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Old 12-18-2008, 12:03 AM   #261
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Participated in a wedding in Nov. on mainland and had to rent a Tux for $130. They gave me a "free" coupon worth $25 on in-store merchandise. Found one pair of shorts for $30 (so $5 my cost). This past summer I bought a dozen pair of "shorty" socks at the Aloha Bowl swap meet. Other than that, DW spent all the clothing allowance - probably about $300 total (not counting the Tux).

First semester of college, I lost 16 pounds and could have been one of those starving (pick the country) poster children. Not so much anymore, unfortunately.

Several of us have said it. We look back fondly on some of those days of deprivation. But, honestly, I wouldn't want to go back - except in my mind.

Now, I spend pretty much as much as I want on whatever I want. Thing is, I don't seem to want very much (note clothing allowance).
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Old 12-18-2008, 06:07 AM   #262
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Up until a year ago I easily spent $3-3.5k a year on business suits/shirts/ties/shoes...its easy to spend 6-700 a pop for a full set of nice but not designer suits & shirts. I was finally able to convince a few old-line guys that we could have business casual in the summer when we weren't seeing customers. When winter came I just kept wearing the casual stuff. So far this year I've only bought one suit, and no shirts or ties...just been using the older ones. Add in some $19.99 Dockers from the outlet, a few polos, and I'm in for less than $1k this year. Embarassingly high by most of y'all's standards, but I'm still working a C-level j*b, so gotta look purty.

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Old 12-18-2008, 08:40 AM   #263
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Martha,

Recipe, pleeze

tmm
Every month or two I just cook up a batch of beans and then freeze them in appropriate sized containers. I often make bean soup and it only takes a short time. Pull out a container of beans. Throw them in some water with chicken bullion and taco seasoning, throw in a can of diced tomatos or fresh tomatos, throw in some corn (I buy frozen and just use some of the bag), onion, cabbage and green pepper. Soup in 10 minutes. If you want it more substantial, cut up a potato and sweet potato and throw those in too. If you want non-vegetarian, throw in some chorizio. It is suprising how fast it is to make this soup. I sometimes make a fair amount and freeze a couple of containers for later. It seems to freeze OK.

I don't eat a lot of rice after eating rice all the time for years. You are right, rice doesn't freeze well. Sometimes I'll nuke some rice and throw in peas (again frozen) and saffron.
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Old 12-18-2008, 11:45 AM   #264
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Thank you Martha for sharing your soup fixing tips!

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Old 12-18-2008, 09:30 PM   #265
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One other note on freezing beans... a pressure cooker is your friend. I keep a gallon ziploc for each: red, pinto, black beans in the freezer. I rotate through each and cook as needed.

Simple pressure cooker recipe:
Soak dry beans overnight. Drain. Add to pressure cooker, cover with water, add bay leaves, bring up to pressure. Cook 5 minutes (or less -- for freezing, I like beans a bit 'to the teeth' )

Instant cool the pressure cooker then spread the beans on a large sheet pan... when cool, pop into gallon freezer bag and freeze flat. Idea is to keep the beans from freezing together/clumping. Makes it mucho simple to use a bit of beans any time. To use, bang the bag to break up the beans, shake desired amount into bowl, cover with hot water, drain (or nuke if you want 'em hot, as is).

As Martha said, soups are super easy with a bit of stock and whatever veg is in the fridge (a bit of cumin one day or Old Bay/crab boil another).

Our kids love the beans as a side, simply mixed with fresh store-bought salsa.

Or if you have leftover rice, dump thawed red/pinto/black beans (cold) into cold rice, add pinch of fresh cilantro (and scallions), cumin & pepper, add your favorite italian dressing, mix with a fork = yum. Easy rice salad/side dish.

Frozen beans are a staple around these parts.

