Easy Budget Tracking

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on February 25, 2009

Good morning!

Guess what today is? BONE SCAN DAY!!!

I am excited and nervous, yet relieved that it is finally here after 6 long weeks! I am hoping that my pelvic injury comes back normal. If it doesn’t I will be pretty upset because I have stayed off of it for these past 6 weeks. Apparently it will take 3 hours. A 1/2 hour to inject me, then I leave for 2 hours (I’m either going to drive back home or stay in the area and window shop or something), and then come back and have the actual scan which is only 1/2 hour or so. Fun times!

I thought I would share with everyone this neat little budgeting trick I put together the other day to help Eric and I track our spending.


I took an empty tissue box, cut out the plastic on the top, and wrote on it RECEIPTS. I placed it by the garage door where we always enter with our purchases.

I made this because I was always forgetting to put the receipts in one spot once we were home. The receipts were getting lost and left in bags, they were with Eric, or we accidentally threw them out making me have to check the credit card statement online to see how much we spent.

This trick will be MUCH easier! We get home, empty out purchases, and the receipts go right into the box. :D

At the end of the week dump it out and add it up! Remove the receipts at the end of the week and file if necessary or toss. On Sunday or Monday (whatever day you choose is fine) start fresh with an empty box.

I thought others might benefit from this trick if you too are keeping track of your spending habits!


Wow I can’t believe that it is Day 5 of Crap Free Week already!

I can’t remember when the last time was that I have gone without sugar for this many days in a row! It is a great feeling. Spring cleaning if you will. :) It actually hasn’t been that hard to be honest.

I think I owe a huge thank-you to my green monsters because I honestly believe that they help control sugar cravings and regulate my blood sugar.

On that note…

I had my all veggie green monster this morning. And boy was it veggie!


Look at those huge kale leaves!! They were massive.

The contents:

  • 1 cup Low fat soy milk
  • 1 Tbsp flax
  • 3 ice cubes (thins it out a bit and makes it more frothy)
  • 2 huge organic kale leaves

There was nothing sweet about this green monster!

That is ok though. I have actually trained my palate over the past couple years to appreciate less sweet things.

I get lots of questions asking me how I did this. So I thought I would tell my own experience…

How to train your palate to be satisfied on less sugar:

1) Last year, I decided to give up artificial sweeteners. As you have probably heard, artificial sweeteners are so powerfully strong and sweet, they actually make you desensitize to the taste of REAL SUGAR. This means, fruit no longer tastes as sweet when you eat it plain. NOT GOOD. Before I went off of it, I was eating so many foods that were sweetened with splenda and they were VERY SWEET. At the time I didn’t notice it because I was addicted to them! Only when I weaned myself off of it did I realize how bad they were for me and everything (unsweetened with Artificial sweeteners) tasted plain. I knew I had to get off them!

2) I started off by using 1 teaspoon of real sugar in my tea instead of Splenda. The tea tasted so bland and boring! Over time, I used less and less sugar (this was over the period of several months) and now I don’t put any sugar in my tea at all. I have learned to appreciate it as it is. I also love Celestial Seasonings Dessert tea because they are sweet and don’t even need sugar!

3) I often cut sugar fom recipes and don’t even notice! Recipes often have way too much sugar in them and you can often cut it by 25% and not notice any reduced taste.

4) Yes, things will taste a bit bland when you start to wean yourself off of sweeteners, but eventually your body DOES adjust and you find yourself enjoying the taste, and *gasp* even craving it!

5) No, my all veggie smoothie isn’t sweet. But I have learned to focus on the wholesome and creamy taste. I remind myself that not everything I put in my mouth has to be very sweet. And that is ok! :D

Have you ever weaned yourself off to sweeteners or tried to use them less? What was your experience?

The lovely Mara is giving away some amazing chocolate– run, hop, skip, and jump on over there to enter!


Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”
– Thomas J. Watson

Gosh I love that quote!

Have you ever made a mistake that turned out to be something great??

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Bree February 25, 2009 at 10:08 am

good luck with the bone scan!!!


Anna February 25, 2009 at 10:24 am

Good luck with the scan, I’m sure you’ll be fine!
I cut sugar from recipes like that too! Especially recipes like muffins and quickbreads… 1/4 or 1/3 cup less really does make little difference in taste.


