Category Archives: Financial


I’m going to say it one more time–people who have given a portion of their hard-earned money over a lifetime are entitled to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits. No one is looking for a handout! They’re called entitlements because people are entitled to receive a little (and it is a little) bit back for their hard work.

Social Security does not contribute to the deficit, period. It is a trust fund. It has nothing to do with the budget or the deficit. In spite of Congress raiding this trust fund over the years, a fund which incidentally should be untouchable, according to AARP, the fund is projected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2023.

Just as the baby boomers are becoming eligible to collect, remember they represent the large working class that contributed to the fund while they worked. Those surplus funds were invested in U.S. Treasury bonds. If anything, the boomers contributed even more for the welfare of our nation just by their sheer numbers. The government should keep its promise to retirees, just as it would to any other investors.

Thomas Jefferson Said

Evidently, Tom knew what he was talking about!

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their Fathers conquered… I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies… The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.” – Thomas Jefferson


What do you figure the word “Entitlements” stands for?

Maybe it means old people feel they are entitled to receive money from the government after they reach a certain age.

Or maybe it means after people work their entire lives and contribute money to Social Security and Medicare that they are entitled to receive some of their money back after they retire.

Either way, where do these old folks think all this moolah is coming from? Can the federal budget be balanced while these freeloaders siphon off tons of cash from the government?

Here are the facts. Read carefully so this sinks in.

Social Security is NOT part of the budget. It sits in a fund that was set up when Social Security was created. (That is unless the government hasn’t misappropriated the money to use for other purposes. I remain hopeful that hasn’t happened, but maybe I’m an optimist.)

According to Paul Owens writing in the Orlando Sentinel on May 6, 2011 … Congress has been raiding the Social Security trust fund for years… To read his entire article go to Orlando Opinionators.

Over the years, Social Security has collected more money than it has paid out. The surplus funds have been invested in U.S. Guaranteed Treasury Bonds. AARP states that in 2009, the trust fund had $2.5 trillion in bonds, earning 4.9 percent interest.

Perhaps the finger-pointing should be aimed at Congress — not at Entitlements.

Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream – A Disappointment

I remember the days when I had no choice. If I wanted cherry vanilla ice cream, I’d pass all the other brands and head straight to the Breyers section. No  question. Breyers has always been about $1.00 more than the other brands, but it was worth it. I always say, if you’re willing to swallow the calories, they should me A #1 calories.

Of course I’m talking about the days before Cherry Garcia. It seems while I wasn’t paying attention, the quality of all the Breyers ice creams were being cheaped-down, while Ben &  Jerry were using top quality ingredients in their ice creams. This has become my dilemma.

Do I eat less ice cream, because Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is a whole lot more expensive? Or do I accept the fact that Breyers ice creams have become mediocre, but are still pretty good in comparison to other cheaper brands?

This certainly isn’t the most pressing dilemma in the world, but it’s one I at least have control over. What do you think?

Pensacola Beach After The BP Oil Spill

Photo from

How sad! And the oil is still gushing. It’s like the Exxon Valdez all over again–only this time on a daily basis.

A lot of people and politicians are asking why the well can’t be blown up.

From Rep. Phil Gingrey

“For the life of me, I can’t understand why BP couldn’t go into the ocean floor, maybe 10 feet lateral to the — around the periphery — drill a few holes and put a little ammonium nitrate, some dynamite, in those holes and detonate that dynamite and seal that leak. And seal it permanently,” Rep. Phil Gingrey (Ga.) said earlier this month.

Could it be BP is more worried about their bottom line? Do you think they care nothing about people or nature?

Oh, forget I wrote that. No one could be that greedy.

My Job Was Eliminated

I have been eliminated–not laid off with the hope of being rehired. No, I am an eliminated entity. That’s like erasing all the writing from a chalkboard with one sweep of an eraser. One minute there’s something there; the next minute it’s gone.

The thing is, one doesn’t know what to do with oneself when the alarm doesn’t go off. I remember all those mornings when that annoying alarm sounded and all I wanted to do was catch another 20 minutes of sleep. Now, for some reason, I don’t crave the sleep. I get up like always, but I have no place to go.

After several days of thinking and analyzing and speaking to my family, I have decided to move in with my daughter. We will be three generations in one house. That has spawned much discussion among my friends and acquaintances.

Many families, not just mine, are merging together out of necessity. I didn’t realize that while I was still employed, but it appears families are circling the wagons. They have run out of other choices.

In some instances, it is a good thing. My ophthalmologist has opened his doors once again to his son, and his nephew, too, is having a hard time finding another job. He is expecting to find him on his doorstep any day now, as well. However, he welcomes the opportunity to help both boys through this crisis and believes he will come to know each of them a little better because as he puts it, ” I only know the boys as they once were, not as the adults they have become.”

