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^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money #308049
07/26/13 06:59 AM
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I've often heard it said that "one of the best ways to help the poor is not be one of them." During times when our family was living hand to mouth and paycheck to paycheck, we were unable to give to others as much as we wanted. Gradually things changed as we made better choices and we became able to share our resources with others in our community and around the world.

As described in our story linked to my sig line, I didn't have many expectations of the guy I married but having "a heart to be helpful" was one of them. My H has maintained a helpful heart (even went overboard a bit when OW needed his help eek) but overall, that is one trait that has helped both of us begin to move into the position of "being a blessing more than needing a blessing."

I'm posting this thread here in the CZ with the hope of getting a good foundation by the end of summer. Please post your experiences with financial challenges you've overcome and tips that might help others do the same.


We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #308193
07/27/13 04:50 AM
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Here are some thoughts but I am hoping others will be able to help provide coherent clarity and links to relevant resources.

Basic Family Financial Concepts:

* Budgeting
* Billpaying
* Childcare (options and related expenses)
* Contributions
* Credit
* Education
* Housing (rent and how to afford a mortgage)
* Insurance
* Investments
* Retirement Planning
* Taxes
* Estate Planning
* Blow Money (from the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University program ~ have you heard of it?)
* Other? ________________________

Here are the ideas for what might be included:

Links to articles
Personal experience stories
Inspiring Anecdotes
Challenges to overcome
Open discussion

I am nearly finished developing a comprehensive "End of Life Contacts" notebook so our adult son and daughter will know all of our dealings and desires if something happens to my husband and me simultaneously. If one of us passes, the other will have things all organized, too, as long as I follow through with annual updates like I intend to do every summer.

This is a list of contact names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, account numbers, balances, etc. for all our bank accounts, brokers, CPA, creditors, mortgage holder, insurance agents, etc.

What do you think?

Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #308199
07/27/13 02:37 PM
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Hi Ace, I really like Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps here http://www.daveramsey.com/new/baby-steps/

But as someone who has gone from working a full-time job and 2 part time ones, to one full time job, I think what has had the biggest impact is finding a career that pays well. And the next thing I think would help is how to get a raise?


"I have everything I need." and "I am exactly where I am supposed to be." ~Louise Hays
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: NewEveryDay] #308200
07/27/13 02:48 PM
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And I think a big thing is to get your credit score up. Have the more reliable partner paying the bills and the other one spot check, so you both can make informed choices. Don't take on debt unless you really think you'll be able to pay it off.

For example I have a few neighbors, friends, and family who did cash-out refis and got new furniture and fixed up their houses. But then the economy sank and two income families became one-income. If you can't afford it on one income, maybe the granite countertops can come later.


"I have everything I need." and "I am exactly where I am supposed to be." ~Louise Hays
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: NewEveryDay] #308204
07/27/13 04:02 PM
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Great points, Neddie.

IMO "Living Within Your Means" is a two-part step that requires much discussion to identify. Agreeing on "lifestyle" is probably one of the most difficult discussions in which to engage pre-marriage and nearly impossible once the expenses start flying after the wedding. Following through is even harder.

One thing I wish we would have adhered to when we got married was my mantra that "we will NOT have children until we can successfully bank my entire salary/wages and live on H's alone for at least a year." The intent was to reduce our lifestyle to where we did not need my job/income (and have the savings for future wants/needs) so I could be a stay-at-home mom when the kid(s) were babies/toddlers/preschoolers. Not only did we not do it, but we had 2 kids and then were forced by necessity to cut back, which was much more painful. I don't regret the cuts, especially when both kids mention today how much they appreciated my being a SAHM during their early years. I just wish we had been smarter about it.

Another way we screwed up was in quitting one job due to being disrespected before H got another one. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. I wish he had stuck it out. IMO, no matter how difficult, stay with your present job (unless it involves something immoral, dangerous or illegal) until a better - or different - option presents itself.

