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  • Wendell Brock

Tastes Like Savings

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes holiday shopping, party planning, and Christmas cards, which equals more spending. If you haven’t planned for all the extra spending in your budget and set that money aside your wallet could be in for a real tight squeeze. Let’s go over some money saving tips to help keep the holiday season merry and bright.


It may seem obvious, but the surest way to have more money is to eliminate your debts. One popular method is “snowballing” your debts. Focus on paying more on a single debt, once it’s paid off keep paying that same amount, but apply it to the next debt. By doing this your spending stays the same, but you continue to pay off your debts at an accelerated rate.

Another sure way of saving money is to stop paying for so many things. Cancel any extra or unnecessary subscriptions or services that are cluttering up your budget and sucking up your extra cash. We all enjoy having entertainment, but sometimes it’s easy to take that to extremes in today’s world where there are so many extra things available. Choose the one or two you use the most and cancel the others.


When budgeting time comes, many people are shocked to find out how much they spend on food, especially if you eat out regularly. A quick way to cut down at the grocery store is to stop purchasing the “little extras” like the extra bag of chips, cookies, or the eye catching goodies at the register. Those little purchases add up. When doing your grocery shopping, make a list of items you need (this usually requires a bit of meal planning), and only get the items on your list. Don’t be afraid to use coupons. Just like all those extra little purchases add up, so do the little savings here and there provided by coupons. Money not spent is money saved. There are also apps that will pay you for scanning your receipt. Every little bit helps.


When it comes to eating out, most people know that a restaurant meal costs way more than one cooked at home. One of the most satisfying ways to save money might just be to start cooking at home. While simple in idea, home cooked meals can save you quite a bit! We live in a fast paced world and quick and easy meals have become the norm. However, there is much to be said about a good old fashioned homecooked meal. Not only does it save money, but it brings family and friends together. It helps you take time to enjoy the moment, which brings even more value to those moments.


The average national cost of a chicken dinner at a restaurant is $16.80. To make chicken dinner at home, including 8 oz of chicken, a side of mashed potatoes, and a side of vegetables costs you about $3.20 a serving. If you multiply that by the size of a family of four you’re looking at over $67 (not including a tip or drinks) at a restaurant compared to just under $13 at home. That is a huge savings! If you were to normally eat out once a week, as a family of four for one month, you’d be paying about $335 compared to just $65 for the homecooked meal. That’s a difference of $270 over the course of the month for just one meal a week! Imagine if you ate the majority of your meals at home. The savings would pile up, cooking up quite a savory bottom line.


Try this old fashion chicken dinner recipe!





Ingredients

For the chicken:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup flour

2-3 TBS vegetable shortening or cooking oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

For the mashed potatoes:

2 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled & cubed

3/4 cup Heavy cream

3 TBS Butter

Salt / pepper to taste

Instructions

Chicken:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Preheat a large skillet on med. high with shortening or oil. In a medium sized bowl mix flour, salt, and pepper.

Cut chicken breasts into similar sized pieces

Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, gently turning until the chicken is completely covered. Carefully place the coated chicken into the hot pan. Brown sides evenly. Transfer chicken to a large baking dish. Add a little water to the bottom of the pan and cover with lid or foil. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear.

Mashed potatoes:

Place peeled and cubed potatoes in a large pot. Cover with water, add salt and boil until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Drain the water. Add cream and butter, then mash until potatoes are fluffy and smooth.

Top with butter or your favorite gravy.

Serve meal with your favorite vegetable.

*Chef’s note:

This recipe is easy to customize with different flavors! Try adding some fresh garlic, onions, or other aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme, or parsley.


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