Cheryle Finley: Money-saving tips from the simple saltine

The Great Depression taught us many things. My dad always told the story of going to the grocery store with his father and asking for a penny. He was told there wasn’t even one extra penny that week. And that was true most weeks.

One thing the Depression taught was how to make the most of what food there was in the pantry. Many times, simple foods were reinvented into different dishes simply by using one’s imagination.

One staple that made its way into many meals was the saltine cracker.

Who hasn’t heard about customers ordering a cup of hot water at the diner then mixing in ketchup and crackers and calling it tomato soup. Apparently saltines were often set on the counters so it was easy for patrons to fill up on these freebies. I suspect many crackers were stuffed into pockets before leaving.

Saltines were also used at home to create ingenious dishes. Take for example the mock apple pie. The crackers resemble stewed apples, so voila you have dessert.

While today we make Hello Dolly bars using graham crackers, the recipe originally called for saltines.

Fried crackers, or crackerflitters, are saltines soaked in water then fried in oil. Next comes a covering of maple syrup or sugar. These were a popular treat back in the day. Water soaked crackers don’t sound appetizing, but fried ones sound good.

Saltines were used to replace cereal for breakfast. Break up the crackers and pour on the milk and many considered it the day’s breakfast of champions. Another breakfast idea is coffee soup. Simply crush buttered saltines into hot sugared coffee for coffee soup. That’s a whole new look at breakfast.

Buttered saltines dipped in sweetened condensed milk or saltines baked with Worcestershire sauce and butter are ideas for the versatile cracker. Sounds like the saltine was a valuable commodity in many kitchens.

Other Depression-era savings ideas include putting a sprinkle of salt in cheap coffee to make it taste better. A home remedy that’s new to me is onion cough syrup. Apparently onion slices layered with regular sugar and left for six to eight hours produces a medical wonder to sooth scratchy throats and stuffy noses.

Good lessons about saving money and making do with what’s available comes from 12tomatoes.com.

Today’s recipes are all about saltine crackers. We know they make a great crust for baked entrees and are at home with a salad, but they are also used in many desserts. The first recipe calls for mini-saltines, but if you can’t find them, regular crackers will do. This recipe is from littledairyontheprairie.com. The fudge recipe is from pinchofyum.com and is surprisingly easy. What’s not to like about the peanut butter and chocolate combo? Something different comes in the form of the salad from slowcookergourmet.net. So easy and so good. Give it a try and I think you will be surprised. Have a wonderful week and happy eating.

Parmesan cheese crackers

1 (11-ounce) box mini saltine crackers

1/3 cup butter

2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1 package dry ranch dressing mix

1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary

Melt butter in large microwavable bowl, about 30 seconds. Add cheese, dressing mix and rosemary to butter; stir to combine. Add crackers and toss to coat. Microwave in 30-second increments for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container. Yields 20 servings.

10-minute peanut butter fudge

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons butter

30 saltine crackers, finely crushed in food processor or blender

1 teaspoon vanilla

11/4 cups peanut butter

11/2 cups chocolate chips

Sea salt

Place cracker crumbs in large mixing bowl with peanut butter. Combine sugar, milk and butter in saucepan over low heat. Bring to boil and boil for one minute. The mixture will look a little frothy. Remove from heat and immediately pour over crackers and peanut butter. Add vanilla and stir to combine until an even, soft dough forms. Press into 9-inch glass baking dish lined with parchment paper if desired. Cool at least one hour or until firm. Melt chips and drizzle over fudge then sprinkle with salt. Yields 12 servings.

Saltine cracker salad

4 ounces saltine crackers

1 cup chopped tomatoes

3 green onions, chopped including most of the green tops

2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped

1 cup mayonnaise, or more if needed

Pepper

Crumble crackers into coarse crumbs and place in bowl. Add tomatoes, onion and eggs. Mix in one cup mayonnaise and pepper to taste. Add more mayonnaise if needed. Chill one to two hours before serving. Yields 6 servings.

Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.

Why saving for something fun is good for your financial health

Financial experts tend to have firm ideas about the most important goals: you should save for retirement, pay off debt and build an emergency fund. Buying a pair of US$200 trainers or an ultra-high definition TV is probably not on that list.

