Finding Freedom Friday — Back to School

My children all head back to school on the 27th of this month. So we are in the midst of purchasing back to school supplies. This is the time of year that I really look for sales and try to stock up for all the supplies we will need for the entire year. I purchase pencils and notebook paper by the box when the sales start. Crayons too.

I also don’t purchase the children an entire back to school wardrobe. They don’t need it. The weather is still hot for another month or two so shorts are still worn. I start to purchase the winter clothing over the next couple of months when the sales start.

Going back to school does not have to break your bank. It takes a little planning and forethought.

A married woman must often leave God at the altar in order to find Him in her housework ~~St. Francis of Rome

Finding Freedom Friday — May 15

Today’s topic is cheap travel snacks and meals. With the summer travel season appoarching this is something everyone who is taking a trip this year should be thinking about. When we travel, which honestly is not at all recently, we always pack a cooler.

Into the cooler goes things like waters, juice packs, cheese sticks, and fruits. We even have been known to put in sandwich meats. We also pack a box of the “dry goods.” Things like peanut butter, crackers, bread, cereal, chips and pop tarts.

We plan on eating at most one meal a day out and every other meal we eat in the hotel or the house we rent. There have been times that we only plan on eating only one meal out the entire time. If we can’t pack enough for the entire time we are there, we will find a grocery store where we go and shop once we arrive. Even if we pay more for the groceries because it is a “vacation town” it will still be cheaper than paying for all the meals out.

So pop on over to Cents to be Debt Free for more hints on eating on the the road.

Finding Freedom Friday — May 8

Finding Freedom with Freezer Meals/OAMC

Many people find financial freedom when they start batch cooking or once a month a cooking. This can save considerable money and time because you have meals in the freezer so you don’t have to worry about what eat. You are able to shop sales and save money on groceries. However that type of cooking doesn’t really work for our family. Most of the meals are casseroles, which DO NOT go over well here. Not to mention when you have a large family trying to put that much prepared food in a freezer can be a challenge.

So how have I found Financial Freedom without using this valuable tool? I have a pantry and a freezer and plan my meals. I have built up my pantry to the point where I plan my meals from what I have on hand and then look for the sales to replace the used items. I do not buy meats that cost over a $1.99 a pound. I get all of them on sale and buy enough to last the family at least a month.

I even keep a couple of “convenience” food items like En-Cor entrees (bought on an awesome sale) on hand so if things get totally hectic we can have a meal on the table within an hour. I plan at least one meatless meal a week. We also have breakfast for dinner at least once a month.

So while Freezer Meals and Once a Month Cooking is a wonderful tool and I highly recommend using it, if you find is doesn’t work for your family you can do the same thing by stocking the components of meals so you can make meals at home. Just make sure you include things that can be made quickly so you can resist the urge to do take out on those totally crazy nights that any family can have.

So head on over to Cents to Get Debt to Free to get some other great hints.

Finding Freedom Friday: Time Management

This week’s Finding Freedom topic over at Cents to get Debt Free is Finding Freedom through time management. I think this is something most women struggle with whether they work outside the home or not. How do you manage the 24 hours you are given to make sure you make the most of it and get everything accomplished that needs to get done, be that cleaning, feeding the family, or errands.

I have tried many different approaches to time management. Most of them have failed. If I didn’t follow it perfectly, then it wouldn’t work so I stop working it and everything would fall apart. Over the past four years I have gradually realized several things:
~ I need to control my time or it will control me.
~ I need to set a good example for the children so they can learn to better manage their time.
~ I don’t need to “work” all the time. I need to allow some down time in the day or I get stressed.

Last year I discovered Managers of Their Homes, from Titus 2. While this program is primarily for homeschooling families, I have found I can utilize their principles and have it work for my family. My day has a structure it follows so I know things will get done. My day flows like this:

6:00 Get up, dressed
7:00 Breakfast, Clean up the Kitchen
8:00 15 Minute Clean up for children
8:30 Take the Children to School
9:00 Morning Chore Time
10:00 Work with the girls on Letter of the Week
11:00 Lunch
12:00 Girls down for Nap, Clean up Kitchen
1:00 Afternoon Chore Time/Baking
2:00 Computer Time for Me
3:00 Girls up from nap, Play time with them
4:30 Pick up Middle Four from Boys and Girls Club After school Program
5:00 Dinner Prep/Finish up Homework with Middle Four
6:00 Dinner
7:00 Girls Baths
7:30 Evening Chores
9:00 Free Time
10:00 Shower
10:30 Bedtime

I use the times as a guideline, they are not set it stone, but this framework helps to keep the day on track and make sure everything that needs get done, gets done.

To see my MOTH schedule (in Excel), you can see it here.