Saturday, September 6, 2008

Alternative Transportation

There was a time when I received assistance with my parking, but after my '84 Olds meet her untimely death, I never asked to have that assistance reinstated. I've been paying my parking ever since. For a time, I had a carpool buddy. Granted we never discussed how much he was going to contribute and I took his age and lack of income into consideration I didn't push the question. When I lost my carpool buddy, I bit the bullet and started taking mass transit. I don't know why I didn't do this sooner except that I was concerned about loosing my parking spot. I knew it would be impossible to get it back.

Confession... I live within walking distance of Fareless Square, an area of town where you don't have to pay for a ticket as long as you stay within "Fareless Square." The walk is about 10 blocks, but I'm enjoying to peace and quiet. It helps me relax before sitting down to my desk. The time on the bus has given me a chance to read, something I haven't had time for in quite awhile. I will have to reevaluate this choice if they get rid of this zone as the rumors have been suggesting.

On the really nice days, I've been walking all the way to work, which is about 2 miles. If they do get rid of Fareless Square, that's always an option and finally have no fear, I have a backup. My bike is tuned and ready to be put into action. I live in a very bike friendly city and am practicing on the weekends.

Finally, when the season changes and the rains come in, I have started networking for a new carpool buddy. I think I've got a good one lined up for the rainy season.

Bottom line, I'm saving $8 per day or $140 per month and I'm happy to say that I've already lost 15 pounds. Consider alternatives. Its good for the earth. Its good for your body. Its good for the pocketbook.

Friday, September 5, 2008

How Many Meals Can You Make Out of 1 Chicken Breast?

As a single person, its difficult to be inspired to cook a meal for one. One of my favorite ways to combat this boredom is to cook chicken breasts to leave in the freezer and fridge to pull out when I don't want to cook. Below are a few suggestions for the simple chicken breast.

Chicken Quesadilla - Take chicken slices and spread out in a tortilla. Add shredded cheese (any kind will do.) Then get wild with all the choices. Italian: Use mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. Club: Add bacon and blue cheese. Mexican: Sour cream, salsa, and olives.

Chicken and Pasta - Add Parmesan cheese, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, olive oil, and a bit of cream. (I cheat with a touch of sour cream for thickness.)

Chicken Shepard's Pie/Pot Pie - Use left over mashed potatoes, biscuits, croissant, etc., gravy or cream of mushroom soup, carrots, peas, and mushrooms.

Chicken Bento - Leftover rice (I tend to make a big batch over the weekend and keep it in the fridge to warm up.) and vegetables with a touch of teriyaki sauce. Heat in microwave.

Chicken Salad - Get creative. Anything goes.

What ideas can you come up with?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

September Goals

The journey to debt repayment isn't always an easy one. For me there have been many trips and stumbling blocks along the way, but my determination still stands. I look at the stock market and think, "Now is a great time to scoop up some of those bargains." I'm looking at the housing market and think, "If I hadn't gotten myself into this mess, I could be purchasing a home now." Its difficult to keep the enthusiasm up when you deprive yourself even if the goals in sight are what you really desire.

During this quiet period, I've picked up a second job to help pay down my debt quicker. While my determination to get on top of my debt is strong, I took a look at my spending lately and realized that I haven't gotten very far and its because I've been taking care of those things I put on the back burner. You may think you remember where your at in your plans, but it often takes a look at the hard copy to get the real picture. So, with that said...

My Goals for September ~
- Take parking down to $40 for the month (If I get reimbursed for it, that's even better.)
So far I've only driven once this month and my mom paid for it because I was her taxi.
- Take my lunch four times a week. Limit dining out to 1 lunch per week.
- Pay off 401k loan. I know, I know, BIG MISTAKE to take a loan out against your 401k!
- Create Christmas list so I can take advantage of sales over the next 3 months.
- Add $50 to Emergency Fund
- Add $50 to Roth IRA