Ever thrown away a half-used food product because, well, you never got around to using it? So has 77% of the population, according to a survey done for the J.M. Smucker Company.

Don’t toss it, repurpose it – particularly if it’s a Hungry Jack brand item. The “Use Up the Box” contest will award a year’s worth of groceries to the best recipes that use the company’s instant mashed potatoes, pancake mix or syrup. Two caveats:

  • Your recipe must use at least one cup of Hungry Jack instant mashed potatoes or pancake mix, or at least ¼ cup of Hungry Jack syrup.
  • Your recipe cannot be “Doughnut Bites With Bacon Sugar,” because that’s already been done.

read more

Where did Wednesday go?

Yesterday I didn’t post at all, and it felt odd. Much of the day was taken up with deadlines: my Living With Less column for MSN Money and a guest post for Get Rich Slowly. I took a two-mile walk. I spent some time with my aunt. I scanned a ton of family photos at Walgreens, and had a plate of ravioli at a pizzeria while I waited for the prints to be ready.

Those photos, particularly the ones of my mother, are generating a lot of melancholy. It’s going to take some time for the emotions to shake down. When they do, I’ll be writing about what I’ve learned – and what I hope to continue to learn – from looking back.


read more

This post was ripped off inspired by a post at Budgets Are Sexy. In “I got Googled and I liked it,” J.Money listed some of the weird search engine queries that landed visitors on his site. Stuff like:

  • Unprofessional clothing (“Flip-flops and bikinis. Everything else is a gray area.”)
  • Orange sacrifices or children
  • If someone commits suicide in a home, would their ghosts be there? (“SCARY!”)
  • Sexy stories of wife sacrificing virginity for husband
  • Cheap jungle tights

J$’s post made me laugh. It also made me start looking at the search engine terms that bring readers to Surviving and Thriving. There were some funny ones*, such as:

  • Coffin in pickup truck
  • Example of short slogan about Jesus
  • Beautiful woman with a trach
  • Cheapest gift for marriage, Indian price

A persistent theme, though, is nekkidness.

read more

Anybody here eat food from the scratch-and-dent grocery?

Anybody here ever heard of the scratch-and-dent grocery?

If not, head over to MSN Money to read my latest Living With Less column. “Save with scratch-and-dent food” explains how salvage stores work and offers tips on buying from discount grocers and the dented-can bin, too. [Edited to add: Since MSN Money changed platforms, the pieces that I wrote are no longer available through conventional channels.]

Maybe the idea skeeves you right out: Eeeewwww, old food! But plenty of it isn’t old.


read more

J. Money has started a “Million Dollar Club” at his site, Budgets Are Sexy. Nicoleandmaggie from Grumpy Rumblings of the Untenured isn’t rushing to join.

(I’m not really sure which of the two bloggers wrote this, so I’m going to guess that it was Nicole. I have a 50% chance of being right.)

Nicole and her spouse are making some smart choices, such as paying the mortgage off early, being canny about retirement funds and living on less than one salary. In this post she noted that throwing every extra dime and spare minute toward millionaire-hood would get them there faster.


read more