Saving 101: Purchasing From Community Vs. Corporations

Saving 101 Purchase From Commnity

As we last read in our Saving 101 Series, many people have had success saving money by moving from large cities to smaller, rural communities. This week, we find some more benefits of living in a rural community or at least further from town and closer to land where food is raised and grown.

Rent From Individuals vs. Corporations

Savings: $100’s

If someone needs to rent vs. purchase a home, it has been noticed that one can generally save money when renting from an individual vs. renting from a corporation. There is also usually more personal attention and the ability for more flexibility with what one can do with the property, which may lead to other savings down the road.

Example 1: A family that moved from a major metro area to a small metro area found that another family was going out on the mission field for a year and needed renters. The Missionary family is renting the 4-bedroom farmhouse, on a multi-acre farm, for only $650 a month. However, one of the bedrooms has the stored belongings of the family out on mission. This is a place that should be renting for about $850 or more per month.

Example 2: The landlords of another family (we will call them family A) also own the house next door to family A. The house has been vacant for a while. When some friends of family A moved to town (we will call them family B), the landlords were willing to rent the house to them. For only a couple hundred dollars a month plus some upkeep on the house, family B have settled in and are very content with their place.

Steaks and Roasts for $2 to $5 per Pound

Savings: $10’s

You do not need to pay $5 to $10 a pound for roasts or $10 to $20 a pound for organic, grain fed, free range beef steaks. There are Internet sites that can hook you up with “local” farmers (even if “local” turns out to be a couple hours away). Some farmers post on Craigslist (Craigslist.org) or FB Groups when they have meat available for sale. Since you are purchasing in bulk, it would be worth the drive to get 6 months of meat for about half or less than what you would pay in the stores.

Example 1: A family found a cow at auction, within a reasonable drive from town. They went in with another family, purchased the cow, and sent it off to be butchered. The total cost of the meat per pound was about $3.25, including all kinds of cuts of meat.

Example 2: Purchasing $50 to $100 of meat at a time and freezing the bulk of it, a family found a local farmer about 1 hour drive from the city and purchased meat from him as follows: $2.50 per lb for ground, $3.50 per lb for roasts, $4.50 per lb for steaks.

How have you been able to save money by being plugged into your local and/or nearby rural community?


Print Free Coupons

Super Simple Recipes: A Healthy, Delicious Snack for Less Than a Candy Bar

Super Simple Recipes - Peanut Butter Balls


I know that sometimes a candy bar can sound and taste so good. But what about after eating it? How do you feel? I honestly don’t remember this as a child, but as an adult, a candy bar now makes me feel ill afterwards and there is nothing of value actually in it.

That is one reason our family loves this recipe – it has a taste a bit like a candy bar – but actually has nutritional value and will not leave you feeling ill afterwards.

Once you have the ingredients, this snack can be made almost as quick as unwrapping a pack of candy (well, maybe just a tad more work) and costs less than most single servings of candy bars. 

I am referring to a classic recipe: Peanut Butter Balls. Below is our family’s favorite, easiest version of this recipe.

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. 

Cost Per:

Family of 5 – $2.50

Serving – $.50

*prices are approximate and will vary by where one lives and other factors.

½ cup PB – $1.00

½ cup honey – $.60

½ cup carob (price per lb) – $.62

¼ cup coconut – $.25

Shopping List:

½ Cup Peanut Butter – You may substitute Almond, Cashew, or other Nut Butter for Peanut Butter, however they are usually more expensive. Purchase nut butter from a bulk section of a store or purchase a no-sugar added kind like Adams Peanut Butter, where you find peanut butter.

½ Cup Honey – Find local Honey if possible as it can help with local pollen and flower allergies, and usually has more flavor options than the standard clover honey.

½ Cup Carob Powder – You may use Coco Powder if you are tentative about using Carob. Carob Powder is usually found in a bulk section of a store, but may also be in the baking isle of a health food store.

¼ Cup Shredded Coconut – Purchase unsweetened shredded coconut. This can usually be found in a bulk section of a store, but may be found in the baking isle.

Supplies:

1 medium mixing bowl

1 large spoon / wooden spoon

½ cup measure

¼ cup measure

wax paper (optional)

1 plate

Instructions:

  1. Measure the ½ cup Peanut (or other Nut) Butter, the ½ cup Honey, and the ½ cup Carob (or Coco) Powder into the bowl.
  2. Stir together until smooth and creamy looking. It will start to form a big ball.
  3. Place a piece of wax paper onto plate about the size of the plate.
  4. Scoop out a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into a ball, place onto wax paper on plate.
  5. Roll out the rest of the mixture into balls.
  6. Put the Shredded Coconut into a pile in an empty spot on the plate.
  7. Roll the balls through the Coconut.
  8. Place finished balls in the fridge for 1 hour or longer.