I think my decision to join my family will also be a good one, but I know there are many family situations that are not conducive to combining generations in one home.

I just had a discussion with a friend five minutes ago, while I was writing this post as a matter of fact, who is not looking forward to what the near future has in store for her. Her mother-in law and brother-in-law are preparing to move into her home. She is forced to give up space that she worked hard to create for herself and her husband over the years. That may not sound like much, but it’s huge. Furniture put into storage to make room for other furniture being moved in. Drapes to be hung in a sun room that will now be used as a bedroom, no longer a place of refuge. She views this turn of events as an end of her peace and comfort, something she craves when she comes home from work. The fact that she is forced to give all of this over to people she doesn’t particularly care for, but who she is obligated to help in their time of need, makes it all the more an enormous struggle. Yet, she will do it because she loves her husband.

I think depression will be the likely result for those who are forced to join together and make unwanted and unforeseen changes in their lives. What a pity. What to do? What to do?

Good For The Waistline, Good For The Pocketbook, Too


It’s time to cut out some of the fast food drop-ins on your way home from work. Notice I say some, because there are days when you’re just too tired to cook, or you don’t have time to cook, or you’ve got to have a greasy cheeseburger, no matter what!

On those days when there’s no getting around it, be prepared. It doesn’t have to be a fast food burger. I buy a pound of ground beef, but instead of freezing it, I shape it into four burgers (very simple–nothing whatsoever added to it). Those individually wrapped burgers are always in my freezer. I freeze burger buns, too. Instant meal!

And if you want to make it healthier, smother every burger with tomato, lettuce, pickle, onion and a little cheese. The more lettuce, the better. It adds crunch.

Another thing you might want to consider is, once the kitchen is cleaned after dinner, put up the “Closed” sign. I don’t mean literally, but I remember my mother wiped and dried her kitchen sink. She shined the faucet and folded the towel and, believe me, you didn’t mess up her sink after that. It was her way of closing the kitchen for the night. It was a good policy. No one in our family had a weight problem back then.

And, incidentally, if you want to read a book about losing weight the fun way, try reading a book written by Janice Taylor titled All Is Forgiven, Move On. I mention her book because one of her suggestions is to close your kitchen at 9:20 p.m. every night.  My mom was doing that back in the 50’s.

Janice also has some nifty charts, some great recipes and motivation ideas for getting healthy and staying that way.

You might also want to visit Janice’s site It’s an interesting read.

6 Ways To Beat The Cost Of Groceries

  1. Don’t throw those leftover veggies in the garbage. Save them in a large container in the freezer. Keep adding to it. Leftover beef and chicken can be collected in the same container. Chop meat into cubes before adding. When the container is full, dump it into a pot of broth (chicken, beef or vegetable). Better still use some low-sodium bouillon cubes. It’s such a healthy meal, you don’t have to feel guilty about serving it with a big loaf of Italian or French bread.
  2. Before you write a single word on your weekly menu-planning list, (You do make a list, don’t you?) check the refrigerator for leftovers. Use the leftovers. Be honest. How many times have you forgotten about them and ended up throwing them away? You will now vow to never to that again!
  3. At the beginning of every week, make your menu list. What exactly are you planning to have for lunch and dinner during the coming week? You’ve already checked the frig, right? Now it’s time to look in the freezer. That’s your starting point. Build a meal around something you already have in the freezer. If it’s meat, all you’ll need are the veggies to go with it. If you have a bag of frozen veggies, decide what meat or fish you will prepare. Or be a vegetarian for a night.
  4. While you decide what will be on your menu planner, you need to have a second list right alongside it. This list is your grocery list. (Maybe you already have one started. I tend to write things down as I use the last one during the week, i.e. eggs, milk, cereal) List everything you will need at the supermarket to complete the meals you are planning to prepare for the coming week. When you walk into the supermarket–stick to the list. You’ll be surprised how much money you’ll save when you enter the store armed with a plan.
  5. If you shop once a week, try shopping every other week. Actually, someone told me to try this, but I didn’t think it would save me any money. Surprise, surprise. It did. I’m not sure how or why, because my bi-weekly shopping list was a whole lot longer than my weekly list, but at the end of the month, I had saved approximately $40.00. I am a family of one, so that’s pretty darn good. [Caution: If you try this, make sure you have enough food in the house to last for two weeks. That’s the tricky part.]
  6. Finally, don’t forget about pasta. It’s inexpensive and filling. When I was growing up, Sunday was always Pasta Day. The beauty of Pasta Day is that there are all kinds of shapes and sizes of pasta to choose from, so it feels like a new meal every week. Switch it out every week: ziti, rigatoni, spaghetti, penne, to name a few. The added bonus–pasta is quick and easy to prepare. [Hint: After draining your pasta in a collander, do not rinse it with water. The outer layer of starch on the pasta is what makes the sauce stick to it. If you rinse–the sauce slides off.]

