Have You Made Any New Year Resolutions Yet?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Posted by Mansi

(image courtesy-wikimedia)

2008 is coming to an end, and like every New Year, its time to reflect on what's gone by, evaluate the good and bad, make some amendments if possible, plan some new goals for the coming year, and move on ahead with a smile and anticipatin on what's in store for you over the border of time!

As I was busy evaluating my 2008 professional goals at work, and writing up new ones for 2009, I realized its important to do so at the personal level too. New Year resolutions, as people have so named them, are nothing but a list of things you'd love to change in life. They can be as precise as "Lose 10 pounds by May 2009", or something as spiritual as "Try to play with my kids more often". I was intrigued to find out what others feel about such resolutions, and I was surprised to find that quite a lot of them are goals that would be common to most of us. I sat down to scribble a few things I'd like to do, and here's what I came up with:

1. Be a better listener and more patient with people
2. Try to be more carefree about things rather than worrying my head off
3. Learn to lower your expectations of others, and increase those from yourself
4. Earn enough to buy a new house:)D
5. Cultivate a new hobby that's not tied to my personality type

Ok, there were several more things I thought of, but I'd rather not bore you guys with it. But what I'd like to convey is that it felt good to jot down these things! The fast pace of life often provides us with less opportunity to sit back and reflect on what we can do to improve our lives without much effort. We always try to change others, and it's way easier to point fingers at others rather than accept faults of your own. But just half an hour of honest self-inspection can grant you an inner perspective and make you powerful enough to hear your inner voice - a feat that escapes most of us due to the din and bustle of life

So, take an hour to think about what leaves you dissatisfied, and make a list of things you could do to change it yourself. Then select the Top 5 or 10 things from that list, and translate them into measurable goals, or New Year resolutioins. Allot yourself a deadline, for humans never accomplish a goal till pushed to do so, stick the list in your cubicle or as a post-it on your laptop, so you are reminded about them every day, and try working on them. Consider yourself successful even if you finish half of them, and give yourself a pat and a treat every time you tick-off each goal.

I just finished reading a book called "Siddhartha", by Herman Hesse, and it made me realize that Life indeed is a learning journey, and Experience is surely the best teacher. You don't neeed someone else to define what you seek from life - the power lies within, its only a question of taking some time to talk to your soul, and you'll find most of your answers in that moment of self-awakening

So, what are some of your New Year goals and resolutions? Or don't you beleive in them at all? Share with us what you feel. But for those who have already made a list, I wish you all the best in accomplishing them, and wish you all a Happy and prosperous 2009

This post was written by Mansi

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

The Kitchen - A Pillar of the Family Unit

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Posted by Peter M

We're at the cusp of two years...2008 is all but history and 2009 is like a blank canvass, waiting to be coloured, brushed and stamped with your own signature.

Besides the usual New Year's resolutions of improving my diet, exercising more and being ever-nice to the people in my life, I have a new goal to pursue.

I will organize and arrange meals where the family eats together. I've heard and read on many occasions in the media that the health and well-being of a family hinges on whether or not they eat together.

I don't buy this notion that life's too busy for a family to dine together. Rather, I think we are all too pre-occupied with other interests in our life that deem dining together as a secondary goal or for some, a drag.

I've always enjoyed the banter, discussing food, world and local issues over the dinner table. When the whole family is present at the dinner table, this food and chat dynamic is at its best.

Ask your daughter to make it on time for dinner. Let her know it's important to you. I know it's hard to eat as a family each and every day but perhaps more days supping together can be the new goal.

Ask Junior to drop the X-Box, come down from the multi-media fantasy room known as the bedroom and have a good'ole discussion and meal over dinner. Family's that dine together, stick together.

According to a Harvard Study (2000), families that ate together actually ate more healthily and that children got a double benefit by also doing better in their studies! Remember, your sons & daughters will also find themselves away in College studying or moving out on their own.

Ask then to help with the meal preparation, setting the table and helping with the clean-up and dishes. You're empowering them with the most basic of life skills.

One of the biggest obstacles to eating together as a family has to be the menu itself, ie your child (or children) will come up with an excuse if the menu isn't to their liking.

