Thursday, June 11, 2009

Need a lawyer?

Sadly, I've had reason to ask a few questions of lawyers lately.

So I found an approach that I love, which some folks in our county I've spoken to never heard of. I thought I'd share this method with you.

You can go through the referral service of The Washtenaw County Bar Association. You go there, call or whatever, and basically give them a quick overview, tell them the type area of law you need, pay $30 for a sit-down, one-on-one with a REAL, lawyer in town. Now, do your homework, have your top 3 concise questions written down, perhaps type up a statement overview because time's a tickin' and 30 minutes at a lawyer's office does seem to click by quickly. You're not there to tell them your whole life story and this isn't some therapy session. Think of it as sitting in a quick cab ride with a captive lawyer. But c'mon, 30 bucks for 30 minutes consult with no obligation. Great way to start.

For my particular situation, I needed to ask a few questions of a labor lawyer. I met with Jennifer Salvatore from Nacht Law & Associates. She was fabulous. If your situation is a labor matter, and you want to skip the referral service because you already know you have a bigger deal going on, I highly recommend her or this firm. I know their business is booming with the economic predicament of our area lately, and their billboards are up all over town. I personally know of a couple of instances where they gained favorable outcomes for their clients.

Most people I've spoken to don't want to get the ball rolling on their particular legal matters because that first upfront cost. This just gives you more confidence as a consumer, shopping for a lawyer. I think it's very reasonable. I've shared this info with others and had very favorable responses. (One person even gave me a free Panera Bread coffee -yeah!)

Go to or call 734-994-4912.

Now, this office is located in the courthouse on Main Street so you & your items will be scanned just like at the airport. You may need to leave your camera cell phone in a locker at the front, which I think rents for an additional .25 cents or something. They are on the first floor, down that long hall on the left. They have a small sign that says "WCBA" and across from the office with lots of windows. Good luck!

Cheaper drugs

Well, looks like AAA + CVS pharmacies have teamed up to offer AAA members prescription discounts.

AAA claims that its members save on average 24% on perscription medicine not covered by health insurance. They say you can use it on anyone in the household -including pets. Very curious. (I'm guessing you don't need to go to CVS for Rover's petmeds...)
If you want to look into it further to see if this would help your household's situation, go to or call a local agent at the 1200 S. Main St. at 734-747-7000. Usually AAA auto insurance runs expensive but the renter's or homeowner's insurance is pretty competitive, gives you full membership services and access to all of those AAA discounts.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

About those tortillas

So here's the recipe for flour tortillas that I use as a combo from several sources. If I had gotten this from one place I would cite it, but since I've borrowed from a couple of different ones, then experimented to see what works for me, I don't have a proper trail or Web site to point to.

Of course you can substitute half of the flour with wheat flour or make it all with wheat flour for a healthier version. If so, add some extra milk, but the ratio for those modifications is still a work in progress for me, so give it a try to see what you come up with.

2 Cups Flour (s) -if you want wheat mixed in
1 & a half Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
2 Teaspoons Canola Oil
3/4 Cup lukewarm 1% Organic Milk

Stir flour(s) + powder to sift it a couple of times.
Add salt + oil to the milk. Then, gradually add that milk mixture to flour as you have it mixing with a dough hook attachment on the #2 or #3 speed on the Kitchen Aid Mixer for about a minute or two. Remove the big dough ball from the hook and knead it vigorously for 2 minutes (good way to get out aggravation:) on a floured surface. Cover with a damp cloth or damp paper towel while you let the dough rest for about 15 minutes. Come back, divide the dough into 8 balls. Let it rest another 20 minutes or so. Roll out each tortilla ball. Quickly "bake" on a hot, dry skillet for about 30 seconds each side as you press with a spatula to deflate air bubbles.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On Background, Why a forum?

I'm hoping this blogspot will end up being more of a "How are we gonna..." rather than a "How-to" per se. So, I'm hoping for a good exchange of ideas on how to cut costs while taking advantage of the pleasantness that is Ann Arbor. I am on a quest to learn how to be more frugal and would love to hear from others who are the same.

Terry Prisk is a man who got an epiphany while on I-96. He says on his Web site that God spoke directly to him on that highway and now he's lead pastor of The River Community Church up in Livingston County. So if Prisk can get an idea while in traffic to start a church, maybe it's okay that I got the idea for a blog forum while making tortillas?

At first, I came to be making my own handmade flour tortillas in an effort to save a little money. But they ended up tasting way better than store-bought fare and quickly became a family favorite. Most of the time it's either spend time to save money or spend money to save time. Surprisingly, tortillas, I am happy to report, don't take much time at all.

You can let the dough rest about 15-20 minutes or so. That gives you enough time to tackle a little task in the meantime. (I called a doctor's office, went through it's phone tree and had a question answered about my daughter's surgery.) Total estimated time of actual work to make about 8 tortillas = 12 minutes or so. Time chatting with family as you do it + the much yummier taste = priceless. Added bonus: It saves you about $2.69 compared to a bag of flour tortillas at the store so you are doing work at about $13.45 an hour at that rate of cost savings. Not bad. And remember, $2.69 could get you a latte at one of our nearby Espresso Royales.

So that's just one little quick, easy way to save a little money. Please share your ways:)

Revvin' Up

This is a spot to share information & exchange ideas about how to be a frugal family in the Ann Arbor area.

Sometimes you can help explain what a thing is by saying what it isn't. No need for brutal, anonymous comments. If you think you can do better on a particular topic, then please tell us. We want everyone to contribute ideas if you can, or just browse occasionally to glean ideas that may -or may not- work out for your family.
This is just a friendly, casual way to share & hear ideas about saving costs for families. I don't think any of us can lose by putting some new twists on the old game of saving money, & we can all gain with more coins in the bank. All right, let's start living more frugally together Ann Arbor!