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Operation Pay-for-College

June 16, 2011

So Ria is headed to Thomas Aquinas College later this summer. We are very excited for her, but definitely need to get more serious about our budgeting in order to make our end of the deal happen. So we’ve been trying out various strategies and here are a few in process or in research. We’re definitely open to ideas, so have at it in the combox.Here are a few things (in no particular order) we’ve been doing in recent months (not only for financial reasons).

Things We’re Doing…

Homemade Salad Dressing – I’ve been wanting to do this forever and experimenting mostly in the last 6 months or so after getting some tips from some French friends. Mostly dabbling in various forms of vinaigrettes and have pretty much enjoyed all of the experiments so far. My favorite at the moment is one part olive oil, one part grapeseed oil, one part white wine vinegar + salt, pepper and Penzey’s French Country Vinaigrette seasoning. Yummy!

Homemade Granola – A friend gave us some of her homemade granola for Christmas and we chatted about it over park day or some classes or some such thing. I winged it and liked the results on my first try. I heated up coconut oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, apple butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and chopped pecans until it bubbled for a bit (sorry for not having quantities – I just wing it). Then I took it off the heat and added old fashioned oats a little at a time until it was a good quantity of granola, but still clumpy and dark from the liquidy mixture. Then I spread it out on cookie sheets and baked it at 325 for 20 minutes, stirring once in the middle. After it cooled, I mixed it with a bunch of raisins and put it in an airtight container. Everyone likes it so far. The ingredients are a bit pricey, but it’s at least a substantial savings over the gluten-free gourmet granola I had been buying, and a lot healthier too. I’m gonna look into finding better ways of purchasing things like pecans (which happen to be a family favorite).

Bulk Purchases – We’ve always done a bit of this, but are hoping to do more. Our most recent attempt was a full gallon of mayonaise from Sam’s Club (which is half the cost of the regular store-sized bottles). We transferred all of the mayo to mason jars. Unfortunately, we lost 1/4 of our investment when one of the jars fell on the floor and broke. Oh well!

Things We’re Considering…

Magic Jack – Someone at park day told me about this almost-free phone service using your computer. That would save us some big bucks.

To be continued…


One Comment leave one →
  1. June 17, 2011 12:21 pm

    As far as budgeting tools go, I recommend YNAB, It costs around $50, but it really holds me accountable for my spending (I assign every dollar a job before my husband even gets his paycheck). I have written a little bit on this topic:

    Of course, I haven’t figured out how to budget for children’s college expenses yet.

    Good luck and congratulations to Ria!

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