The solution to this is to make dishes where substitutions can easily be made. Another is to cook on weekends, double-up on favourite meals and freezing them just in case your kids balk at Tuesday Night's Liver..."Oh, I have spaghetti & meatballs in the freezer and we're all having salad. We'd really like you to be home for dinner"!

You'll be amazed at how quickly kids change their mind when the menu is to their liking.

Family meals should be an exchange of ideas, it's a great way to sneak in "family meetings". I don't my family has ever had a formal family meeting...the dinner table was the forum.

Turn off the TV, give the video games a rest, cell phones, PDA's and computers can wait...eating as a family is paramount and it's the best platform to strenghen family ties and pass on cultural traditions.

Have a wonderful holiday season, health & happiness in 2009!

This post was written by Peter Minakis

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Posted by Deeba PAB

"If anything can go wrong, it will."

Travelling is one thing, but travelling with kids adds a whole new dimension to life. We've been travelling for ages, before & after the kids appeared on the scene ... perks of working with the airlines I guess. To date, we've never travelled without medical insurance, other than on this last trip to Sydney. To date, we've never had a medical emergency, other than of course on this last trip to Sydney! Murphy's law fell into place & as things had to go wrong, they certainly did!! We didn't have time to sort out insurance because of last minute changes to the trip, visits to the Australian High Commission to change the visa etc...& then sheer exhaustion! It was on my mind through out, & then in one moment of wild abandon, I just abandoned the idea. NOTHING untoward on the medical front has ever happened till today, & I have been travelling with kids since the daughter was 3 months old...she is almost 13 years now. But, halfway through our short vacation is Sydney she developed jaundice. Hmmmmmmmm....I'd like to share my notes for the future while travelling with kids:
  • Make sure all their vaccinations are up to date (I always do)
  • Visit your paediatrician before leaving (something I always do as a habit)
  • Carry a small medical kit in your hand baggage (something I've always done, whether I'm travelling or not..my bag is most unglamorous!)
  • Make note of your paediatricians' emergency contact; he knows your kid best
  • Carry alcohol wipes on the flight (recommended by the doctor in the children's emergency hospital in Sydney; brilliant idea I think)
  • Carry a good quality hand sanitizer because the doctor felt that most bugs are picked up on flights (a valid piece of advice indeed; my sisters daughter who is 3+ now, has always landed in India with a flu bug & the first person we always visit is the doc!)
  • Carry all vaccination records (or scan a copy & upload it in an online account for quick access)
  • Carry any medical history
  • If by chance, you are required to see a doctor in a foreign land, do make points of significant & insignificant happenings while waiting in the clinic, because every bit of history helps here.
  • Do not PANIC. Be cautious, but never panic. Panic makes the mind think irrationally, & panic tends to transfer to kids as well.
  • Lastly, of course, & quite obviously, take medical insurance. It's available online too, now I've learnt...better late than never. Am still paying back hospital bills for blood tests etc, but I guess, we live & learn!
Thinking back now, it was a good learning experience, though an expensive one. I must commend the medical facilities & the excellent doctor, (Dr Scott Nightingale), in Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney. He was the best doc I've met to date, & despite being so busy, is till sending me the results of some of the medical tests which come through every now & then.

"I never had a slice of bread,
Particularly large and wide,
That did not fall upon the floor,
And always on the buttered side"

Have a safe & peaceful hoilday season...

This post was written by Deeba

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Christmas Gift Ideas

Monday, December 15, 2008

Posted by Dharm

it's the season
of love and understanding
Merry Christmas, everyone

Christmas is just round the corner and lots of us are frantically trying to buy gifts for our loved ones - especially the kids. I've always tried to get presents that are useful so this would include a new shirt or a new dress. However, clothes seldom thrill the kids as much as toys do. I have no issue with buying toys for the kids but I do try and get something educational or at least something that helps develop their knowledge, thought process or at the very least, develops their coordination or motor skills.

As the kids get older, I also find it is good to get them toys that we can all play together. So, since Christmas is just a few weeks away, I've put together some of my favourite gift ideas for the kids as well as an explanation of why I think they are pretty good.