Holly February 25, 2009 at 10:29 am

That is so exciting that it’s finally today! :-) I’m anxious to see what you hear. Surely after 6 weeks of staying off of it, you’ll get clearance!

I need to reduce my artificial sweetners (*hangs head). I’m MUCH better than I used to be – I can drink tea without sweetners for the most part – but I still love my diet coke a day….thank you so much for the tips, though! I’m definitely going to try reducing sugar in my baking.


Betsy February 25, 2009 at 10:32 am

Is it just me or are your ice cubes HUGE?? Love the receipt box – we use a jar. :)

And I’m lucky to have never gotten hooked on artificial sweeteners… it’s the real thing that I can’t let go of!


Jacklynn February 25, 2009 at 10:36 am

I have never been a user of artificial sweeteners they were too sweet for my liking and I was alwasy advised to stay away. But I have recently switched to unrefined sugar (bought in bulk @ Whole Foods) and I really think it makes my baked goods taste better. I have also started using honey as a sugar replacement in recipes or if I want something sweet! I am also in the works of eliminating honey in my tea. I have noticed that over time my tastes have changed as I eat healthier and yes even crave it!


healthy ashley February 25, 2009 at 10:37 am

Your kitchen is gorgeous!

I agree on weaning yourself off artificial sweeteners and then even cutting back on sugar. Little by little you’ll need less sweetness. Now I eat plain yogurt when before I could only have the super-sweetened stuff. Now the sweetened yogurt is way too much for me because I’ve re-trained my taste buds!


Jacklynn February 25, 2009 at 10:38 am

oh and I hoping for good news from your bone scan as I am sure you are as well!


Jody February 25, 2009 at 10:38 am

love, love, love your blog and good luck with the bone scan today :)
Question regarding the flax in the “green monsters”, do you grind it up before you toss it into the blender?


foodsthatfit February 25, 2009 at 10:39 am

Good luck with the bone scan today, remember it is nothing to be scared about! Hope the results come back in your favor!


Melissa February 25, 2009 at 10:41 am

Good tips. I have been making green smoothies for the last few weeks. I find half a packet Jay Robb’s protein powder keeps me full for horus longer than without.


kathryn February 25, 2009 at 10:48 am

I have found that if I am trying to cut something out of my diet, after 21 day I forget about it. I do everything in 21 day blocks. When I was little my Mom was trying to quit smoking and she used a 21 day program. Something about 21 days to break or make a habit. This is the way I approach lots of things in my life, I have a highly addictive personality so it works for me. When I had cut sugar out in the past I gave up fruit for one week too. I was doing an anti candidia diet, it is a little different. It worked like magic when we were trying to conceive both of our children. Now my addictions are spinning, green monster, and OSG.



brandi February 25, 2009 at 11:10 am

good luck with the bone scan – I’m sure it will go great :)


Lara (Thinspired) February 25, 2009 at 11:10 am

Thank you for the smoothie tip, Angela! If I ever recover I will try the EXACT combo you suggested ;)
I really need to get off Splenda. It’s so tough, but I agree, it deadens your sweet tooth.


Courtney (The Hungry Yogini) February 25, 2009 at 11:11 am

Good luck with the bone scan!


Michelle Hisae February 25, 2009 at 11:17 am

I can totally relate with you on the ease with which we can all wean ourselves off of sugar. In high school, I went through a SUPER healthy phase where I only had dessert on those special occassions (holidays, bithday, etc.) – that made it yummier to me. I seriously didn’t crave sweets at all. What I really wanted when I had “dessert” after dinner was just a piece of fruit, a bowl of cereal, or something like that. It felt soooo great to eat “clean.” I was much more confident and just felt lighter – with a spring in my step! I’m doing similarly now, but you’ve inspired me to think more about the cleansing aspect of such habits. Keep it up!


VeggieGirl February 25, 2009 at 11:21 am

Good luck with the scan!!


theoodbod February 25, 2009 at 11:29 am

love tha pic of the tissue box. it looks ginormous!