Have fun, be healthy, and learn to make good food choices!

Do you like what you see here? This is a peek into my beginning home economics curriculum for children, titled: Teach Your Children To Cook – The Simple, Healthy, Cheap Way .

 

Saving Money 101: Saving By Moving

Saving 101 Save By Moving

If you are just starting out on how to simplify your life and save money, or even if you have been living a frugal life for awhile, the tips in the Saving 101 series are foundational tips meant to help you think about how to save money, and give practical examples, in each area of life.

#1 – Move to a Less Expensive Area – Housing

Savings: $100’s to 1000’s

By moving just 30 to 60 miles / minutes from a major city, one may be able to save $100’s of dollars a month for rent or $1000’s of dollars off of the price for a house.

Example 1: A family moved from an upscale suburb of a major city to a lower scale suburb of the same city, about 30 minutes further from the city. The rent there is $300 a month less on average. The commute cost increase was $60 to $80 per month

Example 2: Another family moved from a very large metropolitan area to a smaller, but still metro area. The commute is about the same (cost wise) and the wage is about the same. However, a comparative house is about $300,000 less in the smaller metro area. This is our example from moving from Seattle to Boise. You can purchase a good house in Boise suburbs for $100,00 / $150,000. Houses in Seattle don’t come under $300,000.

#2 – Move to a Less Expensive Area – Utilities

Savings: $10’s

One lessor know way to save money in utilities is to simply move to a sub-burb from a major city or to move to a less expensive state. There are maps available (just Google or Bing) that show the average cost of utilities by major metropolitan areas.

Example 1: The family that moved from the upscale suburb to the lower-scale suburb saw about a 50% decrease in Water, Sewer, and Garbage. They also saw about a 25% decrease in Power & Heating.

#3 – Move to a Less Expensive Area – Food, Gas, Necessities

Savings: $100’s

Generally, the cost of food, gas and necessities goes down as one moves farther from the city centers and moves more into the rural parts of the country. However, savings can also be achieved, for those who want to stay in the major cities, by making planned day trips to the further out areas and stocking up at the markets in the rural areas. Also, there are many things that may also be purchased online for less than found in the stores in the cities.

Example 1: While still living in a major city on the coast, plan a day trip to do the bulk of the shopping for the month. This could include driving two hours to the local farming community to pick up meat, grains, produce, honey, etc… then driving back towards town 1 hour and stopping at a Costco, Walmart, Discount Grocery Stores, etc… for the needed non-perishable items for the month.

Have you ever moved to save money? Share your story with us!

Subscribe to: A Simple Life Too (see the bar at the top or on the right) to get the next installment in the Saving 101 series.


Print Free Coupons

A Simple Truth: Simple Pleasures

Simple Truth Simple PleasuresWhat has happened to us?

I walk around my part of the world and I see so many of the youth there… but not really there. They are like the zombies they so like to watch in the movies. Occasionally, they will wake up for a second as they look at their Iphone, Android, etc… Then they go back to sleep, standing up. I even see adults like this.

How many people spend their days looking to devices, technology, and media to fulfill them? If it does, it only does it for a minute, and then it is done and gone.

How many times have I checked my email, waiting for something special, something amazing, but nothing comes? I am guilty of looking for life in technology, but technology is not alive and it can not give life.

I know what I really need to be doing and where I really need to be going to get life – to the Life-giver, Yahweh / Yeshua. I need to be spending time with Him, not reading another email or watching another movie. I need to plug into what He has given me to get life from, His Spirit, His Word, and the good remnants of His World.

I also need to look at the simple pleasures of my time here, the simple, beautiful things that God has given me, and gain my life from them. If you are wondering what that looks like, I share some here with you :

  • Watching my girls twirl and dance to a worship song, full of music and life.

  • Seeing the first flowers of Spring bloom and bringing a few into the house to decorate our table.

  • A lovely homemade chicken curry dinner, after three days of eating beans and rice.

  • Sitting with my church group and talking honestly about where we are at in our walk and where God is taking us.

  • Sitting outside and feeling the sun sink into my body.

  • Feeling the Spirit of God speak to me, during prayer, worship, bible reading or meditation.

  • Watching my girls explore the simple backyard world full of plants and bugs.