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Old 12-19-2008, 02:01 AM   #266
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Stoop,

I have only so far used split peas (to make split pea soup with), canned kidney beans for soup or salad and refried beans, but I am going to try the bean soaking you mentioned for freezing (cooking in a slow cooker instead of a pressure cooker though. I gave away my pressure cooker since it scared me too much!) I am gonna have to find meat and bean recipes for entrees so I won't have to cook something else with it.

I have been trying to add more fiber to my diet (Fiber One just doesn't cut it - gross stuff in my opinion), so eating beans should be a much tastier alternative. Besides they are so cheap that it will help me to get closer to the golden 3K/mo budget!

tmm
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:34 AM   #267
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I am gonna have to find meat and bean recipes for entrees so I won't have to cook something else with it.
Bean and Meat Recipes (my favorite chili's):

White Chili - 4 Servings


239 calories per serving, without toppings

lb (~ 2 cups) cooked, cubed chicken
of an onion chopped up
2 cups chicken broth
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1 can (15.5 oz) white kidney beans (cannelloni), undrained
16 black olives, sliced
cup corn
1 tsp garlic powder
tsp parsley
1 tsp ground cumin
tsp oregano
tsp ground red pepper

1. Using non-stick spray, slightly brown the cooked, cubed chicken. Remove chicken.
2. Cook the onion, then add the broth, green chilies and spices. Simmer 30 minutes, covered.
3. Stir in cooked chicken, beans, olives, and corn. Serve after warmed.


Top with cilantro. Add lo-fat sour cream (2 tbsp = 40 cal) and shredded cheese (1/8 cup cheese = 50 cal) if desired to each bowl. (With toppings, 329 cal per serving)


(This is really good served over crushed tortilla chips, if you have the calories to spare.)




-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Feed the Masses Chili


This makes a HUGE amount. Great for a superbowl party, or freeze up in small portions for quick meals later.

3# lean ground beef
~ 3 tablespoons oil
3 tsp minced garlic
5 green peppers, chopped
2 tsp seasoned salt
6 cups chopped onion
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
4 stalks celery, chopped
3 tsp crushed red pepper
24 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tsp ground red pepper
4 tsp chili powder
2 29 oz cans tomato sauce
1 tsp black pepper
2 40 oz cans light red kidney beans
1 tsp cumin
1 39 oz can hot chili beans
~ 1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
1 16 oz jar of hot salsa
2 5 oz cans olives (drained and sliced)
~ 5/8 cup of brown sugar (more or less to taste)

Saut the vegetables in oil in a large soup pot. (Add the mushrooms last to avoid overcooking).
Meanwhile, in another pan, brown the ground beef. Then add all of the spices to the ground beef and cook through.
Add the ground beef mixture to the vegetables. Now add the remainder of the ingredients except the brown sugar.
Stir completely. Last, add brown sugar, (to taste) in small increments.
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:21 AM   #268
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With the economy in the tank and cost of things going down..the 3K per month is very realistic now...
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Old 08-17-2009, 10:29 AM   #269
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With the economy in the tank and cost of things going down..the 3K per month is very realistic now...
We could do it if health insurance was not out of pocket. Otherwise probably not. Then again Ive slept in a car and had about 5 dollars in my pocket before Think Im getting to old for that trick though.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:27 AM   #270
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We could do it if health insurance was not out of pocket. .
Same here. But I've also noted that I could pay for health insurance myself and live on 3k/mo if someone else (govt?) would pay for my housing...... or food and clothing..... or travel and discretionary spending..... or......
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Old 08-17-2009, 12:14 PM   #271
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Same here. But I've also noted that I could pay for health insurance myself and live on 3k/mo if someone else (govt?) would pay for my housing...... or food and clothing..... or travel and discretionary spending..... or......
Good points. No clue why I used health insurance an example. Probably since Ive been seeing something on it every damn waking minute for the last 6 months.
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Old 08-17-2009, 12:37 PM   #272
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We're a family of four and I've been tracking expenses for about 18 months. $3000/month is a cushy month for us. It usually runs around $2800 but we could cut back to about $2650 if we had to.