But maybe saving for something you really, really want isn’t frivolous. It may be exactly what you need to get your financial life on track.

Researchers who have studied the role of savings in financial health say what’s important is the habit of putting aside money and having a plan for that cash. People who have a planned savings habit are four times more likely to be financially healthy than those who don’t, according to a report by the US non-profit the Center for Financial Services Innovation. That habit is more important than income, age or other demographic characteristics, the report found.

Saving even small amounts can help people avoid the high cost of being broke. A few hundred bucks saved may help bypass credit card debt and bank overdraft fees. It can help avoid eviction, or losing a job because the car broke down. Even a thin financial cushion can help people become more financially stable.

“That ability to be resilient in the face of ups and downs is a very important component of financial health,” says John Thompson, senior vice president and head of research consulting at the Center for Financial Services Innovation. “It also helps people avoid high-cost financial services when they face a short-term challenge.”

But saving a small amount, only to see it wiped out by an unexpected expense, is not satisfying. Saving up to buy something we want, on the other hand, can feel like a real win – and it’s the winning that matters to our brains. Each time we anticipate getting a reward, our brains are treated to a shot of dopamine, the chemical that makes us want to repeat a pleasurable experience.

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Read more:

How to budget for a surprise expense in the UAE

Bounced cheques in UAE: new rules ‘a progressive step for the justice system’

Seven in ten UAE residents unsure how to achieve their financial goals

20 tips to get your finances back on track in the UAE

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Recalling our small wins can also help us learn to persist when difficulties arise, rather than just giving up, says Michael Thomas, a financial counsellor in the United States.

Remembering the times we’ve achieved a money-focused goal helps counteract the “negative automatic thoughts and catastrophic thinking” that keeps people from seeing progress, says Mr Thomas, who has studied psychology and also co-hosts Nothing Funny About Money a public radio programme in Atlanta.

If people are not already in the habit of saving money, their goal doesn’t need to be lofty – and perhaps shouldn’t be. Being told to save $1 million for retirement or three months’ worth of expenses for emergencies could cause them to give up in despair.

“When I’m starting from zero, those seem like magical, fantastical, unattainable sums of money,” Mr Thompson says. “How would you begin is a daunting challenge.”

What may be worse is telling non-savers that they need to put aside money for retirement and emergencies and a host of other goals. Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management found people were much more likely to save money when presented with a single goal. When contemplating multiple goals, people considered the trade-offs and put off taking action, the researchers found.

Letting people set their own goals also may goose savings habits. WiseBanyan, a digital investing website, found the percentage of customers who set up automatic savings plans increased about 50 per cent after it allowed them to create their own milestones or goals, whether retirement, a trip around the world or a new wardrobe, says chief operating officer and co-founder Vicki Zhou.

“When you personalise it, the way you think about it changes,” Ms Zhou says.

That’s not to say people should save only for the fun stuff and ignore their long-term financial health. But the fun stuff can be a powerful motivator.

“The behaviour of savings is what we’re trying to encourage,” Mr Thompson says. “It’s not that we’re suggesting (saving for emergencies and retirement) isn’t important, but before that comes the behaviour.”

Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a financial planner and author of Your Credit Score

Pins on Pinterest: Beat the chaos with a new bullet journal

While I am not at all artistic, not a doodler and not talented in beautiful lettering, I do love journaling and list making. So, naturally, I love the idea of bullet journaling. This new trend for quick, short, daily jotting down of ideas, doodles and lists is perfect for busy women who want to capture every day’s moments, but just simply don’t have the time for lengthy diary entries.

Always looking for ideas, I noticed there were many free printables ready to be printed off and added into either your existing journal binder or even glued into your planner. Here are a few great ideas — everything from writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing to coloring pages that incorporate goals for the year to daily and weekly planners. For more ideas, visit our Ultimate Organizing board on Pinterest.

Writing prompts

When working on a goal to write in your journal daily, it’s often difficult to come up with topics when your days has been just average and ordinary. While you might not want to regurgitate your daily chore list in your journal, there are some days when you need a little creative journaling inspiration. That’s where creative writing prompts come in handy.