Another thing, if you make promises to your kids but discover you don't have the funds to follow through, don't borrow and go deep into long-term debt just to save face. Find another way to satisfy or delay such expenses.


Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #308212
07/27/13 06:57 PM
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Found this article by Yahoo Finance on suggestions for 5 Financial Corners YOU Should Never Cut.

The fifth suggestion made sense but seemed out of place initially.

Ace

Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #308217
07/27/13 08:05 PM
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A new mattress, who'd a thunk?


"I have everything I need." and "I am exactly where I am supposed to be." ~Louise Hays
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: NewEveryDay] #308251
07/28/13 01:56 PM
07/28/13 01:56 PM
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I say live within your means and enjoy life.

Life is too short to be stashing away savings while not having as much fun as you can day to day.

Insurance is covered and we have the NHS. This year is our tightest year EVER. We had lots of fun last year.

Both of us work public sector and there has been a pay freeze for 4 years!! I have had one cost of living rise in this time which was good for about 7 a month. The grocery bill increases each week and each week I try to be creative with getting it down.

The way we can save on monthly outgoings now is by buying a huge fridge and freezer so that we can buy in bulk again.


12 years ago I could afford to give up 400/month shift allowance (I did). 10 years ago we could both afford to work part time to limit the amount of time DD spent in nursery (we did).

At the moment we could really do with a little extra....I looked at higher paying jobs but the extra salary would be lost in childcare and I wouldn't see my children.

I would have been content with a smaller house and mortgage but there was no way J was going to do that and my biggest priority was just to get away from the neighbours....I am happier here with not quite enough money than I was living next to them.

Enjoy your money!!!


Married 22years (this year) ~13y since dday(?)
DD17 DS14
Which way do you like yourself? ~ Stosny
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Squeaky Tree] #308261
07/28/13 05:10 PM
07/28/13 05:10 PM
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I've been using Mint to track my finances -

https://www.mint.com/how-it-works/


"I feel sad that I focused so much on his potential and so little on mine."
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: believer] #308305
07/29/13 02:08 PM
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Hi ST and B,

Great site you've linked, B. I'll check it out later.

ST, interesting perspective. I know what you mean but it's presenting a whole different avenue now that we're nearing retirement age. More later.

Thanks for your insignts.

Ace


We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #308310
07/29/13 03:01 PM
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B, I used Quicken back in the day, it was awesome! Not to budget in advance, but to see where it went, for awareness. Now I have do my banking with Wells Fargo, and they have a similar graph that reflects the money that they touch. A bigger incentive to use them for more of what I do.


"I have everything I need." and "I am exactly where I am supposed to be." ~Louise Hays
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Squeaky Tree] #311883
08/28/13 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted By: Squeaky Tree
I say live within your means and enjoy life.

Life is too short to be stashing away savings while not having as much fun as you can day to day.



How do you find the happy medium when you're within 5 years of retirement and you've refinanced recently and therefore still have a mortgage? Is it unreasonable to want to have the mortgage paid off before we retire?

If we chose to, we could pay the mortgage off in 5-7 years instead of the 15 14.5 years we still have to pay on it. But that might mean we have a little less fun, make a few less memories and possibly save a lot more money for a time when we possibly won't have the health or mobility to enjoy it. crazy

Also, some might be asking "How do you find the fine line when your spouse has the opposite perspective from yours, is not concerned about saving, likes high-risk investments.... or worse, just wants to continue having fun with little visible regard to how our retirement years are FUNded?"

Thoughts?

Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #311884
08/28/13 07:49 AM
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Well, first of all I would want to know if my current home would be suitable for retirement years. Ours is lovely, but we plan on downsizing to a 1-story in 5-10 years. We hope the new place can be all cash.


Chrysalis
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Chrysalis] #311885
08/28/13 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted By: Chrysalis
Well, first of all I would want to know if my current home would be suitable for retirement years. Ours is lovely, but we plan on downsizing to a 1-story in 5-10 years. We hope the new place can be all cash.