Who doesnt like Lego? I loved it when I was young and both my son and daughter love it now too. I love Lego because it unleashes the creative genius in children. Most of them have instruction books to make a predefined model and this kind of guides them into making their own design later. It's also something that adults can get involved with too. If you are on a cost cutting drive and have access to the internet, download the Lego Designer from the Lego website. This allows you to create virtual designs on your PC! My son spends hours creating his own stuff with this programme.

Uno cards
This is a really fun game that you can play together as a family. The rules are fairly simple and although there is an element of luck involved, it still teaches you a little about strategy and at the very least, stimulates the thought process. My 4 year old is an Uno queen although the game is recommended for older children.

Board Games are always fun and to me, one of the best and most loved board games is Monopoly. I like this because it teaches kids how to handle money as well as basic adding and subtracting. It also gives then an insight into investment. The latest version of monopoly is the world version and this exposes the kids to different world cities. I know at least my children now know where a lot of cities in the world are!

Word Games
Word games are always fun. It helps build the children's vocabulary and spelling as well. Two of my favourites would be Boggle and Scrabble. Boggle is relatively easier and a bit more fun for younger kids.

Make your own Volcano
There are a lot of sets that are sold out there 'teaching' you how to make your own volcano. Why not do it yourself with just a bottle of vinegar, some sodium bicarbonate (Baking Soda, NOT baking powder) and some food colouring. All you need to do is to almost fill a class with vinegar, add in a drop or two of food colouring and then add in a tbsp or so of bicarbonate. The whole thing will fizz up and overflow. To make it even more realistic, wrap some cardboard around the glass to shape it like a mountain with the glass opening acting as a crater. The 'lava' will then pour down the mountain. Great fun, you get to teach your kids about chemical reactions and above all it is so cheap!

Homemade Gift Certificates
Finally, why not get your kids or loved ones, homemade gift certificates. Neatly print out small index cards with promises such as

"One trip to the cinema";

"One trip to the ice cream shop";

"One day at the park"

or for the significant other in your life

"One back massage";

"One foot massage";

"One home cooked meal";

"breakfast in bed";

I think you get the idea!!

Well folks, I hope this helps and that you enjoyed my last article for the year. Have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This post was written by Dharm

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Monthly Mingle - Low Sugar Treats Round Up

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Posted by The Daily Tiffin

I can already feel and smell the holiday season look at this wonderful array of dishes while I was doing this round up. So many interesting and innovative recipes to choose from, I don't need to think hard about what desserts to make and gift them to my dear ones. With the economy down, and the purse strings tighter , these innovative dishes make interesting gifts. Homemade ,healthy and from all over the world ! What more can any health conscious person ask for ?

Here is the beautiful picture gallery for this month's mouth watering and tongue tickling treats ! Thanks to one and all for participating in this truly special event!

1. Kitchen Flavours - Anjeer Badam Halwa
2. Snooky Doodle Cakes - Almond and Date Balls
3. Kalyn's Kitchen - Apple Cranberry Crumble( Flourless)
4. Cook Book Cuisine- Apple Sauce Raisin Cake
5.Live to Eat - Banana Walnut Bread
6. The Daily Tiffin - Berry Short Bread Cakes
7. Sunita's World - Carrot and Pine Nuts Cupcakes
8. Green Gourmet Giraffe - Cherry Banana Muffins
9. Whats For Lunch Honey - Chocolate Orange Muffins
10. Culinary Bazaar - Eggless Banana Muffins
11. Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes - Eggless Banana Pancakes
12.Diet, Dessert and Dogs - Apricot and Orange Fudge
13.Bengali Cuisine - Kala Paturi
14.Health Nut - Oatmeal Fruit Macaroons
15.Ecurry - Pineapple Coconut Mousse
16. Fun and Food - Mixed Fruit Jello Cupcakes
17.Trini Gourmet - Pumpkin Pone
18.Veggie Wedgie - Raw Chocolate
19.Tasty Curry Leaf - Roasted Grapes with Creme Di ricotta
20.Health N Taste - Til/Tal Ni Chikki

If I have missed anyone, please leave a comment here in the comment section and I will include their entries.

This post was written by Dee

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Tiffin Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Posted by jokergirl@wererabbits

It's the season for christmas dinners and as my mother and grandmother were visiting in the weekend, I had a lot of leftovers from mine! Luckily I had bought plenty of healthy veggies, so I still managed to make a colourful box.
Vegetarian zucchini quiche Lorraine on mixed leaf salad, cherry tomatoes, carrot flowers and purple potato salad (the potatoes are purple, not the salad! It was good but for a potato salad, there are better tasting potatoes around.).

