taxes! Remember that..

Nevertheless, it is possible to do well on $22,000 net income.

I will enumerate a sample budget. It is a one-size fits all. Those with radically different needs should look into The service is secure--and free.

  1. 10% to various charities and nonprofits. Somehow when I pay this first thing, I always have more than enough left over. $176 or $250 if you claim your deduction.
  2. 30% for housing. $528. Nothing fancy, but it can rent a modest apartment in most parts of the country.
  3. 15% for transportation. $264. With the heavy fuel costs, you might want to consider a car-lite lifestyle. As an added bonus, if you drive less than 20 miles per week, you may be eligible for lower insurance in some states.
  4. 15% for groceries. Less if you live alone or with only one other person. $264.
  5. 10% for insurance. $176.
  6. 10% for clothing, personal care, internet, phone, etc. $176.
  7. 10% left over for savings. $176.
Granted this is far from lavish. If you live in a place like New York or California it may not be doable. (Come to Indi-ana!) Nevertheless, there are people in this world--and country--with far less to live on.

The fact is, I live on far less than this. And I'm well-fed. Trust me; I am.