Jessica at Pudget: Losing Weight On A Budget February 25, 2009 at 11:49 am

Great idea! Thanks for sharing


marafaye February 25, 2009 at 11:59 am

OOOH is it weird that I’d be totally excited about a bone scan?


Diana February 25, 2009 at 12:11 pm

funny you should post about artificial sweeteners – last week i was drinking my coffee and thought “wow – this coffee tastes like crap – i don’t like how sweet and artificial it tastes”….so right then and there i decided no more. i am now drinking it with no sweetener or sugar. just a little bit of soy milk – and i love it! i even decided that i will not buy yogurt sweetened with splenda anymore either. i crave whole foods now and the sweetener just isn’t appealing. yay!


Diana February 25, 2009 at 12:13 pm

oh also i used to love diet coke. i had one at a ‘treat’ the other day and couldn’t even drink half. it was gross!


Alisa - Frugal Foodie February 25, 2009 at 12:29 pm

I love your new budget tracking! Customized to your own habits are definitely the best ways.


Sally February 25, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Good luck with your bone scan!

Thankfully I’ve never been into artificial sweeteners, and lately I’ve been cutting back on added sugars as well. I find that a small portion of dark chocolate in the evening is very satisfying and has only a few grams of sugar.

Sometime I’d be interested in hearing about your decision to include processed faux-meats in your diet, as they seem to be on the only highly processed food that you eat on a regular basis.


priyankalovesfood February 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Good luck with your bone scan!! I collect the receipts too for budget tracking.


Hayley February 25, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Good luck today!! That tissue box idea is super cute! Do you track all your receipts into categories in a spreadsheet as well? I tried doing that for a while but then kept on forgetting to do it – perhaps the tissue box idea would work for me as well.


Ashleyy "Lonely Diet Girl" February 25, 2009 at 2:05 pm

I grew up with my father having diabetes so we always had aritificial sugar in the house, but my mom always told me that if I didn’t NEED it then I shouldn’t take it, that theory goes with me everywhere.. if I have a headache..suck it up princess, you get no tylenol until you desperately need it :)

Good Luck Today!!


Ashleyy "Lonely Diet Girl" February 25, 2009 at 2:05 pm

I grew up with my father having diabetes so we always had aritificial sugar in the house, but my mom always told me that if I didn’t NEED it then I shouldn’t take it, that theory goes with me everywhere.. if I have a headache..suck it up princess, you get no tylenol until you desperately need it :)

Good Luck Today!!


Ashleyy "Lonely Diet Girl" February 25, 2009 at 2:05 pm

I grew up with my father having diabetes so we always had aritificial sugar in the house, but my mom always told me that if I didn’t NEED it then I shouldn’t take it, that theory goes with me everywhere.. if I have a headache..suck it up princess, you get no tylenol until you desperately need it :)

Good Luck Today!!


Christy February 25, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I just tried a green monster for the first time (well, after I tripped a breaker with my new blender!) Oh well…I plugged into another outlet and let the blending get underway.

It was. so. good.

I can’t wait to make another one this afternoon!!


Lydia February 25, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Hi! I have been reading your blog for a short time and really like it. Wanted to ask- do you ever use Stevia? I don’t know if it is available in Canada. Just curious- I often use it to sweeten up things without the calories, or the “artificialness”- it is a plant derived sweetener. Great blog! You are inspiring!


orangepop February 27, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Have you ever made a mistake that turned out to be something great??

Great tip- I always log my purchases in my transaction check-book as soon as I pay for something.

I gave up art. sweeteners & caffeine at the same time. Cold Turkey. OUCH! My head pounded for 4 days straight. But now that I’m home free, I love that my skin is clearing & I am actually LESS tired!


danser81 February 27, 2009 at 11:32 pm

mint.com is really good for budgeting and tracking your spending from all different accounts…I am in love with it, even though it reminds me all the time that I blew my budget!



drdelmar May 1, 2013 at 11:48 am

Just thought I’d share a tea recipe that is sweet without sweetener. Pour boiling water into a pot that contains a handful of cardamom, about an inch of fresh ginger cut up, and cassia – good cinnamon (about 4 sticks). Play with the quantities. Let it steep for a while. You can use the leftovers by making ice cubes or just reheating. The cardamom seeds make it sweet, so use your own judgment on balancing the three items.


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