So, there you have it. Six suggestions–give them a try.

I’m open to any and all suggestions on saving money, so let me know if you have any.

10 Ways To Stretch Your Dollar

These are things I have been doing to ease the pain of high gas prices, high food prices and the devaluation of the dollar.

  1. I’m cooking more and dining out less.
  2. When I do eat out, I go to a restaurant that has a coupon offer. I doggy bag what I can’t eat. Sometimes that doggy bag becomes tomorrow’s lunch.
  3. I’ve begun to use coupons at the supermarket again. I slacked off for a while, but I’m back.
  4. I don’t drive out of my way, but when I can, I purchase gas at Costco. A membership card at any of the warehouse stores has gotten more attractive, even if you don’t have a large family. Share the cost of the card with a friend–even better. Then meet on a Saturday morning and enjoy each other’s company while you shop and gas up.
  5. I’ve always bought name brand items, but I’m giving generics a shot when they’re available.
  6. I’m reading more and looking at less TV. Gone are the days when I have the TV on as background noise. And I remember to close the lights when I leave a room.
  7. I’m only buying things I need. Impulse shopping has come to an abrupt halt. And if it’s not on sale, it’s not in my cart. I’ve also sworn off shopping on the internet and the TV.
  8. I make a special effort not to throw food away. In the past, I’ve forgotten certain foods were in the refrigerator. I’m now keeping an eagle eye on all leftovers. Nothing gets wasted. Every last morsel gets eaten.
  9. I’m shopping less frequently at the supermarket, too. I’ve always loved eating breakfast at dinnertime, and eggs are almost always a staple in my refrigerator. So, I’m eating scrambled eggs and toast in the p.m. again once in a while. Tuna fish is another staple I had been neglecting. I forgot how much I love tuna salad slathered on a crisp hoagie roll with lettuce and mayo. Yum.
  10. And lastly, I set my air conditioning a few degrees higher this summer. It’s still more comfortable inside than outside. You’d be surprised how much you save this way. As an added bonus, lowering that thermostat conserves energy overall.

Some of these things, I’ve always done. I started as a youngster, because my mother insisted on most of these conservation rules. Even when gas prices were $.50 a gallon, my mom was plotting her shopping course, never backtracking, always hitting her errands on a pre-ordained route. Consequently, I’ve always done that myself.

Jeez, do you believe gas was ever $.50 a gallon?

Do you have any other ideas I can use to stretch my dollar?

10% Ethanol Added To Your Gas – Lovely!

Have you noticed whether your gas station is putting ethanol in their gas? Have you noticed that your gas mileage has decreased?

I get my gas at a Shell station and right there on the front of the pump is a sticker that says, Contains 10% Ethanol. My gas consumption has been rising by leaps and bounds lately, but I’m not driving any more than usual. Actually, because of the gas prices, I’m more selective about where I go and how I get there.

While I was pumping, I looked up at the sign to see if the price had come down since my gas was now being spiked with ethanol. What a joke! What made me think a gas company would dream of giving the consumer a break.

It appears I’m not the only person that’s miffed. Here’s an excerpt from Slow Food Waltz

Ethanol, isn’t it’s use supposed to lower gas prices? Huh??

Help me out someone, what am I missing here. I just noticed this Shell gas station uses 10 percent ethanol, but the gas prices are exactly the same as they are at other places. Will ethanol ever translate to a cost savings for the consumer??

Okay, so the price hasn’t come down. It’s still up there at $3.90 a gallon in my neck of the woods. To top that off, I recently purchased a fuel economy car, but now I’m getting less gas mileage. That’s a fact and I’m not the only one who’s noticed. See information from Punny Money.

It lowers fuel economy. That 10% ethanol being mixed into your gasoline might be helping to keep it 10 cents a gallon cheaper, but you’re probably getting 10-30% fewer miles per gallon because of it. Since all the gas stations around here switched to a 10% ethanol blend, my gas mileage has dropped by about 15%!

What is going on? I understand it’s imperative that we cultivate some type of alternative fuel, but why am I suffering while the gas companies are reporting record-breaking profits? Oh yeah, I forgot–I don’t have a lobbyist. Drat!

So, it appears that you and I will be at the pumps more often, paying the same ridiculous prices. And I don’t expect to hear too much squawking from anyone because the change is couched in “alternative fuel” rhetoric. I suppose the media will somehow find a way to make it sound unpatriotic if anyone speaks out against it, too. What a racket!

Following my Chinese Zodiac articles? Year Of The SheepYear of the Monkey