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October 12, 2007 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Cuttin’ Back

I’m doing it.  I’m cutting back.

The most overt sign of my reduced spending is a large blue can of Maxwell House coffee that is peeking at me from behind the fruit bowl.  Wasband is not pleased with Maxwell House.  I believe his words were “What in the world is this $#%@?”

Instead of buying a latte each day, my grand plan is to brew a go-cup of Maxwell House.  One huge can of Maxwell House is about six dollars.  It will make as much coffee as three or four bags of whole-bean Starbucks coffee, which go for about eight dollars a piece if you get them on sale.  Of course, it’s not quite as good, either.  But that isn’t the point.  The point is, I’m cutting back.

I’m also the proud owner of a red “Arctic Zone” lunch bag.  They don’t make lunch boxes anymore; if they did, I would look for the one I had when I was a kid (Muppets), but nowadays you can only find sleek, zippered lunch bags with reusable ice blocks and multiple pockets.  I am not using my lunch bag correctly, I have much to learn.  I made a sandwich with mayo on Monday and the ice block wasn’t properly placed; by lunch time, my sandwich was more salmonella than salami.  Luckily for me, there are endless options for people who are cutting back.  Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee Ravioli waits in portable, microwaveable bowls; thai noodles with peanut sauce (just add hot water!) are available in colorful packages; and individually wrapped portions of just about anything comes in bar form nowadays for ease of stuffing in a lunch bag.

Supposedly, this will save money. 

I won’t switch to generic peanut butter, though.  No way. 

I’m not subscribing to any more magazines.  I don’t have time to read the ones I get now.   

I’m not buying any more hardbacks (unless I really, really, really need to).

I’m still going to use fabric softener. 

Any other ideas?



Leave a Comment
  1. cherikooka / Oct 14 2007 4:27 pm

    My whole life has been about cutting back. I drink my coffee black during the week, and a lady at work makes it every day, so I don’t spend any “real” money on coffee, but I do bring my lunch. When I make dinner, I try to make a little extra for lunch the next day. I get those disposable – but you can use them over and over again – plastic containers and I fill them the night before with leftovers. It works really well. Also, a normal can of ravioli or spaghettios fit perfect in them and are more cost effective than the little microwaveable varieties. I have a few lunch boxes (you knew I would) — a pink Pee Wee Herman and a metal Blow Pop box, both square and totally nostalgic. 🙂 I love lunch boxes!

  2. wpm1955 / Oct 13 2007 7:17 pm

    Hmmm….I think I detect that you are a book lover like me! Now I know this is not going to help you “cut back,” but if you enjoy books, I’ve just posted about eight photos of some fantastic home rooms that a few people have as their own “home libraries.” As a book lover, you might enjoy checking out this post…

    It’s at

    Best regards,
    “Madame Monet” (aka Dedicated Elementary Teacher, Eileen)
    Also writing:
    “Writing, Painting, Music, and Wine”

  3. elementaryteacher / Oct 13 2007 7:12 pm

    Dear Maleesha,

    You MUST try coffee the North African way, since you like latte. I learned this from my Middle Eastern husband.

    Take some WHOLE milk, bring it a simmer, either in a saucepan (but for only one cup, it’s easier in the microwave). Add 1-2 rounded teaspoon of Nescafe CLASSIC instant coffeeper cup of milk (yes, that’s right–NESCAFE–and CLASSIC is the only Nescafe which is good, as there are several). Add sugar (or diet sugar) to taste.

    A delicious variation (for two-three cups made together) is to take 3 cups of whole milk, add 3 cloves and bring it to a boil. Let it sit for a minute, then skim off the skin that forms and throw it away. Next, add three rounded teaspoons of Classic Nescafe, and sugar to taste.

    If you try these and like them, let me know, and I’ll share more coffee flavorings.

    Best regards,
    Eileen in the Middle East

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