When considering writing prompts, you could seek out different themes. For instance, if your bullet journal for 2018 is centered around gratitude, then seek out writing prompts that compel you to document your thoughts about how you are thankful. Be sure to have fun with your prompts, too. Add in ideas like “Favorite places to eat,” “Best movies I’ve seen,” ‘10 little-known facts about me,” “My dream vacation” or “My strengths.”

Yearly goals

If your New Year kicked off with a list of resolutions, take some time to incorporate those goals into your daily or weekly bullet journaling. If weight loss, exercise, developing a new talent, saving money or cutting out bad habits is part of your resolution plans this year, develop a tracker into your doodling or list making.

I’ve been tracking my weight loss for the last year and I’m hoping to ramp up my intake of protein every day. So I might jot down a new protein-rich recipe every day that I can reference when looking for something new. I can also track my water intake and exercise, too, in my journal. Doodling little water glasses, I can color in each glass I drink throughout the day. Or draw out a set of dumbbells for every workout.

Planner pages

Despite fully embracing the convenience and alerts provided by my iPhone’s calendar, I still love a hardcopy version of a planner. There’s something relaxing and fulfilling about filling in all those events into a physical calendar, writing down task lists, developing goals and just capturing thoughts, quotes and memories in a book.

Once upon a time, I used to invest a lot of money into fancy, detailed planners, complete with deluxe leather binders. I’ve recently loved the idea of downloading free printable versions of planners. Not only can I save money, but I can try out a variety of planner styles and options before I fully commit to one particular format. Find one you like, print out your pages and then find a cute binder, or dust off one of those old, fancy ones.

7 Tips to Save More Money in 2018


A penny saved is a penny earned, and in this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy wants to give you seven tips that can help you live below your means. That way, you’ll be able to save more on a yearly basis. That could be the difference between making a great investment, having the capital to start that business you’ve always dreamed about or retiring early.

Start by deciding just how you want to track your budget. If you’re not mindful about how you’re spending your money, it’s likely that you’re being wasteful without even realizing.

Click play to learn more tips and start saving.

Related: 5 Steps to Develop a Mindset of Success

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Pins on Pinterest: Beat the chaos with a new bullet journal

While I am not at all artistic, not a doodler and not talented in beautiful lettering, I do love journaling and list making. So, naturally, I love the idea of bullet journaling. This new trend for quick, short, daily jotting down of ideas, doodles and lists is perfect for busy women who want to capture every day’s moments, but just simply don’t have the time for lengthy diary entries.

Always looking for ideas, I noticed there were many free printables ready to be printed off and added into either your existing journal binder or even glued into your planner. Here are a few great ideas — everything from writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing to coloring pages that incorporate goals for the year to daily and weekly planners. For more ideas, visit our Ultimate Organizing board on Pinterest.

Writing prompts

When working on a goal to write in your journal daily, it’s often difficult to come up with topics when your days has been just average and ordinary. While you might not want to regurgitate your daily chore list in your journal, there are some days when you need a little creative journaling inspiration. That’s where creative writing prompts come in handy.

When considering writing prompts, you could seek out different themes. For instance, if your bullet journal for 2018 is centered around gratitude, then seek out writing prompts that compel you to document your thoughts about how you are thankful. Be sure to have fun with your prompts, too. Add in ideas like “Favorite places to eat,” “Best movies I’ve seen,” ‘10 little-known facts about me,” “My dream vacation” or “My strengths.”

Yearly goals

If your New Year kicked off with a list of resolutions, take some time to incorporate those goals into your daily or weekly bullet journaling. If weight loss, exercise, developing a new talent, saving money or cutting out bad habits is part of your resolution plans this year, develop a tracker into your doodling or list making.

I’ve been tracking my weight loss for the last year and I’m hoping to ramp up my intake of protein every day. So I might jot down a new protein-rich recipe every day that I can reference when looking for something new. I can also track my water intake and exercise, too, in my journal. Doodling little water glasses, I can color in each glass I drink throughout the day. Or draw out a set of dumbbells for every workout.

