for release October 19, 2001
by Melodie Davis
Looking for Ways to Get By on Less?
A news release announcing a new book, Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites promised much: Save $7,000 in one year without working extra. I was hooked.
Although it had some pretty good ideas for cutting back, scrimping, and doing with less, as with many headlines, it promised more than it delivered to me personally. But maybe that was good, because I discovered that my husband and I were already pretty frugal. For instance, how many of these things do you already do? The author suggests eliminating:
* One $2.00 bag of potato chips each week: savings, $104 per year.
* Cut a weekly box of $4 cereal, $208 a year.
* Eat out one less time each week, at $30 a meal, save $1,560 annually.
* Order one less delivered pizza at $20, save $1040.
* No daily gourmet coffee at $2.50 a cup, $910.
* No daily liter of soda $365.
* No daily pack of snack cakes $455
* One less bottled water per day $455
* One cup less juice per person in a family of four $546
* 3 lbs. less red meat a week $390
* Bring your lunch instead of buying $4.00 a day or $1040 a year.
These all add up to over $7,000 a year. At first I thought, Wow. Then I realized, well, we rarely eat anywhere that costs $30 a meal: if we eat out, it's fast food for $15. If we cut back one less delivered pizza a week then we wouldn't be eating any pizza, (which might be a good idea). Or if we cut back one box of cereal, what are we supposed to eat? Something that costs more? My excuses went on. But I think the list is worth looking at because most of us can find several things to try.
The author of the book is Tawra Kellam and she also has information at a website, (www.notjustbeans.com <http://www.notjustbeans.com>) Tawra and her husband, Mike, tell how in five years they pulled themselves out of $20,000 of personal debt while averaging just $22,000 a year in income. Mike had built up about $3,000 of card debt before he got married, and then they had expenses from two moves, a couple of cars that broke down, and $7000 worth of medical bills that insurance didn't pay after their first child was born. Tawra came from a very thrifty family and at first they were polar opposites. Over the years they buckled down and gradually paid off their debt.
This book (which is actually a cookbook) reminds me of another great classic, especially in the area of doing more with less. This year was the 25th anniversary of the More with Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre, published by Herald Press. It was published the year my husband and I got married, 1976, and my copy was given to us as a wedding gift. It is now dog-eared and butter-stained. There are more than 800,000 copies of this book in print around the globe, and it emphasizes what every household can do to consume less of the world's resources, such as cutting back on meats and using more beans and grains as substitutes.
Our favorite recipe out of this book is for a multi-grained bread that my youngest daughter has practically memorized, she's made it so often (much to our delight). For a simple and delicious meal, fix a large bowl of soup (your favorite canned is even okay), mix with a loaf of this bread (see below) for a deeply satisfying and cheap supper. Add cheese and some favorite fall apples and your nutrition is complete:
Oatmeal Bread - 2 loaves
Combine in large bowl: 1 c. quick oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ c. brown sugar
1 T. salt
2 T. margarine
Pour over: 2 c. boiling water. Stir to combine.
Separately dissolve: 2 pkg. Dry yeast in ½ c. warm water.
When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast mixture.
Then stir in 5 ½-6 c. white flour.
Raise twice and bake as usual for bread, about 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, Ella Rohrer and Carol Ann Maust, from More with Less Cookbook.
Everyone I know who owns this cookbook has an absolutely favorite recipe from it and feels very attached to the volume. An indication of how attached people feel came to me last night as I put the cookbook in my briefcase to take to work so I could copy the recipe for this column. My daughter got a real look of panic on her face and said, "Mom, where are you taking that cookbook?"! I assured her it would come back home!
For information on More With Less Cookbook visit www.mph.org <http://www.mph.org>.
Do you have a recipe you’d like to share? Send it to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail: Melodie@mennomedia.org.
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from a number of organizations including the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three growing daughters.
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