This is my own box, and the cutter which I used for the carrots. I'm sure you can figure out how I did it! It just goes to show that you can do quite a lot with "ordinary" cutters if you can't get the special veggie cutters.

This post was written by jokergirl from WereRabbits.

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

A Taste of Slow Food

Friday, December 05, 2008

Posted by Meeta K. Wolff


Orange on white 01framed

It’s easy to eat poorly or inadequately in our fast food culture. Overworked and stressed we rush out to find a quick bite and often find solace in a burger or a hot dog. The temptation of sugar, salt and fat feel good while you are eating it but it really does little to satisfy you. It’s convenient at the time and stills your hunger. Dinner might be a quick microwave meal, frozen pizza ready in minutes in the oven or even take out. Looking at the long term effects, it will make you and your family fat, lazy and sick!

We know that! However, I am still surprised when I read articles or watch reports that show over two third of us are overweight and one third are obese. More disheartening is the fact that over one third of our children are overweight and the CDC says that of the children born in the year 2000 - 30 - 40% will become diabetic in their lifetime.
We’ve read these dismal statistics so often - over and over.

Often parents preach to their children about the value of food, but send them mixed signals when meals are eaten in front of the TV or computer or take out food is ordered every other night. In our fast paced life, time is of essence and convenience becomes the main issue. In America, one of every four meals is eaten at a fast food restaurant; one in four is eaten in a car and one in three in front of a TV or computer!

Consider what these children are learning about the value of food. We are teaching them that it is “easier” and “cheaper” to purchase this type of “food” than to prepare real foods at home.

In one article I was reading recently a mother had never prepared a home cooked meal for her 4 year daughter! I was appalled and it prompted me to write this article.

In their recent articles, Manisha talked about invisible expenses and Peter about home economics to help you manage your costs and finances better. While the immediate cost of fast food might seem low, there are other types of costs we might also want to consider.

What is the long term cost of CO2 emissions, pollution, obesity and diabetes that inevitably comes from eating processed foods?

Enter the Slow Food Philosophy.

“Slow Food” is more of a philosophy than a cuisine. I am not talking about cooking a dish in a crockpot all day, but rather how slow food is defined by how it's prepared, and how it should be enjoyed. It's also the name of an international movement, founded in Italy.

slow_food The Slow Food Movement arose in 1986 in Italy as a response to the negative impact of multinational food companies and is spreading around the world – slowly! Today the Slow Food Movement has branches over the five continents, in 130 countries, with about 80 000 people.

Slow Food protests against the standardization of taste, it protects cultural identity, which is connected to food and seeks to safeguard processing techniques inherited from tradition. It also involves valuing time to prepare, eat and build a community through food. Sometimes the movement has been criticized as having an upper class pursuit, however far from extravagant eating, slow food is about the celebration of the connections that food can make with sustainable production and local food traditions that are often lost in our economy.

The slow food concept is about good, clean and fair food. It’s about allowing fruits and vegetables to ripen on the vine before being harvested and making breads from scratch. Slow food is about locally grown ingredients, traditional cooking methods and the producers and chefs who follow the creed.

And all of us can do join in on this philosophy to celebrate this kind of good, healthy food.

Here are a few ideas:

Summer Berries 03 framed Buy locally: Shopping for produce is an action with a huge impact. I cannot stress this enough! You make the choice to spend money on foods that are grown and picked in your region by local farmers and brought to the market, instead of traveling great distances.  Point out the sources to your kids when you are at the grocery store or the farmer’s markets. Now that Soeren can read he makes sure that the produce that lands in our shopping basket is from our region. Sometimes he will frown at me if I place a mango from Brazil in the cart! ;-)

Go for Organic: Whenever you can. This reduces your family’s and your exposure to pesticides and chemical fertilizers. You will soon realize that several of the items simply taste better too. Several years ago when I made the decision to buy organic produce there were two things I always had in my mind. One was the fact a close friend of mine was diagnosed with a rare cancer type. Her doctor told her that the tests were showing high levels of certain chemicals found in pesticides, deducing that the cancer might have been a result of the food she was eating! I decided that this was not what I wanted for my child or my family. I paid the extra cent for organic produce happily. This brings me to the second point. The fact I am paying a little more for organic food – I take more care of what and how I am preparing food. I buy less and make sure we waste less. Today I would say we are eating 90% organically and regionally. Yes – I am proud of this fact.
Also read:
Organic Food - What is it?
Is Organic Food Healthier?