  • The view of the mountains from my back window, snow-capped one day, brown and barren the next.

This is what a simple life is about. Getting rid of everything that distracts us. I haven’t perfected this yet, but I know it is where I want to be heading.

What are the simple pleasures in your life? What keeps you from time with God? What do you find yourself putting before God?

Still On Sabbatical

Still on Sabbatical at least until the end of the year. To actually keep my life simple, I am committing all of my time to my family (homeschool, cooking healthy foods, etc…) and my church. Actually, these things just take all of my time! But it is a blessing. I will write again when it fits.

 

Super Simple Recipes: Best Meal Ever

Super Simple Recipes Best Meal Ever

I don’t use this title lightly.

I recently made one of the simplest dinners and it was one of the best meals our family has ever had. Everyone liked it, including our three small children.

We acquired a fresh caught salmon.

Foolishly, I tried to fillet it. I thought after watching a video about how to do it, that it would be a breeze. Hah. I gave up after 15 minutes

My husband, currently into the Paleo Diet / Primal Blueprint (I don’t agree with the evolutionary precept behind it), sent me a link on how to grill (or broil) a whole fish. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-grill-a-whole-fish/#axzz1zCZz0Lc4 .

I salted and oiled the salmon and broiled it about 10 minutes per side.

While waiting, I sautéed some fresh green beans in olive oil, chopped garlic, and salt for 15 – 20 minutes.

That is it.

So simple, but it was so delicious. We really enjoyed the salty, crispy fish skin.

To summarize:

1 whole salmon

olive oil

salt

fresh green beans

chopped garlic

Less than 10 minutes of work in the kitchen. There was about 5 minutes of prep time to salt and oil the salmon, one flip of the salmon halfway through the cook time, and another couple of minutes of time stirring the green beans once or twice.

Bonus: We got three meals out of the fish.

Here are some cookbooks that have helped me find and develop our simple cooking:

Where Does My Stuff Come From: GMO Food

What are you feeding your children?
What are you feeding your children?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that we were educating our family about where our stuff comes from, starting with our food.

We were learning that there are “strange” ingredients in many processed foods. Some of these ingredients you can learn about just by reading the labels and Googling what they are on the internet. Others you would not know about unless you ask someone.

So I started an endeavor to ask manufacturers what is in my food. Here are my results so far.

 

 

 

GMO Cut Corn

Hy-Top:

I had a package of Hy-Top corn in my freezer. Hy-Top and the Federated Group provide generic store-brand foods for WinCo, Lowes, and other stores.

Find stores here: http://www.hy-top.com/pages/where_to_buy/99.php

My request to them was a simple note:

“I was wondering if any of the Hy-Top Frozen Corn products were GMO Corn?

Their response was also simple:

Dear April, The Hy Top Frozen Cut Corn is not GMO free. Sincerely, Name Withheld, Federated Group, Consumer Concerns

After taking the photo, the corn went into the garbage. Although I will still shop at WinCo as they are my primary store for many reasons, I will not be purchasing their generic Hy-Top products anymore.

Tastes good, but not worth the risk.

General Mills:

We had a coupon for $1.00 off of General Mills cereals, and our little ones really like the Os. But, since I am committed to learning more about our food, I sent a note to GM that was similar to the one to Hy-Top.

Their response was a lengthy one:

Thank you for recent inquiry regarding General Mills′ position on the use of ingredients that have been modified through biotechnology.

 First and foremost, all food must be safe. It is not only the law, but also an issue of ultimate importance to all food manufacturers. Second, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have all concluded that food using ingredients from biotechnologically-improved crops is completely safe and no different in any meaningful way from other food. For that reason, the FDA does not require special labeling for it. However, if food has been significantly altered in composition or nutrient content, or if biotechnology introduces allergens into food, special labeling is required. None of our products requires special labeling. Accordingly, we do not test them for the presence of this material.

Because of the growing use of biotechnology by farmers and the way that grain gets commingled in storage and shipment, it′s certainly possible that some of our products may contain ingredients that have been improved through biotechnology. We can assure you, though, that every major regulatory agency, as well as independent scientific groups like the American Medical Association, has concluded that these ingredients are safe. For more information, you may wish to visit The Alliance for Better Foods website at www.betterfoods.org.

 General Mills also believes in providing consumers with a variety of food options. Toward that end, we do offer organic products that, by definition, do not use ingredients that have been improved through biotechnology. Please look for organic Gold Medal flour and a wide range of products from our Cascadian Farm and Muir Glen brands. To get more information about our organic products, please visit us at www.smallplanetfoods.com.

 Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. Sincerely, Name Withheld, Consumer Services

They obviously believe what they are saying.

I do not.

Understand that I don’t think that a few bits of GMO food will kill us, but I do believe that there could be issues with GMO food with long-term use. So, the Cheerios did not go into the garbage and we will eat them up, but we won’t be purchasing any GM products in the future.

So what are you thoughts on GMO foods? Have you been eating something you like, only to discover that an ingredient could be bad for your health with long-term exposure (or even short-term)?

Want to know what foods don’t have GMO without a lengthy email campaign? Here is a GMO shopping guide from Dr. Mercola: http://gmo.mercola.com/sites/gmo/shopping-guide.aspx

I plan on continuing this series with other foods that make their way into our home, but the goal is to avoid as many foods with unnatural ingredients as possible. I mostly make that happen by cooking 90% of our foods from scratch. Come back soon for a Super Simple Recipe made from all natural ingredients.

Helping Others: 200,000 North Korean Political Prisoners Are In Brutal Work Camps

English: The DMZ from the North Korean side

I am starting a new series on my blog today. It is all about helping others.

Why?

Because my heart can not read things like the headline above and not want to do something more than sit around watching TV.

There are 200,000 people in camps in North Korea similar to the work camps in Nazi Germany.

Now.

Today.

Because they refuse to bow to the “god” of North Korea.

Or because they own a Bible.

Did you know that this was going on? Do you want to learn more or help in some way?

Voice of the Martyrs

 I get alerts emails from VOM. Here is an excerpt from the current email about North Korean camps:

 At least 200,000 North Korean citizens, including many of our Christian brothers and sisters, suffer under brutal conditions in six confirmed labor camps for political prisoners.

Among the camps are …

  • Camp 14, which is known as a “complete control district,” meaning its 50,000 prisoners will work there until death.

  • Camp 22, which is about the size of Los Angeles in area and is thought to be used for human experiments. It also holds about 50,000 prisoners.

  • Camp 25, a camp controlled by the North Korean secret police and believed to hold felons, religious leaders and spies and their families.

Very few North Koreans have survived detention in a labor camp. Although the average sentence is 15 years, the average life expectancy in a labor camp is only seven years. Up to three generations of entire families have been detained in government efforts to “root out class enemies.”

Changed Forever

If you did not know that stuff like this was going on in the world, I offer you the link to the Voice of the Martyrs site to learn more: http://www.persecution.com/.

Your heart will be changed.

 

What Is In My Apothecary: Gallbladder Issues – Or – How I Can’t Eat Chinese Buffet Anymore:-(

Citrus fruit

I haven’t been feeling well lately.

I am nauseous, run down and out of sorts.

I wish the issue was that I was pregnant again, but it is not.

Instead, most likely my gallbladder is not handling fats that well and is very unhappy with me.

I was really, really sick a couple of nights ago, the day after eating a lovely dinner at a Chinese Buffet place. OK, I realize that Chinese Buffet is probably not part of the Simple Living lifestyle, but it is my favorite and it is something we do just a couple of times a year.

But I can’t go anymore… or at least not for a while. I have to cut out bad fats – and Chinese Buffet does have a lot of fat. Yes, I can eat the sushi and hibachi and soups and fruit, but I love some of the fried dishes too. But they are probably just wrong, so I commit to passing them by for now.

The good news is that I appear to be getting to the issue early enough to do something about it naturally. I thought I would take the opportunity to share my process with others. The point of the “What Is In My Apothecary” series is to cut through the hype of natural remedies and see what real people use to stay healthy, treat illnesses, and handle physical issues.

 The Plan:

  • Drink more water and water with lemon in it

  • Cut out bad fats – at least reduce them by 90% – no dairy, no fatty meats like beef, no bad oils

  • Sparingly use good fats

  • Eat four or more servings of fruit per day, especially citrus fruit

  • Actually eat three to four servings of veggies per day

  • Use camomile and peppermint tea when my tummy is nauseous

I still have some test results to get back and a follow-up with the doctor before I know for sure the state of my gallbladder. Until then, I am keeping a food diary and will research more about what can help me. I will report back in a few weeks the best course of treatment and how I am doing in following it.

April Schroader is a freelance writer and blogger. Even though she is experiencing some illness right now, she is still available to guest post on your blog, write a quality article for your magazine, help with a non-fiction book project, or write quality content for your website. To contact her, visit her portfolio and click on the Hire Me link.