Planner pages

Despite fully embracing the convenience and alerts provided by my iPhone’s calendar, I still love a hardcopy version of a planner. There’s something relaxing and fulfilling about filling in all those events into a physical calendar, writing down task lists, developing goals and just capturing thoughts, quotes and memories in a book.

Once upon a time, I used to invest a lot of money into fancy, detailed planners, complete with deluxe leather binders. I’ve recently loved the idea of downloading free printable versions of planners. Not only can I save money, but I can try out a variety of planner styles and options before I fully commit to one particular format. Find one you like, print out your pages and then find a cute binder, or dust off one of those old, fancy ones.

Get PAID to watch TV: Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis reveals how to earn £40-£70 a pop

How will I be paid for my services?

You can earn £40-£70 for face-to-face group discussions and you’ll usually be paid in cash at the event.

If you can’t be bothered to venture outside, you can still get £2-£3 for 10-15 minute online surveys.

Panel members will be paid by bank transfer, PayPal or Amazon email gift voucher within two weeks of filling out the survey.

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Money Talks News: How not to blow your tax refund

For the people who will receive a tax return, there are a variety things that they can do with their money.

Options weigh from spending the money on shopping, using it for traveling, catching up on bills or simply saving it for a rainy day.

According to the IRS, the average tax refund in 2017 was about $2,800.

Anyone who is expecting a big check this year knows the temptation is going to be great to blow it.

But it’s important to consider that this refund check isn’t “found money.” It’s actually your money. Money you overpaid to Uncle Sam. Now it’s time to make the best use of it. Here are some ideas:

First, pay down high-interest debt. No debt? Beef up that emergency fund or boost your retirement savings.

Idea number two: Become productive. Take a class or start a business or leverage your refund into more money.

And a final good and smart idea is to make a charitable donation. By doing so, you’ll be helping others yourself by creating a deduction for next year’s taxes.

If those options aren’t exactly what you had in mind, at least try not to spend it frivolously 

An example of that would be to create more debt. Resist the urge to use that refund as a down payment to borrow for a car or other depreciating asset.

Also deciding to loan your money to someone who might not pay it back, might not be the brightest thing to do.

And a final foolish way to use your tax refund: frittering it away to temporarily live beyond your means. Remember, this isn’t free money. You worked hard for it.

Here’s one more tip: While it’s obviously nice to get a check in the mail this time every year, if you overpaid your taxes, you could adjust your W-4, have less withheld from each paycheck, and have more to save throughout the year.

More ideas on what to do with your  tax refund can be found at the Money Talks News website.

© 2018 Money Talks News. All Rights Reserved.

Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail and What You Should Do Instead


Did you look forward to the holidays for a short rest to recharge your batteries, reflect upon your business and then start planning for the new year?

Many of my clients share that they enjoy the short break, but then harsh reality of life quickly sets in, and they complain about being tired, overworked and burned out. Can you relate? Most entrepreneurs and executives have high-performance expectations for themselves and can feel disappointed with their lack of progress regarding their health, relationships and their revenues after reflecting upon the past year. That’s when we are now convinced that something’s gotta change, right?

Related: 10 Simple Daily Practices That Will Make You Happier

Suddenly, we are empowered and excited by moving into the “New Year.” We come up with all sorts of New Year’s resolution ideas. It’s our chance to start fresh like a new baby. We get in the car and rush to join the gym (again) while setting some great New Year’s resolutions for our body and our business, thinking to ourselves, This is it, this is my new year of success, prosperity and happiness.

A lot of people have great resolution ideas to achieve their goals, like automatic bank transfers for saving money and a new smartwatch to help with weight loss. However, statistics show that only 9.2 percent of people ever achieve their New Year’s resolutions and break free from their bad habits.

I believe that New Year’s resolutions not only don’t work but can make matters worse. Most people live in a safe comfort zone where they have scripted their life with their subconscious mind. The subconscious acts as a recording that repeats the same song over and over again. We might be telling ourselves all day long that we want something different from our past but, in vain, our history plays back by default, and we get the same results.