Tomatoes 02 framed Grow your own: If you have a garden, grow your own produce. If space is tight fill a few pots with herbs and tomatoes. The point here is you are not only picking and enjoying fresh food from your own backyard, you will also be giving your children priceless values about the concept of food.

Cook at home: Even if you're short on time, you can still enjoy delicious homemade meals that can be ready in 30 to 40 minutes. We’re not saying no to burgers but rather saying yes to healthy homemade burgers, where you control what goes into them. This is healthy fast food and you will find a plethora of great recipes to get you started on the Internet. A few you will find on iVillage 19 30-minute meals. You’ll also find several great lunch box ideas for healthy meals for you and your kids right here on the DT.

Get your kids involved. It’s part of the slow food picture – to spend valuable time with your family. Not only are you spending quality time together with your children in the kitchen, but you are teaching them how to be involved in the food choices that they make. By getting actively involved they are learning that they can make choices about the foods and ingredients that they consume. Be creative with the food you prepare and let your kids express themselves through their recipe choices and presentation.

Finally share food. Use food to help others who might not be able to provide or cook for themselves. From a simple doubling a recipe and taking a home-coked meal to someone who is ill or donating food to the food drive, are all aspects that will teach your children the value of food. Soeren and his school collect food every year in December for our local food drive here in Weimar.
Drop in & Decorate
This year I have organized with his class to host our very own Drop In and Decorate event, which is a charity event started by my dear friend and DT alumni writer Lydia (more on that later).

Become a part of the slow food manifesto. You do not have to join the movement but you can use the same principals to make changes in your food culture. It’s important we practice what we preach and set the right examples so our children grow up making the right food choices.

Interesting reads:

Slow Food Movement
Ministry of Food
Ecoglobe – The Slow Food Movement

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

This post was written by Meeta

Easy Breezy Berry Short cakes

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Posted by Dee

The Holiday season begins at our home with this dish alternating as a snack , dessert and sometimes even breakfast. Quick to put together , its a low sugar treat which one can enjoy without any remorse or guilt. The variations are endless, you can use just one kind of berry or a combination of a few. I chose to use mixed berries.


Serves 2

1 cup of mixed berries
4 firm slices of bread ( home style white bread tastes best)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of sugar
2 pinches of Cardamom powder
1 tablespoon of butter/margarine


1. Toast the bread slices in an oven warmed at 200F. Alternatively you can toast using a normal toaster, but ensure that they are warm. Remove the crusty edges and smear with butter/margarine on both sides of the bread and cut diagonally into triangles.

2. Take the 1 tablespoon of sugar in a plate add a pinch of cardamom and mix well and sprinkle on both sides of the bread.

3. In a saucepan , add the remaining butter and 1 teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of cardamom and cook the berries for about 3 minutes i.e. until they are soft but still intact.

4.In a plate take about 4 slices and pour this warm berry mixture on the bread triangles. Serve warm and enjoy!

Berry Short Cakes


1. The recipe called for home style white bread, I used whole wheat bread.
2. You can use other flavors like cinnamon, fennel, star anise , aniseed, lemon, mint, lemon verbana, vanilla instead of cardamom.

Recipe Source : Luscious Berry Desserts by Lori Longbotham

This goes to Monthly Mingle - Low Sugar Treats hosted by Daily tiffin this month! Last date for entries is December 8th 2008.

This post was written by Dee

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Just a Reminder ...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Posted by Dee

Monthly Mingle - Low Sugar Treats is being hosted on Daily Tiffin. Last date for entries is 8th December 2008.

Here are the rules :

1. Create a dish that fits the theme of “Low- Sugar Sweet treats” as described above.
2. Post about it on your blog anytime from now until 8th December.(entries must be in English, please).
3. Link to this post and send the details to us (see below). Please feel free to use the logo created above for this mingle.