This includes health insurance from DH's employer which costs $78/pre-tax bi-weekly pay.

Didn't notice how old this topic is.
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Old 08-17-2009, 01:18 PM   #273
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We could get by at our current standard of living for about $3000. If the mortgage was paid out it'd be more like $2000. This is in Canadian dollars and for a family of three.
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Old 08-17-2009, 06:21 PM   #274
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We're a family of four and I've been tracking expenses for about 18 months. $3000/month is a cushy month for us. It usually runs around $2800 but we could cut back to about $2650 if we had to.

This includes health insurance from DH's employer which costs $78/pre-tax bi-weekly pay.

.
To get an accurate picture of your costs, you need to include your portion of your health insurance cost plus your husband's employer's portion of health insurance costs. Just because hubby's employer doesn't funnel those dollars through you, they're still spent to your benefit and count as dollars you are living on.
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Old 08-17-2009, 06:37 PM   #275
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Then again Ive slept in a car and had about 5 dollars in my pocket before
I also remember when I had only $5, and did not even have a car to sleep in.








I was 15, and had to sleep in my bedroom.

Seriously, if we downsize to only one home, we can live on $3K a month and not feeling impoverished at all. The cost of living and taxes in AZ are low compared to elsewhere in the US. There would not much left over for travels, but that is not a matter of life-and-death. The cable TV and Internet provide plenty of recreation. BS'ing on this forum is free too.

Medical insurance is another matter though, and the premium keeps rising. It is the worrysome wild card in our expenses.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:37 PM   #276
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To get an accurate picture of your costs, you need to include your portion of your health insurance cost plus your husband's employer's portion of health insurance costs. Just because hubby's employer doesn't funnel those dollars through you, they're still spent to your benefit and count as dollars you are living on.
Yes, I understand this. I just don't have the information, so I have to go on the info that I have.

At retirement DH will have a public employees pension that will include an allowance for health care insurance for both of us. There will be an option for a Basic, Intermediate or Enhanced plan. If the allowance does not cover the cost of the plan, we will have to pay the difference. If the allowance is more than the plan cost the difference goes into a Retiree Medical Account.

The specifics are unknown for now. I expect we will have a monthly cost and expenses for this, we won't know how much until we get there.
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:11 PM   #277
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With the economy in the tank and cost of things going down..the 3K per month is very realistic now...

The only thing I noticed going down in price is the value of my home. Other than that prices on many things are going up, ie food, health insurance, and property tax increases.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:26 AM   #278
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If your not selling your home tomorrow it just doesn't matter and you might not be shopping in the right places,
Time to get a bit frugal and you will find that the cost of
living is just not that expensive...3K is fine..as long as you have no debt to pay
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:55 AM   #279
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The only thing I noticed going down in price is the value of my home. Other than that prices on many things are going up, ie food, health insurance, and property tax increases.
Perhaps you need to shop around a little more (I've noticed lower grocery prices lately):

Quote:
Wholesale prices dropped sharply in July, and over the past 12 months they have fallen by the largest amount on record.

The Labor Department said wholesale prices dropped 0.9 percent last month, driven by big decreases in both energy and food costs. Over the past 12 months, the prices of goods before they reach store shelves fell 6.8 percent.

Wholesale prices tumble -- chicagotribune.com
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Old 08-19-2009, 01:11 PM   #280
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We could do it on $3k/month, but we'd feel strapped. Probably sell the pickup truck, or at least pickle it and put it up on jack stands and change the insurance to "storage only" on it. The motorcycle has made a huge difference in what I spend on gasoline - 45-50 mpg on the bike vs. 17 with the truck. I haven't done the math on whether the bike is really cheaper transportation than a small car. Probably not. But it's certainly more fun.

I'd also have to have a talk with DW about her paper towel habit, and kick around the idea of a smaller house. Although housing is cheap here compared to the Washington, DC area it is certainly not the cheapest in the state.
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