Do I need to remind you about the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing and expecting different results? Now that I have hopefully touched a sensitive nerve, you are probably asking, “So why do most New Year’s resolutions fail? If they don’t work, then what does work?”

Related: I Started Saying ‘No’ to These 6 Things. My Life and My Business Got a Lot Better.

The reasons why most New Year’s resolutions fail

Unfortunately, most of us create too much resistance by injecting too many resolutions and goals into our minds. We write down a long list of stuff like the following.

  • Double business revenues.
  • Get more online reviews.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Quit drinking.
  • Lose weight.
  • Spend more time with friends and family.
  • Read more books.
  • Eat more healthy food or stop eating junk food.
  • Learn to play an instrument.
  • Learn a new skill, like social media marketing.
  • Meet new people.
  • Travel more.

This process results in setting too many expectations and creating unrealistic goals. We end up with a long list of trying to do everything at once, relying on our emotions to keep us motivated until we achieve them.

Related: 12 Scientifically Proven Ways to Reinvent Yourself

So, what should you do instead of making New Year’s resolutions?

Change just one of your habits that creates the most change.

I discovered that making just one small change in your daily repetitive routine is a crucial step to alleviate the resistance that comes with change.

Remember that real change takes time, effort and patience. According to research from University College London, it takes about 66 days to completely break an old habit, and it can take much longer to master something new. While you are anchoring this unique pattern of action into your life, you are also uploading a new program in your subconscious. To stay motivated, it is important to celebrate even the smallest positive changes.

As you transform, it is very natural to experience different waves of emotion as you become more aware of how you feel. Honestly, self-awareness is the key to unlock all your potential for success.

Related: 5 Powerful Ways to Become Your Best Self

21 habits of highly successful people

What do highly successful entrepreneurs have in common? They share productive habits that lead to prolific action which translates into positive outcomes and results!

Ultra-successful people like Bill Gates, Daymond John, Oprah, Richard Branson, Marcus Lemonis, Deepak Chopra and even Napoleon Bonaparte all share everyday habits that are proven to produce success:

Here’s just a list of the 21 habits of successful entrepreneurs:

  1. They keep a journal.
  2. They talk to themselves in a mirror.
  3. They meditate.
  4. They read.
  5. They embrace their fears.
  6. They know that failure is part of success.
  7. They associate with only positive people.
  8. They set intentions.
  9. They talk to the universe.
  10. They are thankful.
  11. They prioritize their time.
  12. They don’t sweat the small stuff.
  13. They focus on what they can control.
  14. They actively listen.
  15. They enjoy money as a byproduct of their dream.
  16. They don’t count on luck.
  17. They love having fun and celebrate.
  18. They forgive themselves and others.
  19. They never give up but will change when needed.
  20. They don’t make rash or emotional decisions.
  21. They listen to their intuition.

Related: 5 Keys to Making Your New Year’s Financial Resolutions Stick

Hopefully, you noticed that most of these new habits are not activities, like going to the gym. Instead, they relate to creating new patterns for your thoughts. Once you change your thoughts, your habits and actions will automatically change, too.

It typically takes 21 days to shift into a new gear, so don’t give up! In his bestselling book Psycho-Cybernetics, author Dr. Maxwell Maltz says the “human mind takes almost exactly 21 days to adjust to a major life change.” Even though his research was originally on traumatic life events, he claims the principle applies “universally” and works just as well on positive changes.

If you can stick with it for only 21 days, you will have an excellent chance to succeed in achieving your goal because you changed just one habit. Commitment is key! You can do anything for 21 days, right?

Related: 8 Ways You Can Use Science to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Don’t worry if you fail for that day, just keep going to the next day and the next day after that. Remember to celebrate your small victories, so you train your subconscious brain to program you for continued success.

Start by doing something about today and don’t waste your time thinking about why it may not work, or you won’t do it. Your one new daily habit will soon replace your motivation, and it will become a consistent part of your life, like brushing your teeth.

The reason you are an entrepreneur is that you are far from average and taking educated risks gives you an edge. You rise up daily, make life-changing decisions, and you hopefully perform better every day by overcoming challenges and solving other people’s problems. You can do this!