Thanks, Chrys....those are definitely important points.

I vacillate between the possibility of downsizing (and hopefully paying cash for a single level place) and possibly adding a bed/bath suite on our main floor for us with a space for possible live-in caregivers on the lower level (only need to finish the plumbed-in kitchenette).

The latter idea is pretty far-fetched due to the expense but I love our location and would like to stay here (and H says he would, too).


We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #311887
08/28/13 12:00 PM
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I think that part of preparing well for retirement is preparing early... We had a 15 year mortgage that we paid double on and paid it off in 7 years. Yes, it meant we didn't have as much fun, but it was a goal and we did it so early in our marriage that we then took what we were paying for our mortgage and had it automatically deducted and into a savings account for retirement.. We also chose a house that was below what we could afford.. My middle son asked me why my husband's employees and other partners live in houses that are so much nicer than ours. Now, our house is nice. Most people would be thrilled to live in our house. Most people that we visit on mission trips would think we live in a palace. I don't need a 5,000 square foot house that looks like something from Southern Living. It is comfortable. It has enough room for us. I certainly don't want to be cleaning any more than I already have. ( And unlike many people we know I don't have a housekeeper. That would make me feel really lazy.) Having a big house just isn't important to me. I'd rather give the extra money to our mission work.

So I think some of this is decided that you have a lower standard of living now so that you can have a better one when you are older. I told my kids as well that so many people I know move into their houses and have to buy all of this new furniture and have it fully furnished. We move into a house and only have some furniture with many rooms empty. As we save money for good quality furniture that we like, we pay cash and gradually get it furnished. But our formal dining room was empty for 5 or 6 years before we had furniture in it....

Just a few thoughts.

Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #312664
09/04/13 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted By: Ace

I'm posting this thread here in the CZ with the hope of getting a good foundation by the end of summer. Please post your experiences with financial challenges you've overcome and tips that might help others do the same.


I apologize for not following through with this thread. I see at least one family has asked for the information that is waiting to be compiled here.

Marta, Neddie, ST, B and Chrys have posted some great ideas...thanks for sharing those. I have others that I'll post here soon, I promise.

In the meantime, what are other simple steps families use to set up a budget, stick to it regularly and tune it up when needed? How do you climb back up out of the "overspending mire" after falling off the financial wagon? How have you accomplished minor and major milestones in the family financial realm?

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Ace


We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #312670
09/04/13 11:32 AM
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Well, for the first 4 or 5 years of our marriage, this is what we did;

We went to Wal-Mart and bought a cheap ledger book. We looked at my salary/ then our salary when he finished med school. We made a list of expenses and TOGETHER made a budget. We didn't have a credit card. When I went to the grocery store, I would come home and write 30 Homeland on the grocery line. ( Ah..the days when that would feed the two of us for a week!!!) We wrote down EVERY SINGLE THING. I learned not to get cash because I couldn't keep track of where I spent it. Each year, we would re-evaluate and make a new budget.

We also made sure that we made a category for things like insurance and other things that were once a year expenses. We divided it by the amount of time we had to save up for it, and put it in a little savings account each month.

We lived in a run down apartment. Our furniture was hand me downs from relatives. Our entertainment consisted of going to the dollar movie with my oversize purse filled with microwave popcorn and cold cokes from our fridge. Or we would go to a local lake and have a picnic.


We also stared saving early even though we had no money. We bought a 50 dollar savings bond ( cost 25 dollars) and had it AUTOMATICALLY deducted so we didn't miss it. We continued to do that throughout our married life. ( Though it isn't savings bonds anymore. We have some automatically taken out for college savings plans, investments, savings accounts, etc.) If it isn't in your checking account, YOU CANT SPEND IT. Don't wait to save whatever you have left at the end of the month. You won't have any!!!!

