Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Do You Know About the Money Saving Mom?

At the 2013 CHAP Homeschool Convention, I started both Friday and Saturday off by attending seminars by Crystal Paine.  She was homeschooled, as was her husband, and now they are homeschooling their children.  She knows how hard it can be to live on a budget or on a single income, and she had some fabulous tips to share.  

Her first seminar was "How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half" and these were her tips, in a nutshell:
1.  Create a Budget 
       Use cash to do your grocery shopping; leave the debit card and check book at home
2.  Plan a Menu
       Plan according to your needs.  You can simply plan 7 dinners, or you can plan 7 lunches and
       7 dinners, or all 21 meals for the week, whatever you feel is most helpful for you.
       Make a list of your family's 30 favorite meals and this will make meal planning easy, as you can
       simply rotate these meals.  You can also use Pinterest for menu planning and to find recipes, use
       your store flyers to plan menus buying what's on sale, or take the flyers to Walmart because they
       will price match any ad.
       Also, use Recipe Cost Calculation in meal planning (You can google this and find one, you can 
       download an app for one, or you can visit Crystal's website and use the information she has there).
3.  Clip Some Coupons
       This doesn't have to be time consuming, and you don't have to invest in a newspaper subscription to
       get coupons.  You can type items you are planning to buy into the computer and find printable
       coupons.  You can also type in a store name, or "Coupon Match-Ups" or "Deal Bloggers" to find
       coupons online that you can simply print and take with you.
       Look for something you typically buy and for at least 40% off.
4.  Rotate Your Stores
       Consider more than grocery stores:  Big Lots, B.J.'s or Sam's Club, health food stores, K-Mart,
       Walmart, Dollar Stores, discount grocery stores, and scratch & dent stores
5.  Buy in Bulk
        Look for Co-Ops and Bulk Food Stores.
         Meat is best to buy in bulk to save the most money.  Look to local farmers for whole steers or pigs or
         get extended family or friends together to go halves or quarters.

The second day, she did a seminar "You Don't Have to be Wealthy to Eat Healthy".  She shared mostly the same points that I listed above but also mentioned cooking from scratch and planting a garden as ways of saving and eating healthier.  And, she mentioned shopping online.

For more details, recipes, tips and advice, check out Crystal's website:  I plan visit this website regularly, and she has a free newsletter you can sign up to receive.

She also did a seminar "How to Fill Your Freezer with Nutritious Foods in Just a Few Hours" where she explained that you don't have to plan to make 30 meals all in one day to do freezer cooking.  She had some great tips like simply planning to cook for about two hours and do as much as you can in that amount of time to make it more manageable and less exhausting.  She mentioned doing something as simple as doubling or tripling a meal you are planning on making one evening and freezing the double or triple parts.  You can also use your crockpot to do some simple things to freeze for later meals, and she talked about just freezing portions of meals as well; just some simple things you can do to save yourself time and energy.

Again, I recommend utilizing

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