Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 35 Debt Free

Being debt free is essential if one wants to govern himself. Living a provident lifestyle, including preparing meals at home from food on the shelves is an integral part of achieving that goal. Somehow when a goal is defined in terms of food choices, and our opportunity cost is measured against a 35 cent loaf of bread, our choices change. One success story worth emulating is of the Hildebrandt family who eliminated over $106,000 of debt in five years. After reading this I wonder why any of us carry even a mortgage.
Full article here: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/hildebrandt-lose-debt-nfcc-1278.php

Our family has been debt free for a number of years. We used a strategy similar to Dave Ramsey's, a well known financial advisor, whose principles include
1) Pay a tithe of 10%
2) Save $1000 in emergency fund
3) Eliminate debt using a pay off schedule
4) Save enough to cover 6 months of expenses

Cooking from home saves money in several ways including:
1) Buying on Sale
2) Buying in bulk at a fraction of the cost of smaller retail sizes
3) Buying fresh foods in season and preserving them for the rest of the year
4) Using the cheapest forms of food - in its raw state. For example a 25 pound sack of grain has been handled once between grower and market. A frozen pizza crust has been handled many times. Each time a new manufacturing process or packaging occurs, labor costs increase the expense the product. I save all the labor and packaging costs by doing it myself.
5) Decreasing health care costs because this is the healthiest way to eat - whole grains, legumes, raw nuts and seeds, bottled over canned, frozen from the garden is more nutrient dense than frozen in the store. You are also in control of the sugar and fat in your home cooking.
6) Healthier family interactions and emotional health due to a more secure marriage in part because of decreased financial stress, increased time together at meals and increased interdependence. Everyone in the family helps in the kitchen. This avoids costs like an Anasazi camp or marriage counseling.

Breakfast: Holiday Breakfast casserole. This is a "French toast" casserole with apples and raisins layered on the bottom of bread slices with a custard sauce poured over the top. I used dehydrated apples, decreased the eggs to 2/6 and used a white sauce of dried milk and flour to pour over the layered bread. Wonderful. This is a do ahead 4-24 hours so I made it the night before and put it in the oven a hour before we wanted to eat. I will definitely cook this on a regular basis.

Lunch: Moroccan Winter Squash Soup. (Recipe in the "Recipe" blog in Jan) The spices in this soup including cinnamon and cloves were delicious even though unusual in a soup. The children did not really appreciate the squash but they liked the garbanzo beans. I think this is a keeper.

Snack: Brownie Pudding cake again (like the 12 year old said - I can make as much of it as I want! No eggs!)
Dinner: Spaghetti with sauce from a can that the children prepared. I went on a "Romantic Get Away" for the evening to welcome my husband home after 14 days in India on business.


  1. What a great story!
    Keep it up!
    Prakash Dheeriya, PhD
    Father, Author & Professor of Finance
    Finance for Kidz series
    finance4kidz dot com

  2. Thank you, Dr. Dheeriya,
    I enjoyed your site. There are a multitude of resource for teaching financial responcibility. The "father" role is most impresive.

  3. Will you share your "french toast" casserole recipe? It sounds yummy!!

  4. Holiday French Toast
    1 cup brown sugar or honey
    1/2 cup butter
    3 tsp ground cinnamon (divided)
    3 tart apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
    1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
    1 loaf Italian or French bread cut in 1 inch slices
    1-1/2 cups milk
    6 large eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    Combine brown sugar, butter and 1 tsp cinnamon in a 13X9-inch baking dish. Add apples and raisins: toss to coat well. Arrange slices of bread on top.
    Mix eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining 2 tsp cinnamon until well blended.
    Pour mixture over bread, soaking bread completely. Cover and refrigerate 4-24 hours.
    Bake covered with aluminum foil,in a preheated 375 oven for 30 min.
    Uncover and bake 5 min. Remove from oven; let stand 5 min. Serve warm.