Another thing...rainy days DO happen. That saving can help you. I mentioned in another thread about how our first born had all kind of medical problems. Our savings helped us get through that year. My dad had an accident at a wedding and I paid a fortune to stay there with him... That is what savings are for. Several times my husband hasn't taken a salary when he was getting into his practice or changing one. It didn't phase us. We tightened our belt and lived on savings for a couple of months and it was fine. But that is because we always lived below our means. I can't tell you how many docs have 2nd and 3rd houses with mortgages and tons of loans. They live at their salary and beyond.... Whether you make 20,000 or 1,000,000 a year the idea is to live below your means.

Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Marta] #312721
09/04/13 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted By: Marta
...the idea is to live below your means.


Thank you, Marta. May I live re-live my life and our early marital financial years through you?

I AM serious....what you described is I wanted to do but ...ummmm...we fought so much during those years, I had it in the back of my mind that I was getting out and those thoughts seemed to overrule any financial sense we may have cultivated for the future. Geez....I did not realize that until now when I typed it! YIKES!!!!!

Off to work---glad to be able to say that. I am looking forward to other input here.

Ace

Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #312765
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I think our marriage is atypical in many respects because BOTH my husband and I are savers. So we don't have the typical dynamic of the saver vs. spender. We both have our personal weaknesses (me books, hubby Lowes/tools) but we have always had the same goals and priorities.. I think that has helped a lot. I know most people marry their opposite. But we are both first born perfectionists!!!

Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Marta] #328853
12/31/13 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted By: Marta
I think our marriage is atypical in many respects because BOTH my husband and I are savers. So we don't have the typical dynamic of the saver vs. spender. We both have our personal weaknesses (me books, hubby Lowes/tools) but we have always had the same goals and priorities.. I think that has helped a lot. I know most people marry their opposite. But we are both first born perfectionists!!!


Hi Marta,

So sorry I didn't reply to your post. It's a new year and I'd like to reignite this discussion and possibly create this thread into something that could be entitled "How Financial Literacy Enhances Marriages" or something like that for the MAgnify Marriages forum.

I really like your ideas, Marta and look forward to further discussions.

Anyone else have other thoughts?

Happy New Year!
Ace

Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #328859
12/31/13 08:12 PM
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Ace, a few notes back you make the highly valuable connection between your rocky, conflict-filled earlier marital years and the lack of motivation to forego immediate spending for the benefits of saving.

Wow! That indicates, I guess, a HUGE difference between the NGs and your early years - and, oh btw, the large majority of modern "adults", and I use that carefully.

Old proverb: The true optimist is the one who plants a tree he will never climb.

I finished my MBA in 1975 - an awful year for job-seekers. When I finally was hired, I had $37.00, and a 1967 Olds Cutlass to my name. But I also had Fiancee, who became Bride the next year. I knew (as did she) that WE would be there, together, to reap whatever we sowed, and cultivated, and tended. The month after we married we began whole life insurance plans, $180,000 for me, $120,000 for her. (Two weeks after the plans were approved, my Dad was diagnosed with colon cancer, which meant delaying our actions by that much - two weeks out of a lifetime - would have been incredibly expensive.)

We bought our first house in 1977, when we moved to the Valley, and started work for a large corporation. From Day 1, I put 10% of my gross pay into stock purchases, and as soon as 401K was begun, 6% into that. In 1985 I bought our two-family rental property on a twelve-year mortgage - much work, much worry, minimal direct return, but ASSET ACCUMULATION. In 1991 we sold the first home and bought a larger, newer one to take advantage of the tax breaks involved. We lived in that first house fourteen years, conceived and raised the family there - and made $84,000 on it!

I've explained on my thread how I effectively worked three jobs (and yes, made a massive mistake along the way). I retired in 2008 from the large corporation. The rental property, paid off in 1997, still pays me; the officiating gigs still pay me. Bride is working (four more years) because she wants to get to full pension, so we're covered under her health benefits.