Once you’ve posted your dish, send an email with “Monthly Mingle: Low-Sugar Sweet Treats” in the subject line to: thedailytiffin (at) gmail (dot) com by 8 December 2008 with the following information:

* your name
* your location
* the name of your blog and its URL
* the name of your dish and a link to the relevant post
* a copy of the main photo of your dish 200px wide (and compressed so that it is below 1MB!)

This is going to be an exciting mingle and we are looking forward to having you over.

This post was written by Dee

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.

Nail those Invisible Expenses

Posted by Indian Food Rocks

With the economic downturn and the increasing number of jobs lost on a daily basis, it is time to take a closer look at our finances. In his article, Peter suggests hiring a financial advisor you can trust to help you improve your return on investment. This is excellent advice especially if money matters make your eyes glaze over and the math drives you nuts. However, the underlying assumption is that you have savings. Living from paycheck to paycheck is not a new or uncommon phenomenon even though all it takes is some common sense to make it a thing of the past.

While we are known to budget for our rent or mortgage, our utilities, our monthly groceries, and perhaps even some living expenses, many of us do not have a handle on how much we spend on a daily basis that drains our savings and therefore our next paycheck. What's eating away your money? Something called your invisible expenses.

You know how cool it is to say how you simply cannot do without your morning cup of coffee from Starbucks? Now add that up and see how much your vanity costs you over the month. You could start making your own coffee every morning. Still have that need to fit in with the rest of the yuppies with next to no savings? Buy the Starbucks cup and fill it up with homemade coffee. Seriously.

Carry a bottle of water with you and start drinking water instead of those sugar-laden sodas or those so-called guilt-free diet drinks that use sugar substitutes. Every time you buy one from that ubiquitous vending machine, you are adding to your invisible expenses. You may spend anywhere from twice as much to four times as much for every purchase you make from these vending machines. If you have a bottle of water, this can be refilled for free from a water fountain and your body will be grateful, too!

Eating out is another invisible expense. You may tell yourself that Subway sandwiches are healthier but are they the right choice for your pocketbook? By the time you leave the restaurant, you have spent nearly $10 each time. And much more over the month. You could pack your own sandwich that morning or the night before or carry leftovers from dinner as your lunch. You could also start a sandwich club with a group of folks from your workplace where you take turns bringing sandwiches for lunch. The sandwich menu changes on a daily basis and you look forward to something new every day. Or delve into the lunch box ideas right here at The Daily Tiffin.

Keep a stash of energy bars or crackers in your desk at work and always make sure that you have something in your purse to tide you over till you make it home. Again, your body will be thankful for your kind consideration!

Movies and popcorn, late night runs for ice-cream, that new mohair sweater, those earrings and trinkets, the magazine on the stand near the checkout counter ... they all add up. As do taxi rides.

Consider making a log of every penny you spend over the course of a month. Or, at least two weeks if an entire month is a daunting prospect. Note how many of those expenses were indulgences, impulsive purchases, or expenses driven by a factor of laziness. Compare this to your monthly budget and see how much you are really spending as opposed to how much you think you are spending.

Make lifestyle changes to cut down on your invisible expenses. It takes a little bit of planning and effort but allows you to manage your money more effectively, with a positive side-effect that you may even start living a little healthier. This is not to say that you must live a frugal life with no frills. Do treat yourself to simple pleasures every once in a while but don't make it a habit, as it will eat into your savings.

The less money you have to spend, the more likely you are to go into credit card debt; and, given today's high APRs, that is not a scenario you want for yourself. One suggestion would be to give yourself a weekly allowance and pay only in cash wherever possible.

It is also the season for gift giving and showing everyone how much you care for them by spending large amounts of money on gifts that they might never use or on gadgets that they can do without. I heard on the radio that Americans spend on an average of $850 per person on gifts at this time of the year. Give your loved ones the best gift you possibly could: an IOU gift certificate for quality time spent together. Or cook a meal for them and bond all over again over the dining table. You could donate money to a local charity or a good cause and send out greeting cards with more information to your friends and relatives, telling them that you donated in their honor.

Stop. Reflect. Think. Plan. And then take action to nail those invisible expenses and wipe them out.

This post was written by Manisha

Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.