What did we NOT do? We accepted the voluntary reduction of 16% of my raw salary without qualms. We did not waste money on late-model cars, or leases thereof. Since 2004 I've driven a $4,000 1997 Grand Am (but I did bust loose and buy a 1975 MG-B this past summer! blush )We did NOT take exotic vacations, instead buying a used motorhome and touring with the kids up and down the East coast. We rarely dined out, but Bride was a great cook, so we were happier anyway!

I'll not brag any further except to say that somehow into us was instilled an appreciation of postponing a bit today to gather a lot tomorrow, and for me, especially for the ten years Bride was home with her chicks, the trick was to figure out a way to get paid for all 168 hours per week!

Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: NeverGuessed] #328909
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Originally Posted By: NeverGuessed


I'll not brag any further except to say that somehow into us was instilled an appreciation of postponing a bit today to gather a lot tomorrow, and for me, especially for the ten years Bride was home with her chicks, the trick was to figure out a way to get paid for all 168 hours per week!


Thanks so much for sharing that NG. And, I don't look at it as bragging when you made such wise choices. Your experiences can help those like me/us who did not choose well, hopefully before it's too late.

Happy New Year,

Ace


We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #329145
01/03/14 12:49 AM
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Talk about fortuitous timing....

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/one-family-paid-off-118-150646318.html

Except for the fact that she's much younger, and MUCH better looking, this lady and I seem to share a great deal of rigor.

Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: NeverGuessed] #329482
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Originally Posted By: NeverGuessed

Except for the fact that she's much younger, and MUCH better looking, this lady and I seem to share a great deal of rigor.


I just saw them interviewed on TV. They shared a few of the same intriguing concepts but these resonated with me:

(paraphrased)

* Take advantage of being married to get out of debt; set small goals together and find creative ways to make things instead of buying them.

* Live off the most steady income by downsizing and giving up "luxuries" temporarily; commit the other income to debt reduction.

* View your savings accounts as "another bill" that you owe to yourself. Pay yourself, even if it's only a little amount and the savings will add up gradually.


Eventually it'd be good to have a special thread on "Retirement Planning Tip$" but for now I'll park this link here:

7 reasons NOT to pay off your mortgage before you retire

Thoughts?






We're overcoming decades of marital dysfunction including abuse, passive aggression, gas-lighting & infidelity (both of us).

Our Weird and Ongoing Story
Re: ^^^ FINANCIAL LITERACY ^^^ How to Make/Keep/Give Away Money [Re: Ace] #329555
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Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 794
It ALL comes down to making choices.

Small things add up, if enough of them are strung together. These questions I'll direct to you, Ace, but they apply to every situation:

1) Do you pay for lawn care? Snow plowing? We never did. Moving into our first house we bought a Sears tractor, for about $900, and used it for 17 years. Normal service around here is now about $40 per session (it was probably less in 1977!), but think of the thousands of dollars we saved - which helped fund those savings initiatives. I only bought a snow-blower in 2006, after my heart attack (doctor's orders) and we shoveled, as a family, until then.

2) We talked about car expenses. 'Nuff said!

3) Are you and/or Mr Ace manually facile? We built things as possible, as opposed to contracting the work. Over three consecutive summers, DS and I built a mid-level 12x14 deck, a 12x8 garden shed (and tractor storage!), and a lower-level 12x12 deck under the original one off the dining-room - and put a hot-tub on it! Leaving out the tub purchase, all together those cost us out of pocket about $2,400. Buying them would have easily been in excess of $20,000. Sweat equity, and wonderful father/son bonding! After he moved out, Bride and I rebuilt the upper deck.

4) Do you know that buying whole tenderloins of beef, cutting and freezing the fillets, yields better meals cheaper than fast-food hamburgers?

5) Dining out? There is a website that offers $25 certificates usually for $10, for restaurants, organized by zip-code. Periodically, they run promotions selling those certificates for $4.00. When they do, we stock up on six or eight, and then use them as we feel the need for a meal out.
This can get tedious ( "NG, it already is!"), but that is EXACTLY the point. Tedium from repetition and consistency - I'll take it!

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